Tag : Innovation

Pakistan. We hear about in the news. Do they harbor terrorists? Are they our enemies? Perhaps.

But one thing I know is that in any country, there are people, just like you and me who only want to work so they can feed their families. We have way more in common than we might imagine.

Look at these kids. They are dressed differently but they just want to play.

When I read that twitter had been rolled out  in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu for the first time, I was ecstatic. (Languages that read right-to -left presented special programming challenges.)

They did this with the help of:

            13,000 volunteers!

… including some who live where Twitter is officially blocked. The reason? ” to help more “ordinary people” make use of the service;  both to hold politicians to account and to tweet about their everyday life.”

Understanding each other, communication and learning are key ingredients to preventing war. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Photo credit: Glacier  Kids (Boston.com)

Digital Talent Doesn't Want to Work For You... And Why You Should Care

What is digital talent? I’d define it as the very large toolkit that digital natives (those aged 20ish to 35ish today) have acquired by being born at a time when using the computer was part of growing up AND when having access to the Internet anytime, anyplace is expected.

Whether we like it not, this group of employees has a skill set (beyond their computer skills) that growing companies need:  adaptability, a willingness to help and an energetic engagement.

Many companies “don’t like”  that they want to shape their future (interpreted as entitlement), a desire for work/family balance and a willingness to sacrifice  for it (interpreted as lazy) and a desire to make a difference (interpreted as ambition without dues paying).

Check out this article on why digital talent needs to be attracted to your organization from the magazine Fast Company.  “The opportunity to do great things, to make a real difference, is what drives most digital talent. Most companies don’t offer this, so they skip your company and work somewhere that’s more innovative and exciting.”

By innovative we don’t mean you need to have the latest and greatest technology, it does mean that your leadership is committed to understanding digital tools and is willing to learn, collaborate and change.

What can you do to attract digital natives?

  • Give them an appropriate mentor.
  • Give them meaningful work.
  • Loosen the reins a bit.
  • Say thank you more often than you used to.
  • Reward risk taking and small failures.

And for heaven’s sake LIGHTEN UP! Have a little fun, engage them in ‘convo’ (conversation), learn their language, ask for their help and most of all, listen. There’s so much great stuff to learn.

CEO Be Nimble & Quick...The Customer is Watching

“Civilizations have clashed in an unexpected way this year, as ordinary people using Facebook and Twitter knocked down dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya…”  This is the opening sentence of an article titled, “Social Power and the Coming Corporate Revolution,”  from Forbes magazine, September 2011.

The “Customer Spring” as it’s being called, is related to the ‘Arab Spring’ referenced above. Customers, like those protesters, are exerting their influence in unprecedented ways.

In the 1980’s Porter’s Five Forces model (see image) became a model “framework for industry analysis and business strategy development.” Porter’s widely-used tool helped businesses think through which competitive forces were the most potent.

The green square (the Bargaining Power of Customers)  appears equal to others,  but in the new social world order, customers (and employees!) have unparalleled leverage. Here’s an example:

Adidas recently found itself under attack when fans of a popular rugby team were outraged to learn that Adidas team jerseys were being sold for significantly more in their country than elsewhere in the world. Fans went online to research comparative prices and then organized fellow fans in protest.  People started returning Adidas clothing to stores in disgust, the New York Times reported.

For those of us who remember the ” Tylenol recall” of 1982, we know that building  trust through transparency may not easy or cheap, but it is worthwhile. The twist is that a similar episode today would ‘hit’ the Internet and be global in seconds. CEO be nimble, CEO be quick – but you better be honest and transparent as well. That green square is growing faster than you can imagine.

Image is Michael Porter, Harvard University, Five Forces Model