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Items filtered by date: January 2015
Thursday, 29 January 2015 23:11

Intake Open

Published in Blog
Thursday, 08 January 2015 18:38

Rise of the Selfie Sticks

As someone who is passionate about technology and the myriad of benefits that it can offer in these exciting times, I cannot explain the hidden rage that burns within when I see people taking photographs with their iPads in almost any major City in the world.

As our Christmas and New Year celebrations begin to fade into memories and we begin to fall back into our daily work routine, it didn’t take long until I realised that my inner grumpy old man has found something else to get annoyed by.

That’s right, forget about the iPad photographers, there is a new sheriff of annoyance in town and it’s known as the ‘selfie stick’. Sure they were doing the rounds in 2014 and that Oscar photo probably encapsulated exactly where we were heading, but it appears that Santa was very busy delivering this must have accessory and has fuelled this latest craze making it that must have gadget for everyone and not just the self-obsessed.

Anyone wanting to get a piece of the action basically has two options which consist of the basic version for around £8 but the selfie taker will have to set a timer to take the actual photo which may feel a little old school for some.

However for around £15 there was a variety of advanced version which has a Bluetooth shutter trigger to ensure that special moment outside a tourist attraction or bathroom is frozen in time forever.

Before you feel compelled to post comments about how this wand of narcissus actually signals the downfall of society, I am reliably informed that the selfie stick is not about capturing photos of yourself, but about capturing group photos of your family and friends together and recording the moment which is something that is usually just too much hassle to organise unless you awkwardly ask a passer-by, only to scoff afterwards that it wasn’t from the angle you had in your mind.

When on holiday with your partner it is often notoriously difficult to return home with good quality photos of you together as a couple, so I understand that they certainly have their uses and this should not cause offence.

However, If the CES tech show in Las Vegas is anything to go buy there is a certain amount of negativity in the air when there walking into a hall and desperately trying to wade your way through a sea of selfie sticks as they battle drones for the skies across the event, prompting Tech Crunch to ask the question how many selfie sticks are too many?

Last year at the Glastonbury Festival in England where music fans have often complained about people holding flags in front of them were now complaining about the infamous selfie sticks where one blogger observed:

Rarely before has Glastonbury seemed less accepting of the wont and wants of others, whatever they may be, as ‘selfie sticks’ replace the bucket hats of bygone times

Meanwhile Premiership football teams Arsenal and Tottenham have even gone on to ban them from their grounds after complaints from fans but the phenomenon looks like set to continue if unbelievable spin off products such as the Belfie Stickappearing for pre-order are anything go by.

I have a strong philosophy of live and let live in these technology obsessed times but also a healthy amount of awareness of the world around me to know that it will only be matter of time before the backlash begins and there will be cries to banish them to room 101 forever.

If you find yourself walking through New York, Paris, London, Rome or in fact any major City in the world this summer, you may mutter under your breath or give a sarcastic smile as you look around at crowds taking photos of themselves with the aid of the selfie stick wondering how we ended up like this.

If we are honest though, how many of us hate every aspect of the idea and will happily voice our disapproval amongst friends but secretly harvest a hidden thought of secretly wanting one too?

The wand of narcissus will probably divide opinion but what are your thoughts? Do you have,want,recommend or have no interest in picking one up?

Could they come in handy for reporting on live events? or do you have no interest at all and feel your temperature rising when fighting your way through a sea of selfie sticks when heading into the City to the office?


Author: Neil Hughes is an IT Professional and freelance content writer that is passionate about helping others and removing the communication gap that typically exists between IT and other areas of business.

Published in Blog
Thursday, 08 January 2015 18:06

The Most Successful Leaders Have No Followers

Skinny Love

There are troubled songs that transport you to some places that you could not even imagine. There are songs that awake your senses and make your heart beat faster. There are songs that simply revive the purity of your soul. There are songs that are so difficult to bear, because they have arduous interpretations. Skinny Love by Bon Iver is one of them. No matter if you prefer the original version or the cover version by Birdy, there is no doubt that this song pours out a torrent of suffering. This is not a randomly selected song. This is a song that recently made me reflect among other things, on how love could never be too skinny or too fat.

Love is endless, immeasurable and inexplicable. Love could never possibly be skinny. So many interpretations of these lyrics exist. Each human being who listens to Skinny Love creates their own understanding of these few lines. We all boldly add our personal touch to this song. Some people talk passionately about anorexia, suicide, or lost love, while others share tragic ideas of miscarriage, depression, broken love, or malnourished love. The beauty of this whole thing is that it really does not matter: everyone is completely right in their own explanation. There are absolutely no wrong representations. Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation. Everyone is free to build a sumptuous world of assumptions based on their unique sensitivity.

Indeed, it does not matter what Bon Iver said about the lyrics, because our own understanding and our unique feel of Skinny Love is more significant. His explanation of the song has little value in the end, because the way the lyrics and the music move us is more crucial. The way we slowly close our eyes to feel the weight of our tormented lives is what really matters. Once the lyrics are sung, we fiercely capture them and jealously make them our own. These lyrics become ours to protect. They are ours in a way that nobody would comprehend. We conceive a precious interpretation that resonates with these melodic words within us. Songs give us the power to interpret them in any way we feel, and offer us a deeper sense of connection with the world.

We experience the intensity of the song in our own way, because we truly believe in it. This is the power of appropriation. We unconsciously deny ourselves from following the singer's explanation of the lyrics. In fact, we prefer to follow our gut feeling, because we deeply want to lead the music and guide its torturous signification within ourselves. This is the power of leading ourselves to believe that we know. We know the true meaning. We personally uncover the pure meaning of such suffering and its impact on ourselves as unique human beings. We poured a part of ourselves into the song and experience the feel of our heart distilled into powerful emotions. We slowly lead ourselves to construct a priceless meaning of the song. All human beings have this unique and natural ability of leading that no societal domination will ever imprison.

We all like to lead, we were all born leaders, not followers

We all lead by actions, thoughts and words in our lives. Everybody is born a leader. Let's all think about the first hours of our precious lives when we communicated our needs to our parents: we simply led. We excelled in being a leader and instinctively led our loved ones for many months. We all have leadership abilities that need to be nourished. All human beings are born leaders until the fatal day they face their first traumatic limitation. This unfair disgrace is wrapped in pure restriction. The first barrier wrongly identifies some human beings as better than others, not different but better. The first hierarchical classification puts some people on the top and others on the bottom. There are also many best selling stories that proudly sell out the fake idea that some people are born to be leaders and others sentenced to be followers.Then, one day the first radical distinction between those who are supposed to manage and those who are supposed to be managed comes. In fact, there is no need to expand on the explosion of domination management in organizations. The army of so-called leaders by position who exercise total authority through full directing, controlling, and evaluating with indirect and impalpable repression on others.

We all know that it is always easier to lead others than to lead ourselves. We all suspect that it is more comfortable to guide others, than to guide ourselves. We all secretly know that we require deep reflection to be conducted. We unconsciously postpone it by voluntarily dictating and regulating others that we view as peers, subordinates, followers... All those that are way more than we think.

Indeed, the distinction between leaders and followers is pointless. The continual debate between leaders and managers is irrelevant. The recurring debate about if being different means being better or worse. Human beings are unique and so marvelously diverse, but they are not static bodies and minds. They should not be labelled, wrongly judged or defined by a random organizational position that should be a temporary part of who they truly are. Human beings are not resources to be controlled, evaluated or directed. They are not human resources that we could pack and stock in a cold hangar. People are not resources that we could easily manipulate or dispose of, because they are fully alive. These are human beings with their uniqueness. They are full of ideas, emotions, values, dreams, cultures and they all happen to have a unique life story.

We are all growing, making mistakes, learning and progressing. We are all unique beings who do not passively wait for a savior in disguise to manage, direct or lead us. Human beings are not plain resources to be utilized. They are living sources of amazing life stories that need to be acknowledged and respected.

We are all leading and following, we are all simultaneously trying different roles. Nobody is constantly following or leading. As a matter of fact, followers are not passive, conformist sheep, or alienated people like many are sadly described: They are leaders too. Leadership should not be about hierarchy. Leadership is about building teams of people with leadership abilities who work for a common vision. A vision that is bigger than their own individual success. A vision that will contribute to making this world a little bit better.

To tell the truth, let's forget about these tiny useless debates about managers and leaders, and focus on the role leadership should have in our lives. We all have the responsibility to focus on ourselves and see how we can contribute to make this world a better place. Leadership is not about fame, top position or sick control, but it is about having the wisdom to accept everybody as a potential leader in a team. In other words, it is about having the wisdom to share and respect people as leaders who have diverse leadership skills in order to work together for a common good. Leadership is not about following, giving directions or ego traps. Leadership is about leading ourselves to accept and respect others. We have to lead ourselves and focus on our true values, ethics, knowledge and personality. Leadership is not about leading followers or making people better: Leadership is finally about making yourself a better person. Leadership starts within ourselves like a music with lyrics that we give a personal sense and a unique vision.




Human Beings Development and Leadership


Skinny Love by Birdy

Published in Blog

Some people instantly make us feel important. Some people instantly make us feel special. Some people light up a room just by walking in.

We can't always define it, but some people have "it" -- they're naturally charismatic.

Unfortunately natural charisma quickly loses its impact. Familiarity breeds, well, familiarity.

But some people are incredibly charismatic: they build and maintain great relationships, positively influence the people around them, consistently make people feel better about themselves -- they're the kind of people everyone wants to be around... and wants to be.

Fortunately we can all be more charismatic, because charisma isn't about our level of success, or our presentation skills, or how we dress or the image we project -- charisma is about what we do.

Here are ways you can be more charismatic:

1. Listen way more than you talk.

Ask questions. Maintain eye contact. Smile. Frown. Nod. Respond -- not so much verbally, but non-verbally.

That's all it takes to show the other person they're important.

Then when you do speak, don't offer advice unless you're asked. Listening shows you care a lot more than offering advice, because when you offer advice in most cases you make the conversation about you, not them.

Don't believe me? Who is, "Here's what I would do..." about: you, or the other person?

Only speak when you have something important to say -- and always defineimportant as what matters to the other person, not to you.

2. Don't practice selective hearing.

Some people -- I guarantee you know a few like this -- are incapable of hearing anything said by the people they feel are somehow beneath them.

Sure, you speak to them, but that particular falling tree doesn't make a sound in the forest, because there's no one actually listening.

Incredibly charismatic people listen closely to everyone, and they make all of us, regardless of our position or social status or "level," feel like we have something in common with them.

Because we do.

3. Always put your stuff away.

Don't check your phone. Don't glance at your monitor. Don't focus on anything else, even for a moment.

You can never connect with others if you're busy connecting with your stuff, too.

Give the gift of full attention. That's a gift few people give. That gift alone will make others want to be around you and remember you.

4. Always give before you receive -- knowing you may never receive.

Never think about what you can get. Focus on what you can provide. Giving is the only way to establish a real connection and relationship.

Focus, even in part and even for a moment, on what you can get out of the other person, and you show that the only person who really matters is you.

Just give. Be remarkably giving. Don't worry about whether you will someday receive.

5. Don't act self-important…

The only people who are impressed by your stuffy, pretentious, self-important self are other stuffy, pretentious, self-important people.

The rest of us aren't impressed. We're irritated, put off, and uncomfortable.

And we aren't too thrilled when you walk in the room.

6. …Since you know other people are more important.

You already know what you know. You know your opinions. You know your perspective and point of view.

That stuff isn't important, because it's already yours. You can't learn anything from yourself.

But you don't know what other people know, and everyone, no matter who they are, knows things you don't know.

That automatically makes them a lot more important than us because they're people we can learn from.

7. Shine the spotlight on others.

No one receives enough praise. No one. Tell people what they did well.

Wait, you say you don't know what they did well?

Shame on you -- it's your job to know. It's your job to find out ahead of time.

Not only will people appreciate your praise, they'll appreciate the fact you care enough to pay attention to what they do.

And they will feel a little more accomplished -- and a lot more important.

8. Choose your attitude -- and your words.

The words you use affects the attitude of others -- and it affects you.

For example, you don't have to go to a meeting; you get to go meet with other people. You don't have to create a presentation for a new client; you get to share cool stuff with other people. You don't have to go to the gym; you get to work out and improve your health and fitness.

You don't have to interview job candidates; you get to select a great person to join your team.

We all want to associate with happy, enthusiastic, fulfilled people. The approach you take and the words you choose can help other people feel better about themselves -- and make you feel better about yourself, too.

9. Don't discuss the failings of others...

Granted, we all like hearing a little gossip. We all like hearing a little dirt.

The problem is, we don't necessarily like -- and we definitely don't respect -- the people who dish that dirt.

Don't laugh at other people. When you do, the people around you wonder if you sometimes laugh at them.

10. ...But readily admit your own failings.

Incredibly successful people are often assumed to have charisma simply because they are successful -- their success can seem to create a halo effect, almost like a glow.

The key word is "seem."

You don't have to be incredibly successful to be extremely charismatic. Scratch the shiny surface, and many successful people have the charisma of a rock.

But you do have to be incredibly genuine to be extremely charismatic.

Be humble. Share your screwups. Admit your mistakes and be the lesson learned.

And definitely laugh at yourself. When you do, other people won't laugh at you. They'll laugh with you.

And they'll like you better for it... and want to be around you a lot more.

Published in Blog
Thursday, 08 January 2015 14:36

Are You Fit To Lead?

Does your level of physical fitness affect your ability to do your job well?

From my experience, I’d have to say… It depends.

Let me explain.

In my twenties and thirties, I had zero time for physical exercise. On top of doing an MBA, I set up my own firm, worked like crazy to hit milestones, got married and fathered five children.

I had absolutely no time for anything else, including exercise.

But the great thing about being young is that you are naturally fit and healthy. You can work (and party) like crazy, without much negative impact on your health or energy levels.

Hit forty, and that all starts to change.

Suddenly, your unhealthy lifestyle catches up with you. You’ve got less energy; business travel, in particular, leaves you drained; you catch every cold going around the office; you don’t sleep so well; you’re putting on weight…

That, at least, is what happened to me.

Old habits die hard, though. Only very slowly did it dawn on me that I was actually free to change my lifestyle. The business was firmly established and growing; I had great people to help me run it. I really didn’t need to spend every waking minute obsessing about it any more.

Having been a swimmer in my school days, I decided to get back into exercise by taking part in a swimming competition for the 40–44 age bracket.

Unsurprisingly, after a two-decade gap, I performed horribly.

I realized that if I genuinely wanted to get fit, I had to set myself clear goals—exactly like an entrepreneur hitting milestones.

First, I decided to aim for the medal the organizers gave to people who took part in the swimming competition for 10 years running. Then I put myself down for the hardest race of all: the medley.

Before I knew it, I was swimming a minimum of one kilometer three times a week. And I started winning races.

I also took up snowboarding with my five kids. In the off-season, I now hike in to maintain lower body strength. Again I have a clear goal: to climb all Japan’s 100 most famous mountains at the rate of eight per year.

I’ve even imported my fitness regime into the office, making myself walk up to my ninth-floor office a couple of times a day.

The result?

I feel a great deal healthier now in my fifties than I did in my thirties. I have more energy, never seem to catch cold, and have all sorts of good ideas for the business as I’m swimming lengths!

I think this is a trend.

Recently, more and more Japanese business leaders are doing triathlons. Plus there’s no shortage of business legends who believe in the benefits of exercising.

Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony, used to play tennis first thing every morning before work. Bill Gross, the Pimco “bond king” claims to get his best investment ideas while doing yoga headstands; Jamie Dimon, the combative head of JP Morgan Chase, took up boxing after being fired from Citigroup in 1998…

Of course, being fit should not be a privilege reserved for middle-aged top management. Just because I didn’t do any exercise when I was younger, doesn’t mean my employees should have to repeat my mistakes.

A fitter, healthier workforce is a happier, more productive workforce. That’s why we indirectly support any employees who want to do sports by subsidizing a range of company clubs—tennis, golf, running, cycling, winter sports, futsal and triathlon.

Thanks to all this sporting activity, our employees aren’t just fitter—they’re also more energetic, mentally fresher, and more team-minded.

What’s your experience here?

Do you believe that your personal health/fitness and work productivity are related?

Do you think companies should encourage employees’ to be healthier, or have they got no business intruding into people’s private lives?

It’s definitely a fit subject for discussion!

Let me know your thoughts.

(Photo: Shutterstock / Luis Louro)

author: Yoshito HoriInfluencer

Founder and President of GLOBIS, No.1 MBA Program & No.1 VC in Japan.

Published in Blog

I love New Year’s resolutions – and I’m not the only one. Some 44% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions.

There’s one kind of resolution that I particularly love: identifying one idea, often summarized in just one word, as an overarching theme for the entire year.

My sister often does this kind of resolution. This year her theme is “Novel.” One year was the year of “Free Time,” another, “Hot Wheels” — that year, she got a car and started driving; she and I have both struggled with a fear of driving, which was much tougher for her, given that she lives in Los Angeles and I live in New York City. If you want to hear about my fear of driving, click here. (Non sequitur: follow my sister on Twitter, @elizabethcraft.)

Another friend of mine does the same thing. One year, I remember, was “Dark,” another was “Make.”

One year I chose “Bigger.” I have to fight the urge to simplify, to keep things manageable; this word will remind me to think big, to tolerate complications, to expect more from myself. Many people work to simplify their lives, but I struggle against the tendency to simplify too much. As Albert Einstein observed, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

This year, I’ve chosen “Upgrade.” I want to take many areas of my life to the next level. I’m reminded of one of my favorite passages, from the opening of Norman Rush’s fascinating novel, Mating.

“There was an opulent sunset. I was standing under an acacia in bloom and the words ‘shower of gold’ came into my mind, followed by a surge of feeling. I call it greed, but it was more a feeling of wanting a surplus in my life, wanting to have too much of something, for a change. I didn’t want to be a candidate anymore, not for a doctorate or anything else: I wanted to be at the next level, where things would come to me, accrue to me. It was acute.”

I love this passage because it describes a feeling that I’ve often experienced, but have never quite been able to put into words myself. Do you know this feeling of “wanting a surplus,” “wanting to have too much,” where “things would accrue to me”? My sister and I sometimes talk about “wanting to get a present in the mail,” but it’s not exactly that…

In writing Better Than Before, my book about habit change, I’ve been thinking obsessively about habits. There are lots of one-word themes that might help someone determined to master his or her her habits: Health; Finish, Rest; Free (as in “free from french fries“); Fulfillment, etc.

Have you ever tried this choose-a-theme approach? Did it help you direct your year?

I’m fascinated to get more ideas for themes. What theme or word would you pick?


Gretchen Rubin is the author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers,The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. Her upcoming book, Better Than Before, reveals the secret of how to change habits--really. Read more Follow her here by clicking the yellow FOLLOW button, on Twitter, @gretchenrubin, on Facebook,


Photo: Steph Smith, Flickr

Published in Blog
Thursday, 08 January 2015 14:30

Apple's Magic Formula for Innovation

While Apple’s innovation gets the headlines and Jony Ive is rightfully revered for his brilliant and simplistic designs, it was a rather mundane, non-sexy capability that enabled much of Apple's innovation success.

In fact, one of the very first things Steve Jobs did upon coming back to Apple was build out their supply chain capability, as he knew that was the key to innovate quickly with low cost. It's no coincidence that the current CEO, Tim Cook, was a supply chain guy and one of Jobs' most important early hires when he returned to Apple.

Within two years Jobs cut inventory from 2 months to 2 days. Cook famously called inventory "fundamentally evil". And when he started focusing on a device that received information like a phone (as opposed to an old PDA where you "entered" information), Jobs immediately started thinking about the complicated sourcing pieces needed to make it a reality.

(This blog was sourced from our presentation on the CFO as Strategic Architect.)

And by focusing on and sweating that key supply chain capability, Apple came up with a magic formula. Apple would pay for most of the construction cost for (or finance in some way) key suppliers in exchange for exclusive rights to the output production of the factory for a period of time and then for a discounted rate afterwards vis-a-vis any competitor.

This process ensured that Apple not only had had access to new technology quickly, but that they would have it for months and many times years before its rivals. They didn’t just innovate, they effectively locked down the manufacturing capability around any innovation making it almost impossible to duplicate in the near term.

Apple designers often worked closely with suppliers to ensure the right manufacturing standards and the right relationships. They, in effect, owned the ability to make key parts for up to three years and, after that, locked in the ability to access that technology at a lower cost than anyone else after it became commoditized.

Note how that supply chain capability perfectly dovetailed with its expertise in innovation and design. Now here’s the kicker. By some supply chain standards, Apple was horrible at product introduction. They hardly ever had enough supply meet the initial demand. But since they, in effect, had a monopoly on their innovations, not only was that irrelevant, under supply, in the form of long lines, became arguably its most powerful advertising vehicle. Every morning on a launch date all you see across the web and television is Apple lines.

That’s innovation magic.

Now in addition to locking down innovation, Apple created a virtual supply chain ecosystem that enabled it produce at an enviable cost while delivering from hundreds of suppliers. That allowed Ive and this team to create a seamless looking phone that in reality was a potpourri of electronics.


Scott Engler

Published in Blog

The terms “creativity” and “innovation” are often used interchangeably. But how similar – or different – are they? I spoke with my colleague, Teresa Amabile, an expert on workplace innovation. Here’s her take on the connection between these commonly used terms – and what it means for business.

It all starts with creativity

According to Teresa, creativity is essentially responsible for all of human progress. That’s a phenomenal force. Perhaps that’s why some people tend to think that it’s very mysterious. But they shouldn't.

The research over the past 50 or 60 years illuminates how creativity happens. Basically, creativity is the production of anything. It could be an idea, a tangible product, or a performance. What’s developed should also be different from what’s been done before in some way. Creativity in the workplace should also be appropriate to some goal or meaning.

Now, it’s difficult in some domains to talk about usefulness. For example, what does appropriateness mean in the visual arts? There, appropriateness means it expresses some meaning that the artist intended. But in business, creativity has to “work” in some way. It has to make a contribution to some valuable end.

The Misunderstood Connection of Business and Creativity

The connection between creativity and business success is very important, yet it’s often overlooked. Business people tend to think of what they do as being very organized and strategic. Of course it should be, but businesses cannot succeed, especially under modern competitive conditions, without innovation. And innovation depends on creativity. Creativity is the front end of a process that ideally will result in innovation.

Creativity is coming up with new and useful ideas. Innovation is the successful implementation of those ideas. One interesting connection between creativity and innovation: you can have quite a lot of creativity in a business organization without having much innovation at the other end. This occurs when people aren’t very motivated, or proper systems aren’t in place. Such workplaces have difficultyhearing the creative ideas, developing them, letting them grow, and figuring out how to implement them successfully.

In other words, you can’t have innovation without a healthy mix of creativity on the front end, and solid systems in place to foster that ingenuity.

Author: Daniel Goleman Author of The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education

Published in Blog
Thursday, 08 January 2015 14:04

Let's End The Digital Confusion

How many times have you had executive meetings where everyone walked in with a different view of what "digital" means? How much time is spent trying to understand how digital projects fit together? It happens way too often, and the latest buzzwords don't help. The biggest problem with this communications breakdown is that without a common and clear understanding of what "digital" is, it's very hard to come up with practical solutions. People will leave a meeting thinking they understand what needs to be done but actually misunderstanding each other. The result? Faulty strategies, misguided tactics ... and more meetings. 

Here is a simple starting point that totally changed both the tone and focus of the conversations I have had with senior leadership teams. That starts by having a clear vision of the essence of what "digitally-native" companies that succeed have done well. And that often comes down to creating a virtuous cycle that grows in scale and value over time. In this sense, then, "digital" is a cycle.

  1. Opening more routes for customers to INTERACT with the brand, ideally through channels they control, so the variable costs of each interaction are minimal, and the customer sees better ways of pursuing the journey they desire
  2. Those journeys (to buy something, learn about something, experience something) are what a brand has to get done and deliver on. Getting that stuff done requires AUTOMATION that digitizes the end-to-end process, facilitating real-time and trackable interactions that can scale at a low cost
  3. That automation generates an exhaust of information to fuel PRO-ACTIVE INTELLIGENCE that can optimize these interactions, anticipate needs, respond faster, and personalize the experience
  4. This intelligence becomes an accretive asset on top of which you can INNOVATE by establishing fast feedback cycles. This innovation leads to the creation of new experiences and businesses that add value to the user, leading them to interact with the brand even more, and uncovering new journeys they can pursue

Supporting this process is an organizational culture and operating models that encourage a cross-functional, fast-cycle approach needed to make this happen and find the talent that is attracted to this sort of iterative impact.

Adding more interaction points (social, mobile, and sensors) to support the customer - both in person and online - leads to a more complex digital cycle. Therefore, you need to ruthlessly prioritize the journeys you want to enable, and invest in the infrastructure for analytics and process execution. 

When traditional companies try to make the pivot to become more digital, they tend to pursue many of the four elements of the cycle, but they do so as a list of independent parts. They have all kinds of projects going on to automate some processes, build a new analytic data warehouse, create an innovation lab, or roll out mobile apps. BUT too often, it really is a list of disconnected endeavors, so it is impossible to get the scalability and network effect from growing one's interactions and data assets. "Digital" should be a deliberate strategy to build the cycle. This requires ore design-oriented thinking that looks to enable the complete customer journey. Building value for the business is based on building value for the customer as a cycle of growth. 

Our sense is that the Chief Digital Officer is likely a temporary but necessary role to catalyze and coordinate this cycle of growth by forcing the tough decisions on what to pursue. Of course, the CDO needs the authority to make the changes needed to turn initiatives into the core way of operating. It is a big job, and too often, from the discussions I have had, becomes just a project portfolio manager focused on elements of "digital" instead of a true change agent who builds an engine for "digital" growth. 

So how do you describe your digital value cycle? Do customers really experience it? Are your investments and operations making it happen?

Learn more this and other topics on our McKinsey Enterprise site. 

[Image: Susanne Nilsson, Flickr]

Published in Blog

I remember back in the day, before I started my own business, I was always very excited when I landed a new job. Every step forward in my career came with higher expectations. But I didn't mind. I was eager to change the world. "Bring it on!"

My first day on the job usually felt like drinking water after running a marathon; it tastes just like champagne. But along the way I learned that too much champagne causes terrible headaches.

You see, the first few weeks everybody's on a high. Everything is all new and shiny. But six to eight weeks on the job, many of us have a first lapse. Luckily, it is not routine kicking in. It is more of a reality check — you won't be able to change the world overnight after all. Even the obvious takes time, regardless of your good intentions or people's willingness to change. We tend to neglect that the company already existed before our arrival and that things might not have been perfect, but at least it worked. Your new colleagues made it work. Show some professional courtesy.

At the same time, people tend to feel a bit lost as expectations increase significantly. You are still trying hard to see the big picture and to keep up with your new colleagues, despite the fact that by now they start treating you as if you've been around forever.

So indeed, now is a good time for a nervous breakdown. "What have I done? I'll never be able to make a difference. I made the worst career move ever. I need to get out of here." Sounds familiar? Trust me: it does to a lot of people. After 15 years in recruiting, I can tell. Some look for a new challenge immediately, others even return to their old positions and some get stuck forever in self-pity. Sad.

My advice: keep calm and carry on. Accept that you have a lot to learn. Take every opportunity to do so and be patient. Listen to your co-workers, engage in conversations and try to understand why certain things have been done in certain ways forever. Do not give up and stay curious. It is an inseparable part of your growth trajectory. Trust me: you need to get through this phase to finally become the best possible man/woman for the job. After all, you are only getting started. Earn some credit and you might even turn things around sooner than expected.

What's your take?


Published in Blog
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