Tag : competitive advantage

I can work from anywhere. Can you?

Do you let your employees work where they’ll be the most productive?  CEO’s and business owners fall into two camps.

One = I trust my employees. I tell them what I expect and I give them to tools to do their job. Performance is what matters.

Two = I think it’s human nature to try to take advantage of lax supervision so we don’t allow for flexible working conditions.

Hmmm. In the war for talent (do you believe there is one now? if not now, is one coming?) it will require us to change the way we think about work. The winners will be leaders who understand the way work is accomplished today and leverage it.

I have a client, a construction company. Perhaps not the kind of company that you might think is on the leading edge of marketing but these guys are so cool, they totally get it. They think about customers first…both the contractors and the homeowners. They are morphing the way they interact with and help both.

Caterpillar Inc. (yes the folks that make the big yellow earth movers) are also leading the way in marketing. How? By creating communities where customers can discuss equipment, business or regulatory issues. Collaboration among customers is cool. Cat gets to learn a ton about what is on their customers mind with very little effort.

All you office people; you may not think that you can learn something from these folks, but you can. Pay attention, the war for talent is heating  up in every industry.

photo credit : O2.com.uk

I really enjoy teaching grad students in both the classroom and online.

In person, we interact, smile at each other, laugh and even share an occasional pizza. Online we interact, smile at each other :), laugh (lol) but, so far, we haven’t shared pizza.

6 million students — a third of total enrollment @ post-secondary institutions –were taking at least one online course (2010). One third of high school students study part time online.

Students want and will get… un-tethered, digitally rich, social-based learning. Since teens, especially minorities, use their mobile devices as their primary computers… opportunities to solve educational problems abound. Teachers, schools districts and parents will all need to adapt.

But online learning is only part of the story.

“90,000 students enrolled in a building a search-engine online course ” taught by Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford University research professor and Google fellow who led the development of Google’s self-driving car. Yes, you read that right 90,000 students enrolled in the 7 week online course.

Welcome to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)– a tool for democratizing higher education. Last semester, Stanford University offered these MOOCs  — Machine Learning (104,000 registered, and 13,000 completed the course), and Introduction to Databases (92,000 registered, 7,000 completed).

Higher education is getting ready for a disruption of Amazon.com proportions. (Hmmm, I wonder if Jeff Bezos will be taking Amazon into online  education.) Educators, start your engines… you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Photo credit: Slodive.com

Executive Wanted to Watch My Toys

Every parent of a two year old has heard the cries of, “mine.”

Every person who has worked at a large (or perhaps small) company has heard the same thing. None of us want to think of ourselves as uncooperative… but many of us have attitudes about our work, our reputation and our ‘stuff’ that prevent us and our organizations from progressing.

The article, “Do Organizations Need a Chief Collaboration Officer,” struck me as both ridiculous (really another executive position?) and telling. A significant enough topic to be written about in the revered (by some) Harvard Business Review in 2010, the notion that collaboration is so important to business today that we need to give someone the authority to override silos, fiefdoms and ‘it’sallaboutmes’.

The idea here is to have someone at the executive level assuring that technology, people and culture are focused on how the new tools (web 2.0) and attitude (social) are moving the company towards increased sales and improved customer and employee relations.The holistic view of the way the company adopts and adapts to creating community for employees and customers is best seen from 30,000 feet.

Large organizations have had some advantages in technology (Lotus Notes was a revolution in communication in its day.) But now, they are at a real disadvantage as they try to control 1,000’s of employees. Real-time collaboration tools like yammer and dropbox are making it fast and inexpensive (or free!) for small companies to outpace their larger brethren.

Bottom line: the executive best suited for the new responsibility is not selected by title but by who collaborates the best.

If you believe that Web 2.0 and social networking are revolutionizing business from top to bottom, then you get this. If you think that social is for marketing and maybe human resources… then this all seems likes child’s play.

 

Photo credit: Don’t Worry, Be Happy