AI & People Represent the Future of Work

Too many business leaders still believe that AI is just another ‘plug and play’ incremental technological investment. In reality, gaining a competitive advantage through AI requires organisational transformation of the kind exemplified by companies leading in this era: Google, Haier, Apple, Zappos, and Siemens. These companies don’t just have better technology — they have transformed the way they do business so that human resources can be augmented with machine powers.

While no one knows what artificial intelligence’s effect on work will be, we can all agree on one thing: it’s disruptive. So far, many have cast that disruption in a negative light and projected a future in which robots take jobs from human workers. That’s one way to look at it. Another is that automation may create more jobs than it displaces. By offering new tools for entrepreneurs, it may also create new lines of business that we can’t imagine now.

A recent study from Redwood Software and Sapio Research underscores this view. Participants in the 2017 study said they believe that 60 percent of businesses can be automated in the next five years. On the other hand, Gartner predicts that by 2020 AI will produce more jobs than it displaces. Dennis Mortensen, CEO and founder of x.ai, maker of AI-based virtual assistant Amy, agreed. “I look at our firm and two-thirds of the jobs here didn’t exist a few years ago,” said Mortensen.

In addition to creating new jobs, AI will also help people do their jobs better — a lot better. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer summed this idea up as, “Human plus machine equals superpowers.” For many reasons, the optimistic view is likely the more realistic one. But AI’s ability to transform work is far from preordained. In 2018, workers are not being adequately prepared for their futures. The algorithms and data that underlie AI are also flawed and don’t reflect the diverse society it’s meant to serve.

How AI Could Grow Jobs: Inventing New Ones, Empowering Existing Ones

While AI will certainly displace some jobs, such displacement has occurred long before AI was on the scene. In the past century, we’ve seen the demise or diminishment of titles like travel agent, switchboard operator, milkman, elevator operator and bowling alley pinsetter. Meanwhile, new titles like app developer, social media director, and data scientist have emerged.

Daugherty and Jim Wilson, managing director of Information Technology and Business Research at Accenture Research have co-authored a book titled Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI. In their view, future (and current) jobs include trainers and explainers. Trainers will teach AI systems how to perform and mimic human behaviours.

Empowering Workers, Businesses and Industries

Rather than replacing workers, AI can be a tool to help employees work better. A call center employee, for instance, can get instant intelligence about what the caller needs and do their work faster and better. That goes for businesses and industry too. In another example, in life sciences, Accenture is using deep learning and neural networks to help companies to bring treatments to market faster.

In addition to helping existing businesses, AI can create new ones. Such new business include digital-based elder care, AI-based agriculture and AI-based monitoring of sales calls. Finally, automation can be used to fill currently unfilled jobs. As Daugherty noted recently, there is a shortage of 150,000 truck drivers in the U.S. right now. “We need automation to improve the productivity of the drivers, the lifestyle of the drivers to attract more people to the industry,” he said.

The Value of Human and Machine Working Together

AI technology can boost business productivity by up to 40 per cent, according to Accenture. But while business leaders may rejoice at that fact, 72 per cent of employees fear AI stealing their jobs, Pew Research found.

However, the adoption of AI doesn’t mean a wipeout of work available to humans. While some tasks may be trusted completely to AI, like the algorithms that drive recommendation engines on platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify, others are reserved for human skill only.

For instance, because AI cannot offer empathy or emotion, traits native only to humans, it likely won’t have an applicable role in practice areas like psychotherapy, social work or in-depth customer service.

There’s also a third category of work: the kind best done by humans and AI working in tandem. In the case of many tasks, AI can help get progress started, but it still requires a human to complete the job by verifying the accuracy or providing more context. These gray areas include services like accuracy checks and human interaction.

While AI may not complete such tasks perfectly on its own, there is still value in keeping AI a part of the process. The ideal AI-human arrangement is one in which AI technology drives the lower-level, repetitive processes associated with completing a task, while human oversight ensures the timely and accurate completion of that task.

AI-Human Teams in Action

So where can we see this tag-team dynamic in action? The voice transcription space serves as one example.

Quick and accurate voice-to-text technology plays an important role in the deaf and hard of hearing community, as well as the higher education and legal industries. AI can transcribe human speech much faster than humans can—in a controlled environment, that is.

But the everyday need for voice transcription doesn’t always come in the form of a controlled environment. AI only hits peak accuracy when the speech mimics the kind it was trained on. We can’t rely on AI alone to transcribe voice perfectly when the accent, speed, diction, and tone of the speech vary, or if background noise is present.

However, it’s most efficient to give AI the first crack at it and employ the help of humans to verify accuracy and fix errors if needed. Taking this approach has enabled faster access to high-quality voice transcription than ever before.

Teams that rely on fast voice transcription are reaping the benefits of humans and AI perfecting the practice. Courts, for example, face a court reporter shortage, with an estimated 70 per cent of the workforce expected to retire over the next 10 years. AI and human-powered voice transcription will help fill in the gaps.

Students — whether deaf, hearing-impaired or with no hearing issues — all benefit from timely access to the transcriptions of course lectures. Deaf and hearing-impaired students deserve the chance to keep up with their hearing classmates, and not all hearing students learn best by listening.

While AI has earned its place it every industry, it doesn’t always perform best on its own. Enlisting the help of humans brings it to its full potential and allows us all to take full advantage of a powerful technology, making a true difference in end-users’ lives.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/329099
https://www.wired.com/wiredinsider/2018/04/ai-future-work/
https://hbr.org/2020/08/the-secret-to-ai-is-people

Should Entrepreneurship Be Taught in Schools?

Our education system is responsible for preparing young people to build successful lives. They should be ready for the wide range of possibilities ahead of them, including working for others, entrepreneurship, and contributing to their communities. All of these options require a depth of knowledge in their chosen discipline, as well as creative problem-solving skills, leadership abilities, experience working on effective teams, and adaptability in an ever-changing environment. It’s no coincidence that these are the same capabilities that employers say they want in college graduates.

These skills are the cornerstones of entrepreneurship education, which explicitly prepares students to identify and address challenges and opportunities. Therefore, along with teaching traditional subjects, such as science, grammar, and history, that provide foundational knowledge, it’s imperative that we teach students to be entrepreneurial.

Entrepreneurship education prepares students to identify and address challenges and opportunities. There are many who believe that entrepreneurship is an inborn trait that can’t be taught. This is simply not true. As with all skills, from math to music, learning to be entrepreneurial builds upon inborn traits. For example, learning to read and write taps in a baby’s natural ability to babble. Each baby learns to harness those noises to form words, connect words to compose sentences, and combine sentences to craft stories.

Entrepreneurship can be taught using a similar scaffolding of skills, building upon our natural ability to imagine:

  • Imagination is envisioning things that don’t exist.
  • Creativity is applying imagination to address a challenge.
  • Innovation is applying creativity to generate unique solutions.
  • Entrepreneurship is applying innovations, scaling the ideas by inspiring others’ imagination.

Using this framework, educators at all levels can help young people engage with the world around them and envision what might be different; experiment with creative solutions to the problems they encounter; hone their ability to reframe problems in order to come up with unique ideas; and then work persistently to scale their ideas by inspiring others to support their effort.

Also, if there is no space to allot entrepreneurship as a separate paper, then it can be merged with subjects like economics, history, technical n, comparative studies, business education or psychology. Integrating entrepreneurship in these main stream subjects will allow students to understand the same and take up later in life.

Learning entrepreneurship from school level will allow students also instil the following traits at a young stage:

Patience

Business is not a one-day phenomenon. It happens over time, grows over decades or more. The entrepreneur needs to hold on their patience and be with the business all throughout. Learning entrepreneurship from school, will allow one to get accustomed to the long time span that one requires to invest to establish a business.

Flexibility & Adaptability

Running business is not a smooth flow of events. It has good times, bad phases and so on. How to survive at the best and worst of business can also be learnt from an early stage, if entrepreneurship is introduced in school.

Desire to Achieve

As school is too nascent a stage, students might change their decision of being an entrepreneur and opt for some other profession. But, it’s the ‘hunger to achieve’, the take away from entrepreneurial classes that will help them earn success in any other profession. 

Entrepreneurship education does not just benefit those entering the fields of science, technology, and business. Students of art, music, and humanities can develop their imagination and learn how to apply creative thinking skills to real-world problems.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/287310
https://www.marlborough.org/news/~board/stem/post/five-benefits-of-entrepreneurship-education-to-students
https://www.aspeninstitute.org/blog-posts/schools-teach-entrepreneurship/

How to Deliver Bad News to Your Team

It’s every leader’s or manager’s least favourite task: delivering bad news. Maybe your company is closing one of the offices, or letting some people go. Or you have an employee who isn’t getting the promotion he or she wants, or can’t take an expensive training course.

In any case, your first impulse may be to soften the blow. After all, you’re a caring person, and you’d like to make a difficult situation easier. Generally, you start the conversation by talking about something else. And when it’s time to deliver the news, you try to sugarcoat it.

Few people like to deliver bad news. But the ability to do so with grace and compassion is an essential skill for any leader or manager. 

That’s a key tool of a leader who knows how to lead well. When a leader creates and maintains momentum by their ideas, their ingenuity, and their actions, the rest of their team falls naturally into their rhythm. And that’s when the great work is accomplished.

We’ve all had that moment on an airplane where we experience turbulence. Maybe you are rudely awakened by a sudden jolt, or you get up to use the restroom and have to hold onto the back of someone’s seat. Within a few seconds, the pilot’s voice comes over the intercom. What are you listening for? You are listening for reassurance through the uncertainty of turbulence.  

With countless concerns over Covid-19 around the world, it’s not just the airline industry that is experiencing a sudden wobble on its normal journey. Many business leaders are asking how they can communicate uncertainty both internally to their teams and externally to their clients — whether it’s about participating in an upcoming conference or delivering on an already signed project. Communicating in the face of uncertainty is a constant leadership challenge.

But in any business, there are times when you are on cloud nine and times when you’re down in the dark. What does a leader have to do when bad news has to be shared?

1. Know his audience  

In public speaking, knowing your audience in advance is critical. In times of uncertainty, it’s quintessential, regardless through what channel of communication. Do a thorough strategic analysis of who you are communicating to. What are their concerns, questions, or interests? What do they need an immediate answer to? You might use language such as, “I know many of you may be thinking…” The quicker you can address what’s on their mind, the quicker you will be able to calm them down. If you are not addressing their most pressing interests, they might not even be listening to you.

2. Thorough Research

In times of hardship and stress, it is easier to fall prey to misinformation, which can be especially destructive. Seek out credible sources of information, and read the information fully before distilling it into clear, concise language. Share those links with others, so that they too have a credible resource.

3. Set up specific ‘next steps’

In times of uncertainty, it’s helpful to provide your team with tangible action items. Discussing your own next steps or recommending next steps to your audience gives them a sense of control so they feel like they are contributing to stabilisation. Use language such as, “Here are the steps we are taking” or “Here’s what you can do” to demonstrate action.

Communicating through uncertainty is an essential leadership skill, regardless of whether or not you have a formal leadership role. In fact, the ability to communicate through uncertainty is part of what demonstrates to others your leadership readiness. Use the aforementioned steps to first find your own sense of focus and then allow yourself to transmit that reassurance to others.

4. Speak honestly

You can speak with confidence even without 100% certainty. You can confidently express doubt or uncertainty, while still sounding like you are in control of the situation. You might say, “Reports are still coming in, but what we understand so far is this…” Communicate frequently with your audience, even without news to report, so that they know you are actively following the issue. A fantastic communication expert, Nancy Duarte, wrote an insightful article on this topic several years ago and stated: “People will be more willing to forgive your in-progress ideas if they feel like they’re part of the process.”

You can’t make bad news less painful, but you can deliver it in the most respectful way possible.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. 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.forbes.com/sites/williamvanderbloemen/2016/11/17/how-to-effectively-break-bad-news-to-your-team/#3a6f1cb468b7
https://www.inc.com/alison-davis/need-to-deliver-bad-news-to-employees-science-says-do-this.html
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/adaptation/201803/how-deliver-bad-news-pro

Overcoming Negativity in the Workplace

Negativity takes a toll on many aspects of the workplace. It affects everything from engagement to productivity, and even affects employee retention. No one likes to work in a toxic work environment, period. Combating negativity is not an insurmountable challenge; you just have to go about it in a strategic manner. The days of gathering around the water cooler have moved online, adding another challenge as people can hide behind screens and think less about the impact of their words and actions.

Workplace negativity disrupts productivity. It creates a place where employees dread coming to work, and employees who harbour negative attitudes about work can be toxic workers with performance issues. Employees who continually express negative opinions about the company and their co-workers may need strict counselling to modify their behaviour and attitudes. Attention to employee dissatisfaction is a sure way to overcome negativity in the workplace, however. Giving employees the opportunity to express their feelings about the workplace and helping them resolve issues that cause negativity are effective management methods.

How is it that just one discordant colleague, a single voice of negativity in a business unit or project team that is upbeat and enthusiastic, can cast such a long shadow on group morale? How does one bad apple always seem to spoil the whole bunch?

The power of bad also explains why it is so hard to sustain innovation over the long term, even when things are going well. It turns out that the impact on morale of even a small setback — a project that goes over budget, a product that does not deliver particularly well — can overwhelm all the successes that surround it. In order to overcome a setback, it usually needs 4 good things to happen.

Researchers have documented the positive impact of “social support” — friends, colleagues, neighbours who pump you up and cheer you on. Researchers have also documented the negative impact of “social undermining” — people who gossip, carry grudges, and otherwise bring you down. Not surprisingly, “Social undermining was found to have a bigger impact than social support.” So leaders with great ideas and good intentions won’t stand a chance of succeeding unless they are going to remove the bad apples within their department or organisation.

No Criticism, but Education

Too often our reaction to seeing or experiencing a negative or unfavourable behaviour is to do one of two things – ignore it or complain about it. These are natural reactions, yet they’re decidedly counterproductive. To make an impact and enact change, you have to take action and educate people. Call out negative actions when you see them, but remember that criticism isn’t taking action. You need to educate people on how they transform negative behaviours in a positive way.

Many negative behaviours are unintentional and go unnoticed by the individual. Frequent interrupters often don’t realize how disruptive they are. People making insensitive comments might think they’re being funny. Let them know how their behaviour is resulting in a negative impact. Show them the direct consequences of their actions and help them change. In the same line, be aware of your own behaviours and model positive actions whenever possible.

Speak Up

Take a stand against negativity and make your voice heard. You can’t create change by staying silent. Have conversations that address any negative behaviors you witness. Question why we’re allowing those negative behaviors to happen in the first place. Just because a negative action has been allowed or people have looked the other way in the past doesn’t mean it has to be that way forever. Have the difficult conversations. Stand up for what you believe in and push for change.

Don’t Address the Problem On your own

If you observe negative behaviour, chances are you aren’t the only one witnessing it. Find others who are willing to speak up. One voice makes a ripple, a group of voices creates waves, and many voices produce a tsunami. Find as many people as you can – there’s strength in numbers. Use that power in numbers to drive change at a faster pace. The more people you can get to be on the lookout for negative behaviours, the quicker you’ll see the changes in the workplace.

Ultimately, the good news is that bad news doesn’t have to drag down your company or your team. But it does require all of us, as executives, entrepreneurs, and change agents, to infuse well-designed strategies with a healthy dose of psychology. In business, as in life, it’s hard to get to the good unless you overcome the power of bad.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. 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://smallbusiness.chron.com/overcome-negativity-workplace-11532.html
https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashiraprossack1/2018/07/24/how-to-overcome-negativity-in-the-workplace/#19a519f641fe
https://trainingindustry.com/articles/strategy-alignment-and-planning/5-ways-to-overcome-negativity-in-the-workplace/

Is Praise The Best Way To Motivate Employees?

It is fair to say that society has reached a point in which excessive praise is being offered to the rich and powerful. The upper tiers of our present society have been showered with awards, honours and superstar status. Billionaires and philanthropists alike are massively applauded for their work and charities which turn out to have very little impact on the world. The effects of this practice of praising excessively are worth taking into account and raise some concerns. By praising people, even though they deserve it can have a negative impact on how they behave.

Numerous psychological studies have been done on this subject and they have demonstrated that people are highly responsive to moral compensation. In layman terms, this means that when people feel they have acted well, they also feel that it gives them permission to engage in negative behaviours in the future. The reverse works the same way. If more and more studies come out and prove the accuracy of the aforementioned studies then humanity can practically see the social consequences of praise and/or blame. Too much praise could lead people to act badly, whilst blaming them when they make mistakes could lead to positive behaviour. So how many influential, wealthy and powerful people does the world need to harm society irreversibly?

Every organisation knows that culture without revenue is not feasible or sustainable. If a company wouldn’t be growing financially, there would be a complete shift in culture. It is important to have fun, but it’s never in first place. In order to get the best out of employees it is recommended to explain your expectations from them since day one. If employees understand the culture and how success is determined, they will be off to a flying start.

However, giving feedback remains one of the most difficult things a manager has to do. In a survey which amounted 7,631 people, 44% of them agreed that giving their employees negative reviews is difficult and stressful. Some quotes from the managers interviewed have surfaced the negative impact it has on them: “I just wanted to get it over quickly”, “They don’t pay me enough to do this”, “I did not sleep the night before” and “My hands were sweating and I was nervous”. Given the anxiety managers are facing when they have to offer negative feedback, 21% admitted that they avoid giving the negative feedback altogether.

In a comparative study 328 managers’ self-assessments were correlated with results from 360-degree feedback surveys. Each leader was rated by an average of 13 respondents on a variety of behaviours, including “Gives honest feedback in a helpful way.” The ones who rated that thought a person was effective in giving feedback were most influenced by the leader’s comfort and willingness to give positive reinforcement. Whether the manager gave negative feedback did not make a big difference — unless the leader avoided giving positive feedback. This was also true when we looked only at the ratings of direct reports.

When the study looked into the managers’ self-assessments, however, there was a totally changed point of view. There was a strong correlation between people who believe they give “honest, straightforward” feedback and those who give negative feedback, regardless of whether they also give positive feedback.

Leaders obviously carry some incorrect beliefs about the value and benefits of different forms of feedback. They vastly underestimate the power and necessity of positive reinforcement. However, in reverse, they greatly overestimate the value and benefit of negative or corrective feedback. In all, they misjudge the impact negative feedback has on how they are perceived by their colleagues, bosses, and direct reports. Giving only negative feedback diminishes a leader’s effectiveness in the eyes of others and does not have the effect they believe it has.

Perhaps in an effort to provide employees with what they believe is direct, honest feedback, managers who prefer giving negative feedback may come across as only looking for what’s wrong. Some employees have described this as, “Quick to criticise and slow to praise.” While the findings do not directly reveal why managers are so hesitant to give positive feedback, the study that involved the leaders suggests that there could be a variety of reasons. Perhaps it starts with the perception that the really good managers are the tough graders who are not afraid to tell people what’s wrong. Possibly they believe that giving people positive feedback will encourage a subordinate to let up or coast. Maybe they are emulating their prior bosses who gave little praise, but who pointed out any mistake or weakness. Some may believe it a sign of weakness to praise subordinates. Maybe they just don’t know how to effectively deliver appreciation or praise. Or maybe they intend to give kudos, but feel so busy that the days slip by and they never quite remember to send out that note of praise for a job well done.

In conclusion, the findings suggest that if you want to be seen as a good feedback-giver, you should proactively develop the skill of giving praise as well as criticism. Giving positive feedback shows your direct reports that you are in their corner, and that you want them to win and to succeed. Once people know you are their advocate, it should also make giving criticism less stressful and more effective.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. 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/tom-gimbel/why-praising-your-staff-might-be-the-most-dangerous-thing-you-do-today.html

https://www.fastcompany.com/90394590/this-is-the-negative-effects-of-praise-that-youve-probably-never-thought-about

https://hbr.org/2017/05/why-do-so-many-managers-avoid-giving-praise

Are Universities Worth It All?

It is often discussed among employers and business leaders alike about the existing gap between what students learn at universities and what they are actually expected to know and handle in order to be ready to perform at a good level. This issue has become especially alarming given the fact that the numbers of people graduating — and it is still growing — from university: over 40% in countries that are part of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and close to 50% in the United States.

It has become clear that even though there higher education has become a more premium feature in today’s society a recent study done The Economist has unravelled that the return on investment (ROI) of a university degree has never been higher for graduates, thus it can be concluded that the value added from a university degree diminishes as the number of graduates continuously rises.

For example, in the area of sub-saharan Africa, where degrees are comparatively rare, a university degree will boost salaries by over 20%, which, by contrast, in the Nordic Countries earnings are boosted by only 9%, where 40% of adults have degrees. Furthermore, as more and more people obtain university qualifications they have become the norm and recruiters and employers will demand them more and more, disregarding the simple fact that they are required for a specific job. It can be concluded that even though degrees can lead to higher earnings, the same employers are damaging the graduates’ mindset and themselves by limiting the candidate strictly to university degree holders. In this modern age of technological advancements and such a constant flow of information, it is difficult to demonstrate that the acquisition of knowledge historically associated to a degree is still relevant in this day and age.

In the meantime, companies are becoming more observant to what they are required to offer in order to attract and retain their best employees, those employees who have a high potential in order to keep their companies competitive and with an extremely agile workforce.

There is a debate amongst people that universities prepare young people from a social point of view. Whilst university, people have the chance to learn how to deal with different types of people and personalities helping them develop in a more complex manner. This can happen due to a couple of reasons:

  • No more direct involvement from parents
  • Young people learn to adapt, they mature mentally, slowly becoming more independent and learn to take care of themselves.

However, the aforementioned arguments do not stand as firmly as one might think. Normally, people attend university from 18 to 22 or 23 years old. In those years, students start to mature naturally due to the simple fact that they are aging. Furthermore, people tend to learn a lot at work by engaging in various work-related activities. Nobody is denying the fact that young adults mature during their university years, but they could do so by being out into the real world, independent from university. Perhaps, the process of maturing would have been greatly accelerated.

It must be taken into account as well; the ever-rising costs of university fees and not everybody could have had access to a higher education, prior to just a few years ago. Nowadays, there are a lot of free online courses which are available to the general public which can level the playing field when it comes to getting a higher paying job. However, it must be taken into consideration that recruiters and employers alike have not started warming up to the idea of online-educated people being ready to enter the workforce.

Whichever way you wish to look at things, the university learning system is simply not scalable, it is not possible. Some universities have more financial resources to help educate their students; some universities have better professors who offer a very unique style of information and the absorption of it; plus there is the other end of the spectre where you have poorly financed universities and professors who have lost their motivation to teach, to educate the young and fairly impressionable minds they have in their class. This leads to digital learning, which, for better or worse, can be scaled to some extent. It is available to everyone; there are no hidden side notes or comments that can sway the mind to go in one direction or the other, so we have to ask ourselves, how we measure the purposefulness and route through which we obtain knowledge.

This is not to say that institutionalised education is fruitless. It does offer people the chance to expand their intellectual selves, develop new skills, and discover things, people or places otherwise hardly talked about.

Whether people like it or not, profits are the main concern of almost every business in the world. Capitalism, for all its benefits, has its flaws and this is one of them. Universities themselves have begun their hunt for profits and the interest of the student has become secondary. These institutions also view their graduates’ futures quite differently from what is happening today in the world. Universities are preparing students not so much for their jobs in their respective industries but more in the area of future drastic changes, changes that may happen decades from now. Due to this type of preparation it has caused a lot of disruption in today’s workforce, given the fact that graduates not only opt to change employers but also careers entirely.

Graduates nowadays have a tendency to seek options left and right, leading to a lot of movement in the job market either being from a larger to a smaller company or vice versa, non-profit and profit, completely different industries altogether. This current generation of young adults don’t even like the word ‘career’ because it simply implies commitment to just one path for the rest of their lives. There are a lot of things universities can be better at and, to be fair, introspection does not sound that dreadful.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. 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.chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Say-They-Prepare/244376

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/09/09/does-college-prepare-students-for-the-real-world/#49c0cc3a42df

https://hbr.org/2019/01/does-higher-education-still-prepare-people-for-jobs

Building a Strong Emotional Connection with Consumers

Companies that are looking to make a lucrative organic growth are making major investments in the optimisation of end-to-end customer experience. In layman terms, this refers to every aspect of how customers interact with a brand and its products and promotions whether we are talking about on or offline. However, most companies still lack a clear strategy and objectives that connect all the aspects of a customer’s journey. Due to this lack of vision companies risk expending vast amounts of money and human capital without getting back any financial gain.

Most companies nowadays are too busy tracking customer activity across their stores, unrealistic measurements for and gathering huge amounts of data from social media, call centres, e-commerce sites loyalty programmes and so on. In this case, their goal is to improve customer satisfaction every step of the way. However, overall customer satisfaction levels are already pretty high and rarely represent a competitive advantage.

Thanks to the research done by Harvard Business Review (HBR) over numerous brands and industries, has revealed the fact the most efficient way to boost customer value is by connecting with them on an emotional level. This indicates the need to use ‘emotional motivators’ i.e. fundamental emotional principles which are often unspoken. Just to name a few we have the need to feel secure, the desire to have a sense of belonging or to succeed in life.

On the basis of customer loyalty, emotionally connected clients are at least twice as valuable as satisfied customers. Emotionally connected customers will buy more of the products or services you offer, they will visit your place of business or stores more often, they display low price sensitivity, they will recommend you more to their family and friends and even follow your advice. Here are a few examples:

Airbnb: Travellers who crave a more personal experience, then, the sharing-economy icon definitely hit an emotional chord through the use of principles such as of mutual trust and respect.

Starbucks: Given the fact they have created a sense of community in their coffee shops, the company has developed a deep and strong bond with their customers to become the perfect place between home and work.

Patagonia: This socially responsible retailer started connecting with like-minded customers and initiated supporting causes they are really invested in. Given its activist spirit, this is echoed in every aspect of the organisation, ranging from logistics to fair wages.

In all fairness, all the marketing tools available now have acted as a catalyst for brands and their customers. If we take a closer look at the leading marketing campaigns involving technology, we can clearly see that emotional marketing is further enhanced by digital tactics. This leads to brands building their reputation and awareness even stronger and with the added bonus of creating special bonds with their long-lasting customers.

The digital advantage

Contrary to popular belief, by embedding technology in our daily marketing campaigns does not mean brands give up on human connection. Through the use of new emerging technologies, organisations have discovered a more personal way to reach and persuade costumers. Messages that make people smile, cry or grimace are what lead to likes, shares and lifelong customers; and the opportunities that the digital era presents bring emotional marketing to new heights.

Influencing customer insights

When you’re designing a campaign revolving around emotions, the message has to reverberate with the desired target audience in order for it to be effective. Nonetheless, it is pretty difficult to build up such a campaign given the fact that every consumer in the customer journey is at a different point in their lives with unique priorities. Given social media websites and numerous apps, very specific customer data is now available allowing marketers to tailor the campaign for their customers on a very deep, personal and emotional level.

Reaching the target audience

Given that our lives have changed considerably in the past 10 years, we are now living in a mobile-first world. This translates into less physical interactions with them in the stores.  A big part of connecting with consumers on a more personal level is by reaching them where they are. It’s the organisation’s responsibility to discover what kind of device their audience is using more often and which content platform to they seem more in touch to i.e. Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook.

Harbouring customer loyalty

It is clear as day that campaigns that makes people angry, happy, sad, anxious or frustrated stay in the minds of the customers and will make them come back for more.

The moment when branded content is being distributed between family and friends and is also very engaging and entertaining, customer loyalty grows exponentially. When an organisation shares content with their customers either through Facebook or Twitter, we can clearly see the ‘art’ of creating an emotional campaign by combining it with science. These types of tactics have become one of the most effective ways in which to boost customer loyalty over decades.

If you are a believer in the idea of the digital era that is destroying the relationship between brands and their customers you may want to think again. Emotional and digital marketing are more intertwined than you may think. Campaigns that make people engage on an emotional level such as laughing, crying or smiling will continue to come out and they will grow in numbers, thus leading to an unprecedented level of engagement which can only be obtained through cut clear digital tactics.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. 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:
HBR.org

Forbes.com

MarTechToday.com

Stupid Questions: Benefits and Importance

Carl Sagan has once stated that: “There are naïve questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.”

How exactly can we define an imbecilic inquisition? More often than not people who ask this ‘sort’ of questions are viewed with a deliberate display of ignorance by a supposedly more intelligent being. Do questions become invalid when they are addressed by patients with mental disabilities? The answer is different from one person to another.

Throughout our lives, the perception of what represents a ‘good’ question may vary. Our teachers and professors have always encouraged smart thinking. However, how can we make smart inquiries if we do not even have the answers even to the simplest of questions? When children are incapable of differentiating between a simple question and a stupid one, they automatically develop the habit of self-censorship and, if not addressed, may transform into complete censorship. Due to this self-imposed censorship, we deprive ourselves of information and we leave all of our doubts unresolved.

We have to accept the idea that questions are questions and nothing else even though sometimes they may seem shrewd or silly. Questions enable us to ‘fuel’ our brain and boost our own reasoning and understanding. If we manage to get off the concept of ‘stupid questions’ early on in our lives, maybe we would see less and less silence during Q&As. Failure doing so will result in a generation without questions, without a voice and worst of all without any judgement.

It is recommended to allow ourselves and others as well to ask stupid questions, because, from a business point of view, they more often than not lead to out of the box ideas.

During the final stages of an interview, people may ask questions so this represents the perfect opportunity to ask how the business does things, due to the simple fact that you are ‘new entry’ and do not know anything. Interviewers should not judge, but actually, encourage candidates to ask as many questions as possible.

Unfortunately, as we grow and develop our ideas more and more we fall into the habit of not asking simple questions because of this transition from little knowledge to a vast amount of it, and when we have reached that stage in our lives when we’re supposed to be informed we stop asking the straightforward questions because you may think people will get the impression you do not really understand what your job consists of.

Ironically, these basic questions will help you improve your work rate and performance over time so it is crucial you don’t stop being curious. Doesn’t it make more sense to ask why in order to fully comprehend what is the motive for doing what you have been asked to?

Understandably, people tend to fall into the routine of their work, but actually, it’s important to question why for the most menial of tasks, because you don’t know where a question may lead you.

Basically, the principle is the same as watching customers using your product for the first time, because, in doing so, they will see things differently than you and the team behind it. A similar example would be when an external consultant has come to the workplace and starts to assess departments and find key areas where there is room for improvement.

Of course, people are generally afraid to ask stupid questions due to peer pressure. Furthermore, they may also lack the necessary self-confidence. Whatever the case may be, not asking simple questions can leave everyone missing out on your ideas and contribution as a team player. Below, you will find a few reasons to start asking questions.

1. Becoming more Open-minded

When someone asks a ‘dumb’ question, they acknowledge and accept the fact that they don’t have all the possible answers. In a way, they reveal that they don’t know everything, thus they start being regarded more open to being questioned. People who ask questions appear more approachable and authentic. As an added bonus, there is no air of superiority coming from these people.

By asking ‘stupid’ questions you make sure that you have all the necessary facts and data in order to make decisions with a higher percentage of success. This will transform you into a trustworthy person who inspires confidence.

Consequently, people around you will become more likely to ‘use’ you as a good listener. They will know you will take into consideration their ideas and that you will question them and offer your best and honest suggestions. Leaders value open and honest people.

2. A Broader Vision

Asking ‘stupid’ questions can lead to creative and out-of-the-box solutions to our many problems. A crazy wild idea or question may be totally off the charts but may inspire someone else to come up with something brilliant. They may find a solution perhaps not as eccentric as yours, but nonetheless, a solution that solves the issue one way or another.

When you have a vision or an idea for something you start to imagine what that might be. The second part of the vision is represented by the contingency plan aka plan B. If people question someone’s plan it should not be viewed as a ‘dumb’ thing to do. It is important to see this as an opportunity to explore various contingency plans.

3. Perception

More often than not the moment when a new process is being set up, people start asking questions about it and it may seem like they are resisting change or in some cases, question someone’s authority. However, blindly following rules and directions is not always a good idea as history offers us good examples. The organisation may suffer getting the expected results and not because the change itself was a bad one, but simply because the people who are implementing the change didn’t understand why they were doing it.

When employees blindly accept to follow a new initiative for a project there can be a damaging lack of clarity in terms of direction and motivation. Our brains are wired to take the path of least resistance which more often than not leads to peril. By getting ourselves rid of the fear of questioning and actually dare to ask the so-called ‘dumb’ questions we may ensure that we are all focused and on the same path.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. 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://medium.com/@rjd203/the-importance-of-asking-stupid-questions-e96ba6d9551c

https://nptribune.com/?p=931

https://networkingtimes.com/blog/2016/03/15/6-benefits-to-asking-dumb-questions/

Knowledge – The one and only Shortcut in the Professional Life

Many of you have probably already read at least a dozen articles that promised to reveal the secrets or shortcuts to a successful professional life. While most of those are definitely helpful, they seem to be rather some tips & tricks more than anything else.

Each and every one of us is different, has his own goals, his own little thing that wakes him up in the morning and even his own waking time (no, you don’t have to rise & shine every morning at 5 am in order to be successful). Adding on top of that, we do live in a VUCA world, where it is almost impossible to predict what’s going to happen next and how exactly you should prepare for it. So what can you make of all this? Well, first of all, that you won’t be able to find a “secret recipe to success” that is universally applicable, because there is no such thing. But then, what us is the only “tool” that will help you in this world, no matter the situation? The one thing that is needed in order to do almost anything else? If you haven’t guessed by now (or you haven’t even read the title of this article), the answer is knowledge.

And I’m talking about the real knowledge.

Nowadays, way too many people use some type of pseudo-knowledge, grabbed from the first Google link that you can find, in order to brag about their high intellect. That kind of knowledge might only be useful to be the center of attention at a networking event or maybe a party, but elsewhere it won’t bring you that many benefits.  As the genius physicist Richard Feynman wrote in his own autobiography: “You can know the name of that bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. You’ll only know about humans in different places, and what they call the bird. … I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”

Therefore, how can you know that you really know something and not just its name?

First and foremost, you need a lot of time to gain that real knowledge that can help you in almost every aspect of your life.  Go find a subject that you enjoy. And read about it. A LOT. Enroll in courses that tackle that subject. Talk to the experts. Only then you might have a shot of having obtained real knowledge. Do you want to know if you actually made it? Feynman comes to the rescue again with his unique method of double checking your own understanding, called The Feynman Technique:

“Without using the new word which you have just learned, try to rephrase what you have just learned in your own language.”

Step 1

Write the name of the concept at the top of a blank piece of paper.

Step 2

Write down an explanation of the concept on the page. Use plain English. Pretend you are teaching it to someone else (e.g a new student or even a child). This should highlight what you understand, but more importantly pinpoint what you don’t quite know.

Step 3

Review what you have pinpointed you don’t know. Go back to the source material, re-read, and re-learn it. Repeat Step 2.

Step 4

If you are using overly wordy or confusing language (or simply paraphrasing the source material) try again so you filter the content. Simplify your language, and where possible use simple analogy.

 

Sources:

“The Feynman Technique Model” -Mattyford.com
“What do you care what other people think?” – Richard Feynman

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/