Weathering An Organizational Storm

$16-billion dollar weather disasters have affected the US this year, from January – October. And the year isn’t over. We all knew someone, or personally experienced these events – from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria to the more recent wildfires in California. These traumatic events have taken a physical and emotional toll on many.

Living in Florida, hurricane season is one we plan for and anticipate every year. But always with a wait and see mentality. This year may be quiet, with little impact to our homes, or it may be the year where we experience the storm of the century. Having just watched the unexpected impact of hurricane Harvey to our neighbors across the Gulf, here in Florida, we watched the path of hurricane Irma with great anxiety. In the days before hurricane Irma was scheduled to make landfall, Governor Scott called for a State of Emergency. The skies were blue, social and professional events went on as scheduled, but the environment was charged. Water became scarce in the stores. Group chats permeated social media. We all accessed the local news channels and apps with more frequency as we sought the most up-to-date information on the direction of the storm, and the potential impact to different regions of the state of Florida. Who would be impacted, how badly, and when? Read More…

Why Articulating A Clear Vision Is Critical For Entrepreneurs?

A few years ago I used a phone app, called Shapr, to expand my social circles, to make new connections, learn new things and enjoy a conversation or two. I met aspiring artists and entrepreneurs who were looking to start a business or were already working on one. They shared their stories and inquired into pro-bono consulting to help them with building their ventures.

In many instances my initial question was, “Where do you want to go with this idea and what are you creating?” Oftentimes, my Shapr’s friends could not clearly respond and this, initially, left me somewhat confused. If I was confused from the start, how would their customers (or potential customers) react?

Compelling vision and mission statements have the ability to provide clarity and direction with regard to why a business exists, what purpose it serves and what value it brings to its stakeholders. Not being able to clearly articulate this can obviously make it difficult to get people on board with your ideas.  Read More…

Mimicry Is Not Strategy

Quick show of hands if you’ve ever heard this in an off-site, Planning or Strategy meeting.

“We want to be the Apple of X”

“Can you give me a NIKE-style version of Y?”

The reference point is always the latest envogue organization, talked-about creative piece or Fast Company magazine article.

For a while the catch-phrase was “We’re the UBER of Z” but considering the recent departure of UBER’s CFO and their VP of Global Vehicle Programs, as well as a raft of scandals, the bloom has come off that particular corporate rose quite significantly.

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Knowledge Management: Did You Know?

knowledge management benefits

It’s funny how things go in cycles. What was critically important to us last year may not be a concern to us today. And things we used to take for granted, we now cannot fathom living without.

Think about the Internet. Most of us weren’t even aware of it until the mid 90’s, but where would we be today without it? Although I type here from the comfort of my office chair, my office is at home and I rarely need to venture into NYC thanks to technology. My office material comes from Amazon.com and my calls are handled over a VOIP platform. All driven by the web.

Knowledge management is a similar area you’ve probably never paid attention to. Maybe you haven’t heard about it yet, but knowledge management is already affecting how you live and work.

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How to Fail Successfully

how to fail successfully

Written By Mike Irwin

My youngest daughter is a skateboarder.  With her, I’ve spent a fair amount of time at skateboarding events and at skate parks.  While I’ve been wowed many times by bold and amazing stunts, I’ve also noticed one thing:  skateboarders fall.  A lot.  Pros, beginners, veterans and young rippers all hit the deck.  Mount a GoPro on their helmet and the courage factor goes way up but it still doesn’t keep them from falling. Here’s the thing: they almost always bounce right back up.

Why is that?  Well, for one thing, they (sometimes) wear protection.  Mostly though, their ability to jump back on the board uninjured is because they know how to fall.  In skateboarding, knowing how to fall (or fail) is part and parcel to knowing how to continue to push to achieve new tricks (or success).

“Knowing how to fall is, like, a basic life skill,” one skateboarder told me.  “If I didn’t know how to fall, I wouldn’t be able to learn new tricks either.”

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How to Challenge Your Mental Models and Think Differently

challenge mental models and think differently

Early in my career, I hesitated to speak up on client calls with senior leaders. I thought my opinions were wrong and needed strong validation from my team in order to share.

After sending several messages about it to my manager, she finally told me, “Just speak up and tell them what you think!” That emphatic comment got me thinking, WHY was I behaving that way?

Only when I challenged my assumptions and way of thinking was I finally able to change my behavior and speak up in meetings with these leaders, even in the same room. It was a big step in realizing that I needed to break my old mental model.

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The Building Blocks of Exceptional Customer Engagement at LEGOLAND

customer engagement legoland

A few weeks ago, my wife and I took our six-year-old son on the requisite pilgrimage to LEGOLAND Theme Park in Carlsbad, California. As an avid LEGO “Master Builder”, my son was beyond excited to spend two days completely immersed in brick-building adventures. As a secret LEGO lover myself, I have to admit, I was pretty stoked as well.

I’d never been LEGOLAND before, so I had an opportunity to experience the park with zero expectations — minus the lingering concerns of crowds and hour-long lines that any parent faces with two days in a theme park.

Not only did our family have a great time; we spent most of our flight home reliving the details. And as we put the pieces of our trip back together, I began to deeply appreciate LEGOLAND’s approach to building an exceptional customer experience for their fans.

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How Are We Making This Decision?

Guest article written by Levi Nieminen, Ph.D.

There are six small words that every business leader – really every person – ought to build into their everyday vernacular: How are we making this decision?

Office existence is strewn with examples of decision confusion. One person thinks the decision has already been made, while a second person thinks he’s waiting on the approval of a third who has no idea she’s the “decider.” Cue the Dilbert cartoon.

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Getting Your Operations House in Order for the New Year

operations in 2017

With the start of the new year behind us, now is a great time to get your house in order from an operations viewpoint. You still need to do all the usual tasks (close the books, update payroll and 401K information, etc.), but should also have on your to-do list tasks like re-visit your employee handbook and take another look at your internal processes.

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The Three Pillars of Every Successful Change Management Plan

successful change management plan

It’s 2017, and your boss walks into your office and says, “We need to restructure four key departments: Finance, HR, Internal Communications and Information Technology into a centralized function to serve all the core business lines globally. The result of the restructuring is vital for our organization because it’s projected to increase our operating margins by as much as 5-6 percent over two years. I need you to lead this effort.”

It sounds like a good idea until you realize the change will involve 5,000 employees in those departments. Oy! Now that’s some way to bring in the New Year! In addition to a solid organization design strategy (hint-hint, stay tuned for my next article), you will also need a change management strategy and plan in order to transition the entire organization to a shared services model.

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