Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Providing opinion is disruptive

Last night, I briefly wrote about the value of sharing an opinion. I referenced an earlier post that was republished by SocialMediaToday. Within moments of the post being republished, it had been tweeted to hundreds of thousands of people. Within hours to millions of people.

Here I was blogging about my opinion when it comes to 'disruptive' forces in the workplace. I set out to challenge people's 'big idea thinking' along with the risks that it carried. A term (disruptive) that rose to significance through rapidly changing consumer demands, is probably not suited well to all that we do in business.

Over the years as I have been in senior roles, including level board memberships, I have found that the people who provide the most value actually provide their opinion. Ask anyone who knows me well and you will be told that I am not afraid to challenge people's thinking. There have been so many times where almost everyone in a meeting had come to agreement only to have me throw a spanner in the works when offering my opinion.

As I reflect on this, people could view me as being disruptive. I disrupt the common way of thinking, often causing further debate. In turn this often may become part of a greater solution or strategy.

When it comes to having an online presence, it pays to have an opinion. That's what people value. I so often see people writing posts based on trends. When people do this, they are just following yet another trend, they're typically repeating what has already been said, adding no value or leadership.

The most valuable members of any team are the ones who are prepared to share what they know or think. It is important that team culture encourages people to share information; factual or non-factual. This is the key premise for strong collaboration.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Having an opinion equates to providing value

Last week I wrote a post entitled "Disrupting the disruptor". Over the weekend this post was picked up by SocialMedia Today. Unfortunately, they re-published it before I had corrected a significant spelling mistake. A twitter search quickly revealed that within just a few minutes the post had gone viral as it was tweeted to an audience in the millions.

When I try to analyse why the post was so successful, it comes down to one thing, I posted an opinion of something that could potentially be controversial. It's as simple as that! As I'm about to attend an appointment, I'll explain this further in another post in the future.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Disrupting the disruptor

On the back of the success of companies like Apple, market analyst have created a frenzy around disruptive technologies. This word 'disruptive' is now being used to often justify risky business decisions. It's no longer driven by technology, but by human behaviours with Human Resource Managers trying to push it into the fabric of company culture.

I've blogged about the need to disrupt the marketplace before. This was always with the view of being able to excite the customer while catching competitors off guard. While I am supportive of this, it does carry significant risk. Infact, you need to be willing to bet the entire business on it. The odds of winning may be low, but the return may well be worth it.

Today, I am hearing more and more young people who are entering into their first years of management roles, talk about the need to be disruptive in the workforce. The motive being to cause people to think of newer and better ways to do things. But again, this comes with serious risk and is representative of start-up behaviour.

Toyota Motor Corporation has some of the world's slickest manufacturing lines. They are world renown for the term 'Kaizen'. Kaizen is Japanese for 'good change', also referred to as continuous improvement. Employees are encouraged to find ways to make small changes. Many small changes amount to huge gains in efficiency and quality. The risk is substantially lower than that of being 'disruptive'.

Kaizen is more of a long term process that is matured by time. It too comes with risk whereby consumer demands change when the organisation is unable to keep up. We're not all making motor vehicles so this will differ from organisation to organisation.

I think that we need to be constantly reviewing everything that we do, every process we have and every service we provide to make it better through small changes. There needs to be a balance between the 'disruptor' and 'kaizen' approach.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why I enjoy using Google Docs

Google Docs
The first time I used a Google Doc was I was invited to be part of a popular podcast. There were two hosts and an international panel of about four other participants. The podcast was recorded as if it were live.

All of the participants were sent a link to a Google Doc that had an outline of what was going to be discussed. We were all able to alter the document with new ideas and questions. The document was live and changing based on what was being discussed. It allowed us to keep on track while being able to improvised.

During the podcast, the content of the document changed into notes that could be made available to accompany the podcast. Something for the listeners to refer to. Again, we all had the ability to make corrections etc.

The next time I used Google Docs to collaborate was when I was applying for a contract role. I needed to customise my CV based on the clients requirements. I asked a friend of mine in the recruitment industry to assist along with my wife who is a great wordsmith. What would have taken me many hours to produce took less than an hour. The proof is in the pudding so to speak right? Yeah, I got the role!

So what do I like about Google Docs? It helps me to get the job done faster by using subject matter experts which leads to a better result.

When it comes to a Social Business, it is important to be able to provide employees with the tools to collaborate in ad-hoc teams of subject matter experts. I think it is great how technology is able to make this happen without the usual barriers.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Brand sentiment and controlling what people think

The other day I connected with someone on twitter who had been having an ongoing problem with the way in which a company had treated them. Due to the discussion, someone from the company, which I'll not name, entered into the online twitter discussion to help solve the problem.

It's interesting how mentioning a brand on Social Media can cause people to act in ways that they wouldn't usually act. This person had gotten nowhere by using traditional channels to escalate his complaint. Now he was getting somewhere.

My question is, why does it have to go that far? Why do people take to Social Media to get a groundswell of support and action?

A few days earlier, I had asked this very question on twitter. The response I got back was that you never hear the positive feedback on Social Media. Now, I know that this is not true as I often provide positive feedback. Also there are a lot of Social Media sites that ask members for ratings. Just look at ratings on TripAdvisor, Foursquare and even the Google Play Store.

Social Media is a great tool that provides us with the ability to listen for brand sentiment. What are people saying about your business? Is the conversation generally positive or negative?

A Social Business takes brand sentiment very seriously. Social Media provides real-time feedback that needs to be used by the business to make better decisions. It's so important, people who are responsible for customer satisfaction should be measured by it as part of their KPI's.

Would you allow me to state the obvious? Good brand sentiment comes from an exceptional customer experience. It has little to do with what the brand publishes on Social Media.

Brand sentiment is not the role of the marketing team. It needs to be managed by Lime of Business managers. People who can make the decisions have the capacity to change brand sentiment. A lot of brand sentiment is controlled by a companies ability to deliver on its promises.
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