Get Shouty


Slide
September 3, 2012, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Get Friendly

Penguins speak to me for so many reasons, and as a totem they embody my own aspirations

to have the ability to deal with that which does not truly matter

to launch into the unknown and  ‘tee-hee’ while I’m doing it

to refine my six word story, “breathe. it will all be ok”

to something silly, active, positive and whimsical

and bring that mantra to the point of most powerful reduction

SLIDE



the answer’s in the problem
August 29, 2012, 11:31 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy

Over at Paul Mcenany’s blog this week

As many of you know, I’m a big believer that the better the problem, the more likely you are to get to work that works. Wrongheaded problems leave us in a ditch. Boring problems invite uninspired solutions. And when you only ask advertising questions, unsurprisingly – you get lots of advertising answers. The best of the best understand the value in taking the time to get the question right.

Love the thinking in Paul’s presentation I got a load of value. I wonder, though, if it’s always time that is the missing component in getting the problem right.

One of my favorite stories of getting the problem right is this one:

Sainsbury’s planned to grow revenue by £2.5 billion, a huge target made tangible by redefining it as an extra £1.14 per transaction. Previously, Sainsbury’s had been trying to create a big change in behaviour amongst a small number of high-spending customers of other supermarkets. Now it proposed a small change in behaviour amongst a big number of existing and potential customers. Research showed that people were ‘sleep shopping’ because they found supermarket shopping routine. The strategy centred around earning the required extra £1.14 per transaction by building the brand around simple food ideas. The slogan was ‘Try something new today’, but the idea behind it permeated Sainsbury’s business, informing management ethos, point-of-sale creative and advertising campaigns. The idea helped accelerate Sainsbury’s growth, attracting 1.5 million extra customers, increasing profit by 43% to £380 million and growing revenue by £1.8 billion over two years – ahead of the three-year target.

What I like about this case is that not only was the question about behavior change (what would we need to get people to do to grow by 2.5 billion), but the stimulus for the question was held within the value of the owned media of the brand- the amount of customer interactions inside their retail environment.

So to reimagine Paul’s statement:

The best of the best understand that getting the question right delivers value.

An Australian example of this:

In 1813 Governor Lachlan Macquarie overcame an acute currency shortage by purchasing Spanish silver dollars (then worth five shillings), punching out the centres and creating two new coins – the ‘Holey Dollar’ (valued at five shillings) and the Dump (valued at one shilling and three pence). This single move not only doubled the number of coins in circulation but increased their total worth by 25 per cent and prevented the coins from leaving the colony.

Last night a holey dollar was sold $for 410,000 and 1813 New South Wales Colonial Dump sold for $100,000.



loopy
June 19, 2012, 3:54 pm
Filed under: Great Stuff

I renewed my complete crush on Jay Smooth’s smart styling hip-hop video blog Ill Doctrine today, which started for me waaaaay back in 2008 when I asked

Is he talking about politics, rap or the nature of masculinity? Or all three?

and today I saw this piece about Sexist Gamer Dudes passed around by blokes I like, respect and admire.

It reminded me what a talent Jay is- and kicking around his ‘allow me to reintroduce myself‘ section he demonstrated over and over again that we’re not alone:

and then I remembered:

procrastination is a lot like masturbation a lot of fun until the moment you realize you’re just fucking yourself

and got back to work.



We see the stars, and we want them
June 7, 2012, 4:10 pm
Filed under: Great Stuff, Zeitgeist

Milky Way

We were put here as witnesses to the miracle of life. We see the stars, and we want them. We are beholden to give back to the universe…. If we make landfall on another star system, we become immortal. Ray Bradbury Speech to National School Board Association (1995)

Ray Bradbury died today. I love his work: his defense of books, his fight against censorship,  and above all the notions of the miraculous future that would unfold before my eyes as I grew. He was one of the writers that made me excited about the future, made me more conscious of the dark dehumanizing side of technology, one of the architects of the “What Ifs” that still guide my daily  creative explorations and the provider of some of the more accessible componentry of my moral compass.

Here’s one of my favourites, I posted this to David Gillespie just the other day: Doing is Being

Doing is being.
To have done’s not enough.
To stuff yourself with doing — that’s the game.
To name yourself each hour by what’s done,
To tabulate your time at sunset’s gun
And find yourself in acts
You could not know before the facts
You wooed from secret self, which much needs wooing,
So doing brings it out,
Kills doubt by simply jumping, rushing, running
Forth to be
The new-discovered me.
To not do is to die,
Or lie about and lie about the things
You just might do some day.
Away with that!
Tomorrow empty stays
If no man plays it into being
With his motioned way of seeing.
Let your body lead your mind –
Blood the guide dog to the blind;
So then practice and rehearse
To find heart-soul’s universe,
Knowing that by moving/seeing
Proves for all time: Doing’s being!



Let’s go to work
May 17, 2012, 7:13 pm
Filed under: Experience, passion

I was really intrigued this piece when I saw it over at swissmiss, which was created by W+K.

Its running as a pre-roll on YouTube, it’s over 2 minutes- and it’s been played (in addition to its ad spend) 1.775 million times since its launch in February.

It’s message: 

Its 8 am… MILLIONS of EMPLOYEES.. show up each day..for their names on a register…. The world we see around us..countries..and ..continents..have been built.. on the back of these signatures.. The future too will be written by these signatures.. Signatures of the EMPLOYEES… You.. are an EMPLOYEE.. Your BOSS is an EMPLOYEE… …….. … TRUTH is every EMPLOYEE is a HERO… Enough said… Let’s go do…what we all do our best.. Let’s go to work.. A TRIBUTE TO THE MAKERS OF OUR WORLD.

It’s a big call. A very big call. Who are these HCL guys? Who are they to say they speak on behalf of the millions of employees who turn up to work each day? Who are they to champion the overworked and unsung?

A bit of digging….

Employees First Customers Second (EFCS) is a journey of experiments which HCL started in 2005. It is a simple  philosophy that, at its heart, states that in the service industry, true value is not created by top management. Since employees are the closest interface with the customer, they are the new ‘value zone’ for companies: the place where value is truly generated for customers. And it is therefore the duty of the rest of the organization to foster and engender this value zone by creating the requisite enabling infrastructure.

Vineet Nayar (the head of HCL Technologies), wrote in Forbes that he does not do it to make his employees happy

The idea came from observing our company closely. We create value in one very specific place: the interface between our HCL employees and our customers. We call this the “value zone.” Every employee who works in the value zone is capable of creating more or less value. The whole intent of Employees First is to do everything we can to enable those employees to create the most possible value.

HCL decided:

  • to put its employees first and made every effort to provide them with a work environment and culture that they can take pride in.
  • employee development focused on giving people the tools and enabling the infrastructure they needed to succeed

Is it about employee engagement?

EFCS is not about making employees happy or comfortable. I don’t even really care if employees are happy. I don’t think that employee “satisfaction” is something a company should strive for. Satisfaction is a passive state, isn’t it? Satisfaction doesn’t produce change or improvement or innovation or much of anything.

As for employee “engagement,” that isn’t much better than satisfaction. I would hope that everybody, no matter what their job is, would be alert and paying some attention to what they do, would be engaged.

We have found that the Employees First approach produce s far more passion than any motivational or recognition program. Why? Because it proves that management understands the importance of the work being done by the employees in the value zone. It demonstrates that we are actively helping them in ways that make it easier for them to do their jobs. It shows that we trust them to do what needs to be done in the way they believe it should be done. And it shows that we respect them for the value they bring to the company.

We give them understanding, help, trust and respect–which is much better than potato salad and cold cuts.

The key enablers that made EFCS work -

  • Smart Service Desk (SSD) was introduced to make the enabling functions accountable to employees and resolve any issues that they may have within a stipulated time.
  • Directions, an annual interactive event, where the senior management along with the CEO meet employees to discuss company strategy, new processes and policies and what they think is the right agenda for HCL to adopt in the coming year.
  • U&I, an online discussion forum where every HCLite gets an opportunity to raise issues, share thoughts and ideas, as well as debate directly with the CEO.
  • Spot 360 Feedback was launched to make the management accountable to employees and to increase organizational accountability. A system where anyone could rate managers on various aspects.
  • Employee Passion Indicative Count (EPIC) assits employees in identifying their passion drivers – factors that drive an employee to excel at work.

Results?In the past three years,

  • HCL grew at a CAGR of 24 per cent
  • Market cap increased by 186 per cent
  • Number of $10 Mn, $20 Mn & $50 Mn customers doubled, and the number of $100 Mn customers tripled
  • Revenue per Employee is amongst the highest in the Indian IT segment today.
The EFCS mantra  – www.employeesfirstbook.com. (Read it-it has some lovely storytelling)

The book explores the steps of HCLT’s transformation as the company recognized the need for change, created a culture of trust through transparency, turned the organizational pyramid on its head, and shifted the responsibility of change from the office of the CEO to the employees using small catalysts, or “blue ocean droplets,” that produced big results.

The journey had four steps:

  • Confront the Truth
  • Build Trust
  • Support the Value Zone
  • Change at the role of the CEO

I think it’s interesting to note how this journey has facilitated their next step:

Employees Driven, Management Embraced [EFCS 2.0]

Employees are increasingly taking the lead in driving innovation. We call this phase EFCS 2.0 where we’re witnessing a change in ownership – Employees are taking charge and creating innovative programs in and around HCL, which are producing big impact. Here are some of the notable programs.

  • Meme: A platform created by employees to go from official to social at work; it now boards over 59,000 members.
  • MAD JAM: “Make a Difference” a bottom-up initiative designed by front line employees, for front line employees, that recognizes and celebrates the most innovative ideas at HCL.
  • MAD LTD: “Make a Difference, Lead the Difference”, a platform focused on nurturing young leaders to showcase and implement ideas for social impact. For more details, please visit  www.madltd.com
  • Power of One: A social responsibility initiative where HCLites spend a day with the community and donate a Rupee a day, which adds up to an avalanche of positive social activism.
  • arKMedes: A platform focused on making knowledge the currency across the organization by bringing together communities driven by passionate employees.

I think work is changing: as a ritual, as an enabler of identity, as a method of survival, as a framework for community- the horizon of change is vast. In Australia 40% of our workforce are employed on various insecure arrangements, casual, contract or through labour hire companies and in this climate we might do well to think about were value is generated, how it is created and where it can be amplified. Who makes your world? Have you told them they’re anything special lately?

 



Challenging Leadership/ Leadership challenges
April 24, 2012, 4:16 pm
Filed under: Experience, Great Stuff, The Rules

Over on Seth’s blog today was this morsel

A good employee says, “I know that this is a serious problem, it’s hurting our customers and we can do better, but I can’t do a thing about it because it’s run by a different department.”

A version of this might conclude with, “And I don’t even know the name of the person who’s responsible.”

This is a sure sign of systemic failure as well as a CEO who is not doing the job she should be. When smart people who care get frustrated, something is wrong.

There’s an intesection here and a paper that Deloitte relased yesterday:

Based on a global study of investment bankers, private equity companies, and financial analysts, the paper, The Leadership Premium: How companies win the confidence of investors, puts a hard metric on the “intangible asset” of leadership, revealing that, in some sectors, good leaders can account for more than one-fifth of equity value.

The gap between the value of an effectively-led and ineffectively-led company could, says the paper, be as much as 35.5 percent.

It’s a pretty good read, and one that full of steal able insights about the core components of value building leadership and the importance of leaders taking their teams along for the ride:

“All employees should have the same goal and process in mind… the same direction”

Investment analyst, US

Here are my notes:

Many major corporations have found that orthodox management practices and organizational principles are not well suited to the modern era. Our view is that current conditions don’t demand a revolution so much as a renewed focus on the fundamentals of leadership

Three value delivering components

  • Strategic Clarity
  • Successful execution
  • A culture of innovation

Strategic Clarity

Organizations need to decide on where and on what basis they will compete. e.g

  • Virgin Media’s decision to focus on it’s network as its core strategic asset was the beginning of an impressive corporate turnaround
  • Southwest Airlines’ early use of the internet and online booking and check-ins has helped consolidate its positions as a low cost, low fares carrier.
  • Apple’s relentless focus on ‘insanely great’ products allowed it to transform consumer electronics
  • FedEx Ground’s emphasis on service and its early use of tracking systems (as RPS in the 1980s) enabled it to challenge UPS

Strategic clarity involves delivering a vision of what the organization needs to achieve

  • and a framework that leaves enough room for people to create the future
  • with consistency and commitment

Successful Execution

Common to organisations is the belief that the only long term differentiator they have is their people. The priority for an organisation has to be getting the best out of its people by ensuring that they are willing and able to fulfil its aims

  • Believe: compelling reasons, communication and bulid commitment
  • Belong: leaders need to articulate a long term purpose beyond just making money
  • Behave: adaptive, value driven, team building, respectful,
  • Able: capabilities, resources infrastructure

A Culture of Innovation

Great ideas are generated and developed through interaction.

  • Commitment to enterprise; an environment for ideas
  • Collaboration culture
  • The freedom to experiment (and fail)
  • It’s not about hiring new radical thinkers
    • It’s about realizing the potential of the thinkers you’ve got

I liked this check list:

Effective leadership characteristics

  • Capabilities
    • Driving competitiveness and innovation
    • Providing direction and purpose
    • Making effective decisions
    • Inspiring others to act
    • Developing people
    • Building high performing teams
    • Personal qualities
      • Integrity, probity and humility
      • Moral courage


why is it so hard to change?
April 18, 2012, 3:54 pm
Filed under: Experience

I read Change or Die over at Fast Company…

The conventional wisdom says that crisis is a powerful motivator for change. But severe heart disease is among the most serious of personal crises, and it doesn’t motivate — at least not nearly enough. Nor does giving people accurate analyses and factual information about their situations. What works? Why, in general, is change so incredibly difficult for people? What is it about how our brains are wired that resists change so tenaciously? Why do we fight even what we know to be in our own vital interests.

and I loved this bridge:

Changing the behaviour of people isn’t just the biggest challenge in health care. It’s the most important challenge for businesses trying to compete in a turbulent world, says John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor who has studied dozens of organizations in the midst of upheaval: “The central issue is never strategy, structure, culture, or systems. The core of the matter is always about changing the behaviour of people.”

I can’t help think that we focus so much on message, on story, on information that sometimes we forget that we’re not just trying to get people to take notice- we’re trying to get them to change. And it’s hard. And they don’t like it…

It reminds me a little of this presentation…

 




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