“One Branding” : “Uniting the Employer, Corporate & Product Experience” | BCG

Every day, the Digital-World shines a spotlight on Brand inconsistencies…Employees & potential recruits might get one impression online, customers and partners might have another experience, while investors and influencers might see an altogether different picture…The result is brand confusion or worse : “Brand Conflict ” !!

Consumers today, led by the digitally native Millennial generation (ages 18 to 34), expect much more from brands. They increasingly require a holistic and authentic experience across all the online and offline ways they interact with a company. When we surveyed them, Millennials reported that the number one way that brands can engage them is to have an “authentic purpose.” Many consumers expect to engage more actively in a two-way dialogue with brands—and the Internet gives them a megaphone to express their positive and negative opinions loudly..

The global business environment also demands more from brands. The service sector now makes up approximately 70 percent of most developed economies, and that share is even higher when it includes the many products that have a service component. People have become a critical resource for service-based industries: labor costs are higher than capital costs in many service companies..

Likewise, people have also become an essential component of branding, a field that was once highly product oriented. Brand experiences are now largely shaped by the people on the front lines who interact daily with customers and must meet their rising expectations. Employees have become, in effect, brand ambassadors. Brand management of the future requires, therefore, even fuller and more consistent engagement among the people inside and outside the company—both those who experience the brand and those who represent it..

The problem is that companies too often focus on only one or two aspects of their brand image. Many ignore employees as brand advocates or else narrowly relegate marketing communications for employees and recruits to the human resources department. People often assume that a strong product or corporate brand alone will attract candidates and customers. To become part of its customers’ lives, however, a company’s product and brands will first have to be “lived” by its employees.

To succeed, companies today must elevate employer branding to its rightful place among the other major pillars of corporate, product, and service brand management. At the same time, they must create harmony among customer experiences with the product, the company, and employees. We call this new concept of integrated, employee-powered marketing One Branding...A tight linking of all the aspects of brand management ensures that brands leverage their most significant asset—employees—to create more powerful and relevant brands for today’s changing world. One branding also significantly boosts performance..

THE REWARDS OF ONE BRANDING:

Only the harmonization of corporate, product, and employer branding ensures that everyone involved “pays into” the one-brand account, together raising the brand’s value. We have found that, in many cases, behind this success lies strong employer branding..

Companies that have strong employer brands tend to outperform those that do not. To measure the strength of employer brands, we asked students in MBA programs to rate the attractiveness of prospective employers. A BCG analysis of 39 global companies over the ten-year period from 2003 through 2012 found a positive correlation between the strength of employer brands and the average growth in total shareholder return (TSR)..

We found that the correlation between an employer’s brand and TSR was stronger at companies with a strong employer brand than at those with average or poor ratings. Moving into the top leagues of employer branding is, therefore, worthwhile not only from an HR perspective but also for its medium- to long-term impact on company value..

Not every company must be a leader in all THREE Brand-management disciplines…But all companies must gain a basic command of each, as they discover how to differentiate themselves in the areas important to their business. Only then will they achieve more integrated and consistent brands..

The Power of Employer Branding:

Even though it has become central to how a brand is experienced, employer branding is frequently the missing ingredient in achieving the promise of one branding. Employer branding represents a company’s brand promise to the people who work there, the people who want to work there, and the people the company wants to recruit. HR leaders cite employer branding as a high priority, but not even 10 percent of prospective employees during job interviews know the key elements of an employer’s brand, according to one European survey.

To succeed in today’s complex business environment and deliver a unified experience across all the brand dimensions that are important to future success—especially through its people—every company needs to define its unique advantages for employer branding and then work hard to cultivate these differentiating factors more effectively. (See Exhibit 1.)

To discern how companies are giving employer branding an equal place inside a unified brand, we interviewed executives in the European operations of ten global companies with leading brands. In our work with companies around the world, we have found these leaders’ insights to be broadly applicable to many other regions.

Consider the success of the employer-branding campaign recently launched by the adidas Group, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of sporting goods, with €14.5 billion in sales; 50,700 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $7.5 billion by Interbrand as of 2013.

In 1998, Matthias Malessa, chief HR officer of the adidas Group, established an HR marketing department that focused on its external presentation as an employer. “Today, employer branding is a perception index of people inside the company that projects to the outside and says, ‘Check this out. This is how it looks here. If you think it looks good, join us. If not, we’re not for you”..

For the first time, the features of the campaign were developed with employees on the basis of their experiences working for adidas. The company surveyed employees of all its brands worldwide. Five main branding messages resulted…Each country has the flexibility to highlight the message that has priority for the employees there..

“More and more young employees are demanding that their voices be heard,” says Malessa. “I ask my people, ‘How do you perceive this company?’ Then I build my employer-branding story based on what they say.” For instance, one message involves social and environmental responsibility. The motto “to make the world a better place” connects this message into a unified product-, corporate-, and employer-brand strategy..

The success factor is that employees are free to share their experiences with the adidas culture online. “In the digital age, it’s important to win over your employees as brand ambassadors, but for it to function, there also have to be rules,” says Simone Lendzian, corporate communications manager. Social-media guidelines orient employees to their rights and responsibilities when communicating as brand ambassadors during work hours..

The company had a lot of discussions about whether each brand in the adidas family—which includes Reebok and Rockport in addition to adidas—needed its own employer branding. “We believe it all has to flow into one employer brand that is all-inclusive and covers the entire company,” says Malessa..

Six Guiding Principles for One Branding:

To put one branding into practice, a company must keep in mind six overarching principles about how employer branding relates to its overall brand portfolio.

Credible positioning starts with a well-defined process. At the heart of employer branding lies a convincing employer value proposition (EVP): the promise of value that employers make to their current and future employees. The emphasis should be on the uniqueness of the company. Only with a differentiated strategy can a company achieve competitive advantage.

To ensure that the EVP is relevant and differentiating, it must be based on solid data and integrated into the overall HR strategy process. First, market research compares the internal understanding of the company’s current positioning with the motivations and needs of external target segments. This is translated into a credible brand position and concrete actions and then anchored in the company’s organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. (See Exhibit 2.)

Employee motivations guide Employer Branding – to attract and retain good people, a company must appeal to both logic and emotion. Effective employer branding uses a “double perspective” of internal and external views to discover the elements of the brand experience that drive engagement among existing and prospective employees…Qualitative and quantitative market research can identify motivations that fit the brand, whereas creative techniques can uncover even deeper insights. Rather than simply delegating market research to an outside organization, all internal and external stakeholders should be invited to speak their minds through an active dialogue with the marketing, HR, and strategy departments..

Only a brand that is lived every day can be experienced – Employer branding can be only as strong as the health of the company’s culture.A true standout is the culture of Google, the world’s largest Internet company by market capitalization, with $50.8 billion in revenues; 45,000 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $93.3 billion by Interbrand as of 2013. “Our employer value proposition is the result of our company culture as we live and experience it,” says Frank Kohl­-Boas, Google’s head of HR in northern Europe. “As our motto says, ‘Do cool things that matter.’ I am convinced that you can recruit and retain knowledge workers only if you give them the room they need to think freely and you offer them interesting work. If you do this, candidates and employees will say, ‘I can earn money elsewhere, but where else can I be a part of things, be myself, and grow ? ’”

At Google, responsibility for employer branding resides in HR, because it is understood less as a marketing task than as the management of corporate culture. A core team, under the leadership of a chief culture officer, works with local culture ambassadors who support the topic voluntarily in addition to their core jobs. The goals are to find the right people to hire, to ensure the internal multiplication of knowledge, and to provide the freedom for product discovery and invention..

“We don’t do any big marketing campaigns—neither for recruiting nor for Google as a brand,” says Kohl­-Boas. “Instead, we invest in employees who develop the brand. We trust that a lot of people will come into contact with our products and associate the company with the quality of our products. If users like our products, the customers and shareholders will come.”

Employees are the best brand ambassadors – The most authentic sources of employer branding are employees who can communicate credibly about the company and make its culture tangible..

Consider eBay, well-known as a global leader in online retailing and payments, with $16 billion in revenues; 30,000 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $13.2 billion by Interbrand as of 2013. At eBay, employee referrals are the most important recruiting component by far. “When you shape your employer branding out of the culture and put your people at the center of it, the advantage is that you can motivate them to channel their pride by recommending the company,” says Tobias Hübscher, eBay’s senior manager, European employee communications.

“Referral campaigns save headhunter fees and ad campaign costs and helped us get budget for employer branding and resources for talent acquisition,” he adds. “Basically, we see referrals as being a lot more effective and working better in the recruiting process.”

Social media is only one tool in the toolbox –  Despite all the hype about social-media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, every channel must be closely analyzed for its benefits and risks. If a company does not have confidence that it can present itself authentically and engage in open dialogue with consumers through certain mediums, it should not use them until the advantages outweigh any potential damage.

The social-media strategy is well defined at Heineken International, the world’s third-largest brewing company, with €19.2 billion in revenues; 85,000 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $4.3 billion by Interbrand as of 2013. “When it comes to social media, you have to know exactly what you want,” says Dario Gargiulo, global social-media manager at Heineken International. “A lot of companies do social media only because they think it’s good to have a presence everywhere. Instead, you have to use every social channel differently and with a specific aim. You must take the time to find out which channel should be used for which message.”

Gargiulo recommends focusing on the brand message and consumer attitudes on social media rather than communicating all of the company’s activities. “In social media, you immediately get consumer reactions about what’s important and what’s not,” he says. “It’s about the connection with real life.”

To integrate brand management disciplines tightly, stay loose – The players in one branding are less like a conductor-led orchestra than a leaderless jazz band. In the latter, the optimal combination of players is more important than who leads at any point in time. Well-executed examples of one branding show that there is no universal solution: although HR is often in charge—for instance, at BMW and adidas—several companies we studied maintain an ongoing, constructive conversation among the different components of branding, including marketing, communications, strategy, and HR. The corporate brand often takes the lead when the path forward is not clear.

At eBay, employer branding is jointly managed by the HR, talent acquisition, communications, and marketing departments and covers all eBay brands. Both internal employer culture and external campaigns are steered by communications in the local country unit.

Regardless of the organization design, marketing and HR must work together as equals. Each of the functions has plenty to contribute: HR has the competencies needed for strategic personnel planning and the ongoing development of company culture. And marketing can bring its “detective skills” to the table—by feeling out and establishing a unique positioning for employees and job applicants..

The era of one branding is dawning. Employer, corporate, and product branding will only grow more closely integrated..

Although we see no one-size-fits-all strategy that can address all the challenges ahead, we have observed this about the leaders: one branding works only if executives in charge of HR and the brand disciplines make it their common goal and have the courage and flexibility to work together.

Companies that are willing to cross organization boundaries and experiment with this new approach now will discover the proven benefits of one branding. Those that do not move in this direction risk falling behind their more integrated and nimble competitors..!!

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“11 Leadership Lessons” from “Alexander the Great” | by: Manfred Kets De Vries | INSEAD

Visionary, Team-Builder, Mentor, he shows us some timeless Leadership-Lessons but also some Glaring Failures…!!

Although the “Great Man” Leadership theory belongs to the scrapheap of history, its allure continues to mystify…Underlying this theory is the assumption that if the right man (yes, it is often assumed to be a man) for the job emerges, he will almost magically take control of a situation and lead a group of people into safety or success. While such leaders are rare, there are times when a singular individual steps out from the crowd and serves as a paragon of leadership.

One such individual was Alexander the Great; one of history’s most famous warriors and a legend of almost divine status in his own lifetime. He falls into the elite category of individuals who changed the history of civilisation and shaped the present world as we know it.

From a Leadership perspective, it’s not very difficult to say that Alexander was without peer…He could be magnanimous toward defeated enemies and extremely loyal toward his friends. As a general, he led by example, leading from the front…!

Alexander’s reign illustrates a number of important leadership lessons which remain applicable to business and political chiefs today:

1. Have a compelling vision – Alexander’s actions demonstrate what can be accomplished when a person is totally focused—when he or she has clarity coupled with a ‘magnificent obsession’. Through dramatic gestures and great rhetorical skills, Alexander spoke to the collective imagination of his people and won the commitment of his followers..

2. Be unsurpassed in execution – Alexander not only had a compelling vision, he also knew how to make that vision become reality. By maintaining an excellent information system, he was able to interpret his opponent’s motives and was a master at coordinating all parts of his military machine. No other military leader before him ever used speed and surprise with such dexterity. He knew the true value of the statement “One is either quick or one is dead ” !!

3. Create a well-rounded Executive Team – Alexander also knew how to build a committed team around him and operated in a way that allowed his commanders to build on each other’s’ strengths..

4. Walk the talk – Alexander set the example of excellence with his leadership style; he led his troops quite literally from the front. When his troops went hungry or thirsty, he went hungry and thirsty; when their horses died beneath them and they had to walk, he did the same. This accessibility only changed when he succumbed to the luxury of Persian court life..

5. Encourage “Innovation” – Alexander realised the competitive advantage of strategic innovation. Because of his deft deployment of troops, his support for and reliance on the creativity of his corps of engineers, and his own logistical acumen, his war machine was the most advanced of its time..

6. Foster Group Identification – Alexander created a very astute propaganda machine to keep his people engaged. His oratory skills, based on the simple language of his soldiers, had a hypnotic influence on all who heard him. He made extensive use of powerful cultural symbols which elicited strong emotions. These ‘meaning-management’ actions, combined with his talent for leading by example, fostered strong group identification among his troops, and motivated his men to make exceptional efforts..

7. Encourage and Support Followers – Alexander knew how to encourage his people for their excellence in battle in ways that brought out greater excellence. He routinely singled people out for special attention and recalled acts of bravery performed by former and fallen heroes, making it clear that individual contributions would be recognised. He also had the ability to be a ‘container’ of the emotions of his people through empathetic listening.

8. Invest in Talent Management – Extremely visionary for his time, Alexander spent an extraordinary amount of resources on training and development. He not only trained his present troops but also looked to the future by developing the next generation.

9. Consolidate Gains – Paradoxically, three of Alexander’s most valuable lessons were taught not through his strengths but through his weaknesses. The first of these is the need to consolidate gains. Alexander failed to put the right control systems in place to integrate his empire and thus never really savoured the fruit of his accomplishments. Conquest may be richly rewarding, but a leader who advances without ensuring the stability of his or her gains stands to lose everything..

10. Succession Planning – Another lesson Alexander taught by omission is the need for a viable succession plan. He was so focused on his own role as king and aspiring deity that he could not bring himself to think of the future when he was gone. As a result, political vultures tore his vast empire apart after his death.

11. Create Mechanisms of Organisational Governance – The final lesson that the case of Alexander illustrates (again by omission) is the paramount importance of countervailing powers. Leaders have the responsibility to put proper mechanisms of organisational governance into place, using checks and balances to prevent faulty decision-making and the abuse of power.

Alexander began his reign as an enlightened ruler, encouraging participation by his ‘companions’—Loyal soldiers drawn from the noble families in Macedonia. But like many rulers before him, he became addicted to power. Hubris raised its ugly head. As time passed, Alexander’s behaviour became increasingly domineering and grandiose…

He tolerated nothing but applause from his audience, so his immediate circle kept their reservations to themselves. As a result he lost touch with reality, another factor leading to his failure to consolidate his empire…!!

“Corporate Team-Building”: Exercises in “Workplace Collaboration” | by: Edward Iwata | Concordia

Team-building may be the most studied and elusive concept in the management and leadership field…Clearly it remains one of our most valuable practices. And it applies equally to companies and nonprofits, to small groups and large organizations..

#TeamWork, influences nearly all of us in our lives and careers…Think of the many scenarios that involve successful (or failed) team-building : Job-related projects and partnerships…College studies and internships…Volunteer church or school activities…Sports teams and performing arts groups..

As management consultant Patrick Lencioni writes in “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, #Team-building “remains the ultimate competitive advantage because it is so powerful and so rare.” If an organization and its people can work toward the same goal, it can whip any competition and rule any market or industry, according to Lencioni…

Teams have been around for centuries, since ancient humans hunted and farmed together. Team-building grew in complexity through the Industrial Age, mass manufacturing and the computer era. Globalization and competition among the United States, Japan and Germany raised team-building to an even higher level, according to Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley, co-authors of “The New Why Teams Don’t Work.”

For certain, all employees can use team-building skills, including the setting of tasks and goals, building trust and community, communicating well and tapping into diverse thinking and backgrounds.

Benefits of collaboration illustrate value of Team-Building:

Why do we rely on Teams so much ? For many reasons, according to Robbins and Finley :

  • Teams save money.
  • Teams increase productivity.
  • Teams improve communications.
  • Teams create better-quality goods and services.
  • Teams lead to improved processes.

Similarly, the best teams share concrete goals, develop trust, define their roles as team members and engage in clear communication and other team-building practices, say Charlene Solomon and Michael Schell of RW3, an online cultural training firm.

Team-building approach helps multiple industries:

Strong team-building can be found in every field and industry. In healthcare, for instance, hospitals are finding that well-run, interdisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals may reduce costs, improve the treatment of patients, shorten their average hospital stay and even reduce death rates, according to AMNHealthcare.com.

More hospitals — from Long Beach Memorial Hospital in Long Beach, Calif., to Unity Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. — are deploying teams of doctors, nurses, administrators, social workers, pharmacists and case workers who meet throughout the day to share information and assess patients.

At the Cleveland Clinic Center for Multidisciplinary Simulation in Cleveland, Ohio, doctors, nurses and administrative staff train as teams in the clinic’s simulation center. They study and review their performance in simulated medical situations, such as stroke or heart attack patients arriving in the emergency room.

In the nonprofit world, the Children’s Defense Fund in New York City became a leader in child health issues by using cooperation and team-building with government agencies, labor unions, churches, daycare centers and other partners, according to a report by Venture Philanthropy Partners and McKinsey & Company.

The fund quickly achieved its first goal: to increase the percentage of children receiving proper vaccines, as the percentage of vaccinated children in New York City rose from 52 percent in 1995 to 85 percent in 2001. Then the organization and its partners went further, persuading Congress to fund the multibillion-dollar Children’s Health Insurance Program for youth nationwide.

The team- and alliance-building strategies of the Children’s Defense Fund “allowed it to tap into the strengths of existing organizations without threatening them” and also “add value to the whole (child health) sector,” according to the McKinsey & Company report.

Global teams can outperform Local Teams:

In global business, well-run teams based around the world can significantly outperform and collaborate better than local teams, according to a study of 80 software development teams by Boston Consulting Group and business professors.

The study looked at 28 research facilities in the United States, China, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany and other countries. The researchers found that virtual teams with strong task-related processes — mutual support, work coordination, open communication and full contributions from team members — performed more strongly than local teams.

“Managers have typically viewed dispersion as a liability rather than an opportunity,” the authors of the study point out. “But dispersion can provide substantial benefits if companies can take advantage of the diversity and varied expertise of team members at different locations. … Our research shows that virtual teams can outperform their (local) counterparts when they are set up and managed in the right way.”

What causes setbacks in Teams:

Team-building isn’t easy, of course. Unless it is encouraged and practiced widely by an organization, many employees will work only with their goals in mind, with little interest or incentive in broader teamwork throughout the workplace.

Even well-meaning teams suffer severe setbacks. In their study of 55 teams, London Business School professor Lynda Gratton and Tamara Erickson, president of the Concours Institute, found that collaboration and cooperation decreased when:

  • Teams grew larger, especially over 20 members.
  • Teams became more virtual and spread among many locations.
  • Team members had higher education levels and a greater proportion of experts with specialization.
  • Teams had a higher proportion of strangers and a greater diversity of backgrounds and experiences.

In studying successful teams, however, Gratton and Erickson found that team leaders and employees leaped past obstacles by focusing on key factors, such as:

Building and investing in “social relationships throughout the organization” :

At Royal Bank of Scotland, new corporate headquarters near Edinburgh featured an indoor atrium with shops, restaurants, biking and jogging trails, athletic facilities and green space for picnics and barbecues. The goal: to create more open communication, a free flow of ideas and a sense of community among employees.

Training in team-building skills:

It’s not enough to encourage employees to collaborate. They must be trained in the skills of collaboration, from conflict resolution to building personal trust. PricewaterhouseCoopers, for one, trains its employees worldwide in networking, coaching, communicating values, having difficult conversations and other team-building practices.

Using leaders who are task- and relationship-oriented:

The most successful teams have leaders who are skilled at setting tasks and goals, and at building relationships and a climate of trust and goodwill. In performance reviews at Marriott, managers are assessed by their growth in both types of skills.

Moving up to ” Team-Learning “:

After Team-Building 101, some leadership experts recommend Advanced Team-Building in “learning organizations.”

In his classic leadership manual “The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook,” management consultant Peter Senge calls it “team-learning,” which involves high-level dialogue and group dynamics that go beyond simple agreement to create real alignment, or new ways of thinking and working as a powerful and unified whole.

In short, team-building won’t vanish soon…And leaders and employees who use the best team-building techniques are sure to strengthen their teams, colleagues and companies…

Time to “Recognise Private-Universities’ Role” in putting “India on the Global Education Map” | by: Ashish Dhawan | The Economic Times

Private universities in India are often treated with suspicion for providing poor quality education and being most focused on making money. While this may be true in some cases, they are playing a significant role in fulfilling our country’s growing demand for quality higher education. 60 % of college-going students in the country today are enrolled in private institutions…

Rapidly increasing demand for higher education in India is part of a global trend with worldwide enrolment expected to rise from 100 million in 2000 to 260 million in 2025. Many countries are encouraging private institutions as a viable way to ensure that students are offered this opportunity. For example, Brazil recognized that the public sector cannot meet its youth’s demand and therefore encouraged and supported private education..

Currently, over 75% of Brazilian students go to private institutions and the largest higher education firm, Kroton, has over a million students…

Similarly, developed countries such as Japan and Korea have over 70% students enrolled in private universities, while developing countries such as Malaysia have over 50%. China invested in top private universities through Project 985 to build a few world-class universities, but is struggling to provide education for students at the base of the pyramid. Recognizing this gap, China has also enacted a Law for Facilitation of Private Education in 2002.

This led to the number of higher education institutions doubling and enrollment increasing five-fold over the past decade…

New Chapter:

The Indian higher education system consists of three tiers: elite public institutions, second-tier public and private institutions, and finally private institutions providing mass education. In most developing countries, elite institutions are publicly owned and heavily subsidized..

In India too, the government spends a significant amount per student for IITs and IIMs. Commercial private players often do not have the same motivation to incentivize education, and have therefore not pursued quality higher education actively.

However, with rapid economic growth, the private sector has reacted to the needs of our workforce and set up a large number of professional colleges, especially in engineering and management. The Indian School of Business, for example, created an innovative one-year MBA programme for students with work experience, relative to the traditional model at the IIMs. Recently, we have seen an emergence of philanthropic universities such as Azim Premji University and Shiv Nadar University that are offering quality education.

Private universities in higher education are also breaking conventional paradigms in education. Ashoka University offers a liberal education to students, allowing them to break down borders of arts and sciences, theory and practice, and take courses across to craft their own interdisciplinary major. Such institutions can serve as models for other institutions that focus on developing 21st century skills, critical thinking, communication and leadership.

These initiatives point to the emergence of a new breed of private institutions in India that can complement elite public institutions and establish international standards of excellence in Indian higher education.

While it is encouraging that the Union Budget 2014 committed resources to replicating apex institutions such as IITs, IIMs and AIIMS across the country, our government should look at the higher education system more holistically to increase the gross enrolment ratio (GER) and uplift quality..

Hard Taskmaster:

The government should move beyond being the primary service provider in education and play a catalyzing role in improving quality of higher education in India. It can do so by tightening licensing standards and improving quality assurance, without impinging on the autonomy of private institutes..

The government must invest in a regulatory architecture that can improve the standards of all institutions, public and private, dramatically. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council should be strengthened and the rating framework of institutes should shift focus from infrastructure and inputs to student learning outcomes..

Given the fiscal deficit our country faces and the need to rapidly increase higher education institutions to meet demand, our government should recognize that private institutions are a large part of the ecosystem and play a significant role in achieving a high GER…

We need the best of public and private efforts to make Indian higher education globally competitive..!!

“7 Motivational Navy-SEAL Sayings” Will Kick Your Butt Into Gear : “Read this and Get going” | by: Brent Gleeson | Inc

Whether you are an #Entrepreneur, working in Corporate, or Building a #Start-up, it is imperative to continually seek New Ways to stay #Inspired and #Driven“Being a self-starter is a fantastic quality”, but we are all human and get distracted by the minutiae of our day-to-day responsibilities…!!

Here are “SEVEN Navy-SEAL sayings” I keep top of mind while moving toward achieving my Personal and #ProfessionalGoals…

1. The only Easy-day was Yesterday:

This is one of the more well-known sayings of the SEALs. When constantly pushing yourself to excel, there will be challenges that make every day a battle…As an entrepreneur, this concept keeps me motivated, because it puts things into perspective. If you wake up knowing that every day will pose new challenges and that you are ready to face them head-on, you will be well equipped to achieve any goal you set…

2. Get Comfortable being Uncomfortable:

One exercise in SEAL training is “surf torture.” You link arms with your classmates and stand, sit, or lie in the frigid Pacific Ocean until your body reaches the early stages of hypothermia. During the initial phases of training, you do this daily. Then you cover yourself from head to toe in sand and stay that way for the rest of the day. You might follow this with running the obstacle course, weapons training, or classroom time, but you are expected to push the discomfort aside and stay focused on the task at hand.

There have been many times as a business owner that I have been in very uncomfortable situations. That could be a difficult conversation with a team member, a lawsuit, or dealing with a demanding board member. Discomfort comes in many forms. But the more you embrace that as a reality, the wider your comfort zone becomes. This boosts confidence and provides the tools for facing even larger challenges down the road.

3. Don’t Run to your Death:

In SEAL teams, this is not a metaphor. When conducting raids that put you in close-quarters combat scenarios, restraint is often the best approach. Once you breach and gain entry to the target, being slow and methodical often wins the race. Hence the phrase, “Don’t run to your death.”

Knowing “When Not to Act” is as “important as knowing when to Push-forward”…Restraint is crucial for #BusinessLeadership…This is especially important if you are running or managing a rapidly growing business…Growth is fantastic, but smart growth is even better…Have a good plan, slow down, grow intelligently, and never, ever, run to your death.

4. Have a shared sense of purpose:

A shared sense of purpose is hard to continually communicate. The economy changes. New technologies emerge. Employees come and go. There are many moving parts, which is why it’s critical for the leadership to always be communicating the reality of the situation and what the “win” will look like when you get there. And, most important, what everyone’s role is in helping the team achieve that goal.

5. Move, Shoot, Communicate:

As a SEAL, you must be able to perfectly execute these three functions to ensure mission success. Move: You have to be able to work as one well-maintained mechanism with the ability to have constant fluid motion. Shoot: That’s self-explanatory. Communicate: All good teams have frequent, open, transparent communication. When the bullets start flying, everyone needs to know what the next move is.

The same philosophies apply in the fast-paced world of business and entrepreneurship. The team has to have the ability to communicate effectively to adapt to changing environments. Which takes us to the next saying.

6. No plan survives First Contact with the Enemy:

This is from Helmuth von Moltke, a German field marshal from World War I. Similar is this sentiment from Mike Tyson: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” That is why preparation and training are even more critical than planning.

When you have a team of the right people doing the right things, they will know how to adapt when the you-know-what hits the fan. And they will adapt with composure, not panic. This is why ongoing training and professional development are so important.

7. All in, All the Time:

I wanted to close with another one of the more well-known SEAL sayings. Just being a good performer won’t cut it to make it into the SEAL teams. You have to give everything you have just to make it to the next day. Just like managing stress, you have to focus on one piece at a time. So don’t worry about the test you have in the afternoon. Your goal is to make it to breakfast. Then lunch, and so on…!!

Whether you are building a start-up, leading a team in a large organization, being an active parent, battling cancer, or training for a triathlon, it’s got to be all or nothing. Mediocrity and moderation won’t get the job done. Give everything you do everything you’ve got.

My heart welled with pride when I heard my 8-year-old son’s flag football coach give the team one last piece of advice in the last couple minutes of its championship Super Bowl game. He said, “Now is the time to dig deep”…

Leave everything you’ve got on that Field…If you do that, “Win or lose”, you will be the champions..” So whether you are 8 or 58, “get Comfortable being Uncomfortable”, get well prepared, and “be all-in, all the time”…!!

Things “Exceptional Leaders Do Better”: a “Distinction between Exceptional & Good”| by: Linda Finkle | Incedo Group

“Exceptional Leaders” do many things better than #GoodLeaders….For the purpose of this article I don’t think it’s necessary to define exceptional OR make a distinction between Exceptional and Good…!!

Each of us has our own definition that can be applied here. I’m sure we would all agree though that we recognize exceptional leaders when we see them, even if we can’t specifically define it…

Exceptional Leaders :

In my opinion there are some qualities that all Exceptional Leaders have…This list is not intended to be all inclusive OR suggest that Good Leaders don’t have some of these qualities. It’s my opinion only…!!

1. Communication skills are stellar. Exceptional leaders’ communication skills are first rate. It’s not that they write good emails or memos. It’s that they understand how important communication is. As an example, they listen exceptionally well and don’t make assumptions before asking questions. They use communication as a tool to drive their organization to success…

2. Delegation is second nature. Delegating is not something they think about, the just do it naturally. These leaders have learned that for the health of the organization and the individuals in the organization, including them that people need to grow and develop and this happens through delegation. Their own success is measured not by what they do but by what others accomplish through their guidance and leadership.

3. Failure is allowed. This is not to say that failure is accepted with an ‘oh well’ attitude. But exceptional leaders know that learning includes making mistakes. If there are no mistakes they are not taking risks. Bill McGowan, the founder of MCI had a sign in his lobby that said “Make Some Damn Mistakes”…His belief was if they weren’t making mistakes they weren’t taking risks. He clearly was a leader in both his style and vision.

4. Admit when they are wrong. No one is infallible…Even when with research and analysis as underpinnings of your decision making mistakes will happen. And we are all human…We overreact at times. We make assumptions and draw conclusions and act on those conclusions as if they were fact. Admitting when we are wrong whether it’s in a decision or action is a mark of an exceptional leader..

5. Building a culture of Fun, Creativity and Cohesiveness. Pick up a magazine or read something on the Internet and what are the common denominators of great companies? They create a culture where people can be creative and grow. The environment is fun and the team is cohesive….It’s not accident when this occurs, Exceptional Leaders build it..

Are you Good or Exceptional ??

As you read this list where do you see yourself ? Maybe you have some of these qualities already and can develop them further. What takes you from good to exceptional may be as simple as the frequency of your actions. For example: Maybe you delegate but only to a few key people. Or maybe you delegate but hold on to some things and assume you are the only one who can handle..

I encourage you to rethink some of your beliefs and see where you can move from good to exceptional. Like many things it takes a conscious effort. It will require you to step outside your comfort zone. I may even mean you have to accept failure in yourself…

There’s nothing wrong with being a good leader. Frankly I wish there were more ‘good’ leaders in companies….But if you want to grow and stretch yourself, if you want to see what your True Potential is then taking the step towards becoming an Exceptional Leader is what you need to do…!!

“Recruitment is Marketing”: “3 Changes” you Need to “make with Talent-Strategy”| by: Kevin Wheeler | ERE

Once upon a time we sold products much as we “Sell” Jobs & Organizations today…!! At the turn of the 20th century, merchants waited for a potential buyer to show up… The buyer was supposed to know what they wanted and ask for it…. Most of the merchandise was kept in drawers OR under the counter… A customer had to ask for something specifically and the merchant showed them only one particular item… There was no engagement, no selling, and no touting the benefits of the product…!!

But, soon department stores like Macy’s changed all this by displaying items openly, running ads targeted, in particular, to women. It offered well-known socialites the newest fashions and relied on gossip and word of mouth to attract new referral customers….Window displays created dream worlds and played to emotions. They encouraged salespeople to engage with the customers, build relationships, and even try on clothes or demonstrate the product…

“Recruitment has a Lot to Learn from this Story and from Marketing”…

Talent scarcities remain and the primary differentiator between companies is often only their brand, public image, and emotional appeal… Why work for Google over Facebook ? The pay is roughly similar, benefits are great, and management is similar…

The primary reason is a belief that one is in some way better than the other… This opinion is largely subjective, built or weakened by friends, and also partly built by the press and social media…

To create “differentiation” and “improve #CandidateEngagement”, Recruitment must morph into a #MarketingProcess…While there has always been an element of marketing in a good recruiting process, it has never been the core…

Most recruitment resembles the turn of the century store I wrote about above. It has been and still is centered around a recruiter. A person applies for the only position they know about. The candidate is a relatively passive element who the recruiter and subsequently a hiring manager interact with. Many jobs are not advertised at all or advertised only lightly. Others are advertised, but the descriptions don’t reflect reality. The job a person applies for may or may not be a suitable one, but only the recruiter makes that judgment.

A Recruiter generally decides if and for which job a candidate is best suited…. “The recruiter controls everything by reaching out, interviewing, and ultimately recommending the candidate”….The candidate’s role is to be compliant, somewhat subservient, and showcase his or her talent…!!

While there are better variations on this, it is a fair summary of most recruiting processes…

If the goal of recruitment is to bring the best possible people to the organization – the people who will accomplish the objectives, sell the product or service, design, and innovate — then to accomplish that goal we need to attract candidates from as wide a spectrum as possible and always have the attitude that by interacting together and learning more about each other, we can find a good fit.

There are “THREE Area” where Recruiting-Functions can begin to make the changes that will keep them relevant and useful…!!

DESIGN :

This will require some deep discussion about where recruitment can add real value. One of the ways is to enable potential candidates and people in the organization to share information, talk about the brand, about daily life, and about the good and not so good sides of working there.

Websites, social media, and communication tools need to be redesigned to deliver a personalized, customized experience to the candidate and go so far as to invite them into conversations with current employees or experts within the firm. Candidates should decide where to focus their interests and when to look for opportunities. It is the job of the recruiting folks to provide them with information about all the opportunities you have. There should be tools that let potential candidates screen themselves against a variety of job competencies and skills.

The usual, simple, and one-directional recruitment websites we are used to are not adequate… Even social media pages that are updated only occasionally offer little to no value to a candidate who is seeking current information or looking for help in understanding or needs a question answered…!!

Other aspects of Re-design include making job descriptions better indicators of what the work really is like, locating employees who are willing to talk with potential candidates, building referral programs that are engaging, and making sure mobile apps are appealing, easy to use and effective…

Be fully aware that candidates seek out information about the corporate culture and research who works at the organization by searching on LinkedIn….They check on Glassdoor to see what employees are saying….They look at social media, and their own network to become aware of issues, culture, working style, and even knowledge about who they will potentially work for and what that person is like…. There are no secrets and open communication is critical to creating trust…

DATA :

In order to build the most useful websites and social media tools, recruiters need information that is gleaned from data. Many corporate websites and social media sites collect data — number of hits, retweets, likes, clicks, and so forth, but few make much sense of the data.

Does it matter than one item was retweeted more than another? Do more Likes mean more hires? What data elements are most useful to predicting a good candidate versus a mediocre one? What content draws the most number of qualified candidates? When do people engage in the website and with who? And so on…

Every recruiting function needs to collect this kind of data and analyze it…Decisions about new content and areas to focus on can be made better and faster. You should have a data scientist involved who can help answer these kinds of questions. Perhaps you can pull together a cross-functional team made up of data scientists, IT folks, and marketing people to get the information you need to continuously learn and update your content, websites, and social media.

You can only target content and draw in the most qualified people when you have the right data…

ENGAGEMENT :

Using the tools and data that I have described, recruitment functions can become engagement hubs, information centers, and conduits. Employees and potential candidates can get to meet each other, learn from each other, and find ways to collaborate, whether it is as a full-time regular employee or as a part-time or sometime-employee or in some informal way.

Think of this as a journey. For some it will be the first time they have heard of your organization; for others, they will know some but not a lot. For others your firm may be an old story. But wherever they are, there should be compelling content, videos, and perhaps games or other tools that enlighten, engage, and keep them involved.

To do this will require redesigning the recruiting function and moving it from a transactional, sequential, one-directional process into one that is relationship-based, multi-directional — involving a cross-section of employees and potential candidates — and whose end goal is not necessarily a hire, but an engaged and interested person who might become a candidate at some point.

The formula for Recruiting Success is beginning to look a lot like a #MarketingStrategy :

Recruiting Success = Data + Targeted Content + Authentic Information +

Candidate Interaction + Candidate Experience + Brand

A note on Brand : Do not confuse what I am saying with #RecruitingBrand….Recruiters have spent too much time relying on their recruiting brand to differentiate themselves when, in reality, it is the ability to shape opinion, create emotion, and create authentic interaction between candidates and employees that leads to the best results….!!

#EmploymentBrand, is only a small piece of the equation…. For example, Macy’s brand is an important part of its success, but it also needs to make sure salespeople engage customers, that there are discounts, and enticements to come into the store. They need ways to solicit shopper feedback…

They need displays that “Create Emotion” and “Create a Desire to buy”….They also need to collect and analyze data about what customers buy, when they buy, what actions improve sales and inhibit sales, and so forth…A successful marketing or recruiting process is far more than just brand…!!