Investing for Soft Skills: Build, Buy or Both
With any luck, every business has a smattering of them: those who are great at their jobs, compassionate toward their coworkers, and inspiring to the team overall. Want to multiply those few into dozens? Set an example of caring within the business, starting with new hires: Start by assigning each one a buddy who can answer questions and provide support; then schedule an “end of week one” check-in to find out how things are going. After that, meet on their 30-, 60-, and 90-day anniversaries to help keep them on track.
by Tim Rahschulte on Talent Economy
Four Ways to Build an Innovative Team
Contrary to popular belief, true innovation is about solving problems, not finding great ideas. To build an innovative team, begin with people who are already passionate about the problems your company is trying to solve. Then, bump up the imagination and intellect quotient by expanding your search to include people from diverse backgrounds. Once you have these components in place, focus on creating an inclusive, collaborative environment where everyone feels safe to speak up and share their ideas.
by Greg Satell on Harvard Business Review
Six Business Leaders on the B2B Marketing Strategies They Value Most
Top marketers know there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to successful marketing strategies. That’s why you want variety in your arsenal. On experts’ lists of top tactics: 1) Turn your employees into brand evangelists and influencers, 2) harness the power of social media by letting your biggest fans spread the word about your products and services, and 3) create educational and informative content (like blog posts, email courses, and white papers) that addresses customers’ top problems and concerns.
by Amber Anderson on American Express
The Tax-Savvy Company Restructuring
Most CEOs don’t consider the tax implications of corporate restructuring until it’s too late. Avoid this expensive mistake by arming top executives with a basic understanding of the types of decisions that typically impact taxes—such as altering your company’s geographic footprint or changing its legal entity structure. And consider what a corporate reorg might really mean for your business. Opting to change your company’s operating model or revamp your supply management strategy could hurt your tax profile and your bottom line.
by Deniz Caglar and John Ranke on Strategy + Business
Four Ways Companies Prevent Women from Succeeding
At the annual MAKERS Conference in Los Angeles Feb. 6-8, leadership expert Joanna Barsh joined former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, among others, to discuss women’s workplace issues including equal pay, representation, and sexual harassment. During her speech, Barsh cited four key factors holding women back at work: the gap between discussion and action, competition in the workplace, biased performance evaluations, and lack of workplace flexibility.
by Zameena Mejia on CNBC
How to Banish Bad Habits from Your Company
Is your company stalled out on innovation? If so, the reason could be bad corporate habits. Like corporate viruses, they persist, are often difficult to diagnose, and will spread with abandon, weakening company fortitude. Routinely running a “bad habit diagnostic” can help keep stale practices in check. Start by taking a close look at your strategies and processes. Then ask, “Why are we doing it this way?” If no one can explain exactly why a process is “the best,” you may want to shake things up.
by Jeremy Grant on Strategy + Business
Fifteen Tips for Writing Quality Landing Page Copy That Converts
When it comes to attracting new leads for your business, quality web copy can be your strongest asset. But what if hiring a copywriter isn’t in your budget? You can draft the content yourself with a little help from the Internet. Start by googling “sales letter examples” for inspiration. Then draft content that’s conversational, empathetic, and sincere. Focus on providing a solution to your customers’ biggest problem. Keep it short, add a little data to support your argument, and then close with a call to action.
by Matt Brennan on Business 2 Community
Five Ways to Prepare Now for the Next Economic Downturn
Is your business structured to thrive no matter how the market performs? It will be if you take action now. Start by monitoring your business’s key market indicators monthly; then take a look at your liquidity during each point in the market’s cycle. Review your ownership and lease/rent agreements: Will they allow you to flex up or down quickly? Understand which of your products and services sell at each point in the market cycle and adjust the mix if needed. Finally, determine how you’ll retain key people and core capabilities if the worst should happen.
by Heidi Pozzo on the Business Journals
Delivering Through Diversity
A recent McKinsey and Company study reinforces the link between diversity and company financial performance, stating that companies with gender-diverse leadership teams are 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability, and those with ethnically and culturally diverse leaders are 33 percent more likely to outperform their peers on profitability. But creating an effective diversity strategy isn’t easy—it requires sustained and inclusive leadership support to reinforce initiatives and help them take hold.
by Vivian Hunt, Lareina Yee, Sara Prince, and Sundiatu Dixon-Fyle on McKinsey & Company
How the World’s Oldest Company Reinvented Itself
When pulp and paper giant Stora Enso decided to transform itself into a global renewable materials company, it looked inward for inspiration. Instead of hiring consultants, the company asked employees at all levels to apply for seats on its change management team. This self-nomination approach allowed the company to tap into the diverse skills of its employees and paved the way for fresh approaches and perspectives from a variety of personalities, job functions, and geographies. The result? A higher stock price and a better, still evolving corporate culture.
by Albrecht Enders and Lars Haggstrom on Harvard Business Review
Three Possible Reasons You Lost the Sale
Working through the wrong department, pitching to the wrong decision-maker, and failing to challenge your customer are three reasons why a sales team might lose a sale, according to research by Harvard Business Review. To work around these obstacles, try these tactics: 1) Ask questions that will help you discover if your customer wants their thinking to be challenged. 2) Determine the motivation and buying preferences of the real decision-maker in the room. And 3) pitch to the departments that carry the most internal clout: sales, IT, and engineering.
by Samantha Owens Pyle on the Business Journals
Social Media Advertising Costs: How to Maximize Your Ad Budget
Sure, it’s easy – click, click and you’re on social media. But is it working as hard for your business as it could be? Three social media advertising experts dispense tips on getting the most out of your social media ad budget: 1) Plan your campaign, set it up with the right targets, and then monitor it closely to make sure it’s meeting specific goals in cost per lead, customer, and email capture. 2) Make sure your content is customized for the channel. And 3) set bidding caps, review your metrics daily, and experiment to see what garners the best conversion rate.
by Zoë Henry on Inc.
The Future of Work Is Here—Here’s How Your Organization Needs to Change
Technology, demographics, and workers’ demand for flexibility are affecting how companies find and manage talent and how employees work. When you are hiring all types of workers (ranging from onsite to virtual and from permanent to contract), deciding which technology to use can be a struggle. Cut through the confusion by asking questions like these: What does collaboration mean for your employees? What tools are they using and which do they think work best? How can your company most effectively deploy those tools?
by Erica Volini and Garth Andrus on Talent Economy
The Art of Strategy Is About Knowing When to Say No
It’s fun to say “yes” all the time, good for the soul to be so positive. But if it’s leaving you surrounded by half-baked projects and a swamped staff, it may be time to focus in and learn how to say “no.” This CEO adopted three practices to balance out his yeses and no’s: 1) Put your MSPOT in writing: your Mission, the constituencies you Serve, the Plays you’re going to run this year, the plays you are going to Omit, and how you will Track your progress; 2) let your “no” mean “no”; and 3) let your “yes” mean “yes!”
by Brian Halligan on Harvard Business Review
The New Rules of Cybersecurity
When it comes to cybersecurity, people are an organization’s weakest link. Despite their best intentions, it’s not uncommon for otherwise vigilant people to mistakenly click on malicious links or use weak passwords to protect corporate data. In fact, 81 percent of hacking-related security breaches leverage stolen or weak passwords. To beef up your company’s security: 1) Keep policies simple; 2) assume threats exist within your network; 3) keep one step ahead of technology; and 4) hone in on—and monitor—the right metrics for your business.
by Lieutenant General Rhett Hernandez (Retired) on Chief Executive
Four Best Practices for Financially Weathering a Natural Disaster
Could your business survive a natural disaster? The devastation inflicted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma on U.S. businesses last year provides reason enough to ponder that question. Taking time now to consider how your company will maintain cash flow, check inventory status, pay employees and vendors, or address insurance payment delays could help your business avoid a major disruption. Knowing if—and how—your company could cope will increase its ability to bounce back in the wake of disaster.
by Tony Argiz on the Business Journals