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1 Who Killed The Business

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Source: via uber humor

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From an article by Jessica Stillman, available here:

getty_631080340_20001332181884391434_318666The founder and CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, knows something about what it takes to succeed despite long odds. He grew up poor, failed his university entrance exams (twice), and was turned away from dozens of jobs. Now he’s worth something like $29 billion.

What does he credit for his success?

In a recent talk at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, he explained that while IQ is certainly helpful, and EQ is also beneficial for getting ahead, his rags to riches story was possible only because he possessed another extremely valuable quality — LQ. “If you want to be respected, you need LQ,” he told the assembled bigwigs.

Our secret weapon to beat the machines: LQ

What’s LQ? It’s “the quotient of love, which machines never have,” Ma explained. In a world of rising technology, what will allow you to succeed isn’t sheer mental horsepower — computers will always be faster and more accurate, after all — nor is it just basic EQ, like regulating your own emotions and recognizing others’. What sets humans apart is love, i.e. our feeling for justice, our creativity in the face of challenges, our ability to empathize deeply and respond wisely.

“A machine does not have a heart, [a] machine does not have soul, and [a] machine does not have a belief. Human being have the souls, have the belief, have the value; we are creative, we are showing that we can control the machines,” he insisted.

The problem, according to Ma, is that we’re training young people to try to outdo machines in areas where we’ll never beat them. Instead, we should be nurturing children’s LQ. “We have to teach our kids to be very, very innovative, very creative,” Ma said. “In this way, we can create jobs for our own kids.

Perhaps the post What Philosophy can teach children Google can’t  is in a way directed at a part of the problem Ma leaves us with.

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A significant new asset class is now named that may one day appear on Balance Sheets!!! What more, organizations already have these assets! No new acquisition costs to be incurred!

However, this asset is a double-edged sword, could make or mar. Some organizations have leveraged it to great advantage for their brands and business while for some it has turned out to be the cause for their hara-kiri.

An edited extract of a well-articulated article on this kind of asset taken from here  appears below

Take a moment to think about what a brand is. It’s the emotional and associational touch points that consumers have with your business. It’s what they see of you, and what that makes them feel about you.

Back when a business was a black box, the brand was limited to what was painted on the outside. The leaders of the business had a high degree of control over that. But now that a business is a glass box, the brand is everything that’s visible. Every person. Every process. Every value. Everything that happens, ever.

Glass Box

In 2017 your corporate culture is becoming your brand

You can sum up in a single word what people see when they look deep inside your organization. They see your culture. Once, your internal corporate culture was just that: internal. But now that a business is a glass box, there’s no such thing as an ‘internal’ culture.

The opportunity here? In 2017, your internal culture could become the most powerful brand and marketing asset you have.

Think about the power of stories such as those told by Starbucks: how they have a program to help staff in London raise a deposit on a home, or how they opened a store in Kuala Lumpur dedicated to hiring deaf people. Or that told by US-based yoghurt brand Chobani, which instituted paid parental leave for all staff after the birth of CEO Hamdi Ulukaya’s first child.

The danger? Internal culture could also become your most powerful brand liability.

The founder of Uber resigns after a culture of sexism and bullying is exposed. The CEO of HSBC in Taiwan walks a gay employee down the aisle after her father refuses to attend her wedding. A smartphone video of United Airlines staff forcibly dragging a passenger off a plane goes viral.

What to do about it?

Read more here.

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George Buckley

These words come in at a time when reality perceived to be very complex and no one claims to have all answers. Today organizations are said to prefer smart and empowered individuals homed in flatter structures to command-driven ‘tools’ embedded in deep hierarchies.

Reality is better served, one would think, by a middle ‘gray’ with a place, time and degree for either approaches..

Perhaps Buckley made the observation in a context that wasn’t included.

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Source: managementtoday.co.uk

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I was camping in a fairly large house, well maintained, surrounded by a number of flowering trees and plants, home to countless birds that treated us to a melodious cacophony announcing their morning foray and home coming in the evening. It was time for the trees to renew themselves – service staff came in the morning and again in the afternoon to sweep off the leaves copiously shed by the tress on the front-yard.  The flowering plants however were still abloom. At times on my touch, a bee would startle me flying out from deep inside the flower.

For one who has lived all his life in Mumbai flats (apartments) where one cannot take ten steps without hitting a wall, one’s auditory nerves constantly assaulted by caw’s of those sullen crows and bark of stray (and house) dogs, this was an overwhelming experience. The spacious front-yard was where I took my mandatory morning and evening walks, my senses enjoying the sights and sounds around.

Get the picture?

The only blot on the scene was the rubble piled up near the neem tree at one corner of the house in the front.  The house owner had not cleared it intending to reuse it in future possibly for patching up parts of the yard.

Yesterday morning, walking near the neem tree I saw a splash of red dried up on the debris. I had not seen it before. Clearly, someone, possibly one of those tradesmen called in for some repair work, had used it as a spittoon after chewing a paan (betel leaf + lime + arca nut shavings + whatever). Unfortunate, but true, in this country one may freely spit in public or even common spaces, but never so within a house. But the perpetrator saw it differently – if the corner was good (?) to pile up the rubble, no one minding, it was ok for him to spit over there.

The ‘Broken Window’ syndrome playing out!

Broken_windows,_Northampton_State_Hospital

From wiki: ‘Under the broken windows theory, an ordered and clean environment, one that is maintained, sends the signal that the area is monitored and that criminal behavior is not tolerated. Conversely, a disordered environment, one that is not maintained (broken windows, graffiti, excessive litter), sends the signal that the area is not monitored and that criminal behavior has little risk of detection.’

A few broken windows, at times even one, left unfixed for some time is a trigger or invitation for many more, if not all, to be broken.

Much is written on this syndrome as a subject of study under criminology and urban sociology.

Outside of crime, the phenomenon may be observed in many other contexts: projects, product development, organizations, communities and even in personal life.

When a project manager leaves unfixed the first infractions on time deadline, quality issues or team indiscipline…, the first window is broken. His team reads it differently. It’s very likely he would, to his grief, witness many more ‘broken windows’ before long on his way down and out.

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Source: wikipedia

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Innovation Stahl.jpg

Thus concludes Greg Satell in his efforts to find out what is common to successful companies known for their innovation. He finds in his study so many opposites in their approaches that he cautions ‘Here’s Why You Should Think Twice Before Listening To Business Gurus‘.

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the-power-of-stories

Our grandma’s always knew. The power of stories to engage, influence and persuade is now being rediscovered by the business community  and its relevance in all functions of an organization. .

In his talk with former Procter & Gamble executive Paul Smith, now a speaker and trainer on storytelling techniques and author of Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale, Skip Prichard got him to share his  personal experience of the power of a sales story.

An extract from a transcript available here (Skip’s blog on Leadership Insights):

Last summer my wife, Lisa, and I were at an art show in Cincinnati. She was on a mission to find a piece for our boys’ bathroom wall at home.

At one point we found ourselves at the booth of an underwater photographer named Chris Gug. Looking through his work, Lisa got attached to a picture that, to me, looked about as out of place as a pig in the ocean. It was a picture of a pig in the ocean! Literally. A cute little baby piglet, up to its nostrils in salt water, snout covered with sand, dog-paddling its way straight into the camera lens.

When I got my chance, I asked the seller (named Gug) what on Earth that pig was doing in the ocean. And that’s when the magic started.

He said, “Yeah, it was the craziest thing. That picture was taken in the Caribbean, just off the beach of an uninhabited Bahamian island named Big Major Cay.” He told us that years ago, a local entrepreneur brought a drove of pigs to the island to raise for bacon.

Then he said, “But, as you can see in the picture, there’s not much more than cactus on the island for them to eat. And pigs don’t much like cactus. So the pigs weren’t doing very well. But at some point, a restaurant owner on a nearby island started bringing his kitchen refuse by boat over to Big Major Cay and dumping it a few dozen yards off shore. The hungry pigs eventually learned to swim to get to the food. Each generation of pigs followed suit, and now all the pigs on the island can swim. As a result, today the island is more commonly known as Pig Island.”

Gug went on to describe how the pigs learned that approaching boats meant food, so they eagerly swim up to anyone arriving by boat. And that’s what allowed him to more easily get the close-up shot of the dog-paddling piglet. He probably didn’t even have to get out of his boat.

I handed him my credit card and said, “We’ll take it!”

Why my change of heart? The moment before he shared his story (to me at least), the photo was just a picture of a pig in the ocean, worth little more than the paper it was printed on. But two minutes later, it was no longer just a picture. It was a story—a story I would be reminded of every time I looked at it. The story turned the picture into a conversation piece—a unique combination of geography lesson, history lesson, and animal psychology lesson all in one.

In the two minutes it took Gug to tell us that story, the value of that picture increased immensely. It’s the kind of story that I now refer to as a “value-adding” story because it literally makes what you’re selling more valuable to the buyer.

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