“11 Simple Concepts” to Become a Better Leader | by: Dave Kerpen

Being likeable will help you in your job, business, relationships, and life. I interviewed dozens of successful business leaders, to determine what made them so likeable and their companies so successful. All of the concepts are simple, and yet, perhaps in the name of revenues or the bottom line, we often lose sight of the simple things – things that not only make us human, but can actually help us become more successful.

Below are the ELEVEN most important principles to integrate to become a better leader : 

1. Listening : 

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway 

Listening is the foundation of any good relationship. Great leaders listen to what their customers and prospects want and need, and they listen to the challenges those customers face. They listen to colleagues and are open to new ideas. They listen to shareholders, investors, and competitors.

2. Storytelling : 

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” -Robert McAfee Brown 

After listening, leaders need to tell great stories in order to sell their products, but more important, in order to sell their ideas. Storytelling is what captivates people and drives them to take action. Whether you’re telling a story to one prospect over lunch, a boardroom full of people, or thousands of people through an online video-Storytelling wins customers.”

3. Authenticity : 

“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.” -Oprah Winfrey 

Great leaders are who they say they are, and they have integrity beyond compare. Vulnerability and humility are hallmarks of the authentic leader and create a positive, attractive energy. Customers, employees, and media all want to help an authentic person to succeed. There used to be a divide between one’s public self and private self, but the social internet has blurred that line. Tomorrow’s leaders are transparent about who they are online, merging their personal and professional lives together.

4. Transparency : 

“As a small businessperson, you have no greater leverage than the truth.” -John Whittier 

There is nowhere to hide anymore, and business people who attempt to keep secrets will eventually be exposed. Openness and honesty lead to happier staff and customers and colleagues. More important, transparency makes it a lot easier to sleep at night – unworried about what you said to whom, a happier leader is a more productive one.

5. Team Playing : 

“Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds.” – SEAL Team Saying.. 

No matter how small your organization, you interact with others every day. Letting others shine, encouraging innovative ideas, practicing humility, and following other rules for working in teams will help you become a more likeable leader. You’ll need a culture of success within your organization, one that includes out-of-the-box thinking.

6. Responsiveness : 

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles Swindoll 

The best leaders are responsive to their customers, staff, investors, and prospects. Every stakeholder today is a potential viral sparkplug, for better or for worse, and the winning leader is one who recognizes this and insists upon a culture of responsiveness. Whether the communication is email, voice mail, a note or a a tweet, responding shows you care and gives your customers and colleagues a say, allowing them to make a positive impact on the organization.

7. Adaptability : 

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” -Ben Franklin 

There has never been a faster-changing marketplace than the one we live in today. Leaders must be flexible in managing changing opportunities and challenges and nimble enough to pivot at the right moment. Stubbornness is no longer desirable to most organizations. Instead, humility and the willingness to adapt mark a great leader.

8. Passion : 

“The only way to do great work is to love the work you do.” -Steve Jobs 

Those who love what they do don’t have to work a day in their lives. People who are able to bring passion to their business have a remarkable advantage, as that passion is contagious to customers and colleagues alike. Finding and increasing your passion will absolutely affect your bottom line.

9. Surprise and Delight : 

“A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless.” -Charles de Gaulle 

Most people like surprises in their day-to-day lives. Likeable leaders under-promise and over-deliver, assuring that customers and staff are surprised in a positive way. There are a plethora of ways to surprise without spending extra money – a smile, We all like to be delighted !!

10. Simplicity : 

“Less isn’t more; just enough is more.” -Milton Glaser 

The world is more complex than ever before, and yet what customers often respond to best is simplicity — in design, form, and function. Taking complex projects, challenges, and ideas and distilling them to their simplest components allows customers, staff, and other stakeholders to better understand and buy into your vision. We humans all crave simplicity, and so today’s leader must be focused and deliver simplicity.

11. Gratefulness : 

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” -Gilbert Chesterton 

Likeable leaders are ever grateful for the people who contribute to their opportunities and success. Being appreciative and saying thank you to mentors, customers, colleagues, and other stakeholders keeps leaders humble, appreciated, and well received. It also makes you feel great! Donor’s Choose studied the value of a hand-written thank-you note, and actually found donors were 38% more likely to give a 2nd time, if they got a hand-written note !!

” The Golden Rule – Above all else, treat others as you’d like to be treated !”

By showing others the same courtesy you expect from them, you will gain more respect from coworkers, customers, and business partners. Holding others in high regard demonstrates your company’s likeability and motivates others to work with you. This seems so simple, as do so many of these principles — and yet many people, too concerned with making money or getting by, fail to truly adopt these key concepts.

Which of these principles are most important to you — what makes you likeable ????? 

The “FIVE Competitive Forces”, that Shape Strategy | by: Michael E. Porter | Harvard Business Review

In essence, the job of the strategist is to understand and cope with competition. Often, however, managers define competition too narrowly, as if it occurred only among today’s direct competitors. Yet competition for profits goes beyond established industry rivals to include four other competitive forces as well: customers, suppliers, potential entrants, and substitute products. The extended rivalry that results from all five forces defines an industry’s structure and shapes the nature of competitive interaction within an industry.

As different from one another as industries might appear on the surface, the underlying drivers of profitability are the same. The global auto industry, for instance, appears to have nothing in common with the worldwide market for art masterpieces or the heavily regulated health-care delivery industry in Europe. But to understand industry competition and profitability in each of those three cases, one must analyze the industry’s underlying structure in terms of the five forces. (See the exhibit “The Five Forces That Shape Industry Competition.”) 

If the forces are intense, as they are in such industries as airlines, textiles, and hotels, almost no company earns attractive returns on investment. If the forces are benign, as they are in industries such as software, soft drinks, and toiletries, many companies are profitable. Industry structure drives competition and profitability, not whether an industry produces a product or service, is emerging or mature, high tech or low tech, regulated or unregulated. While a myriad of factors can affect industry profitability in the short run—including the weather and the business cycle—industry structure, manifested in the competitive forces, sets industry profitability in the medium and long run.

Understanding the competitive forces, and their underlying causes, reveals the roots of an industry’s current profitability while providing a framework for anticipating and influencing competition (and profitability) over time. A healthy industry structure should be as much a competitive concern to strategists as their company’s own position. Understanding industry structure is also essential to effective strategic positioning. As we will see, defending against the competitive forces and shaping them in a company’s favor are crucial to strategy.

Forces That Shape Competition : 

The configuration of the five forces differs by industry. In the market for commercial aircraft, fierce rivalry between dominant producers Airbus and Boeing and the bargaining power of the airlines that place huge orders for aircraft are strong, while the threat of entry, the threat of substitutes, and the power of suppliers are more benign. In the movie theater industry, the proliferation of substitute forms of entertainment and the power of the movie producers and distributors who supply movies, the critical input, are important.

The strongest competitive force or forces determine the profitability of an industry and become the most important to strategy formulation. The most salient force, however, is not always obvious.

For example, even though rivalry is often fierce in commodity industries, it may not be the factor limiting profitability. Low returns in the photographic film industry, for instance, are the result of a superior substitute product—as Kodak and Fuji, the world’s leading producers of photographic film, learned with the advent of digital photography. In such a situation, coping with the substitute product becomes the number one strategic priority.

Industry structure grows out of a set of economic and technical characteristics that determine the strength of each competitive force. We will examine these drivers in the pages that follow, taking the perspective of an incumbent, or a company already present in the industry. The analysis can be readily extended to understand the challenges facing a potential entrant.

“Seven” Personality Traits of “Top Sales people” | by: Steve W. Martin | HBS

The main key personality attributes of “ Top Sales-people ” and the impact of the trait on their selling style.

1.  Modesty. Contrary to conventional stereotypes that successful salespeople are pushy and egotistical, 91 percent of top salespeople had medium to high scores of modesty and humility. Furthermore, the results suggest that ostentatious salespeople who are full of bravado alienate far more customers than they win over.

Selling Style Impact: Team Orientation. As opposed to establishing themselves as the focal point of the purchase decision, top salespeople position the team (pre-sales technical engineers, consulting, and management) that will help them win the account as the centerpiece.

2.  Conscientiousness. Eighty-five percent of top salespeople had high levels of conscientiousness, whereby they could be described as having a strong sense of duty and being responsible and reliable. These salespeople take their jobs very seriously and feel deeply responsible for the results.

Selling Style Impact: Account Control. The worst position for salespeople to be in is to have relinquished account control and to be operating at the direction of the customer, or worse yet, a competitor. Conversely, top salespeople take command of the sales cycle process in order to control their own destiny.

3.  Achievement Orientation. Eighty-four percent of the top performers tested scored very high in achievement orientation. They are fixated on achieving goals and continuously measure their performance in comparison to their goals.

Selling Style Impact: Political Orientation. During sales cycles, top sales, performers seek to understand the politics of customer decision-making. Their goal orientation instinctively drives them to meet with key decision-makers. Therefore, they strategize about the people they are selling to and how the products they’re selling fit into the organization instead of focusing on the functionality of the products themselves.

4.  Curiosity. Curiosity can be described as a person’s hunger for knowledge and information. Eighty-two percent of top salespeople scored extremely high curiosity levels. Top salespeople are naturally more curious than their lesser performing counterparts.

Selling Style Impact: Inquisitiveness. A high level of inquisitiveness correlates to an active presence during sales calls. An active presence drives the salesperson to ask customers difficult and uncomfortable questions in order to close gaps in information. Top salespeople want to know if they can win the business, and they want to know the truth as soon as possible.

5.  Lack of Gregariousness. One of the most surprising differences between top salespeople and those ranking in the bottom one-third of performance is their level of gregariousness (preference for being with people and friendliness). Overall, top performers averaged 30 percent lower gregariousness than below average performers.

Selling Style Impact: Dominance. Dominance is the ability to gain the willing obedience of customers such that the salesperson’s recommendations and advice are followed. The results indicate that overly friendly salespeople are too close to their customers and have difficulty establishing dominance.

6.  Lack of Discouragement. Less than 10 percent of top salespeople were classified as having high levels of discouragement and being frequently overwhelmed with sadness. Conversely, 90 percent were categorized as experiencing infrequent or only occasional sadness.

Selling Style Impact: Competitiveness. In casual surveys I have conducted throughout the years, I have found that a very high percentage of top performers played organized sports in high school. There seems to be a correlation between sports and sales success as top performers are able to handle emotional disappointments, bounce back from losses, and mentally prepare themselves for the next opportunity to compete.

7.  Lack of Self-Consciousness. Self-consciousness is the measurement of how easily someone is embarrassed. The byproduct of a high level of self-consciousness is bashfulness and inhibition. Less than five percent of top performers had high levels of self-consciousness.

Selling Style Impact: Aggressiveness. Top salespeople are comfortable fighting for their cause and are not afraid of rankling customers in the process. They are action-oriented and unafraid to call high in their accounts or courageously cold call new prospects.

” Not all salespeople are successful, Given the same sales tools, level of education, and propensity to work, why do some salespeople succeed where others fail ? Is one better suited to sell the product because of his or her background?

Is one more charming or just luckier ? The evidence suggests that the personalities of these truly great salespeople play a critical role in determining their success ….”

The “Mall Group” to spend USD103m on expansion in Thailand,2013 | Bangkok Post

The Mall Group, Thailand’s second largest department store, plans to set aside THB 3 billion (USD 103.4 million) for business expansion this year. One billion will be spent on a face-lift for their stores, with the balance for marketing, said senior chief marketing officer Chamnarn Maytaprechakul.

The company plans to branch out with its “Home Fresh Mart” supermarkets to become retail outlets not anchored to a Mall Group property for the first time this year, aiming to raise supermarket sales.

Of the renovation budget, 500 million baht is slated for a reworking of the supermarket and food areas of Siam Paragon Department Store to update their look.

The Mall is trying to cope with stiffer competition driven by new players as well as several retail complexes also deciding to renovate in surrounding areas, including MBK and running along Rama I Road to the Ploenchit intersection. Another 500 million baht will be used for face-lifts for The Mall Bang Khae and Tha Phra, said Mr Chamnarn.

Pira Assavapirom, senior merchandising officer for supermarket business, said the company will transform the 4,000 square metres of the MCC Hall and bowling lanes on the fourth floor of The Mall Bang Khae into a food hall and city walk.

The city walk will accommodate small fashion and lifestyle product vendors in order to capture the teenage market.Renovation of all three branches is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

Mr Pira said the company plans to branch out with its Home Fresh Mart supermarkets to become retail outlets not anchored to a Mall Group property for the first time this year, aiming to raise supermarket sales.

The company will spend 100 million baht to open “Home Fresh Marts” at several retail complexes run by the Laemthong Group in Si Racha and Bang Saen in Chon Buri province.The additional “Home Fresh Marts” will raise the number of supermarkets opened outside The Mall department stores to five this year.

Chairat Petchdakul, General Manager of procurement for fresh food, is confident these branches can help build brand awareness and attract more customers.

The company plans to open another five to six supermarket branches at other retail locations outside The Mall complexes over the next three years. Mr Chamnarn expects retail business this year to be brisk, with robust sales the first three weeks of the year and crowded foot traffic at the group’s malls.

Sales of  The Mall Group reached 46 billion last year, up 8% from 2011. Its growth target is 8-9% to over 50 billion this year.

A delicate balance-“Retailers & Suppliers collaborate” to maximize returns | KPMG Research

” In tough times, retailers and manufacturers have had to resolve their differences and learn to work together. But how do they re-calibrate their relationship to drive long-term growth for the retail industry ?” 

To the CEO of a major retailer, it must look like a no-brainer – hard times call for tough measures. With consumers demanding what one retail consultant calls “extreme value”, analysts focusing on the numbers more than ever, and investors unusually willing to seek the dismissal of business leaders they believe are not performing, one easy way to satisfy all stakeholders is to cut costs. And the fast, painless way to do that is surely to pay suppliers less for more or discount their products in store.

Except it isn’t quite that simple. In May 2012, worried by the fact that 25.6% of grocery products in Europe are sold using some kind of discount or deal, Unilever’s chief executive Paul Polman said: “We will undoubtedly have to stay competitive, but these big promotions and deep cuts are not building brands and consumer loyalty. In many cases, these promotions are turning out to be zero-sum games – down if you do and down if you don’t.”

The relationship between retailers and manufacturers is incredibly complex. Retailers are customers, collaborators and, in some cases, competitors of their suppliers. Although the immediate financial benefits gained from squeezing suppliers are obvious, is this a sound long-term strategy for retailers, manufacturers or the retail industry’s consumers ?

It’s probably worth recapping how we got here. The world’s first supermarket, the Upham’s Corner Market Co. was founded in 1915 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, yet for decades brands called the shots, insisting retailers stock all sizes of a particular product, limiting supply of certain high-end products when they wanted to and having the edge when negotiating at what price items would be supplied and sold.

buying power infographic


At the root of this dominance was one crude fact: the companies making the brands were usually much bigger than the retailers they were supplying. That is no longer the case. Twenty years ago, Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, achieved sales of US$33.7bn and the biggest retailer made US$32.6bn. Yet in 2011, while Nestlé’s sales had grown to US$87.5bn, the leading retailer’s had ballooned to US$418.9bn.

The major retailers haven’t just got bigger, their reach and market share has changed exponentially as the industry has consolidated. Almost 65% of US food sales now come from the largest supermarkets, while the major supermarkets in France, Germany and the UK have a combined market share of 85%. Ambitious retail giants can transform markets.

The emergence of such global retail giants as Carrefour, Tesco and Metro Group has transformed their relationship with manufacturers. “The retailers are setting the agenda,” says Mark Larson, KPMG’s Global Head of Retail. “They have squeezed manufacturers to lower costs and tried to maximize the profitability of their shelf space through various marketing pressures, such as asking for more marketing support for shelf placement and promotions. Forward-thinking retailers want to maximize their profits but they know if the balance of power is too heavily weighted in their favor, it’s a short-term strategy.”

Manufacturers are certainly feeling the pain. “It is very difficult to make a profit as a supplier,” says the CEO of one leading apparel manufacturer. “It’s so different to 20 years ago. Our biggest competitors now are retail customers. Margins are difficult.” Difficult may be an understatement: industry analysts say that in some sectors they have shrunk by 20%.

The boom in retailers’ own private labels has piled on the pressure. In the US, one in four products purchased is a store brand – they generated around US$92.7bn in revenue in 2011. The UK’s bestselling skincare range is No – 7, a brand developed by pharmacy chain Boots (now 45% owned by American retailer Walgreens). The focus in the US is polishing up these brands so stores can charge more and diversifying into such sectors as healthcare and alcohol.

“ Retailers know if the balance of power is too heavily weighted in their favor, it’s a short-term strategy ”– Mark Larson, KPMG’s Global Head of Retail.

Retailers argue that by playing hardball on costs, seeking marketing support and developing their own brands they are merely doing what their customers want them to do – and protecting their business in an industry which has reached an inflection point, as the digital revolution gets underway.

There is some truth in that. Compared to five years ago, retailers have an enormous amount of data about their customers, but this resource has not always made the consumer any easier to predict. As Larson says: “It is harder than ever to label consumers by any one category. This is an era where consumers trade up to high-value premium brands and down to low-cost commodity goods. The mass consumer has become a hybrid consumer and retailers are having to work harder to expand their market share in a given category and their share of a customer’s wallet.”

The internet has proved a game changer, with online shopping making life harder for bricks and mortar stores. When shoppers do visit a store they are significantly better informed than at any time in the history of the retail industry. Retailers and manufacturers have responded by investing billions to acquire deeper insight into customers. Larson says: “The companies that will emerge as winners will do so, in part, because they can identify and satisfy the unmet – and occasionally un-articulated – needs of consumers”.

This is no small challenge, one Larson suggests might be more easily achieved if retailers and manufacturers work together. “We’re coming out of very tough times and the retailer and the manufacturer do their own significant consumer planning and strategies. They could benefit from the ability to have input into each other’s strategies. With collaboration and trust, they can focus on the big issue: how can they establish a more enduring appeal to their customers ?”

There are already signs that collaboration is catching on – even in the unlikely area of private labels. ConAgra, home of such brands as Marie Callender’s and Healthy Choice, acquired four store brands in the fiscal year 2011/12 and is now making products for such retailers as Costco, Kroger and Trader Joe’s. This move has confounded some analysts but others believe there is room on the shelves for both store brands and traditional manufacturer brands. Nirmalya Kumar, professor of marketing at the London Business School (and author of Private Label Strategy), says: “Manufacturers can compete with private label if they have something better to offer. They can never be cheaper than private label but if they can convince the customer they are superior, there’s space for them.”


If the retail industry is to develop the kind of innovations it needs to open up new markets and product categories it cannot afford to exclusively rely on either retailers or manufacturers. “It’s push versus pull,” says Larson. “Suppliers will invest in R&D, developing such new products as Coke Zero or Innocent Smoothies, but equally retailers are on the front line and will demand things that meet their customers’ immediate needs.”

So when UK retailers identified consumer concerns about fish being difficult to cook or prepare, or that people just don’t like handling it, Seachill came up with the concept of Saucy Fish to directly answer those issues. Meanwhile, when Tesco were looking for a premium ice cream to rival the likes of Ben & Jerry’s but at a budget price, they got together with R&R who came up with Chokablok for them.

In consumer goods, product development is seldom cheap or easy. So it’s often best to let the manufacturer push ahead. It took eight years, 450 product sketches, 6,000 consumer tests and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment for Procter & Gamble to launch its Tide Pod laundry tablet – and it still had to collaborate with an external partner, MonoSol, to develop the film that can stand up to wet hands but dissolves quickly in the wash.

Sometimes, retailers have found it profitable to behave like manufacturers and at other times it has suited manufacturers to behave like retailers. With the iconic George Clooney as its global champion, Nestlé’s Nespresso, the coffee capsule brand, achieved global sales of US$3.82bn in 2011, 20% more than in 2010. Kumar says: “Nespresso is particularly intriguing because Nestlé can avoid retailers entirely – consumers can purchase capsules, machines and accessories online straight from the manufacturer.”

Yet to keep improving its performance, the retail industry needs to be more ambitious in the way it collaborates. Intriguing win-win collaborations include Campbell’s Soup and American supermarket Kroger working together to develop the Simple Meals concept, adapted to make the most of the retailer’s end-of-aisle merchandising so shoppers can buy ‘grab and go’ meals.

Through collaboration, retailers and manufacturers could, Larson says, master two great strategic challenges: the supply chain and customer data. A two million square foot automated warehouse in York, Pennyslvania, symbolizes one potential future for the industry’s supply chains. A collaboration between such manufacturers as Del Monte, logistics firm ES3 and retailer Ahold, this direct-to-store program has cut costs and carbon usage, reduced the time products take to reach the shelf and shortened the supply chain.

“ With collaboration and trust, retailers and manufacturers can focus on the big issues” – Mark Larson, KPMG’s Global Head of Retail. 

Online shopping will, Larson says, require such flexible thinking on a grand scale: “If we continue down the path of one-hour shipping and same-day dispatch, suppliers will have to straddle some real-time inventory issues and ensure they’ve got the supply chain and logistics to meet retailers’ needs.”

Working out how manufacturers and retailers can most usefully share their insight into customers could be even more complicated. “Retailers have more information than ever before but in our experience they can struggle to take advantage of their oceans of data in a systematic way,” says Larson.

Manufacturers have long mined data to hone their consumer insights. Home appliances giant Whirlpool has standardized its data to make it more customer focused and help retailers as the brand seeks to reach out to consumers, not just as purchasers but as collaborators who can help shape the products and services the company develops.

Coke is an acknowledged master at this, harvesting data from its Freestyle vending machines, which contain more than 100 brands. Christopher Roberts, former vice-president of retailing at Coca-Cola, has eloquently summed up the goal: “You want to completely understand the science of your shoppers. You want to establish those insights you can turn into tangible actions. The aim is to walk up to your retail partner with a unique, effective, shopper-based solution for their stores.”

There’s not much at stake here, only the entire future of the retail industry. Yet ultimately, retailers and manufacturers need each other. They just have to adapt to a world where they can be in competition, partnership or bargaining over the terms under which products are sold. “There will always be conflict,” says Larson. “Yet they can still collaborate. Even now it’s not always about price. Consumers are price sensitive but they will pay more for a brand they trust, like and know what it stands for.

What Really Drives “Employee Engagement?” | by: Punit Renjen | Chief Executive Magazine

Exceptional organizations have a two-sided ledger that not only strikes a balance between strategy and culture, but also connects them. Deloitte’s Core Beliefs and Culture survey, which polled approximately 300 executives and 1,000 employees from companies nationwide, found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.

However, there’s more work to be done to close the gaps on other business priorities. The study indicates executives tend to prioritize a clearly defined business strategy (76%) above clearly defined and communicated core values and beliefs (62%), whereas employees value them equally (57% and 55%, respectively). Also, 70% of employees who agreed that their companies had performed well financially said their boss speaks to them often about culture. But only 19% of executives and 15% of employees believe strongly that their organization’s culture is widely upheld.

Consider those businesses known for exceptional customer service. Often, their culture is their strategy. Nordstrom and Zappos.com embed their cultures into their service delivery strategies by trusting their people implicitly, encouraging them to use their judgment, and empowering them to take action that will delight their customers.

Examples : For many years, Nordstrom employees were given a small grey card with the company’s rules. Rule – 1 said : Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.” Such guidance becomes real, for example, when a Nordstrom employee decides to split two pairs of shoes to fit a man with different-sized feet. At Zappos.com, it’s inherent in how the company describes itself – as a service company that just happens to sell shoes.

To create an exceptional culture: 

  • Define the basis of your organization’s culture – its core beliefs and values.
  • Communicate them vigorously.Embed them in everything you do.
  • At Deloitte, ours are woven throughout the performance plans and appraisals of our partners and directors. 

Goals and engagement: 

Another important seam supporting exceptional organizations joins executive goals with employee willingness to achieve them. Many businesses, however, are apparently struggling to stitch the two together. According to Gallup, 70% of American workers considered themselves disengaged during the first half of 2012.

This may be in part due to differing views regarding what drives employee engagement. The Core Beliefs and Culture survey found a consensus (83% of executives and 84% of employees) that having engaged and motivated employees is a top factor substantially contributing to company success. However, executives ranked tangible elements such as financial performance (65%) and competitive compensation (62%) most highly as drivers of employee engagement, while employees rated more highly the intangible elements of regular and candid communications (50%) and access to management/leadership (49%).

Millennial’s might have the keenest insight on this disconnect. Not shy about speaking up, they’ve voiced an urgent need for their work to have meaning beyond just making a profit. Interestingly, companies that put purpose before profit can inspire employee and shareholder confidence.

Look at Johnson & Johnson. It’s credo distinctly states its higher calling: “We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services.” Or, think of those exceptional organizations built upon innovation and you’ll find the bellwethers of their industries – companies like Apple, IBM and Microsoft. They’ve created a culture that unites passionate people with the unknown, the unexplored, and the unlikely. What follows can lead to dramatic breakthroughs and competitive advantage.

To create an exceptional culture: 

  • Define your organization’s purpose and higher calling.
  • Recognize that profit is not purpose.
  • Profit is an outcome of purpose.
  • Help everyone understand how their work contributes to organizational success. 

Values and actions: 

If there’s one seam that most shapes a business, it’s the one that links actions with values. Employees continually watch their leaders for cues about how to act. But when leaders say one thing and do another, a dispiriting process sets in, with confusion and uncertainty eventually leading to lost motivation and trust.

Deloitte’s survey indicated a significant gap between executive belief and employee perception, often punctuated by executive overstatement. For instance, 84% of executives believe senior leadership regularly communicates their company’s core values and beliefs. Only 67% of employees feel that is true. In terms of “practicing what one preaches,” 81% of executives compared to 69% of employees believe senior leadership acts in accordance with the company’s core values and beliefs. Finally, 45% of executives said social media had a positive impact on workplace culture; only 27% of employees agreed.

Employees notice when leaders exemplify the culture they so proudly proclaim – and sometimes they even follow suit.

Many years ago, Starbucks lost three employees during a robbery at one of its stores. Rather than send condolences from afar, its CEO flew cross-country to spend an entire week with employees and their families in the area. Some years later, a Starbucks Barista offered one of her customers much more than a free refill. Knowing that her long-time customer desperately needed a kidney transplant and had no suitable donor, she took a blood test. A few days later, she told her astonished customer that she was a match. Whether it was culture, individual compassion, or both, the connection of values and actions sets examples for others to follow.

To create an exceptional culture: 

  • Make culture real by living core values and beliefs for everyone to see.
  • Build culture directly through such time-honoured norms as mentoring, face-to-face interaction, and robust, specific feedback.
  • Align values with actions to foster an even greater alignment – the ability of executives and employees to connect, relate, and act as one.Leaders who want to hold the fabric of their business together can begin by connecting strategy with culture, goals with engagement, and values with actions.
  • It can mean the crucial difference between an organization becoming exceptional – or coming apart at the seams. 

(Mr. Renjen is chairman of the board, Deloitte LLP.) 

“Talent Management 2.0 “: An affordable route to a high-performance organization | by: Colin Coulson-Thomas | I B J

” Instead of engaging in the expensive and not-always-successful war for talent, the author suggests that organizations can develop an inexpensive approach that can achieve improved results by taking people as they are, rather than as we would like them to be. He calls the approach performance support, and readers will learn how to provide it in this article.” – 

There are many options for transforming organizational performance, but general initiatives such as corporate restructuring are time-consuming, expensive and disruptive. By the time they are implemented, requirements may have changed. Are there quicker and more affordable alternatives ?

In seeking to create a high-performance organization many boards and senior executives have embraced “talent management.”  Is it just another management fad? Will talent management go the way of other fashions as new preoccupations emerge, or will it endure and have a significant impact on the future performance of organizations ?

This article summarizes the results of a five-year investigation into the relative merits of different ways of improving corporate performance. It introduces an approach to talent management that is particularly cost-effective, can deliver multiple objectives simultaneously, and benefit both people and organizations.


Many adoptions of talent management have focused on so-called high fliers and tomorrow’s leaders. They involve an investment today for future benefit. Boards have endeavored to reconcile a continuing desire to build talent and capabilities over the longer term with the need for short- term savings and current viability.

The evidence and experience examined suggests that many approaches to talent management are costly and doomed to disappoint. Over three quarters of practitioners participating in a poll during the study thought talent management is not delivering. About one half thought that opportunities are being missed. More encouragingly, a practical and more affordable way of quickly achieving multiple corporate objectives is being overlooked.


Should one recruit for a job ? OR should one select people thought to have “potential” and build jobs around them as situations and circumstances change? The latter seems attractive, particularly in dynamic environments. However, is this approach affordable for sufficient people and roles across an organization? Could building talent and supporting job roles be more cost effective ?

With Talent Management 2 the focus shifts from people to particular jobs and the requirements for succeeding in them. The emphasis is on several things: assessing the roles and tasks that will be required; identifying steps in work processes that have the greatest impacts; and ensuring that people in these jobs are enabled to excel by providing them with appropriate performance support.

Finding better people can be problematic. Recruiting and inducting new members of staff can take time and be expensive in comparison with changes of support to enable more to be achieved from an existing team. This is especially true for those who are open to taking advice, prepared to learn from their peers, and willing to adopt superior practices.


Some approaches to talent management are un-affordable. Organizations engage in bidding wars to recruit the best people. Efforts to attract particular skill sets can push up wage and salary costs. It may be better to concentrate on understanding critical success factors and capturing and sharing what top performers do differently, particularly when a quick solution is required.

The change in emphasis required and the use of performance support justify the coining of the term Talent Management 2. Talent wars can be costly, distracting and involve collateral damage. Performance support makes it easier for average people to understand complex issues and excel at difficult tasks.

Capturing and sharing what high performers do differently can greatly benefit the ordinary person. The approach also increases the beneficial impact that superstars who excel in key tasks can have on organizations, creating a larger return on their talents.


Many organizations endeavor to identify future leaders. This can require considerable commitment and effort. Talent Management 2 does not preclude identification of leadership potential, but it enables a wider range of people to build upon and complement natural strengths. It can also liberate and be quickly adopted.

Views on top talent can be overtaken by changing priorities and external events. Like organizational structures, policies and technologies, they can quickly date. Hence, there is a requirement for more flexible ways of enabling affordable people to confront and handle tricky and unfamiliar situations, as, when and wherever they arise. In essence, this is what Talent Management 2 and performance support are about.


Some talent pools of “high fliers” appear expensive when the cost of fast tracking is taken into account. Are today’s recruits more committed, entrepreneurial and creative than the people one could work with at the time specific needs arise? Will they be more effective than those who might be able to do what is required with appropriate support? Going into the market as needs arise may be cheaper than creating roles for people just to give them a “development experience.”

An examination of the performance of Wall Street analysts by Boris Groysberg in 2010 (Boris Groysberg, Chasing Stars, the myth of talent and the portability of performance, Princeton University Press, 2010) suggests that individuals identified as highly talented may not necessarily perform at the same high levels when lured elsewhere by higher salaries. Setting out to buy high performance can be expensive if a star in one context is less effective in another. It may be cheaper to work with the people one has and put the right support environment in place to create a high-performance team.

The cost of endeavoring to develop talent can be daunting, especially for smaller enterprises, when ‘traditional’ approaches are used. In comparison, the entry ‘price’ to Talent Management 2 – and implementing a solution for an extensive and scattered work-group that addresses a critical problem for an organization – can be around the cost of recruiting and paying the first year’s salary of one new hire.


Talented people can be costly to recruit and difficult to manage and retain. Colleagues might feel threatened by them. They may appear to be prima donnas, obsessed with building their CVs and personal careers, or become bored and discontented when given tasks they feel are beneath them. Giving special treatment to some can alienate others. However, such reactions can change when Talent Management 2 is adopted and a wider contribution is recognised.

Clever people represent a challenge and an opportunity for organisations. They need to be appropriately managed to realise their full potential. Talent Management 2 recognizes those who excel at particular activities. Performance support can enable them to push the envelope and help others to emulate what they do differently.

While some qualities that people have might be transferable, an exceptional talent in one area may be only average in another. Achieving objectives often depends on the skills that are employed in particular jobs, especially front-line jobs that have a disproportionate impact on customers and priority areas for improvement.

In short, large amounts can be spent on expensive people who are not engaged, effectively used, or appropriately supported. Sometimes, when talented people hit their stride they get headhunted or move to another body. Another organization reaps the benefits of one’s selection, recruitment and development processes.

While ‘traditional’ practices can increase churn within a labour market, the focus of  Talent Management 2, on helping and developing existing work-groups can aid retention. People may be reluctant to move when without the support to which they have become accustomed, it would be more difficult to learn, develop and do a job.


An individual who shines in one context may struggle in another. Even superstars can be deficient in certain areas. With Talent Management 2, the focus on particular jobs and tasks makes it easier to identify high performers. At the same time, the support provided can incorporate critical success factors and the superior ways of high achieving peers.

The author’s investigations of critical success factors for key corporate activities have found talented people with outstanding qualifications tackling tasks in a loosing way, while others with fewer credentials undertake similar tasks in a more effective way. Success often depends upon whether or not, and to what extent, critical success factors are in place and work is done in a “winning way.”

This finding is particularly stark in competitive bidding. In some sectors, a significant proportion of new business derives from competitive bidding. Success in submitting winning bids can determine whether or not a company survives as a main contractor. Adopting identified critical success factors, for example by using performance support to help bid teams, can have a significant impact on organizational prospects.


Talent management tends to focus on recruitment, development, planning and succession activities. The performance of key work-groups sometimes suffers when experienced experts are replaced by younger people who are multi-skilled. Capturing and sharing the superior approaches of high performers who have learned better ways of doing things can address this problem.

Hitherto, responsibilities for different aspects of the talent management process have often been split between service functions and line management. Performance support can help ensure that talents, competences, qualities and potential are relevant and applied to key tasks and what an organization is setting out to do.

Talent managers hope that fast tracked people will stay long enough to repay the substantial investment in their development. However, in the future there may be less need for ‘overhead’ roles at senior level. Fewer managers may be required when front-line staff can be supported and monitored by other means.

” Talent management 2.0″, looks beyond high fliers and is especially relevant to front-line support. It integrates learning and working. While tactical and local applications can quickly generate significant returns, a joined- up and more strategic approach is required to obtain its full potential.

As development initiatives fail to engage, many organizations do not reap the benefits of learning from people who excel in certain areas. Can one build a high-performance organization and deliver multiple objectives with existing people – average people who do not cost an arm and a leg to recruit and retain – and a current corporate culture ?


Organizations require an affordable approach that can achieve improved results by taking people as they are, rather than as we would like them to be. Can this be done in such a way that beneficial and quantifiable impacts can be obtained within a few months? Could applications be self-funding within a single financial year ?

The ” Talent Management 2.0″ report, sets out an alternative paradigm that can bridge a gulf between aspiration and achievement. Early evidence from pioneer adopters of performance support suggests that it represents a more focused, relatively quick and cost effective way of securing large returns on investment and simultaneously achieving multiple objectives. It can engage people and meet a talent-on-demand requirement.

The approach brings together various elements, from helping people to understand complex areas and making it easier for them to do difficult jobs, to a cost-effective mechanism for providing performance support on a 24/7 basis to people wherever they may be. It has been shown to be relevant to entrepreneurial ventures as well as global corporations in different sectors. It is also applicable to public bodies and can contribute to creating flexible, adaptable and high performance organizations.

Pioneer adopters of performance support are building critical success factors into the processes for key activities and adopting cost-effective ways of helping people emulate the superior ways of high performing superstars. Work-group productivity and corporate performance can be boosted to deliver success for organizations and satisfaction for individuals.


Providing better support can enable more to be achieved by fewer and less costly staff. People can be enabled to handle more complex cases. They feel more confident and in control. By making it easier for staff to do difficult jobs, performance support reduces absences due to stress as well as the requirements for overtime and additional help.

Incorporating critical success factors and best practices from elsewhere enables access to external talent. The results of crowd sourcing and social networking can be quickly shared across a community in a usable form. Performance support should engage and support conversations and relationships. It complements collaborative approaches and can embrace business partners and user communities.

Talent management 2 unashamedly addresses the development and deployment of talent at the point at which work is done in order to increase value, performance and compliance, and reduce cost, risk and stress. It also addresses certain problems of current approaches. For example, one should be better equipped to benefit from higher performers and ensure their legacy continues should they wish to leave.

In place of an investment in acquiring talent and potential for an unknown future, there is a focus on boosting the performance of today’s key work-groups and quickly delivering multiple benefits for both people and organizations. Doing this in a cost-effective, flexible and sustainable way, and ensuring people stay current and employ good practices, may be the most reliable guarantee of continuing relevance and vitality. Instead of hoping for the best, one takes steps to be the best.


Some directors are reluctant to let go, while others are concerned about possible consequences. Traditional talent management involves risks, such as whether people will fit in and shine in a particular context, or be retained long enough to yield a return on their recruitment, induction and fast-track development.

Corporate structures, initiatives and practices are preventing people from achieving their full potential. With built-in controls, performance management ensures compliance and enables customized responses and responsible innovation.

Bringing in exceptional people – even if they are affordable – can create a host of problems if they are not properly managed. Paying for talented people may make little sense for organizations that cannot harness, capture or share what they do differently.

The dangers of current and un-affordable approaches to talent management can be avoided. Performance support enables relevant capabilities to be built as and when required. It can incorporate critical success factors for excelling in key roles and quickly deliver multiple benefits for people and organizations.

Lessons in leadership: “How to build a winning-team” | by:Ilya Bogorad | TechRepublic

Visit the nearest bookstore and you will find uncountable volumes on team building, hiring, and personnel management. Browse the Internet and you will discover scores of articles, blog entries, and other content devoted to the topic. There is a good reason for this amount of attention to the topic. A leader cannot act alone and is only as good as his team. When we talk about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Jack Welch, we mustn’t forget that there are people behind them, a team that supports and enables them.

So, given the abundance of writing on the subject out there, why this article?

The answer is simple: on an average, organizations suck at it — all the books and articles and other knowledge notwithstanding. As a consultant, I see a lot of environments, and the sheer number of teams that have a potential to be absolute stars, but are mediocre at present, is astounding. I would like to inspire the reader and provide some ideas for changing things for the better. I cannot be in every organization all the time to fix the problem, so this is simple way of leveraging the reading audience for maximum result.

What exactly is a winning team ? 

I believe that every leader should strive to build a team that possesses the following three qualities of greatness :

Effectively achieving set objectives – 

This is the most basic requirement — getting the job done. The necessary conditions for this are cohesiveness, competence, and accountability of the team.

  • Cohesiveness is essential for excellent team performance. Let’s say we want to put together a team of 10. What we want to see is that the team results will be much more than simply a sum of individual effort. Cohesive teams achieve that through sharing and building on each other’s strengths. Disjointed teams actually do worse than that because of the costs of coordination (meetings… you can tell how bad things are just by the amount of meetings an organization holds daily).
  • Competence is an obvious point, but it is often confused with narrowly defined criteria for the immediate job at hand, applied to all team members equally.
  • The sense of Accountability motivates and sets an important framework (ethical, financial, strategic, tactical etc), within which the team makes everyday decisions. It is unmatched in power which it exerts on our performance and no coercion, no prospect of profit (material or not) come close in effectiveness.

A leader would be remiss if she relied on these conditions to occur automatically, yet how often do we see exactly that, management lamenting about their staff’s shortcomings without any attempts to rectify them ? Too often…

Innovative – Superb teams develop and prosper through innovation. This is especially important in the era of globalization when the competition is fierce and the pressure to minimize costs is often overwhelming. Why can’t this team’s work be done as well, but cheaper, elsewhere? This question never comes up if your team’s innovative spirit is seen as a great asset, a jewel within the organization.

Enjoyable – We spend perhaps half of our waking hours with our colleagues. If this is unpleasant, so is a half of our life. To me personally, this isn’t an option. As a leader, I also understand that only those teams that are enjoyable to be a part of, are sustainable in the long run.

What to aim for (and why this is not happening) : 

Does my take on winning teams sound reasonable? Many more points can be discussed and added, of course, but the important question I would like to answer at this point is this: what qualities should one look for in people to create a winning team as described above ?

Here are Seven key qualities I look for. I can easily develop everything else, such as technical skills, communication, and domain knowledge. I have little control over these innate virtues.

1. Intelligence: Nothing beats raw intelligence, the ability to think clearly, to frame one’s thoughts, to use appropriate examples, to abstract. Intelligent people create intelligent solutions. Intelligent people are interesting to work with.

The problem with traditional hiring today is that people are pre-selected for interviews based on some arbitrary measure of  experience in the industry (why five years and not three or seven?) or the stated knowledge of a tool or technology (is your resume not full of buzzwords?). But how often do you see the requirement of intelligence?

2. Integrity: As leaders, we put our utmost trust in people. As the experience of many political leaders suggests (President Obama’s effort in putting the Cabinet together is the most recent), integrity is not to be taken for granted and its lack in a subordinate can be very damaging indeed.

3. Enthusiasm: Another powerful internal motivator, it cannot be taught. It is, however, said to be contagious. The upbeat take on life, events, and adversity is essential in today’s environment.

4. Curiosity: The drive to learn, challenge, question, and try to understand is incredibly important if the team’s performance, growth, and the ability to innovate is of any significance at all. I don’t know how to develop it in someone lacking it. Do you?

5. Diversity: One of the fallacies of hiring is approaching it as if people were screws — state the length, the diameter, the head shape, and the type of the thread, and expect them all to be the same for the immediate project at hand.

This approach is demeaning for the candidate and limiting (possibly, damaging) for the organization. Recently, an IT executive lamented on his efforts to find a job after being laid off. It seems, he said, that 20 years of diverse experience, solid leadership, and great results are not as important as whether he managed a particular system. This is the reality.

I look for people with complementary skills and experiences, which not only make the team so much more powerful in terms of the breadth of collective knowledge, it also encourages teamwork and learning (we all need each other), and creates a team that delivers much more than a multiple of the individual effort.

6. Teamwork. There is a small proportion of the population unable to work in a group. They may be great at what they do, highly intelligent, and have solid values, but it’s a team we are building, right ?

7. Sociability: What kind of people do you like to work with? Friendly, helpful, with a sense of humour? So do I.


“ Fabulous”,  you may say………“ now, how do I go about hiring these fine people ? ” ….