A Simple, Surprising Way for Leaders to Increase Employee Engagement
Want to bump up engagement, build community, and foster trust among your employees? Stop relying on town hall meetings and mass emails when delivering leader messages. While these methods are efficient, they lack the personal connection employees need to fully support a leader’s vision. Instead, try connecting casually by walking around, having 10-minute chats, or grabbing a coffee with different team members. By reaching out informally, you’ll gain direct access to all levels of employees and reap the benefits of their candor.
by Alison Davis on Inc.
The Curiosity Machine
Ask any business expert for their secret to a running a successful company and the answer you’re likely to hear is “data.” But data alone can’t take a business where it wants to go. At the very least, a business needs people to make sense of all those numbers. And we’re not talking regular, boring, run-of-the-mill people. To stay innovative, companies need folks who are curious, who will use those numbers as a springboard for asking questions, and who can turn the answers upside down to formulate fresh ideas.
by Shane Atchinson on CEO
Small Business Guide to Investing in Technology
Ever wish you could turn to an easy-to-read online tech guide whenever you’ve got questions about the latest business technology, are wondering whether to invest in a new app, or want to know what tools you should be using for your small business? Fortunately, online financial technology company Kabbage, Inc., has created a handy, in-depth guide just like that—filled with everything you need to know about using technology to launch and sustain a small business.
by the Content Team at Kabbage.com
Could a Nontraditional IPO Be Right for Your Company?
While the market pauses to see how Spotify’s recent launch of a nontraditional or “direct list” IPO plays out, small business owners are weighing the pros and cons of following that trend. On the plus side: 1) There’s no financial middleman so the costs of going public are reduced and 2) there’s no holding period after the launch so stockholders can liquidate immediately. Possible cons? These types of IPOs are highly volatile due to their lack of underwriting and, without the usual launch hype, early stock performance could be lackluster.
by Julie Bawden Davis on American Express
How to Fire Employees Without Killing Company Culture
Hiring and firing employees: Both come with the territory when building or maintaining a business. Of the two, handing out pink slips is certainly the most fraught. Handled the wrong way, a poorly enacted dismissal can send shock waves across a business, instill doubts and insecurity, and degrade employee morale. Retain workers’ confidence by speaking openly and honestly about decisions as they’re made. Acknowledge the burden placed on remaining teammates, and back up your words with supportive—and tangible—actions.
by Lauren Dixon on Talent Economy
Leaders, Stop Avoiding Hard Decisions
Leaders often put off making difficult decisions for one or more of these reasons: 1) They want to be fair, 2) they want to reduce employees’ pain or stress, and 3) they want to make absolutely sure they’re making the best decision. Unfortunately, taking an egalitarian approach can have disastrous—and irreversible—results. To avoid inciting gossip, eroding trust, and sparking skepticism, transparently share difficult news as soon as possible. Here’s why postponing a tough call could be the worst decision a leader makes.
by Ron Carucci on Harvard Business Review
A Simple Proposal to Help Fix Corporate America’s Cybersecurity Problem
Another day, another security breach. The latest population hit? Customers of Sears, Kmart, Best Buy, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, and Delta Air Lines. Could a simple cybersecurity grading system protect consumers? Maybe. One thing’s for sure—what’s been done to beef up digital security so far isn’t working. To say the situation is out of control would be an understatement, and solving it has proved both difficult and complex. Assessing a company’s cyber preparedness with an A-F grading system could go a long way toward easing consumer anxiety.
by Craig A. Newman on the New York Times
Four Ways Forecasting Goes Wrong
Every entrepreneur knows that having accurate information about the future is vital to running a successful business. Follow these tips to keep your forecasting efforts on track: 1) Never forecast without a budget (and vice versa). 2) Make sure your projection process aligns with your business strategy. 3) Focus on “big picture” forecasting (work through details in the budget). 4) Follow the 80/20 rule. 5) Translate real-time data into the right balance between internal and external metrics.
by Ashish Pareek on CFO
The Fairness Factor in Performance Management
Despite efforts to improve their performance management systems, many companies continue to struggle, with some reinstating review systems they’d previously abandoned. Why? Because they aren’t addressing the “fairness factor.” To improve perceptions of fairness, companies need to: 1) Transparently link employees’ goals to business priorities; 2) give employees a say in setting their own goals; 3) invest in management coaching; 4) embrace the “power curve” for standout performance; and 5) reward extraordinary contributions with spot bonuses.
by Bryan Hancock, Elizabeth Hioe, and Bill Schaninger on McKinsey Quarterly
Moving from Best to Better and Better
In a world moving faster than ever before, companies need to find ways to create value that go beyond cutting costs. John Hagel and Maggie Wooll of Deloitte’s Center for the Edge looked at companies like Royal Caribbean Cruises, State Street Bank, and GE Appliances, which are leveraging their own employees to develop and deliver creative solutions to complex and unexpected problems. Hagel and Wooll suggest implementing small diverse internal work groups to collaborate, create friction, and push boundaries.
by Tanya Ott on Deloitte Insights’ Press Room
Six Ways Your Best Customers Can Help Market Your Business
Whether they’re proud employees who love touting your business as a great place to work or loyal customers who can’t help bragging about your products on social media, brand advocates can be an entrepreneur’s most powerful marketing tool. Encourage your best customers to share their enthusiasm by asking them to provide a written or video testimonial, starting a VIP panel that routinely asks for input and provides exclusive access to new services and other perks, and offering discounts and special offers when they help spread the word.
by Rieva Lesonsky on U.S. Small Business Association
How Are You Underwriting for Cyber Risks? What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
As the Facebook data breach continues to unfold, opportunities to offer cybersecurity insurance for all kinds of businesses are opening up for insurers. Before offering to underwrite cybersecurity, however, smart insurers will take a close look at certain unpredictable and challenging risk factors, including the behavior of your business’s employees. Key questions on the table: Have the data of any employees been breached? If so, what is the current financial situation of those affected? And are those employees active on the dark web?
by Gary Stockton on Experian
Eleven Ways to Build Stronger Teams
Higher quality work. Faster problem-solving. Better customer service. These are some of the benefits of cultivating a high-performing team. To keep team connections strong, promote unity, and encourage growth, try these tips: 1) Spend an hour a day with your team, either on the floor or in the field. 2) Ask employees to define the team’s purpose. If you’ve already got one, discuss how the group is living up to—or falling short of—that vision. 3) Help employees understand competitors’ products and brainstorm new ways to outpace the business’s key rivals.
by Desda Moss on SHRM
Three Remarkably Powerful Leadership and Life Lessons from Jazz
In a world where everything around us is constantly changing, being able to keep playing after hitting a wrong note is the key to success. Here are three things your team can learn from jazz musicians: 1) When the unexpected happens, improvise and adjust. 2) Remember that every team member has an instrument to play and deserves a moment in the spotlight. 3) When it comes to growth, risk and failure are as important as achieving success. Don’t be afraid to take chances and suggest new ways to play familiar tunes.
by Peter Economy on Inc.
Your Most Valuable Selling Skill and Other Important Insights
Buyers’ mindsets are always changing. To succeed in 2018, sales professionals must be willing to change along with them. Respondents to Selling Power magazine’s 2018 Selling Challenges Study shared the biggest challenges facing sales professionals today and how they’re able to overcome them. Topping the list? Understanding the customers’ own needs and challenges and directing them toward solutions the sales pro can provide. Runners up: Succeeding against low-cost providers, understanding buyer decision-making, and coaxing buyers out of their comfort zones.
by Ben Taylor on Selling Power
Should Your Bank Be Allowed to Micromanage Your Business?
In anticipation of the poor decisions borrowers might make, lenders typically charge higher interest rates to offset their risk. New research suggests that a “Ulysses Pact,” an agreement that gives lenders the right to take over some of a company’s decision-making if the market value of its borrowing base drops sharply, might be a better option. The pact offers lenders more security while encouraging borrowers to make more prudent business decisions and saving them from high-interest lending rates. Here’s how.
by Edmund L. Andrews on Stanford Graduate School of Business