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Leading a Multicultural Team

September 15, 2014 By: azjogger Category: Management, Marketing & Sales

CBR003314By Marwa Hijazi

Managing a multicultural team can be a rewarding experience, giving leaders the opportunity to work closely with employees from diverse backgrounds and offering the chance for personal and professional growth. However, operating a team with genuinely different people also comes with a number of challenges that must be overcome to create a productive work environment.

Leaders must be knowledgeable and open minded of different cultures to gain a better understanding of employees and find a way to help them work together as a team.

Breaking Down Cultural Barriers

It’s easy for misunderstandings to occur on a diverse team simply due to cultural differences. When people have different values and are accustomed to certain behaviors, it can take some work to get everyone on the same page.

Some cultures have a more direct style of addressing problems, while others prefer to focus on the relationship and take a more subtle approach. For example, the Dutch have a reputation for being very straightforward, while the Japanese are typically more reserved and formal.  Team members from these cultures may have to make an effort to adapt to each other’s style and expectations.

Time is another major issue that often causes rifts in multicultural teams. While Americans plan their day according to the clock, other cultures are often much more relaxed. Employees from such backgrounds may believe it’s perfectly acceptable to let a meeting run over the scheduled time period or show up late if they were in the middle of an important conversation ─ which is bound to upset those who prefer to stick to a strict timetable.

The phrase “time is money” translates well for most cultures, since money is a universal priority in the business world. If everyone on the team respects each other’s time as they would respect each other’s money, that can go a long way.

Forming a United Workplace Culture

Multicultural teams are often composed of employees who would rarely interact with one another otherwise. While their individual cultures should be celebrated, it’s important to shape a cohesive and constructive atmosphere for everyone involved.

Management should talk to employees ─ creating focus groups if necessary ─ to learn more about similar problems faced by workers. If there isn’t one obvious solution to these issues, it’s a great idea to ask for input on the best way to manage them, so everyone feels like they’re being heard.

Understanding Cultural Differences

Business practices, customs, and acceptable topics of conversation vary greatly from one country to the next. So while the behavior of an employee may appear inappropriate in America, it could very well be the conventional way of doing business in their native country.

Gaining a solid understanding of the key issues associated with a multicultural team will allow management to be much more effective. While certain employees may initially be viewed as difficult, lazy, or rude, digging deeper to explore their cultural norms can offer valuable insights that help all members of the team understand each other better.

Have you had an experience as an employee or employer – or even as a customer – where cultural differences affected a situation negatively?  Consider how making a careful and informed effort to overcome them might have mitigated the problem.

 

Magnify Your Employees Strengths to Drive Leadership Success

April 11, 2014 By: azjogger Category: Marketing & Sales

By Dr. Neil Burgisbusiness team

Magnifying your excellence is just one of those expressions that sticks

Being exceptional as a leader and leveraging your strengths helps you drive success not just for yourself but for your entire organization as well. Does your organization have exceptional leaders? Maybe you are one.

Working on your strengths is where you need to focus your efforts. Trying to fix your weaknesses, may be a lifelong career in itself.

Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Look carefully at both your strengths and weaknesses. Remember, some of your weaknesses just might really be a strength you do not use much of. Take notice of what may be holding you back from reaching your goals. Sometimes these same holds may be a habit you need to break and replace with a more positive way of doing things. This also takes place with your attitude as well. Attitudes can have a powerful impact on other people you do business with- internally and externally.

Fix Your Existing People and Processes Be aware of what may be stopping you from moving forward to reach your goals, such as higher productivity/performance. Look at how your people are working. Do they need training in developing a new skill or in learning new techniques to meet up-to-date goals in order to be aligned with where your leadership wants to take the organization?

Evaluate your current processes. Are they aligned with your people and the goals you want to complete? Do your processes need to be over-hauled, in order to be up-to-date to go beyond where you are right now? What can you keep and what needs to be replaced?

Even though leadership has changed over the years, many organizations have kept the “old” policies and ways of doing things. It just might be time to change whether from one traditional way over another, or to become non-traditional. In changing to become non-traditional, be willing to let go of the “old” and look at alternatives to go beyond survival mode into thrive mode.

Being Open-Minded Be able to listen to others and do not react immediately to what they say. Think first before speaking helps you think of a solution or of how you want to handle what was said to you. You may even find yourself implementing a suggestion an employee talks with you about. If so, give recognition to the employee.

Proactive versus Reactive The exceptional leader is always thinking three steps ahead. When a situation occurs, do you react to the situation immediately? Some people panic because they really do not know how to handle situations. During a crisis, many people either freeze or act positively in reducing the problem, difficulty or challenge.

Empower Your Employees Give some responsibilities to your employees. Allows employees to make some decisions where they also need to solve an issue with other co-workers. Your employees will be satisfied in their job as you allow them to use more of their creative and innovative skills while using their critical thinking skills at the same time.

The question of this post is: How exceptional are you and how are you leveraging your skills and talents and those of your employees to create and produce extraordinary results? (When you magnify your leadership competencies to the level of exceptional, employee engagement increases, productivity rises, and profitability soars.)

Neal Burgis, Ph.D., is an executive coach and Founder of Burgis Successful Solutions, an executive-leadership coaching firm specializing in providing executive-leadership consulting and coaching services to C-suite executives of small and mid-size organizations on a one-to-one basis in areas they identify as vital to their effectiveness. I can be reached at:[email protected] or by calling me at 602-405-2540 http://www.successful-solutions.com

Implementing Strategy: The Leadership Strategy

April 11, 2014 By: azjogger Category: Marketing & Sales

From Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), Leading Effectively

What’s your strategic leadership challenge?

Are you responsible for leading product development? Growing market share? Replacing legacy systems?

Do you find yourself competing with other senior leaders and priorities, wondering how to forward the long-term health of the organization?

If so, take some guidance from CCL’s Leading Strategically program.

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Leading Strategically isn’t about the process of setting strategy. It’s about what comes next: What do I need to pay attention to? How do I implement? How do I orchestrate the various efforts and tactics into a strategic whole? How do I contribute to organizational leadership?

A New Approach

The Leading Strategically program is about the strategic leadership mindset. It brings together solid thinking and cutting-edge practices — and participants apply the knowledge to their personal strategic leadership challenge.

Participants examine the core skills of strategic thinking, strategic acting and strategic influencing. They look at issues that typically challenge senior leaders — leading change, shaping culture, leveraging polarities and spanning boundaries — and ways to manage them.

The program includes a self-assessment, an intensive business simulation and time to practice new skills and work through participants’ specific challenges. Participants also work with a CCL executive coach during and after the program week and have access to a cloud-based toolkit for follow-up learning.

The simulation is especially powerful and practical, according to Rich Tallman, portfolio manager of the CCL program.

“In the simulation, managers have the opportunity to set the priorities for the organization and see the results of their decision. In the next round, they can try out new information or a different approach,” Tallman says. “At each stage, they learn a new element of the strategic mindset and then work though how it applies to their personal strategic challenge.”

The program also bridges individual and organizational leadership, notes CCL’s David Dinwoodie, a Leading Strategically trainer and a co-author of the new book Becoming a Strategic Leader: Your Role in Your Organization’s Enduring Success.

“Two things happen in parallel. On the individual level, the experience is focused on you, your competencies and working on that personal leadership challenge,” Dinwoodie explains. “But we also work on how to build strategic thinking, acting and influencing as a leadership team. As participants work with 23 other people in the program, they address the collective skills and organizational culture needed to lead strategically and create high-performing organizations.”

Results That Matter

Recent Leading Strategically participants made their shift to the strategic mindset in various ways.

Tim Cannon, marketing director — Barefoot Wine and Bubbly, EJ Gallo Winery, gained a new perspective for leading change in his organization: “The program helped me better understand myself as a leader and how to utilize practical tools such as leveraging polarities and spanning organizational boundaries to drive true change.”

“Coming into the class, I was very narrow in my thinking around my strategic challenge, but by the end of the week it became much broader in scope,” said Ed Miller, divisional vice president for a major financial services company. “Although there were many takeaways, I will be focusing on developing and using strategic influence in helping others to become more strategic throughout our organization.”

“For me, the biggest “a-ha” was realizing the even though we, as a senior leadership team for Kao, are very good at communicating our corporate message throughout the organization, we can use some simple strategies to make sure that everyone not only knows our strategies but lives them,” said Pamela McNamara, vice president, Sales — Salon US, Kao Group. “By having the entire team fully embrace their part of the puzzle, we will have more motivated team members.”

“In the program and in every organization, each person has something they are trying to advance and move forward,” says CCL’s Tallman. “Learning to view a project or initiative strategically increases their ability to succeed. CCL’s framework offers a concrete approach and specific tools to make it happen.”

Find out more about the strategic leadership mindset in a related article in this issue: Strategy Know-how vs. Strategic Leadership.

Asking for Success

Asking the right questions — and returning to them to re-evaluate the answers and unearth new insights — is one way effective leaders align and execute strategy. Participants in CCL’s Leading Strategically program learn to ask a number of key questions, including:

  • What are the two or three key drivers where we should invest our resources, time and energy?
  • Do we have business strategies that are aligned with our key drivers?
  • Do we have the organizational capabilities that enable us to execute the business strategies?
  • Do we have good processes and dialogue for dealing with conflicting priorities?
  • Are we paying attention to the cognitive and emotional dimensions of leading change?

3 Things Everyone Should Know About Teams

April 11, 2014 By: azjogger Category: Marketing & Sales

From Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), Leading Effectively

Teams come and teams go. You lead some, you join some. A few are formal and structured. Many morph and cross and evolve along with the work.

But one thing is for sure: You don’t work on your own.

Matrixed organizations, cross-functional projects, interdependent departments and interconnected work — all these factors require people to work together, in teams of some sort.

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“Work structures have changed, becoming more fluid and intertwined,” says CCL’s Michael Campbell. “The ability to lead teams and groups of all shapes and sizes is a core skill and the key to getting things done.”

So, whatever your formal role (team leader, manager or team member), here are three things you need to know about leading teams.

1. Effectiveness is not based on one metric. Of course, teams are measured by results — did you accomplish what you wanted to accomplish? But two additional outcomes also tell you how effective a team is:

  • Learning. Did the team build capability and get better?
  • Satisfaction. Was the team engaged in the work? Did team members enjoy working together?

2. Needs must be met. Teams have needs and when they are neglected, your outcomes will suffer. Research shows that teams have three types of needs:

  • Planning needs. Do we have a shared understanding of goals, roles, team norms, and a strategy or plan to achieve those goals?
  • Execution needs. Are we clear about how our team communicates, coordinates, collaborates and monitors its effectiveness?
  • Interpersonal. What’s the level of trust on the team? How do we handle conflict constructively? Are we motivated to achieve our goals?

When a team is underperforming, faltering or flat-out failing, look carefully at what’s missing. What behaviors are required (by you and other team members) to meet team needs?

“We find that leaders easily recognize the importance of planning and execution needs, even if they don’t always fulfill those needs,” Campbell notes. “Addressing interpersonal needs is just as critical to team effectiveness, and it is also messier.”

3. Facilitation trumps expertise. Your knowledge is limited. You don’t have all the answers; that’s why you are working with other people. Facilitation skills are needed to access the ideas and knowledge of team members and draw out their collective best thinking. Facilitation requires the ability to mentally pull back from the action or the topic at hand and observe how the team is functioning, and help it improve.

“As a leader you’re not just filling the space the team is working in, you’re creating the space for teams to address their needs,” says Campbell.

Bottom line:

Team leadership skills are critical regardless of your formal structure. When you know the outcomes of team effectiveness and the needs that create those outcomes, you’ll have a better handle on what’s going right on your teams — and what isn’t. With that knowledge, you can build a better team.

5 Tips For Leading Innovation

February 21, 2014 By: azjogger Category: Marketing & Sales

From Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) Leading Effectively

It seems everybody is seeking innovation — at least everybody wants the results of innovation. Innovation is often viewed as a panacea or “silver bullet” for underlying organizational issues that are hard to articulate.

Innovation is about creating and implementing something new that adds value.

Innovation is not only about new products — it’s also about changing the way we work, providing new services to our clients, or changing business models to deliver products and services that are hard to replicate.

Innovation Sustains Your Competitive Edge

Innovation fuels new industries, markets, products and services. It allows us to handle complex challenges facing the organization, helping us transform and continually adapt in order to give us a sustainable competitive edge.

So, what gets in the way of innovation? The major challenge — even in organizations that declare the desire to become more innovative — is the full commitment of leaders to practice new ways of leading innovation while continuing to efficiently and effectively manage the core business.

Leading innovation requires new mindsets, skillsets and toolsets, according to CCL’s David Horth and Jonathan Vehar in the paper, Becoming a Leader Who Fosters Innovation. Here, they offer a few suggestions to get you thinking.

Commit. Innovation requires resources and deliberate focus. To break down the organizational barriers to innovation, ensure that people have appropriate governance, funding, resources, support and access to decision-makers.

“But don’t launch a big innovation initiative, contest or campaign,” Vehar warns. “It’s bound to backfire.”

Innovation is at its best when it has a job to do. Start with a key organizational issue assigned to a small group and give them your best leadership and support. Then get out of their way so they can find innovative resolutions to the challenge. Create simple and effective ways to reinforce the message that innovation is important for all functions in the organization. Speak in compelling and simple terms that motivate people to think and do things differently (but not just for the sake of it!).

Work on the culture. Shift away from the “management of creativity” (a control mindset) and towards “leadership for innovation,” which calls for developing a culture and climate that promotes and acknowledges the creative process. Without the supporting culture, breakthroughs and meaningful innovations that challenge the status quo rarely emerge. If radical ideas surface, they often never make it to the marketplace or get implemented as innovations. Such ideas are typically rejected before they get very far.

“Innovation leadership goes against the grain of organizations that have been built on the foundation of operational efficiency and repeatable processes,” says Horth. “Innovation and efficiency must co-exist. If this tension is embraced, it becomes a source of all it takes to transform ideas into innovations — but it takes time and deep understanding of the leadership culture so the two don’t cancel each other out.”

Accept risk — really. Innovation rarely works according to a predetermined plan. In a culture where it’s possible for people to try, make mistakes and learn from what happens, innovations can find their own path, flourish and add value. Even so, the success of a new product, service or process might not be guaranteed. What you must demand and can expect is learning — and the chance to succeed the next time around. This is the basis of de-risking by experimenting and rapid prototyping.

Hone your own creative competencies. Most business leaders have bought into the myth that people are either creative or not. This myth is probably considered fact in your organization — and, as a result, your drive for innovation is going nowhere. To change this pattern, you must first get in touch with your own innovation thinking skills, including the ability to defer judgment, tolerate ambiguity and be genuinely curious. Be a model; innovation is part of your job, too.

Finally, nothing kills innovation more than the “know-it-all leader.” A leader’s job is not to tell people how to do things, nor is it to have all the great ideas.

“Model appropriate humility, offer up your best challenge and then get out of the way,” says Vehar. “When you create the culture and step back, people will amaze you with novel, useful and potentially valuable solutions.”

Want more ideas? Download the free CCL white paper, Becoming a Leader Who Fosters Innovation. And read 7 Innovation Myths That Kill Performance on Forbes.com

Leadership Lessons from the Marathon Trail

December 16, 2013 By: azjogger Category: Marketing & Sales

From: Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), “Leading Effectively”

By Christopher Gergen

I am a runner. Like many competitive runners, I am committed to qualifying for the Boston Marathon. So for the past two years, I have trained with that goal in mind but in two concurrent marathons have missed the mark. The results have offered some important leadership lessons.

A colleague of mine at Duke, Sim Sitkin, introduced me a while ago to different types of failure. Lazy or undisciplined failure transpires largely because we aren’t adequately prepared and haven’t put the necessary preparation or work into success. “Intelligent failure” is when we fall short of our intended goal even though we have taken a strategic, disciplined, data-driven approach to succeeding. In trying to qualify for Boston, I experienced both.

When I first set my sights on Boston, I immediately looked to the Chicago Marathon. Known for being a flat fast course with a passionate crowd, it is a great qualifier. But life got busy, I took my eye off the ball and, before I knew it, registration was full. Strike one.
Signing up for the Richmond Marathon

Still determined to qualify I signed up for the Richmond Marathon. It’s hillier, hotter and is known as the nation’s “friendliest marathon” (not exactly a million+ people screaming encouragement). My training was good but sporadic. The week before the race, I participated in a local half-marathon designed as an easy “taper” run. My competitive spirit got the best of me and I ran a 1:31 on a relatively hilly course. I felt awesome during the race and crushed my personal record. But I was only six days away from the marathon and my legs didn’t recover in time. Strike two.

On race day, I ran with a buddy who was aiming to break three hours. Based on my half-marathon time the week before, I felt I could keep pace and we went out way too fast. I had also poorly prepared my nutrition so by the time I saw my wife at mile 17, I had a glazed look in my eyes. At mile 20 I staggered into the water station and had to stop. Eventually I stumbled the last six miles to the finish line — finishing in four hours though I had hit mile 20 two hours earlier. Strike three and an important lesson in “lazy failure” — when a disappointing result could be avoided by better decision-making.

Lessons Learned

The following year, I was determined to learn from my poor decisions in Richmond. I persisted through an arduous registration process for Chicago. I trained hard and put the necessary miles in both on the trails and track, training side-by-side with a good friend to push harder. Leading up to the race I rested, ate well, hydrated and by race day I was primed. Race morning was spectacular. Cool weather and blue skies set the stage for a record-setting day. Though my horses were ready to run, I tucked myself into the 3:15 group (the time I needed to qualify). By 13 miles I was on a true runner’s high. The crowds were awesome; I had hit stride, and the pace felt great. I blew by my previous stumbling block at mile 20 feeling strong.

Slowing down for water at mile 24, I fell off the pace group and had to work to catch up but the end was in sight and so was Boston. At mile 25, I collapsed. I don’t remember stopping. I do remember throwing up, almost passing out, not being able to move, and calling my wife to let her know that I had hit the wall again. An ambulance took me to the medical tent. Not my intended way to arrive at the finish line and enormously disappointing. Boston would have to wait.

It was a case of body over mind

So what happened? Persistence was not a problem. In fact, this was definitely the case of body over mind. I had also adapted from my mistakes in the past race. Because of my commitment to learn from “lazy” mistakes I could also start to narrow down potential culprits contributing to my crash-and-burn in Chicago. This was a case study for “intelligent failure.” Training and prep were solid as was pacing and hydration so I could rule all of those out. I am now focusing on better nutritional strategies (more protein?) as well as getting myself checked out medically.

While a painful process, the two races provide vivid leadership development lessons. Persisting and adapting are critical to achieving our goals. So is disciplined decision-making so that if and when failure happens, we can respond intelligently based on feedback loops and take a smarter approach to our goals. Building on lessons learned, I have Boston back in my sights. But right now all I am thinking about is a nice mellow run this weekend.

Christopher Gergen is CEO of Forward Impact, a fellow in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University, and author of Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives. Follow him on Twitter @cgergen.

Top Six Leadership Challenges

December 16, 2013 By: azjogger Category: Marketing & Sales

From: Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), “Leading Effectively

The Challenges Leaders Face Around the World: More Similar than Different 

What is most challenging about leading organizations today? And do the challenges differ around the world?

CCL researchers went straight to the source for an answer to these two questions: 763 middle- and executive-level leaders in organizations from seven different places in the world (China/Hong Kong, Egypt, India, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and United States).

 The CCL study found these leaders consistently face the same six challenges — even if they describe their challenges and specific context in different ways.

1. Developing Managerial Effectiveness: the challenge of developing the relevant skills — such as time-management, prioritization, strategic thinking, decision-making and getting up to speed with the job — to be more effective at work.

“Workload is very challenging at times. Lots of different critical projects and activities going on with limited resources in the group. Juggling priorities is always at the forefront.” —Manager from the U.S.

2. Inspiring Others: the challenge of inspiring or motivating others to ensure they are satisfied with their jobs and working smarter.

“To motivate a group of 70 staff who had been working with the organization for more than 10 years. Some of the staff have been in the same position without promotion for more than 6 to 8 years,”  —Singaporean manager

3. Developing Employees: the challenge of developing others, including mentoring and coaching.

“Qualify my direct reports to fill in for me in the tasks previously done by myself, mainly on two fronts, 1st to develop their business knowledge and sense of perfection which will, 2nd, help them gain their team members’ trust and dedication.” —Egyptian manager

4. Leading a Team: the challenge of team-building, team development and team management. Specific challenges include how to instill pride in a team or support the team, how to lead a big team and what to do when taking over a new team.

“Creating a really collaborative team in a newly established unit.” —Spanish manager

5. Guiding Change: the challenge of managing, mobilizing, understanding and leading change. Guiding change includes knowing how to mitigate consequences, overcome resistance to change and deal with employees’ reaction to change.

“Leading the organization through a business-wide transformation program as part of the executive team. This involves the consolidation of product offerings, driving customer centricity, well-managed agendas, substantial outsourcing and headcount reduction.” —U.K. manager

6. Managing Internal Stakeholders and Politics: the challenge of managing relationships, politics and image. This challenge includes gaining managerial support and managing up and getting buy-in from other departments, groups or individuals.

“The ability to convince and influence other stakeholders to follow the regional and global direction.” —Manager from India

“How to enhance the department position in the organization to add more value to the organization in both operational and strategic perspective.” —Manager from China

Knowing that these challenges are common experiences for middle and senior managers is helpful to both the leaders and those charged with their development, according to the CCL researchers.

Individuals can benefit from knowing their experiences as leaders are more similar than different and can feel more confident in reaching out to others to help them learn and face these challenges. Learning and development professionals can more clearly tailor their efforts to meet the most pressing needs of the leadership pool they serve.

Details of the research, as well as suggestions for helping leaders develop skills to address these top challenges, are found in the new CCL white paper, “The Challenges Leaders Face Around the World: More Similar than Different.”

Start Making Sense and See Your Career More Clearly

May 08, 2013 By: azjogger Category: Human Resources, Marketing & Sales, Social media

From: Center for Creative Leadership, Leading Effectively

Career paths and development strategies are increasingly self-directed. How do you gain the information and insight needed to steer your course?

One essential strategy for getting a clear view of yourself, your context and your career is to seek “sense-making” relationships.

“Other people can help us see more clearly how specific activities or behaviors or experiences fit into our career path and our development,” says Regina Eckert, co-author of a CCL white paper, Through the Looking Glass: How Relationships Shape Managerial Careers. “This process of sense-making is an important and often overlooked aspect of why relationships are valuable.”

Sense-making is simply the process of assigning meaning to a phenomenon or development. From a career perspective, a CCL study found that relationships help managers to make meaning of their work and development in three key ways:

1. To Guide. Some relationships help managers define what they want to achieve and why. Friends, colleagues, mentors, parents or other more experienced or senior people may guide informally by sharing their experiences and perspective. Guiding can also be very direct in the form of practical advice and tips.

Guidance can also come in the form of what not to do. Learning from other people’s mistakes or the consequences to their own career decisions is a powerful source of guidance.

2. To Affirm. People who know a manager’s field and/or organization are in a position to affirm, encourage and build confidence. These relationships are helpful for calibrating what’s going on in one’s own career development, as well as in the career market inside and outside his or her organization.

Affirmation is especially needed in the absence of obvious career paths and multiple (often competing) choices to make.

3. To Stretch. Another form of sense-making comes from a challenge to managers’ implicit beliefs about their potential and career goals. Some relationships push them to rethink or reframe a situation or experience.

For example, working with someone who has a very different perspective or take on an issue is a huge opportunity. This often feels uncomfortable, but it opens the door to deeper understanding and new possibilities.

“If you don’t have people to help you make sense of your career development, your context and your goals, our research shows you that you have two choices: Either you seek out relationships that give you the sense-making support you need, or you change your existing relationships to be more relevant for your career and development,” says Eckert.

“Depending on your personal circumstances and the kind of support you’re lacking in your relationships, you can decide which avenue is more promising for you.”

Help Wanted to Steer Career

Do you have relationships with people who help you make sense of your work, your organization, your career? Ask yourself:

  • Who guides me? Who is a role model?
  • Who affirms my own interpretations and sense-making?
  • Who stretches and challenges my sense-making? Who adds perspective?

If you don’t have relationships to help you understand and navigate your work life, who can you turn to? How would you go about changing and re-vamping existing relationships so that they meet your needs?

Responsive Web Design a Must for Today’s on the Move Customer

April 16, 2013 By: azjogger Category: Marketing & Sales, Marketing & Sales, Social media

By Lou Amico

The days of stationary web browsing strictly from behind a desktop computer  are over. Today’s customers are on the go, relying on their smart phones and  tablets to go online and get information at lightning speed. Over the past three  years there has been an explosion in mobile devices, which includes tablets. In  2010 it was typical to see mobile device visits at 3 to 5 percent of total  visits to a given website.

Today, the majority of websites receive 25 to 50  percent of traffic from mobile visitors. This number will continue to increase  making it even more imperative for companies to innovate with a responsive  website design that adapts easily to the different browser sizes and technology  of today’s mobile devices.

What is responsive design?

A responsively designed website adapts automatically to the viewers browser –  from desktop computers to mobile smart phones to tablets – the content and  images fit the browser so a user does not have to scroll back and forth and side  to side to see the entire page. Instead of seeing only part of your web page  when viewed on a non-traditional browser, the web browser automatically detects  the type of platform accessing the website and adapts the page to fit the  viewers screen, leaving the navigation, text and forms large enough to easily  read and access without adjusting the browser.

It can be a frustrating experience trying to get information on a website  that doesn’t adapt to the browser’s space. If a customer can’t easily scan a  page and find what they are looking for then they will most likely go back to  their trusty friend Google and visit a competitor’s site.

Apple and Flash don’t mix

You know that fancy Adobe Flash slide show, banner and presentation that your  web developer charged you an arm and a leg for? Adobe Flash is not compatible on  iPhones and iPads. A responsively designed platform incorporates non-Flash tools  that work regardless of the browser. So, those important graphics and  presentations can easily be viewed.

We’re a fast moving society and the ability to access information  instantaneously on a variety of technology platforms has caused us to all to be  a bit more impatient. The percentage of mobile and tablet visitors to your  website are only going to increase. Is your website laying out the welcome mat  to this on-the-go technology or slamming the door in its face?

Lou Amico is founder and president of LA Management Company, a strategic  marketing firm specializing in online marketing, video production, multimedia  production, website development and optimization and social marketing. He can be  reached at (704) 560-6274 or visit http://www.LAManagementCo.com for more information.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7580570

Changing Culture: The Language of Leadership

March 06, 2013 By: azjogger Category: Marketing & Sales

From: Center for Creative Leadership, Leading Effectively, Feb. 2013

A change in business strategy demands a change of leadership culture — and a shift in language, too.

CCL’s organizational leadership work draws on ideas, definitions and practices that aren’t part of the conversation in most organizations. Here, an introduction to terms and definitions, which shape the process of organizational culture change:

Leader: The role of a person who participates in the process of leadership.

Leadership: The social processes producing the outcomes of direction, alignment and commitment among people with shared work.

Leadership Culture: The self-reinforcing web of individual and collective beliefs and practices in a collective for producing the outcomes of shared direction, alignment and commitment.

Leadership Development: The expansion of a collective’s capacity for producing shared direction, alignment and commitment.

DAC: The outcomes of the social process of leadership are shared direction, alignment and commitment (DAC).

Interdependent: A form of leadership culture or mindset based in the collaboration of otherwise independent leaders and groups.

Independent: A form of leadership culture or mindset based in heroic individual achievement.

Dependent: A form of leadership culture or mindset based in conformance or tradition.

Vertical Development: Transformation of leadership cultures or mindsets from dependent, to independent and to interdependent, such that each more capable successive stage transcend, yet includes, earlier ones.

SOGI: The social processes of leadership operate, and can be developed, and analyzed, at four nested levels: individual, group, organizational and societal (S for Society, etc.).

Culture Tools: Tools and methods to help people see and experience, reflect upon, and then begin to intentionally and strategically shape their culture. “Quick” tools are portable and adaptable with ease-of-use for groups.

Discovery: Beginning, and then tracking, the process of culture change by deeply understanding the future vision and strategic purpose to be pursued.

Public Learning. Learning as a group activity, such that potentially difficult topics require social risk-taking and personal vulnerability as they are explored with the goal of shared insights and better solutions.

Four Arts: Dialogue, Headroom, Inside-Out, Boundary Spanning: The time and space for leadership groups to practice extending internal experiences, which expand public learning across human and system boundaries and channel better design choices into organizational action.

  1. Dialogue: A public learning conversation that temporarily suspends judgment and explores underlying assumptions across differing perspectives with the goal of shared learning and deeper mutual insight.
  2. Headroom: The time and space to model risk-taking in public that explores breaking old patterns and experimenting with new behaviors, and that lifts up, or vertically advances the leadership culture toward interdependence.
  3. Inside-Out: The subjective, internal individual development experience of focus on imagination, intuition, curiosity, emotions, identity, beliefs and values.
  4. Boundary Spanning: Seeing, bridging and leveraging five types of group boundaries: horizontal, vertical, demographic, geographic and stakeholder.

“Beliefs-in-Action” Story Telling. A type of dialogue using personal and shared stories about experiences in the organization that illustrate how changing beliefs result in different kinds actions and a changing set of outcomes.

“Learning Pathways Grid.” A public learning technique for debriefing a difficult interpersonal situation that looks at outcomes in terms of actions and the assumptions and beliefs underlying those actions.1