Home » Archives for July 2017

Month: July 2017

July 29, 2017

1) People

How Adobe Structures Feedback Conversations

One of the most important (and stressful) parts of a manager’s job is providing meaningful yearly feedback to employees. Replace this annual ritual with informal “check-in” conversations sprinkled throughout the year to dial down the pain. Software company Adobe Systems did just that — and created a conversation framework to boot. That framework centers each check-in around three elements of discussion — expectations, feedback, and growth and development — and helps ensure that conversations stay on track and have meaning for all involved.
by David Burkus on Harvard Business Review

2) Strategy

Seven Rules Naturally Clear Leaders Follow When Making Decisions

Invite too many people to the table and making even the smallest decision can become a frustrating and time-consuming process. Simplify with a few clear rules: Establish a trustworthy process and name an owner to keep things moving. Keep the participant list lean by designating team representatives. Communicate openly and transparently about expectations, progress, and problems. A disciplined process honors the natural steps a group must take to make good decisions. Proceed one step at a time to harness the team’s brainpower and help everyone achieve their goals.
by Ann Latham on Forbes

3) Execution

How to Steal Design Ideas (and Not Feel Like a Schmuck)

When it comes to inspiration and innovation, “stealing” an idea can be a good thing. In fact, it may be necessary to create effective and groundbreaking work. But there’s a tricky line between using someone else’s idea to spark a new one of your own and outright plagiarism. To stay out of trouble, keep these principles in mind: 1) Steal to learn the tools of your trade, 2) pull from a variety of sources to ignite your own imagination, and 3) when you’re drawn to an idea or concept, try to pinpoint what you love about it, and let the pinpoints be your guide to a fresh idea.
by Ann Hanger on fastco.design

4) Cash

Making Seamless E-Payments a Reality

Most retail customers around the world are still reaching for the plastic when it comes time to pay, making the widespread adoption of e-payment technology seem like a far-off dream. And that’s a shame because consumers, retailers, and financial services firms all have something to gain — like convenience, productivity, and money management for starters — from its broader usage. But here’s what’s interesting: Companies like Uber, Lyft, and Starbucks are quietly using apps to help customers pay with “frictionless” digital transactions in which neither cash or credit changes hands.
by Mark Flamme, Douglas Dwyre, and Kevin Grieve on strategy+business

July 22, 2017

1) People

How New Executives Can Mitigate Employee Resistance

About 40 percent of executives hired for a new role fail within the first 18 months. Though a number of factors may be at work, staff resistance is usually the heart of the problem. To help new leaders’ ideas and authority gain acceptance, encourage them to: 1) Take time to learn all about the business (its history, culture, people, and function), 2) meet with a variety of stakeholders to ask questions and gather insights, and then 3) follow up later to share how stakeholder input helped influence their plans. Employees have a hard time resisting something they’ve helped to shape.
by Emily Bermes on Talent Economy

2) Strategy

Why Business Leaders Need to Read More Science Fiction

What might your business accomplish by abandoning analysis and embracing creative ingenuity? Companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple are finding out in a rather unorthodox way: by hiring science fiction writers as consultants. Sounds crazy … but it’s true. In fact, science fiction played a role in the development of Amazon’s Kindle and also helped bring concepts like virtual reality to fruition. By adopting science fiction’s attitude of boundless imagination, companies are reframing their perspectives, challenging their assumptions, and creating space to disrupt.
by Eliot Peper on Harvard Business Review

3) Execution

Achieving Digital Maturity: Adapting Your Company to a Changing World

Want to put your company on the fast track toward digital maturity? The time to start is right now. The bad news? It’ll require rethinking your business from the ground up, which you can’t do overnight. Some key principles to get you going: 1) Make digital a core part of your organization, 2) generate momentum from experiments to drive scale, 3) nurture a culture and org structure that enable digital maturity, and 4) become a talent magnet. Already putting these principles into action are companies like Marriott, Walmart, and Cigna. What they’ve learned can accelerate you down the track.
by Gerald C. Kane, Doug Palmer, Anh Nguyen Phillips, David Kiron, and Natasha Buckley on Deloitte University Press

4) Cash

Three Ways Firm M&A Growth Strategies Fall Apart

Mergers and acquisitions can seem like a great way to quickly add expertise to your business, multiply resources, and expand into new markets. But this time-honored growth strategy comes with its own set of risks. Business owners who jump in without considering the cultures, differentiation strategies, and brand identities of the acquired firm may be headed toward disaster. If you’re serious about growing through M&A, act deliberately, perform your due diligence, and don’t be afraid to walk away if a merger isn’t quite right.
by Candis Roussel on Accounting Web

July 15, 2017

1) People

Why Do Employees Quit on Their Bosses? Because They Never Get Asked These Important Questions

Leaders who provide exposure and training to fit their workers’ strengths, create opportunities to work on meaningful projects, and point the way toward well-defined career tracks send a clear message that employee growth is among their company’s top priorities. Asking where your employees want to go in their careers and how they feel about their current responsibilities is the only way to get to know them better and guide them up the ladder. Indeed, your having listened carefully to their answers may be what stops your best employees from walking out the door when things get tough.
by Marcel Schwantes on Inc.

2) Strategy

The New Class of Digital Leaders

If you’re going after more advanced digital competence in a piecemeal fashion, it might be time to designate — or hire — a Chief Digital Officer to lead the charge. What you want: someone who can get you past the usual obstacles, such as ad hoc digital initiatives spread throughout your organization with no central oversight, a talent gap, and legacy systems and structures that stand ready to sabotage your best efforts. You may have a CTO — but need marketing or change management chops. See how other companies are finding the right CDO to manage their particular needs.
by Pierre Peladeau, Mathias Herzog, and Olaf Acker

3) Execution

Cyber Risk in Consumer Business

Many businesses see harnessing emerging technologies to redefine products, services, and consumer experiences as just the modern cost of doing business. But that cost can get mighty steep. Cloud integration, customer analytics, and digital payment technologies may help raise company profits, but they also open the door to cyber threats. To keep your business secure and resilient, take a few key steps: 1) Perform an enterprise-wide cyber-risk assessment, 2) share findings, strategies, and roadmaps with your leadership team, and 3) inventory your third-party relationships to assess their level of risk.
by Sean Peasley, Kiran Mantha, Vikram Rao, Curt Fedder, and Marcello Gasdia on Deloitte University Press

4) Cash

How to Capture More Value With Price Segmentation

What’s the best formula for determining the right price segmentation for your business? A healthy mixture of data and analytics, sound business judgment, and context provided by your sales team should do the trick. Also, keep in mind your understanding of what your customers typically value in the offering and then try to set your pricing based on your estimation of what they’re willing to pay. Want to dig a little deeper? Loop in your sales leaders and ask them to put a structure and logic in place that’s based on what their best salespeople are doing and that includes their perspectives.
by Alex Hoff on CFO 

July 8, 2017

1) People

Why Working From Home Is a “Future-Looking Technology”

Requiring employees to be in the office every day, a work tradition established during the Industrial Revolution, may be headed the way of the dinosaur. Results of a two-year study show that offering employees one work-from-home day a week as part of the company sustainability strategy allows them to concentrate more and improves their ability to perform. Even better, the research indicated a drop in employee resignations and an increase in profits (about $2,000 for each person working at home) for the participating company.
by Shana Lynch on Insights by Stanford Business

2) Strategy

How to Innovate in Mature Markets

Most firms today recognize the importance of innovation, even in mature industries. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters utilized their knowledge of how their customers use their products to invent the K-Cup and Keurig coffeemaker — which became a $2 billion business. Proctor & Gamble reinvigorated its Olay skincare business by expanding its creative viewpoint to include knowledge, technology, and ideas from outside the company. Having the courage to radically change their perspective altered both firms’ business outcomes for the better.
by J.P. Donlon on Chief Executive

3) Execution

Data Breaches Often Come From Where You Expect It Least

Data breaches making the news in recent years — Target, CiCi’s Pizza, and Wendy’s, to name a few — have been traced back to third-party vendors. That’s worrisome considering most smaller businesses depend on vendors for equipment rentals, telecommunications, and billing and mailing services. By taking simple precautions (like checking for certifications from AICPA SOC, NIST, HITRUST, and ISO 9001), you can protect your business from breach damages that will tarnish your brand reputation and lose you money and customers.
by John White on Inc.

4) Cash

Collaboration Is “Magic Ingredient” for CFOs: SAP Study

Among the key characteristics shared by leading CFOs, the ability to regularly collaborate with business units across the company carries the most weight. According to a new report, companies with a “visible and influential” finance function saw revenues rise more than 5% over the past year, largely due to finance’s sway over other areas of the business, including procurement, innovation, and new product development. Other top CFO characteristics include being able to improve efficiency with automation, being effective at core finance processes, and excelling at handling regulatory change.
by David McCann on CFO.com
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July 1, 2017

1) People

Coaxing Star Producers to Be Leaders

Is hiring big producers and hard-charging go-getters the way to a winning business strategy? Doesn’t look like it. A recent study on employee incentives and compensation, particularly at law firms, sheds light on the value of swapping an “eat what you kill” reward model for one that encourages leadership and team building. Separate studies conducted by Google and the Royal Bank of Canada, respectively, support this idea, indicating that the top-performing managers at both companies were those willing to motivate and invest time in their employees.
by Edmund Andrews on Insights by Stanford Business

2) Strategy

Untangling Your Organization’s Decision-Making

Companies like Google, ING, and Spotify are streamlining their decision-making processes by defining the types of decisions that need to be made (that is, big-bet, cross-cutting, delegated, and ad hoc) and tailoring the company’s approach accordingly. Making sure that the right number of the right people are making decisions in the right way at the right time has reaped rewards for businesses using this model. Benefits include being able to react more quickly to shifts in the business environment and gaining greater access to top talent.
by Aaron De Smet, Gerald Lackey, and Leigh M. Weiss on McKinsey Quarterly

3) Execution

Five Resources Your Sales Team Needs in the New Era of Sales

Sales has changed and the only way to ensure victory is to change right along with it. Throw old-school tactics like hard work and charm right out the window. These days, not even a bulging database of personal contacts is a guarantee of success. Instead, equip your team with resources that will get your prospects’ attention and keep it. Start by giving your senior executives and resident subject matter experts a seat at the table and access to forward-looking market insights and data so your clients know you mean business.
by Tom Searcy on Selling Power

4) Cash

As Sustainability Takes Root, Finance Takes Notice

Corporate social responsibility, the green movement, sustainable development: No matter what you call it, it’s a hot topic for business owners. That’s because investors, consumers, regulators, and others want businesses to think about the impact of their operations on the environment. And these folks want hard numbers and data that will back up any claims you make. Fortunately, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and other reporting efforts are in the works to help companies gather data and translate it into a source of value.
by Kristen Sullivan on Deloitte Insights, the Wall Street Journal