Archive for October, 2014

To Thy Own Selfie Be True

Posted on October 31, 2014. Filed under: Assessment, Data, Evaluation, SWOT | Tags: , , , |

Among this year’s ABC fall line-up of shows is Selfie. In short, it’s an “opposites attract” romantic comedy about a bullied teenager who revamps herself for adulthood through excessive use of social media. When this affects her career path, she turns to a fellow marketing firm colleague to help repair her workplace image. She’s always inappropriate – from office attire to her pre-occupation with her smart-phone, in full view of the boss during team meetings. But in her defense, she’s done one thing right. OK, two. She has recognized that change needs to occur, and she’s consulted with an objective change agent.

In our lives, we too are inundated with the selfie. In fact, an estimated 350 million images, mostly of us, are uploaded to facebook every day. And that only includes those that survive our personal scrutiny. When we post pics, we wait patiently for friends and family to “like” them too. If they’re unflattering, out of focus, or don’t depict what we intend to show, we simply delete them. But isn’t it often the same in our professional lives? It’s far easier to ignore or downplay a recognized challenge or business concern than it is to confront it directly. We bury the truth in the board report, artfully skirt questions about it, or minimize the importance it. We press our imaginary delete key and hope it will go away. It won’t. And often, it will require some form of outside intervention to promote change. Does your business selfie show:

  • a pattern of revenue loss?
  • a decrease in customer or client base?
  • a low level of employee or customer satisfaction?
  • a loss in productivity?
  • a need for improved effectiveness or efficiency?
  • a need for improved policies or procedures?
  • a need for employee training?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may see in your selfie an opportunity for change rather than an insurmountable threat. You are to be congratulated! We invite you to explore our website to learn how we can assist your organization in taking the next step.

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Knowledge Is Power

Posted on October 15, 2014. Filed under: Data, Information Age, Trending | Tags: , , , |

In his 1982 bestseller Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives, author John Naisbitt famously wrote “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and studying at Cornell and Harvard, Naisbitt worked as a corporate executive, and served as Assistant Secretary of Education in the Kennedy administration at age 34. He studied and wrote extensively about China and about America’s transition into the 21st century. He forecasted the technology boom, and the global economy, but also envisioned that information would replace money as the emergent source of power in the New Age.

More than 30 years later, organizations both large and small, still struggle with how to translate information (or data) into knowledge that will improve business practices. Does the expression “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” come to mind? Even where very formal data collection efforts are in place (annual appraisals, quarterly reports, fiscal-year audits) they are often viewed as procedural rather than informative. Knowing how to process a wealth of qualitative or non-numerical data, and quantitative data (driven by numbers) is key in empowering your business to survive and thrive. How does your organization translate data into knowledge in order to:

  • Lead strategically?
  • Inform decision-making?
  • Manage change?
  • Improve processes and productivity?
  • Lower costs or reduce waste?
  • Increase effectiveness or efficiency?
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Engage Employees, Reduce Expense and Turnover

Posted on October 1, 2014. Filed under: Employee engagement, reducing employer costs | Tags: , , |

If you’ve managed people long enough, you’ve probably experienced an unexpected resignation from a valued and trusted employee. Given some exciting personal development or once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we often wish them well and graciously accept their journey into newer and greener pastures. But sometimes we’re completely blind-sided by the loss of a colleague making a seemingly lateral move elsewhere.  At these times, we often comb over what we perceived as their level of contentment, looking for missed clues about their satisfaction with the job. However, recent studies suggest that the confusion betweenemployee satisfaction and employee engagement greatly threatens workforce retention.

Search the web, and you’ll be quickly overwhelmed by the literature, and by definitions and measures of both satisfaction and engagement. In the interest of brevity – the former assesses “happiness.” For employees, this typically means that they are surveyed on a wide variety of inwardly focused topics including relationships with co-workers, autonomy, safety,stability, flexibility, benefits, and pay. For employers, fostering happiness sometimes translates into casual Fridays, a great holiday party, or an employee recognition program. However, evidence suggests that even the happiest employee can be wooed, absent an often overlooked and undervalued trait.  If the idea is to retain staff, the better indicator is engagement.

In fact, a recent Gallup Employee Engagement Survey estimates that failure to engage workers costs the US economy 370 billion dollars annually. Unlike satisfaction, engagement measures focus on the commitment of the employee to the employer. Engaged employees are connected to an organization’s goals, know that their ideas and opinions count, and go beyond their job descriptions in fulfilling company objectives. Further, they often feel that their assignments are appropriately matched with what they like to do. Not surprisingly, engaged workers are almost always satisfied as well,and if not, frequently see the bigger picture, placing organizational gain over personal gain. With that said, what are you doing in order to actively involve your team, reduce employee turnover,and control the cost of doing business? It’s time to get engaged!

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