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2018 Technology Trends: The Reshaping of the Business World

We are at an interesting crossroad nowadays in regards to technology. All of the technological advancements we see around us on a daily basis have brought numerous changes to our way of life. The year 2018 will see an even greater focus on these types of advancements such as self-driving cars, drone deliveries and the rapidly evolving artificial intelligence (AI) programmes. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a software engineer or computer scientist to become a leader in the digital revolution. What is even more vital is the ability to match technological solutions with existing business problems in innovative ways.

Given that people nowadays are using mobile apps, connected devices, wearables, social media and the list could go on and on – the level of engagement with brands is unprecedented by using a vast array of digital technologies. Given this increased level of engagement, a business’ success hinges more often than not on the organisation’s ability to create an enjoyable experience for their customers. It is also true that recent research unearthed a strong correlation between superior customer experiences and revenue growth.

The technical director for Google Cloud, Jamie Erbes, has said that: “Consumer expectations are at an all-time high, and the bar will keep rising through 2020,” and “People want products and services that offer a high level of personalisation and adapt to their lifestyle. When that doesn’t happen, they quickly move on.” Many organisations have already started to build a strong foundation for a better 2020 digital experience. So what exactly is going to change?

  1. Data is all around us and it keeps growing

We as people are ‘producing’ a fantastic amount of data as we go on with our lives. From Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to the digital footprint we create through the use of Netflix or Fitbit or even our connected systems at work. In case you were wondering, every second, 900,000 go on Facebook, 452,000 people post on Twitter, and 3.5 million people search for something on Google.

Given this fantastic rate of data creation means that every two years the amount of data is doubling. This is also known as Big Data. This massive explosion of data has made many other trends possible, and by learning how to tap into the insights will increase everyone’s prospects in just about any industry.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The field of artificial intelligence or cognitive computing revolves around machines or computers that are capable of reproducing or mimicking ‘thinking’ in a similar way people do – especially when it comes down to learning. Being a computer certainly has its advantages meaning that if you teach them how to learn they will do so incredibly fast and, as an added bonus, with a greater degree of accuracy than any human being would be capable of. The indisputable result is that they will become more knowledgeable and capable and able of finding solutions to problems.

It has been predicted that by 2020 half of online searches will be done by voice with 30%(!) of them being made by using devices with no screen whatsoever. For example, this year, BMW will launch cars with Alexa pre-installed, just as Ford has done. Businesses will increasingly use AI assistants in order to manage daily schedules and offer us information when we need it. Going even further, some people are talking about the opportunity to drive sales through the use of chatbots and ‘natural’ language-capable marketing tools.

The days in which we were adding a customer’s name to marketing emails are behind us. The more customers feel treated like actual people, rather than just numbers with money, the more connected they feel to the companies that serve them.

  1. Blockchain

Blockchain represents the distributed, encrypted and ledger behind the now famous cryptocurrency Bitcoin. However, it has uses far beyond making people interested in cryptocurrencies filthy rich. Experts have been saying that it represents a giant leap forward towards information storage and security. Simply put, a blockchain is a digital file in which blocks of information are connected to one another (or ‘chained’ together) and is secured through private key cryptography, making sure that only those with the right permit may edit only the sections of data they are entitled to. In other words, anyone capable of ‘installing’ blockchain technology to current business problems is very likely to find this particular skill in very high demand.

As people become more involved and vigilant about social responsibility and online security, blockchain will become tremendously important. For the organisations that actually have a nice story to tell, it will definitely be a valuable way through which transparency can be created and also building a brand in a way it was never thought possible before.

  1. Public Cloud

As mentioned earlier, the amount of data we create is doubling every two years. According to a recent study done by International Data Corporation, between the years 2016 and 2020, the worldwide spending on public cloud services will more than double, reaching a figure of $195 billion.

It will be a difficult and tedious task to move companies towards the adoption of public cloud services, but in order to advance IT departments and leaders will have to spearhead this necessary move.

After a couple of years in the training phase, IT employees should be ready to work side-by-side with their marketing colleagues in order to implement technologies such as AI, blockchain, and public cloud into the real world. Whether companies are ready for it or not, the technological advancements are going to be put into action. To keep moving forward, these are the top trends that organisations worldwide cannot ignore in the coming years, whether they understand them or not and they will have to be implemented so that they won’t be left behind.

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/01/15/5-technology-trends-that-will-make-or-break-many-careers-in-2018/#71d22ce63a86

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2017/12/27/top-5-tech-trends-that-cmos-cannot-ignore-in-2018/#7405b7503552

https://cloud.withgoogle.com/build/leadership/technology-trends-cios-need-2018/

 

Climate Change: What Can Entrepreneurs Do?

Nearly a decade ago, saving the climate from destruction did not feature as a top priority for businesses. The scenario has however reversed. Today’s climate problem is so far beyond our human experience that it demands a complete overhaul of engagement from senior executives from the private sector. The threats that climate change poses to businesses and capitalism altogether are increasingly hard to spot, let alone act on.

While today’s entrepreneurs are competing against the old way of doing it is recommended to encourage a mindset shift, from linear to exponential. If we maintain our current linear thinking, we’re most likely going to create incremental fixes, while exponential thinking will get us to the network solutions required.

For small entrepreneurs around the world what are the key discussion points that must occur in the matter of climate change? In the next paragraphs, we will present a few tools that can help you better understand and find solutions to the world’s most pressing problem and how energy consumption in the developing countries has the power and ability to augment economies and lead people out of poverty.

1. Exponential thinking and embracing abundance

Try and plan for scenarios that may happen on the exponential curve. The framework of abundance thinking affirms the idea of a world where technology can solve most of the world’s problems and also reveal latent entrepreneurial possibilities. Strive to bring extremely diverse groups together in order to catalyse these new ideas.

2. Use the power of new advancing technologies

Technologies accelerating on an exponential curve are the tools that have the largest potential for a  scalable impact; the ‘Internet of Things’ and ‘Springwise’  are rich with innovation opportunities. For example, ‘Quantified Planet, a non-profit organisation, is in the process of creating an open source community and data platform in order to collect environmental data to make smarter local decisions with global impact.

3. Try, fail, repeat

There is a growing need for an ecosystem of exchanging ideas and experimenting that supports and encourages many new initiatives and failures. This repetitive process is also known as rapid prototyping is how entrepreneurs usually test and rapidly boost towards better solutions. Silicon Valley’s success lies largely in the understanding that in order to find solutions faster, you need to fail as quickly as possible. With climate change, there is no time to put our eggs in just one basket. We need to place as many bets as possible with a low opportunity cost, so they can fail quickly without dire consequences.

4. Keep a lookout for supporting technologies

Some of the best opportunities in innovation are represented by supporting technologies that are driving tremendous growth towards renewable energy. For example, there are technologies supporting the performance of photovoltaics (PVs) such as ‘Otherlab’s’ project, Sunfolding, has created a new solar tracking technology by applying high-volume manufacturing techniques to solar. By addressing the high cost of the control components, Sunfolding has reduced the price of photovoltaic systems and increased capacity, which will definitely help the technology become more widely distributed.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

https://hbr.org/2018/01/climate-change-is-an-overwhelming-problem-here-are-4-things-executives-can-do-today

http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/ict_big_data/rob_nail/5_ways_entrepreneurs_are_helping_solve_climate_change

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/299644

Employees and Cyber-Security:Thinking like Hackers

This year, 2017, hasn’t been the best for companies all around the world when it comes to the matter of cyber-security. Given the fact that so many attacks have occurred, many organisations have started to shift their attention towards preparing their employees for a safer workplace environment through better cyber-security programmes. This will, of course, go beyond basic training exercises on protocols and changing passwords. These types of programmes have been rendered obsolete. In order to train your employees against organised hacker attacks, they will have to learn to think just like one.

At first, it is important to understand what a ‘hacker’ means and what he or she does. The first step is to erase everything you ever heard or read about hackers. The media does have a tendency to exaggerate the term and to point fingers towards cyber attackers even when it is not the case. The view on this matter should be broadened.

It has to be said that in the digital era, hackers represent model citizens. They are professional people who are very creative and resourceful. Curiosity is their main drive and due to this quality, they see opportunity in every problem. Furthermore, given the nature of their interest, hackers realise there are few limits to technology and usually display a bit of mistrust in operating systems and know that no piece of software is immune to bugs.

Understanding all of this about hackers is essential. Numerous organisations worldwide have already introduced their employees to the ‘hacker mindset’. Early results have shown a drastic change in perception and value regarding cyber-security, this automatically leads to a better security across all departments. And as an added bonus, curiosity and resourcefulness will become second nature to the employees. There are a few easy steps to which you can start teaching your staff to ‘think’ like hackers.

Sharing Information

When something major happens in your company’s industry, it is recommended to encourage your employees to share their findings with the others. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to prepare a full 5-page report, just a few ideas that are worth mentioning. The idea behind this is to create a workplace where sharing information and thoughts are second nature.

Hackers obviously know what valuable data they are looking for and how to find it, usually searching for something valuable enough they can sell or blackmail the organisation for a large sum of money. This is important to understand when protecting your most prized possessions.

When your employees learn to share and work together to such an extent, it will help build an actual community within the organisation. It will also help create a sense of purpose around the company. Employees will become more and more vigilant of what is happening and will be more alert in detecting and responding to cyber-threats.

 IT Competitions and Hackathons

Encourage employees and even offer them leave days in order to attend hackathons, even if they go to learn and observe. Events like these offer people the chance to disconnect from their day-to-day routine and think outside-the-box in order to solve various issues, which basically describes the process of hacking. The general idea of hackathons is to enable people to flex their brain muscles into thinking in new and creative ways in order to solve problems. Through these exercises, teams manage to avoid one-dimensional group thinking and tunnel vision. Due to the complexity of the exercises, it makes participants and viewers alike more curious of the things happening around them, which is at the heart of a proper cyber activity.

If you wish for your employees to have a more hands-on cyber-security experience, you could arrange for company-wide competitions and games that will enable employees to figure out how cybercrime happens and the means to minimise or stop it. You could also use this opportunity as a means of developing a plan of action which allows security teams to respond as soon as possible. You can plan ahead of time and approve the necessary actions the company must take when malicious activity is detected.

Interdepartmental Collaboration

Introduce the idea of interdepartmental collaboration in the company’s bylaws. This will enable people from all areas to communicate more and offer support when difficult challenges arise.

Even if your organisation has the best security team there is on the market, we all know that humans are bound to make mistakes, it is in our nature. When the same people are looking at the same lines of code all day every day, it’s only a matter of time before something important gets passed them. The most security-conscious companies tend to invite security experts from outside the firm in order to help identify any mishaps the security system may have.

Given the current and future climate of business it is quintessential we learn to think like hackers. If we manage to adopt a ‘hacker mindset’, you will not feel left behind by all the technological advancements. By embracing them and recognising their power and ability to make the world a better and safer place will not be good only for security but for the business industry as well.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

https://hbr.org/2017/12/train-your-employees-to-think-like-hackers

https://www.inc.com/brian-kelly/think-like-a-hacker.html

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232402

Work-Life Balance for Parents: Is it Achievable?

Work-life balance has become an obsession for everyone nowadays. There are numerous articles, research papers and self-help books that are offering people advice on how to begin or develop a better balance between their personal and work lives. Unfortunately, the advice given in these reading materials are generally focused on the idea of making changes on individual levels, team expectations in relation to your job attributes or even organisational contexts that affect you only.

In a research paper published recently by Human Relations, they have discovered that our very own upbringing can have a powerful influence on our career and life decisions. Subconsciously, we learn and mirror our parents’ behaviour in terms of work-life balance. The research conducted by Human Relations had 148 in-depth interviews with around 80 parents working in London for law and accounting companies. An equal number of men and women were interviewed with ages ranging from 30 to 50 years old and with positions in middle or upper management roles. In the case of male participants in the study, the majority of them had a stay-at-home wife, but in the case of female participants, this wasn’t the case at all. It is also important to know that most of the participants were coming from middle-class families who were typically formed from a stay-at-home mother and a working father.

The principles and ideas they share are in a direct correlation with the deeply ingrained routines and ideas coming straight from their parents.

Replicating the Parental Model

The majority of male participants have been reported to have a work-life balance similar to the family they grew up in. Like their fathers before them, these men are the sole breadwinners in their household. This has made them internalise the work ethic and has ended with them working very long hours. As mentioned above this effect was stronger for men, due to the fact that both men and women in the study have designated the same-sex parent as their role-model.

Given the fact that these people have seen their parents working hard throughout their childhood and adolescence, their professional careers were inclined to follow in the same footsteps. Although they were able to rationalise and acknowledge the fact that their compulsive work ethic had negative effects on their personal lives it was very difficult for them to change their behaviour both on and off work. Even remotely trying to act divergently, this ‘pre-disposition’ continued to be seen in their actions.

Breaking Off the Parental Model

Worryingly enough, there are fewer cases in which participants have said that they have rejected their parents’ work-life balance. In most cases, this was an intentional act of breaking the ‘status-quo’, but there were a few cases in which participants wanted to distance themselves from their parents’ model even though they wanted to follow up in their footsteps.

Like every human being on this planet, some participants have started to question the influence their parents have had on them, after pondering on failures, regrets or traumatic experiences they might have picked up along their adult life (i.e. a close friend or relative getting sick). After such an experience, participants had a tendency to overhaul their entire schedule and refuse to no longer work weekends or even leaving their employer and finding themselves an environment with a more manageable schedule.

In the case of women, there were two groups that were identified as serious in their significance: women who wanted to be more close to their families because they had workaholic mothers and women who wanted to be more actively involved in the workforce due to their regret-filled stay-at-home mothers.

Parents who actually manage to achieve a rewarding work-life balance do not designate all their time and effort into making their children happy. Interestingly enough, these parents strive on raising children with a strong sense of responsibility who will eventually grow into respectable and responsible adults. These are the parents who ask their kids to help around the house by giving them chores. They establish a clear set of consequences if the kids do not follow through with their tasks. By enabling their children to value hard work and also, this being of quintessential importance, experience disappointment, their personal development will be more easily done.

Neglecting Themselves

Adults often forget about taking care of themselves. This statement is even truer when you’re a parent. It may very well be a cliché, but more often than not clichés are true so it is pretty clear that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help the closest people to you. Sometimes it may seem near impossible to have some well-deserved ‘me time’, especially if your schedule throughout the day has left you overtired or stretched to the very last drop of energy.

There are a few successful parents in the study that have discovered that taking care of themselves offers them the best chance at being efficient and productive over long periods of time. Relaxation and sleep may be essential, but exercise plays a decisive role nowadays. Physical activity not only improves overall health levels, but it is the key towards finding the right balance between work and family time.

Post-Work Guilt

Somewhat surprising, many parents wouldn’t want to be working full-time, but unfortunately, the current economic and social climate doesn’t offer the possibility of one to stay home or even work part-time. 44% of working mothers have reported they would be thrilled about the idea of working part-time. As mentioned above, this would not be financially feasible. Parents who succeed in today’s working environment have ridden themselves of guilt over the fact that they are working full-time. They feel there is no point in wasting time and energy over-thinking this problem. Coming up with the best plan for their scenario seems like the next best thing (i.e. working flexible hours, full-time job with kids somehow has to work).

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/the-5-things-successful-parents-give-up-to-reach-a-work-life-balance.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/01/20/the-five-things-successful-working-parents-give-up-to-reach-a-work-life-balance/#59e263a157ea

https://hbr.org/2017/10/your-feelings-about-work-life-balance-are-shaped-by-what-you-saw-your-parents-do

Emotional Control during Difficult Conversations

It’s hard not to get emotionally involved when you’re in a tense conversation. A disagreement can feel like a threat. You might be afraid of having to give up something — the idea that you’re right, your point of view, the way you’re used to doing something, or even power – and therefore your body hypes you up for a fight by triggering your sympathetic nervous system.  There is no need to feel guilty, this is the natural response, but the main problem is that our bodies and minds aren’t good at differentiating the threats presented by not getting your way on a job-related issue and being chased down by a wolf. Your heart and breathing start to spike, your muscles tighten, the blood flow from your organs decreases, and thus you’re likely to experience an uncomfortable all-around feeling.

All of these combined does not put in the right frame of mind of resolving a conflict. If your body goes into what Dan Goleman would call “amygdala hijack,” you may lose access to the prefrontal cortex, the all-important part of your brain responsible for rational thinking. Obviously, you need rational thinking when dealing with a difficult conversation. Due to the fact that you are losing the ability to think clearly, chances are your conversation counterpart notices these signs of stress — your face turning red or the pace of your speech speeding up — and as a result of mirror neurons that cause us to apprehend the emotions of another person, your colleague is likely to start feeling the same way. Consequently, the conversation inevitably derails and the conflict intensifies.

Every manager fears emotional outbursts. Whether we’re talking about tears or full-on rage, the full extent of emotions can leave both the manager and the employee feeling embarrassed and stressed. How can you manage to stay calm and at the same time get your point across? How do you prepare yourself? Can you somehow minimise the chances of an employee getting emotional? Learning to handle emotional conversations in a productive way is the mark of a true manager.

Luckily, there are ways in which you can interrupt this physical response and manage your emotions, for a more productive discussion. There are several things you can do to keep your cool during a conversation or to calm yourself down. It is essential you start off with a positive. Especially if you think the conversation is likely to be emotional, plan to start with a positive. This will set the tone for the entire conversation and can help the employee engage with what you’re saying later, even if it’s hard to digest.

Breathe

Through simple mindfulness techniques, you can manage tense situations and none is more straightforward than using your breath. If you start noticing you’re getting tense, try to focus on breathing pattern. Acknowledge the sensation of air coming in and out of your lungs. Feel how it passes through your nostrils or down the back of your throat. This will take your attention off the signs of panic. Some mindfulness experts suggest counting your breath.

Acknowledge and define your feelings

Another useful tactic comes from the renowned author of Emotional Agility, Susan David. When you start feeling emotional “the attention you give towards your thoughts and feelings may crowd your mind and judgement,” says Susan David. In order to distance yourself from that feeling, define it. “Call a thought a thought and an emotion an emotion,” says the author.  When you manage to distance yourself from these emotions, thus making it easier to let them go — but don’t bury them or let them explode later. Sometimes expressing your emotions is all that’s needed to make an employee feel like they’ve been heard. If tears are involved, empathy is the recommended course of action. If your employee is angry, acknowledge and understand their frustration, but if that anger becomes insulting, calmly make it clear that you will not tolerate violent language or threatening behaviour.

Take a break

This is an underused approach. The more time you give yourself to process your emotions, the less intense they will be. So when things start escalating, just excuse yourself for a moment — get some coffee or water, go to the bathroom, or take a brief stroll through the office. It is essential to give a neutral reason for why you want to pause the conversation — the last thing you want is for the other person to think that things are going so badly you just want to escape.

Keep in mind that you’re probably not the only one who’s upset or angry. Your counterpart may very well express anger or frustration. While you may want to give them the above advice, no one wants to be told they need to breathe more deeply or take a break. You both may require just a little bit of time alone to vent. Of course, that’s usually easier said than done. It’s difficult not to yell back when you’re being screamed at, but more screaming isn’t going to help. At the same time, don’t act aloof because it’s important to show the other person that you’re listening. If you manage not to feed your counterpart’s negative emotion with your own, it becomes more plausible for them to calm down.

Keep your impatience in check

Finally, the demon you will have to wrestle the most with is your own impatience for getting the result you want. You will need to be patient and let the situation unfold itself. When you think you know exactly what is wrong with the other person’s thinking, your best approach is to ask them questions that will enable them to see other possibilities, ones that are much closer to your point of view. Don’t slip and tell people what is wrong with their thinking, because their brains will shut down and you have to be patient with silence. Silence is a good indicator that what you said or asked made the person stop and think about their ideas and arguments. The best thing you can do is to be patient and allow the person’s brain to process the information.

Don’t take it personally. Watch out for your own defensive mechanism, especially if the employee has said something in the heat of the moment. Remember that frustration is usually the cause of such outbursts at the office. You’re not going to solve the underlying issues or maintain a positive relationship if you barrel through the conversation when you’re completely worked up.

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2017/12/how-to-control-your-emotions-during-a-difficult-conversation

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141028170158-2763533-how-to-manage-your-emotions-in-difficult-conversations/

https://www.insperity.com/blog/10-tips-for-keeping-your-cool-during-emotional-conversations-with-employees/

 

Dealing with Procrastination and Overcoming It

We all procrastinate from time to time, sometimes even more than we would like to admit to ourselves. Procrastination is part of our lives. Usually, it’s those ordinary things – like sorting documents, looking over bank accounts, or tidying the things on your desk. But often it’s the bigger things that necessitate more time, more commitment and energy that put us at more risk of failing or looking foolish. Such actions include things like updating our resume, looking for a new job or even pursuing a long held aspiration.

Of course people tend to get very creative with the reasons why now, today, just isn’t the right time or they are not in the right state of mind. But people don’t stop here reasons may vary from too stressed, too risky, too busy, too broke towards too disruptive, too inexperienced, too young, too old, too uncertain. From time to time these reasons are valid and we have to be prepared for that. Typically, they are just excuses that keep us from doing what we really have to do and experiencing the emotional hardship inherent in making meaningful changes in our personal and professional lives.

At the heart of things we have fear.  It is a potent and instinctive emotion and represents the reason why we want to shield ourselves from pain (including the emotional side of things) and somehow ‘demands’ us to get away from anything that might be threatening. If left unresolved, fear can lead us to the hope that if we procrastinate longer, our situation will miraculously improve, or our problems will magically disappear into thin air and be replaced with a lot of courage. We often tell ourselves that ‘one day’ we will be ready to make that big change, or take that big chance and in that ‘one day’ the timing will be better, our confidence will be soaring and the circumstances will definitely favour us.

Unfortunately the reverse is generally true. As the days go by, our fear grows stronger, until it will eventually lead to our ever-growing burial ground of unfulfilled dreams and untapped potential. Philosopher William James was not wrong when he talked about the impact of procrastination on our lives: “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an unfulfilled goal.”

There are a few methods through which you can get yourself going when you feel procrastination is creeping up on you.

  • Acknowledge the situation

Firstly, it is recommended you openly acknowledge that you’re starting to procrastinate. Procrastination can sneak up on you in many forms and when you least expect it, so it’s essential for you to be vigilant. Afterwards, ask yourself why you are doing it, what is your underlying reason and then start searching for the right approach to tackle this issue.  Stanford philosophy professor John Perry created the term ‘structured procrastination’. The idea behind it is that people procrastinate by doing the least important tasks on their to-do lists, so professor John Perry says that we can trick ourselves by pushing down our important tasks from our to-do list and our trivial ones to the top.

  • Be brave all day everyday

When you start working on reducing your procrastination, building momentum is crucial. Commit to yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone at least once per day. It can be something really small and it should be right at the start. In the end, it doesn’t matter how fast you are going, as long as you are taking the necessary steps in the direction you feel is right. So take that first step, then another, and so on because after all life is worth enjoying.

  • Spreading procrastination times throughout the day

The fact that we live in the real world means that there are and will be days in which we’re tired, even though we try so hard not to be. Taking this factor into account, you could organise a schedule of well-timed ‘mini-procrastination’ sessions between each task. Instead of waiting for a big break when you want to do whatever you want offer yourself 10 minutes between each task. In those 10 minutes you can do what your heart desires: check Facebook, make a dinner reservation, weekend plans or any other pleasant activity. You will be surprised by the amount of work you will accomplish when you don’t feel bad about procrastinating. Also, you will soon realise that you’re not indulging your procrastination, but actually set up a few breaks. Breaks are guilt-free and they mentally recharge you for the rest of your day.

  • Break your important tasks into smaller ones

The bigger the goal the more difficult it is to actually start working on it. Shortly after, you begin to feel overwhelmed and procrastination is only a step away. So when you feel out of your element, try and break your task into more manageable steps, as small you feel you need. Soon enough, the steps you have to undertake will simply unfold in front of you.

  • Channel your fear

As mentioned earlier, fear is a very powerful emotion that can keep us from becoming the best version of ourselves. Our brains are hardwired to survive, so in the moment you feel fear our instincts tell us to sit tight because nothing bad can happen this way. But if you manage to focus your fear, it can work for you and not against you. Pull out a pen and paper and write down the cold hard facts if you would continue to do nothing. Be honest to yourself, the purpose of this exercise is for you to understand that the fear you are experiencing at the moment is more manageable that the one you would feel when things are left undone.

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/catherine-orer/my-very-own-3-steps-to-de_b_10360486.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2013/03/25/why-you-procrastinate-and-how-to-stop-it-now/#583832c51837

https://www.forbes.com/sites/vanessaloder/2016/04/15/10-scientifically-proven-tips-for-beating-procrastination/#7c78426c296a

https://www.themuse.com/advice/advice-procrastination-no-routine-change

Building Trust and Credibility with your Customers

Customers’ happiness is always going to be tricky to achieve and maintain. Although the global economy is growing and thriving in certain industries, Forrester, a market research firm, has discovered that companies shouldn’t rest on their laurels. In fact, according to the Forrester report for 2018 that next year will be a “year of reckoning” for many brands as they face the facts that consumers might not love them as much.

Interestingly enough, customer experience scores have stalled in recent years, without a single brand improving their trust and experience scores from 2016.

One of the main reasons for the halt in customer experience is that clients are interacting with brands more often. More interactions mean more opportunities in building brand loyalty, but it equally provides more opportunities to create unhappy customers, which is what seems to happen. Customer confidence is at a high level at the moment, which means they are more than willing to spend, but unfortunately they don’t trust the vast majority of companies. Customer experience is one of the best ways in which to boost trust. Top survey responses say treating employees well is what drives the experience and helps customers trust a brand, offering the best services and listening to customers concerns and issues.

The Forrester report also revealed that personalised companies will thrive. Instead of trying to serve everyone, brands will have to learn from successful of companies like Facebook and Starbucks and start serving a more narrow set of customers. The most successful companies realise they can deliver more value by focusing on the unique needs of specific customer segments instead of trying to provide everything to everyone. Companies that are suffering in their customer experience scores are Walmart and Amazon due to their numerous products and services.

Transparency Is Crucial

Transparency is a core competency that should no doubt come naturally. Yet so many businesses are struggling coming to terms with what it really means.

Customers and clients are smart and they know when you’re being truthful or when you’re trying to trick them. Honesty is the best policy and they’ll appreciate and admire your company even more when you admit to a mistake or avoiding the topic altogether.

It is recommended that you don’t try to cover up errors. Discuss about the matter at hand, explain how you wish to handle it and thoroughly explain what steps are being taken to prevent any future errors. To implement transparency effectively leading by example is quintessential. Your employees will admire you even more for being honest.

Consistency Brings Harmony

Consistency goes hand in hand perfectly with maintaining great service. Strong internal expectations lead to great external results.

From a business point of view, consistency should exist in every aspect of what the company does:

  • Employees should provide equivalent levels of service.
  • Equipped with all the tools it needs, your sales team should address questions and queries in the same way.
  • The company should stay on course with the current state of products and services, rather than constantly shifting gears to try new tactics or initiatives.

Develop a powerful measurement in order to assess whether something is working. If it isn’t viable anymore, there should already exist a plan B or C.

From a leadership standpoint, consistent performance shows employees what you expect from them. For example, if you miss a meeting without a good reason, don’t be surprised if they consider doing the same when interest serves them.

Great Service Matters

According to the survey done by Concerto Marketing Group and Research Now, when customers have faith in a brand, 83% of them will recommend that specific organisation to others and 82% will continue to use that brand on a regular basis. Although there is hardly any mention about the time you went above and beyond for a client, you’ll definitely hear from the displeased ones if you failed to make a deadline or delivered a product that didn’t operate by the books.

Earning the trust of a customer with great service is an essential first step. How would you want to be treated if you were the client? The hard truth is that service should come naturally, instead of being strategically planned. The more you plan for great service, the less time you’ll actually have to deliver it.

Sure, there will be times when you’ve tried your best and can’t seem to make any headway with a particular problem. But you want to strive for responsiveness and always exceed expectations.

Sealing the Deal

Maintaining solid business relationships does not mean your customers or clients have to like you. Everyone wants to be liked but it is impossible to be liked by every person you come in contact with. However, creating customers and clients for life is more about them entrusting you to deliver on your promises. It takes a lot of effort, but in the end your hard work will pay off again and again, with repeat business, even more referrals and knowing you met and exceeded your customers’ expectations.

Organizations with great customer relationships are able to grow their businesses without tricks, fee cuts or special treatment. You have to be good at what you do, obviously, but having a truly successful business is based on one very simple concept: trust. With trust, you’ll have clients and customers for life. Without trust, you may as well pack your bags and go home. Building trust takes time and a lot of hard work. But is entirely feasible if you and your team work on three of the most important core competencies: service, consistency and transparency.

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2017/11/13/ten-ways-to-build-trust-with-new-and-existing-clients/#75edfdda4b0b

https://www.forbes.com/sites/yec/2014/04/22/three-ways-to-build-customer-trust/#5e32c56f22b8

https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2017/11/14/consumer-trust-at-an-all-time-low-says-forrester-in-their-most-recent-report/#607e348c1a19

Successful Brainstorming: Possibility or Hoax?

In terms of brainstorming, people often tend to forget that in order for it to be achieved the answer is quantity, not quality. Brainstorming represents the essential first step in early stages of a new project, so it is crucial that everyone understands how important it is to be open towards all ideas and variables. Naturally, issues occur when team members feel the need to filter themselves from potentially good ideas that they may seem far-fetched or just simply because they are afraid of rejection and embarrassment.

Another common misconception about brainstorming is that employees and managers alike believe it can be done only in a certain way: the evergreen group discussion with everyone involved. It is not necessarily the worst idea, but it can have major drawbacks from a creative point of view. There is a general tendency that during these meetings, the first two ideas that get bounced around tend to be the focus of the entire meeting. In a recent study on traditional brainstorming methods, it has been discovered the fact that only a handful of people do approximately 60-75% of the talking. Logically, it can prevent other ideas from being discussed.

How to Make Brainstorming Better

There are many ideas through which brainstorming sessions can become more practical, based on individual creativity, idea generation and a better meeting experience. The following strategies will help your organisation’s brainstorming.

1. Select only necessary employees: Choose the people you need for a brainstorming session. If the meeting is filled with people who have no relation to the nature of the discussion, their contribution and participation will be zero. Moreover, more people mean a higher level of difficulty in passing along ideas given the fact that people may exhibit anxiety in explaining their ideas. A manager’s best bet here is the creative individuals who can actually carry the discussion in a productive manner.

2. Brief sessions: It is as clear as day that shorter meetings are more efficient. The current tradition is for a meeting to last for an hour. However, shortening the meeting time will entice people to bring ideas to the table much faster with a healthy disregard to keeping some ideas for themselves. Normally, a meeting shouldn’t be any longer than 30 minutes. Managers can always do follow-up meetings to discuss leftover ideas or if the schedule is too hectic then the recommendation is individual brainstorming time.

3. “Bad” ideas are welcomed: Managers should encourage their employees to speak their mind. Good ideas “happen” after a lot of other ideas have been bounced off at the meeting table. People should understand the fact that there is a very fine line between good and bad ideas. From a managers point of view all ideas are welcomed given the obvious fact that it will lead to the best solution in the end.


Read also: What Makes a Great CPO


4. Brain Writing: The general principle of this technique is to separate idea generation from actually talking. The manager shares the topic with the team, and the team members individually write down their ideas. This helps eliminate anchoring and encourages everyone on the team to share their own ideas. It also gives everyone more time to think over their ideas, which is especially helpful for your introverted participants. This brainstorming technique works best for teams who seem to be greatly influenced by the first ideas presented during a meeting. When you get your team to brainstorm ideas individually, away from distraction and public opinion, concepts are generated that may not naturally surface when in a larger setting. Individual brainstorming techniques such as this will often give you more unique ideas than when the group is left to think up topic ideas.

 5. Online Brainstorming: These days, virtual teams are becoming more and more common across all industries. The evolution of email and collaboration tools makes working remotely the norm in some organisations. Having a central location online where team members can collaborate is crucial for these virtual teams — talking here about cloud-based document storage or an online collaboration tool. One of those brainstorming exercises for groups involves using an online mind-mapping tool to answer very specific questions or simply to generate ideas that might be tangential to the main problem. What other ideas surround this concept? Map these examples out, visually.

 

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://www.wrike.com/blog/techniques-effective-brainstorming/

https://www.inc.com/larry-alton/5-strategies-for-team-brainstorming-to-use-in-your-next-meeting.html

https://www.inc.com/kat-boogaard/4-easy-tips-to-improve-your-brainstorming-sessions.html

How to keep your Employees energised

Top organisations around the world are starting to manage employee energy like a highly important strategic asset. They know that the ever-increasing pace of advancements requires more and more human energy. Any entrepreneur will tell you that it takes a tonne of energy to grow and build a business. The key is to manage it; sometimes you have to exert energy, other times you need to conserve it to go the extra mile, and after a sprint you need to replenish it. When teams are energised, they feel like they can achieve almost anything. But when there’s an energy gap among employees, it’s up to you the leader to bring back the necessary level of energy. You have to show the kind of energy you want to see. At the beginning it’s important to assess where your employees stand. Think about when they were at their highest energy levels, when they had a perfect day, what does the average day look like. These things will help you take things forward. Here are some of the best hacks in order to maximise human energy:

1Spend time engaging with people.

Say hello in the morning and goodbye at night. Be approachable. Ask about their families and show them you care about other things besides work. When they miss work because their baby is sick, ask how the child is doing when they come back. Also, enable your teams to enjoy and get to know each other. One great and very simple way to do this is through team lunches and dinners.

2Honor special occasions.

Celebrate every new hire. Acknowledge special occasions and make people feel special. For example, IBM used to give a gold watch to celebrate 25 years with the company, but most people don’t stay that long anymore. Don’t wait 25 years! You can celebrate every year and every other milestones in small ways by recognizing employees’ achievements in meetings or writing them personal thank you notes.

3. Careful with work hours

In the U.S. employees who are earning a salary of less than $47,476 must track hours and be paid for overtime. It’s wise to start enforcing this rule and discourage employees from doing work off the clock. Try and explain to your people that work-life balance can and should be achieved. Talk to each and every one of them individually to show them that you really care and you may see shifts in attitude towards themselves. It is also recommended that they take regular breaks during office hours in order to unwind. Encourage them to leave their desks, go out for a walk, stretch or even find a quiet space where they can relax.


Read also: Preventing Burnout in 5 Easy Steps


4. Allow creativity

Employees need to be reminded that there is no such thing as a bad idea. Even when an idea is not pursued, it can shift ideas into new territories.

From how employees decorate their desks to how they complete assignments, allow creative freedom, as long as standards of work are met. Encourage employee input, and, however possible, provide time and resources for meaningful, work-related smaller projects.  Nowadays, companies now set aside time each week when employees can work on their own projects, as long as those efforts further the company’s goals.

Employers can’t remove all the stress of their employees’ lives, but they can make the workplace a source of purpose, focus and togetherness that can help prevent employee burnout.

5. Celebrate wins

Do fun things with and for your team. Take a break and take the team to a movie, or do some charity or volunteering work together. This can be achieved very easily and here are some examples:

  • LiveOps have random Nerf arrow attacks and paper airplane contests.
  • At AdMob and Everwise, the sales teams ring a gong when a big deal is done.

It’s especially important to do this even when times are hard. At eBay, there was a day in which they started to do a free listing day. Users were thrilled about it—they stayed up all night posting listings. The increase in volume was immense – a year ahead on volume projections. Although a great marketing ploy for the company, it was a nightmare for the people running the system. They worked tirelessly to make it through capacity problems, and when they finished they had a parade and turned the relief into positive energy.

It is essential that employees understand the long-term winning strategy you are trying to implement. Run the positives and negatives by them in order for them to analyse and understand why there is a change in policies.

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/alison-eyring/these-5-strategies-will-keep-your-employees-energized.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maynardwebb/2016/08/23/7-ways-to-re-energize-your-team/#5aad4d267349

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9711-prevent-employee-burnout.html

What Makes a Great CPO?

Extract from an article published in Supply Management Magazine:

“There are more than 96,000 procurement and supply professionals in the UK alone, according to CIPS estimates. For the ambitious among this large group, there exist only a handful of strategic CPO roles to compete for. So what helps someone get there? Is there a secret sauce of competencies, skills and behaviours that the best of the best have in common? It’s something SM set out to explore in a first-of-its-kind study to assess the psychometric make-up of forward-thinking procurement leaders.

We handpicked 45 CPOs from large, global organisations, including FTSE-100 listed multinationals, government departments and high street brands, and put them through the Great People Inside Full Spectrum, a completely new assessment platform just launched in the UK by psychometric assessment company Great People Inside (GPI).”

To read the full article, please access this link.