Saturday, November 27, 2010

Extraverts Are Not Always the Most Successful Leaders

You may find it difficult to accept but Introverted leaders can be more effective than Extraverts in certain circumstances.

It all depends on who the leaders are managing, according to Grant and co-authors Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School and David Hofmann of the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Their paper, forthcoming in the Academy of Management Journal, is titled "Reversing the Extraverted Leadership Advantage: The Role of Employee Proactivity."

Extraverted leadership involves commanding the centre of attention: being outgoing, assertive, bold, talkative and dominant. This offers the advantages of providing a clear authority structure and direction.

However, pairing extraverted leaders with employees who take initiative and speak out can lead to friction, while pairing the same group of employees with an introverted leader can be a pathway to success, the researchers note.

This has implications for leaders and managers at all levels who want to improve their own leadership styles.

"If you look at existing leadership research, extraversion stands out as the most consistent and robust predictor of who becomes a leader and who is rated as an effective leader," Grant says. "But I thought this was simplistic and incomplete. It tells us very little about the situations in which introverted leaders can be more effective than extraverted leaders."

Read more at www.knowledge.wharton

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Secure Document Management using RFID: Breeze and Sharepoint

RFID tags have made their way into document management to allow them to be physically tracked, as they move through an organisation.

An interesting way to know just where every document is at any given time and who’s holding it and who's working on it.

The video describes the process and shows the requirement for an RFID reader in the paper tray.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cloud-based Risk Management

Business Stream, the business division of Scottish Water, is to implement a Cloud-based risk management platform which aims to streamline and unify its Risk and Controls activities.

It’s claimed the software, Risk Manager from Xactium, will encourage a “collaborative approach to risk management through its organisation-wide visibility and remote accessibility”.

There are hopes the implementation at Business Stream, which provides water and waste services to over 96,000 businesses and the public sector in Scotland, will also promote better risk culture across the organisation, together with improvements to business efficiency, and “demonstrate Business Stream’s risk management commitment to customers and industry regulators”.

Risk Manager is built on, the Cloud application platform from Cloud Computing vendor,

Paula Louchart, IT solutions manager at Business Stream, said “Xactium’s Risk Manager stood out for us because of the speed and ease of implementation.

We were already familiar with Salesforce, so we know that the platform offers impressive business advantages, such as better visibility and effortless reporting”.

“We are delighted that we have been able to provide Business Stream with a risk solution that matches their forward-thinking ethos,” added Andy Evans, managing director of Xactium.

“It is a very positive sign for us that businesses are now recognising the value of cloud-based risk management. The flexibility and customizability it offers hasn’t been available with traditional systems.”

Monday, November 22, 2010

Like Minds: Robin Wight on The Future's Bright, The Future's Social

Don't let the picture put you off!

What do you get when you cross sociology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience and an outrageous purple suit? The result is Robin Wight’s insight at Like Minds - a nonstop ride of case studies, quips, and powerful revelations that brings Robin to one inexorable conclusion: the future is indeed social.

As an ad man with over 40 years of experience, Robin Wight is the president of both WCRS and Engine, where he has handled the BMW account for 31 years and been the creative driving force behind their prominence.

Watch Robin’s Insight in HD, along with other videos and speaker bios.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wharton Professor Jeremy Siegel: Stocks, the US Economy and the Mid-Term Elections

The political landscape in Washington and around the country shifted considerably as a result of the midterm elections, with Republicans taking control of the House, gaining ground in the Senate and claiming several high-profile state offices against incumbent Democrats.

What are the elections' implications for the economy and the stock market, health care reform, the Obama administration's leadership strategy and the future of both parties going forward?

Knowledge@Wharton spoke with Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel, insurance and risk management professor Kent Smetters about these and other issues.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The adaptive management style

Generally, from the outset of a project, it’s a good idea to approach it's management from an enlightened perspective, even if your natural tendency is towards a more agressive approach.

Give the people you’re working with some credit and believe that they genuinely want to do a good job. When things go wrong, listen to what they are saying and examine all the factors. Take the appropriate actions with a positive attitude and an encouraging tone.

You must nurture your people but you don’t have to baby them. You do have to remember that they are thinking and co-operative human beings that deserve the respect of being treated as such.

If problems persist and you feel that work is actively being avoided or approached halfheartedly, then it may be time to adopt a more assertive approach.

However, this does not mean resorting to belittling comments and ad hominem attacks! It simply means that you shouldn’t live in denial of ineffective workers and must take steps to either push them into action or replace them.

There are many people that may respond much better to a direct and assertive management approach. Sometimes a considerate, forgiving boss simply isn’t respected in lieu of a strong and powerful leader.

The key to good management is being able to effectively take on either style when a situation calls for it. The adaptive manager will always be more effective than the fixed approach adopted by both the stern and understanding managers.

Changing Education Paradigms

Sir Ken Robinson - Changing Paradigms

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dragonfly Effect – Social Media Video Book Review by Chris Brogan

Today we present Jennifer Aiker and Andy Smith’s book The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change.

It’s not only a book about social change, but it’s a book about the presentation and understanding of a formula, showing how to use web tools to build marketing value.

Dragonfly Effect presents a simple formula that you may want to absorb and apply to your own projects. Check out the review by Chris Brogan the social media guru.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Project failure is predictable

This Dilbert cartoon summarises a few of project truths:

Consider some of the meanings expressed by this short cartoon:
  • Complicated plans don’t work. If you can’t understand the plan, then be prepared to die (metaphorically speaking). Far better to break large projects into a program, or portfolio, of smaller one. If you can’t wrap your mind around the scope of a project, then it’s too big and almost certainly doomed to fail.
  • “Spraying energy into the vortex of failure” doesn’t work. Neither wishful thinking nor the vain imaginings of an enthusiastic team are sufficient to solve the complication problem in the last bullet. Oh yes, if only wishful thinking worked, the world would be a better place.
  • Your boss really doesn’t care. Sure, it’s a stereotype, and I beg mercy from all the great managers out there but, the fact remains, the myopia of people not directly connected to solving the problems can be strong. Which means their project is your problem.
Fundamentally, these three truths express mismatched expectations at so many levels that it’s almost impossible to separate the strands.

At the very least, learn to recognise signs of potential catastrophe well in advance. If you know a problem exists, then there’s at least some hope to fix it before failure strikes.

Devising Your Social Media Strategy

Social media is a buzz word for all web tools that enable user interaction and networking. These include Twitter, Facebook, blogs and multimedia sharing. A social media strategy, when executed properly, can help companies stay relevant, create brand associations and conversations, interact with customers, and reach previously untapped, prospective customers.

A downside of social media is that it's hard to measure marketing efforts but that doesn't mean you shouldn't join the conversation. Whether you're on social networks or not, consumers are already talking about your brand; it's important to moderate and play an active role in those discussions.

For this reason, social media is making its way into more and more marketing plans. But since it's a relatively new concept, many companies are still experimenting with it. Don't let the unknown factor deter you from diving in though. Even at this early stage, you need to set your company up in the right direction and start participating.

Companies that are already well established may find their different departments, such as IT, digital, and sales, currently compete with one another instead of work together. A good social media strategy will effectively harmonize the disparate departments, increasing the overall productivity of the company.

When used properly, social media can increase positive brand interaction within a community of workers and outside customers through feedback, comments and participation. It also keeps a company’s Internet presence under control by monitoring online mentions of the brand.

Companies, then, are able to keep track of both positive and negative feedback. In addition, social media is viral by nature. When links are shared by the community, traffic increases to a company's website, improving the presence of the brand across social channels.

Beware, a poorly executed strategy can have negative effects. If a company tries to hold the reins on social media too tight, they'll end up censoring and dictating their online presence, killing all of the fun and creativity the platforms can offer. On the flip side, if a company allows their social media to get out of hand, their brand can become tainted with fallacies and unproductive interactions.

So, how do you create an effective social media strategy? Try following these guidelines to get started:

1. Be realistic. Don’t set impossible goals.

If the company has been around for a long time, catching up on all the social media hoopla might take a while. So do it step by step, little by little. Start with something basic, yet essential, such as turning the company newsletter into a blog. Or, to go even more basic, make sure the company has a Twitter feed and a Facebook page.

Then, move on to bigger and more ambitious things, such as establishing an official social media policy in the company. Message boards and collaborative forums are just a few tools you should keep in mind.

2. All members of the company should embrace the social media strategy and become an active part of it.

Top management members need to be as up to date with what’s going on as the other members of the community. Social media shouldn’t be excluded to the PR department or outside consultants. Even the community, audience and consumers need to be active participants. In this way, the company will be able to respond and adapt quickly to needs, concerns and questions.

Also, each person who participates in your company's social media conversation is a representative of it. They are an advocate for your company on the web, and their contributions can reflect heavily on your brand.

3. Look at the long-term picture.

A good social media strategy will truly last, even though the nature of social media is ever-changing. Not only does the company need to keep up with these changes, it needs to always be one step ahead.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Applying The Five Stages Of Grief as a Guide Towards SCRM Projects

In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced the “Five Stages of Grief” in her book, On Death and Dying. These five stages can be summed up as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

When applied to disruptive technology adoption by organizations, the “Five Stages” framework provides clear insight in anticipating how likely an organization is ready to embrace change.

Recent conversations with line of business operations managers about Social CRM identify both lack of awareness and high levels of internal resistance towards adoption.

In a recent phone and in-person survey of 31 front office operations owners (i.e. sales executives, support executives, and COO’s) about their attitudes on Social CRM, 67.7% (i.e. 21/31) expressed denial, 16.1% (i.e. 5/31) felt anger, and 9.6% (i.e. 3/31) experienced bargaining, 3.2% (i.e. 1/31) encountered depression, and 3.2% (i.e. 1/31) achieved acceptance (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Most Front Office Executives Live In Denial About SCRM

The Bottom Line For Buyers (Users) – The Kübler-Ross Model Provides Techniques To Expedite The Internal Acceptance Of SCRM
The five stages of SCRM adoption describes each phase, discusses the typical reactions, and addresses how to move forward. Organizations can expect stakeholders to progress through the phases at their own pace. Expect organizations to fall between a 10 month to 21 month range.

However, proponents can accelerate the process through both qualitative understanding and quantitative support. Here are the five stages:
  1. Stage 1: Denial (Average duration 3 to 6 months). Many executives will put up defenses and excuses when initially broached about the need for SCRM. They may have a point should no quantitative data exist or may feel as strongly as my fellow Enterprise Advocate, Dennis Howlett does about SCRM. Typical responses include,”Social CRM is just another XLA fad”; “None of our customers will ever use this stuff, just look at how much we invested in CRM”; “Is there really any return in these social things?”

    Proponents should share adoption trends based on SCRM Use Case #F1 – Social Customer Insights. If the analytical data provides the quantitative support on social media trends, then expect both a heightened awareness of the market realities and a rapid progression towards the second phase. In many consumer and classic B2C industries, the data will show that some significant population group is having a conversation in a social channel. The next set of questions to answer, “Can they be influenced and will they buy?” Now, if the data shows that customers, for example in classic B2B industries such as aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO), have barely adopted any social tools, then it will make sense to wait till social media adoption has hit a critical mass.

  2. Stage 2: Anger (Average duration 1 to 3 months). As data flows in about where customers are having conversations about an organization’s product, the individual recognizes that denial can not continue. “Outside” conversations happening without the supervision of the firm will most likely enrage the management team. Executives will often ask, “Can these customers really do this without us?”; “Why doesn’t our existing efforts have the same effect?”; “Do we have to deal with another channel?”; “How come we have to waste all this time on SCRM”; “Who’s fault is this?”

    At this point, stakeholders will express their rage at anyone and anything they can. Proponents should let the individuals vent their frustration. From there, help the stakeholders visualize a time table and project plan to support the SCRM project. Show them how to engage and influence the customer. Let them know they no longer control the conversation.

  3. Stage 3: Bargaining (Average duration 3 to 6 months). Despite all logical arguments, stakeholders will begin to rationalize the situation. Excuses to postpone taking action balance out the recognition of the urgency to adopt SCRM. Quotes from the survey include, “None of our competitors are doing this, why should we?” “If we can hold out for a few more years, we’ll be okay and the market will be stable”; “Can we just do one part and not the rest?”

    Begin the discussion on what impact could occur due to inaction. Highlight the elements of a successful approach and the dependencies. Layout the holistic point of view. Encourage outside advisors to provide an alternative but independent point of view.

  4. Stage 4: Depression (Average duration 2 to 3 months). Realization that a lack of financial and labor resources will hamper adoption, forces depression upon front office executives. Stakeholders express thoughts such as “We don’t have the funding, this will never go through”; “Social CRM is inevitable, but no one is trained on this stuff”; “By the time we put up the current version, the world will be two generations ahead”

    Walk through the timing of cost and benefits with an emphasis on ROI. Apply good project management discipline to identify resource requirements and milestones. Identify skill gaps among the team. Highlight the road map and project plan again and show where phases could be accelerated. Identify success factors from previous projects.

  5. Stage 5: Acceptance (Average duration 1 to 3 months). With the facts in hand, a plan in place, and change management in effect, stakeholders may have turned the corner. A realization that customers in social media channels are here to stay. This “social thing” is cultural not a fad. The tenor in hallway conversations shifts from stages 1 and 2 to “It’s going to be okay, we can make this work.”; “I can’t fight the social trend, we may as well prepare for it and win.”; “Let’s put some money behind this but continue to monitor and test”; “Get that team ready to go.”

    Don’t celebrate yet! Put the plan in place. Apply continuous monitoring and testing. Fail fast. Put those learnings back into the next iteration. Coordinate the ecosystem for success.