When you take on a new leadership role, there is a definite honeymoon period. As leaders we know it and as employees who see new leaders come on board, we know it as well. As a digital executive, this is even more important to recognize. Every one is looking to see what you will do. You can’t create a digital business without doing a few things right early on. Having a clear idea about this and having a plan will make or break things. Here is a good case study.
The thing to master early is probably not an issue of goals and strategies. It is about people, the culture that exists and the transformation that may need to occur.
When Stuart McGuigan began his tenure at Johnson & Johnson, he had already been the CIO at CVS Caremark and at Liberty Mutual. A leader with a master’s degree in cognitive sciences from Yale, McGuigan thinks more than the average leader about how the mind works, and thus how to motivate people. As he notes in an interview with him, learning the culture of an organization is the first order of business for a new leader. Only then can the appropriate changes be made during the window of change afforded a new executive during the early days of his tenure.
There has been a pervasive belief that IT (Technology) doesn’t matter. That IT is a commodity to be managed at the lowest possible cost. This attitude has affected much of our business world.
It is not surprising, that in an “IT commodity” culture, that digital leadership is lacking.
The first order for business leaders is to see the world as a “digital world”. Why? Because it is. It is our current reality. It is not to be ignored any more than gravity is to be ignored.
The next order of business is to build a business culture that enables that world view. Everyone talks about culture. Leaders know how to create it.
After that, the talent will come. Probably in droves. People want to be a part of that kind of culture. Culture and talent win the day.
We know it is true. If just isn’t easy doing it.
It can be done. Now is the time to advocate for that before it is too late.
Recently, Graham Waller and I ran a couple of online Gartner webinars about digital business leadership. As usual for those sessions, we operated several live polls of the online audience, interspersed within the hour of presentation. The session attendees were a broad mix of senior managers, senior professionals and executives from technology and business roles across a wide range of industries and countries. One poll asked about access to digital talent.
Culture is difficult to change. Changing it is painful.
Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.
In business, culture can often be the hardest thing to fix. Strategies and tactics can be introduced, brands can be repositioned, structures and reporting lines can be changed, and leadership teams can be hired and fired.
Culture is a whole different ball game. And for those companies that have been in business for a very long time, cultures can be embedded and ingrained to such an extent that they can be seemingly impossible to shift. For very large businesses, the challenge is usually viewed as being the time that it would take to make change happen, with the commonly over- used metaphor being the time it would take to turn an oil tanker.
In the following article, there are some great thoughts on why changing culture is like baking a cake. Note, it has to do with eggs
I need more wisdom. I don’t have to look far to find it. “What have I learned from others” is a great starting point.
Learning from history is cheap. And worth it.
What are the five best decisions your competitor or your predecessor made last year?
Not only because they worked, but because they showed you a new way of thinking, something that went against your instincts or biases…
Every political candidate ought to be able to outline the five lessons learned from the men and women who came before–especially the positive things they’ve learned from those in other parties. Those unwilling or unable to do so are either demagogues or ignorant.
Every job candidate ought to be able to outline the five lessons learned from the leaders they’ve worked with previously. Those unwilling or unable to do so are not paying attention.
The number one thing to steal from your competitors: Wisdom.
Source: Seth’s Blog: The top things
Is it about our digital budget or is it about having the right strategy, people and processes in place. It may not be “either/or” but it is clear that budget alone won’t get us there.
We need excellent strategies executive by outstanding people. That will with the way.
This year’s survey asked respondents how their companies spend on digital and organize their digital work, as well as the goals, challenges, and best practices they see across these initiatives. Many respondents agree that their companies’ digital programs are growth oriented, that future spending on digital will increase, and that a large portion of future company growth will be driven by digital efforts. But organizational challenges and a dearth of talent are common, significant hurdles that prevent companies from scaling up their digital efforts or seeing clear returns on their investments. So are limited accountability and a poor understanding of potential value. Less than 40 percent of executives say their companies have accountability measures in place, either through targets, incentives, or “owners” of digital programs, while only 7 percent say their organizations understand the exact value at stake from digital.
We have all seen the nail sticking up. We all, pretty much, do the same thing. Our instinct is to get our hammer and nail it down.
Leadership is about avoiding that tendency. Leadership is about asking, is there a reason the nail is sticking up.
Leadership is about a lot of things. Leadership is not about being a hammer.
We all know what happens to the nail that sticks up – it gets hammered down. And nobody wants to be that nail.
There are several flavors of fear that cause us to drive over cliffs. Here are some examples:
- Fear of Ridicule – if everybody else is going along with an idea, it must be because they’re smarter than you. No one wants to be called out as the idiot who can’t understand how brilliant the idea is.
- Fear of the Unknown – We all know what happens when we follow along, but what will happen if we object to the idea is anyone’s guess. We’re pretty sure it’s bad, though.
- Fear of Isolation – The team is all standing over there. Why should I stand over here by myself? Being the nay-sayer can be a lonely role, and I might find myself exiled to a radar station in the Aleutians.
Knowing where you are going with the donor experience, how you’re going to get there and being focused on execution is a key driver for the digital executive who is passionate about the donor experience.
It is not enough to be obsessed and passionate if you don’t get anything done for the donor. Ideas are great. Results are impressive. Donors don’t care that you are well intentioned if you don’t actually improve the experience for them. They want their goals met not just understood. This is the approach we will suggest to you and follow as well. The approach to use is to organize and execute your donor strategies around strategy, people, process and technology.
To set the overall framework, strategy should not be in isolation of a goal that is measurable. The goal is the destination. The strategy is how you will get there. Too many times we get enamored with the strategy not realizing it is taking us in the wrong direction. The goal should be framed as a “lagging indicator”, measured by a time frame and a specific result. The key question is always about business impact and how we will measure it. While this exercise isn’t always easy, it is essential.
The strategy is the “how we will” reach the goal. The best strategies are leading indicators for how the goal will be achieved. They are not voluminous in nature but focused on a few critical items.
Once we have the goal (lagging indicator) and strategies (leading indicators), scoreboards and dashboards keep us all on track. The visual nature of dashboards and scoreboards is very powerful for visualizing the current donor experience. The final key for the digital executive is accountability. Without accountability, the whirlwind of everyday emails and meetings will sap the energy of producing results. Most great plans for our donors languish for lack of accountability.
In addition to the approach of strategy, people, process and technology, we need to execute our strategy. This should be done through a detailed program planning approach. If you have enough programs, it moves to portfolio management.
Here are the key ideas:
- Use an approach that includes strategy, people, process and technology for improving the donor experience.
- Create goals (lagging indicators) that are measurable and time limited.
- Create strategies (leading indicators) that produce the results you want.
- Create scoreboards and dashboards to track your leading and lagging indicators.
- Create donor experience accountability for achieving goals and strategies.
- Utilize a detailed planning and execution system to improve the donor experience.
Is there anything Facebook won’t get into? Well, here they go into the business market. I remember when Yammer upgraded their experience to give it a “Facebook like” interface. It really took off and Microsoft bought them.
Collaboration is huge. Business needs to focus more on the power it can create when used strategically to enable our people. Always good to see another tool to help.
Overall, I support Facebook entering the business market. They have a product already used by a billion plus people at home, certainly some percentage of those people will be happy also using it for work. I think they chose the right name, “At Work” versus something like “Facebook for the Enterprise”, as I don’t predict any large organizations will adopt this. There are just too many other choices for them that are better suited to meet the needs or large companies. However, the millions of small businesses that don’t have IT departments and may already be using Facebook as part of their marketing efforts may be quite happy using Facebook for secure employee collaboration.
My advice to Facebook, spend 2015 partnering with large enterprise software vendors so that you can announce integrations that prove the validity of Facebook at Work as a platform people can really use to get their jobs done.
Transformational leadership is needed and it is needed now – Leadership in the digital transformation world is purposeful in its approach to creating a long term sustainable change. Change efforts will be designed in a top-down approach in some cases. And they will be constantly refined from the bottom-up. Employees are not expected to conform as much as they are expected to be involved and engaged. The communication approach of digital executives is more like a campaign rather than a carefully refined command and control approach. Change activities are more likely to be a refine and reinforce approach. Read more here …
Is it about checking the box called training or is about learning? – It is actually about both but many times we think of it as a training problem when the real issue is about learning how to create great experiences for our customer. The digital executive knows that learning to focus on the customer is more important than training on customer service and then moving on. Learning is then not about “what to do” but includes at it’s core, why it is important to have great customer experiences and how to continuously improve. Read more here …
Do you have a talented user experience team? – There is a revolution going on with customers. The relationship they may have had with your mission and brand in the past has probably already changed. New technology (from a customer point of view) promises a new era of engagement, two way conversations, shared experiences and community. The relationship you want to have with your customers through these new devices and platforms and the actual state of customer engagement are not one and the same. In fact, it may be one sided and skewed towards you and not your customers. Read more here …
“Without courage, compassion falters. Without compassion, courage has no direction.” ~ Eric Greitens – Compassion is a huge thing as a leader. That it is lacking in so many cases today is stunning. We hear a lot about freedom to make mistakes but what is the response if someone makes one, admits it and learns from it? As a leader, what is your response? Think about it. So, what is courage? Can you lead from the heart? Do you have courage to forgive? Read more here …
As a leader, what should you stop doing today? – I am a big fan of list of things “to stop” doing. We all have “to do” lists but we all need more “to stop” lists. Here is a good one for leaders. Which is your favorite? Read more here …
How great leaders inspire action – Why is important. It is in fact the starting point. Without it, our business is just another commodity. Plenty of companies do what we do. Some do it how we do it. It will be rare that any can beat us at the why. Why? How? What? This little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t. Let me define the terms really quickly. Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it, whether you call it your differentiated value proposition or your proprietary process or your USP. But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by “why” I don’t mean “to make a profit.” That’s a result. It’s always a result. By “why,” I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care? Well, as a result, the way we think, the way we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in. It’s obvious. We go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. But the inspired leaders and the inspired organizations –regardless of their size, regardless of their industry – all think, act and communicate from the inside out. Read more here …
Are we denying the facts? — This happens way too much. It clearly isn’t helpful to deny the facts. It is also important to actually know the facts. Transformation starts with reality. It doesn’t stop there. It moves to, despite our reality, what kind of world do we want to create. True transformation requires both. Let’s advocate for “the facts” and “a vision”. Read more here …
Make employee engagement a key metric — Employee engagement is foundational to customer engagement. It is highly unlikely that an employee who hates their job or who is disengaged from what they do will create a great customer experience.
When employee engagement becomes foundational to how you do business, it will become a key metric for organizational planning. There could be a goal, something like “Improve employee engagement from X to Y by DATE”. Establishing lead indicators will drive change as well. Clear dashboards with weekly accountability sessions will make improvement real for management. With the clear link to customer engagement established, customer engagement will improve as well.
According to an article by Bruce Temkin, since 2007, “Bombardier Aerospace’s annual employee engagement and enablement survey has given all employees a voice within the organization. In 2012, 93% of employees completed the survey. Managers are evaluated based on the engagement levels of their employees. To create an environment that ensures performance, every leader has an annual target for employee engagement.”
Employee Engagement Define It, Measure It and Put It to Work in Your Organization – Research by APQC, one of the leading proponents of process and performance improvement, has yielded key insights into what engagement is, how it can be measured and how it can be integrated into organizational culture.
‘The lost suitcase and a grumpy old man’ – a story about employee engagement – Blog post by Ian Golding – Customer centric organizations tend to have a number of things in common. They typically have management teams who collectively believe in the importance of doing things with customer’s interests firmly in mind. They usually design their customer journey(s) to meet and exceed customer expectation. They often recognize that getting things wrong may happen, but that correcting them is a vitally important skill. One thing you can guarantee, is that customer centric organizations do not just put customers first – they also put their employees first as well.
Customer Experience Leadership Requires Engaged Employees – One of the Six Laws of Customer Experience is “Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers.” That’s why Employee Engagement is one of Temkin Group’s four customer experience core competencies.
The 5 Factors that Ruin Employee Engagement – Experts outline the five main drivers of employee disengagement that business leaders need to steer clear of at all costs. Employees are the backbone of organizations. But despite having the knowledge that an engaged workforce correlates to positive customer experiences and growing sales, high levels of disengagement still plague many organizations. In fact, the latest Gallup report on the State of the American Workplace notes that despite changes to the U.S. economy since 2000, these have not been translated to the American workplace. The recent recession led to a decrease in employment opportunities, making workers less inclined to leave their job because of low engagement and employers less incentivized to ensure that their staffers were happy. However, while the tide is slowly changing, many workplaces are not changing their practices and investing in initiatives that ensure a high level of employee engagement.
What engages employees the most or the ten C’s of employee engagement – A professor in a recent executive education program on leadership elicited a lot of laughs by telling the following joke: “A CEO was asked how many people work in his company: ‘About half of them,’ he responded.” After the session, several participants put a more serious face on the problem when, while chatting, they bemoaned the fact that, in their organization, a significant number of people had mentally “checked out.”
Tom Malone, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of the HBR article “The Age of Hyperspecialization,” explains why breaking jobs into tiny pieces yields better, faster, cheaper work — and greater flexibility for employees.
Is this a good thing or not? Are you taking advantage of it? What are the implications for managers?
Are we working too much? What happened to the 40 hour work week? Do you dream for TGIT — Thank God it is Thursday?
The sad reality is that most of us work more than 40 hours a week. 85.8 percent of men and 66.5 percent of women in American routinely work more than 40 hours a week. Most of us also feel that our companies (or our own business) is not able to offer the kind of benefits and perks employees crave.
While employees are working longer, they’re not necessarily working smarter. A recent Gallup poll found 70 percent of the American workforce is disengaged on the job, leading to more than $550 billion in lost productivity annually. Workers are looking for better flexible time options, which is why two in five working adults would be willing to give up some portion of their salary for more flexibility.
So, is it time to consider, I mean seriously consider, a 4 day work week? The are companies experimenting with 4 – 10 hour days. If the data is right, you would still get more than 40 hours so why not allow employees some more flexibility? Continue reading
People first. That’s where this discussion begins.
Brian Solis guest on this episode of Revolution is NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson. For running one of the leading companies in the cloud business software game, Nelson is among the more grounded and sincere technology executives Brian has sat down with in quite a while. They didn’t discuss innovation, speeds and feeds or key differentiators of NetSuite versus other companies, instead they looked at people, why and how they run businesses, and how technology enables them to chase their dreams and goals.
The move to create a digital business that is obsessed with customers requires talent. We all need the best people we can get who love customers.
From my experience, there are really only 3 questions you have to prepare for and you can link most of the interview questions back to these three. Preparing for these three questions also means you can answer most questions more naturally, simply by referring mentally back to your preparations for these three questions.
However, during the job interview, the interviewer might use many different questions and angles to get to the answers. If the interviewer doesn’t get what he or she wants from one question, they might ask them in different ways. Or they might probe from different angles to test for consistency in your answers.
Basically, any interviewer wants to establish 3 key things. Are these the right things to focus on?
- Have you got the skills, expertise and experience to perform the job?
- Are you enthusiastic and interested in the job and the company and it’s customers?
- Will you fit into the team, culture and company?
Things in every company, to some extent, get on auto pilot. There isn’t anything wrong with that. It just happens. Habits can be great. We all need them and companies are no different. We all have an opportunity to see things differently. New employees or customers are the best source of “truth” about how helpful our corporate habits are.
Employee engagement is huge. It leads directly to customer engagement. Taking time to get the unvarnished insight of new employees is very important. Acting on their insight will establish trust early on. Let’s get some fresh eyes.
One of the reasons I love new hires is they have fresh eyes. Spend time with the newest members of your team – or any outside consultants you might have at your organization because they ask why all the time. They wonder about different ways of approaching a problem. They get excited about opportunities that have gone ignored. And they almost always notice the downright silly things that should be changed. ~~ Katya Andresen via Watch out: What you’re not seeing in the office | LinkedIn.
Katya suggests you can also train yourself to ask questions that inspire needed perspective. Much of life is about asking the right questions. Here are a few:
- Why did we start doing things this way? Is there a good reason or does the reason not exist anymore?
- What underlying purpose does this meeting/activity/routine serve? Is that really important to my organization or are there better ways to spend my time?
- If we’re doing certain things because of problem, is there a way to solve its root cause and prevent even needing to react in the first place?
- If we’re pursuing an opportunity, is there a way to go bigger? How would I go after it if this were my first day on the job?
- When I describe my work to other people, what do they find exciting and remarkable? What does that say about how I approach my job?