Turning Around the Troubled Company

Turning around floundering companies requires effective management at all levels of the organization. But how is this achieved? What must management do to be effective?

Jim Burkett knows something about making the right things happen. He has turned around twenty-eight underperforming and troubled companies, from Fortune 500 companies to smaller public and private companies, throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Burkett has come up with a tool kit for turning around companies that includes:

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Measuring performance
  • Executing
  • Following-up
  • Real-time reporting
  • Problem solving

If you are facing the daunting task of helping to turn around your company, then you’ll want to join us for our Soundview Live webinar The Learned Disciplines of Management, coming up on July 29th. You’ll hear more about his tool kit along with practical examples of how turnarounds can happen.

Join us and invite your whole management team. And make sure to bring your questions to post for Jim to answer during the webinar.

New Summaries to Make an Impact

We all want to make an impact. Whether you’re trying to close a big sale, communicating a message to your clients, or leading your employees through effective decision-making, you are looking to make an impression. Soundview has three new Soundview Executive Book Summaries that help you make an impact in the workplace.

Now available for download:

the_innovative_sale

– by Mark Donnolo

The Innovative Sale by Mark Donnolo. Sales and creativity expert Mark Donnolo details six Innovative Sale principles –– pattern, variety, unity, contrast, movement and harmony –– that can be used to create better value propositions and assess your team’s Creative Quotient for Sales. This guide will help you incorporate creativity into your sales practices and better understand your customers.

 

 

brief

– by Joseph McCormack

Brief by Joseph McCormack. Senior marketing executive Joseph McCormack offers a step-by-step approach to getting to the point quickly and delivering every message with maximum impact. Brief describes how to use BRIEF maps, narratives and visual media to make your message more compelling. A master of brevity says less and gets more done –– learn how.

 

 

 

judgment_on_the_frontlines

by Chris DeRose and Noel Tichy

Judgment on the Front Line by Chris DeRose and Noel M. Tichy. Management experts Chris DeRose and Noel M. Tichy explain why frontline employees are so important and why it is crucial to involve them in decision making. Judgment on the Front Line provides a five-step process for building a frontline-focused organization and includes examples of frontline leadership in action.

Is Being Busy Impairing Your Productivity?

In What Keeps Leaders Up at Night, business psychologist Nicole Lipkin writes “Keeping busy may make you happy, but at some point excessive busyness can overwhelm your coping capabilities. That’s when we become too busy to win. Excessive busyness can impair performance and produc­tivity, making you increasingly forgetful, fatigued, and prone to poor decision making and problem solving.” In a Soundview Author Insight interview, she points out there are ways to recognize if you’re too busy to win:

Being too busy to win speaks to the constant battle most of us are fighting in this constantly wired and connected global community that we live in. When you think about it, our brains are kind of like these shelves from IKEA. You set it up, and over time you forget the directions said you only can put 50 pounds on the shelf. So you keep piling books on that shelf, and tchotchkes on that shelf, and you ignore that the middle is starting to sag. You put another book on, another book on, then snap, and your shelf breaks, and you act surprised. Well, our brains are equivalent to a shelf from Ikea.

As we start piling more and more on, that shelf starts sagging. Most of us completely ignore the symptoms of that sagging shelf, and we keep allowing more and more things to pile up on it and inundate it. Some of the symptoms, which I’m sure you’ve experienced from time to time, I know I have, are let’s say going to the supermarket or store and completely forgetting what you went there to get, or rereading over and over the same paragraph in a book and retaining absolutely nothing or forgetting simple things, struggling with sleep, or struggling with staying asleep, and the list goes on and on and on.

The thing is, unless you have significant mental health illness or are struggling with a significant learning disorder, as humans, we’re supposed to be able to remember what we went to the supermarket for. We’re supposed to be able to read a paragraph, get it, and move on to the next. We’re not supposed to be in a chronic state of edginess or agitation.  These are the signs that our shelves are sagging, but most of us ignore them and chalk it up to just life. The problem is, the more you ignore these signs and symptoms, the worse you get. The truth is, and we all know this, you can’t be great when you’re too busy. A ball or two is going to drop. We just need to stop and pay attention, because the signs are very, very obvious.

In the interview Lipkin also expresses the challenges every leader faces and how to overcome them. She also talks about what causes “good boss gone bad” syndrome and how to self-diagnose. Soundview subscribers can log in to their online libraries to listen today!

The Third Metric to Redefining Success

THRIVE

Don’t Judge Yourself; Don’t Judge Others

“The architecture of how we live our lives is badly in need of renovation and repair,” writes Arianna Huffington, founder of the media company the Huffington Post. “What we really value is out of sync with how we live our lives.” The reason, she argues in her new book called Thrive, is that success has come to be defined by two things: money and power.

To achieve money and power, men and women are living unsustainable, high-stressed, non-stop lives that physically destroy their bodies, leave little time for joy and reflection, and culminate in the realization that acquiring money and power is not the fulfilling quest of a life well lived. As former Merrill Lynch managing director Roseann Palmieri explains, “I’m at the table. I’ve made it. I’ve networked, I’ve clawed, I’ve said ‘yes,’ I’ve said ‘no,’ I’ve put in all this time and effort and I was underwhelmed. What I was getting back was not acceptable to me.”

For Huffington, the current success metrics of money and power are only two legs of a three-legged stool. Without a “third metric” based on well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving, our lives, like the defective stool, topple over, she writes. In the early pages of her book, she presents a range of evidence, from alarming health statistics to stories of highly “successful” yet unsatisfied people who left their careers, that proves the adverse impact on both men and women of today’s high-stress quest for money and power.

Huffington believes the path to the third metric will be especially blazed by the career women who find the current metrics of successful “not acceptable.” “If we’re going to redefine what success means,” she writes, “if we are going to include a Third Metric to success, beyond money and power, it’s going to be women who will lead the way – and men, freed of the notion that the only road to success includes taking the Heart Attack Highway to Stress City, will gratefully join both at work and at home.”

The Shimmer of Rain

Having made the case that a third metric of success is vital, Huffington then explores in four inspiring, information-packed chapters how to bring “well-being,” “wisdom,” “wonder” and “giving” back into our lives. Huffington – who recalls how her mother, who never went to college, “would still preside over long sessions in our small kitchen in Athens discussing the principles and teachings of Greek Philosophy to help guide my sister, Agapi, and me in our decisions and in our choices” – weaves ancient and modern philosophy, academic research, and stories and quotes of successful people, from the world-renowned to the ordinary ladder-climbers who realize that the view from the top is not enough to make the journey worthwhile.

The Experience of Wonder

The opening pages of her chapter on wonder are typical. Huffington begins with short anecdotes about experiencing a sense of wonder on a drive to an airport, as the falling rain “gave everything a beautiful, almost magical, shimmer.” At the airport, she hears everyone complaining about the rain: wonder is in the eye of the beholder. She offers a beautiful short poem on rain by Albert Huffstickler, then quickly moves the reader through discussions on the wonder of children (“Mommy, what makes it go?” one of her young daughters once asked as they watched the star-filled sky); the wonder at the root of spirituality, which is not religion; wonder as the connection between outer space and inner space; how photography interrupts wonder (“…by so-obsessively documenting our experiences, we never truly have them); the power of love, backed by a Harvard study; art museums as oases of wonder – all in the first six pages of a fascinating 45-page chapter.

The chapter ends, as with all her chapters, with three simple practices to help people live in the moment: when stressed, focus on the rising and falling of your breath for 10 seconds; pick an image that ignites joy in you, and go to it whenever you feel “contracted”; don’t judge yourself; don’t judge others; “then look at your life and the day ahead with newness and wonder.”

Thrive, as it should be, is a book to be savored. There is so much learning and wisdom in these pages that one might be tempted to take notes. But as with photography on a vacation, they would only interrupt the enjoyment of one of those books that everyone should have within reach at all times.

How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things

GAMIFY

Motivation for Gamification

Gamification describes the use of game mechanics and experience design – a story line, for instance – to digitally engage employees and customers, writes Gartner consultant Brian Burke in his gamification primer, Gamify.

As with many new technological trends in the workplace, gamification is often misunderstood or overhyped, Burke writes. Gamification does not mean turning work processes into a video game (giving a sales manager a virtual gun and turning individual salespeople into virtual targets does not motivate salespeople to be more competitive). Nor will a game turn a dreary job into a fun-filled, joyful exercise. What gamification can accomplish, he writes, is to motivate people to change their behaviors or to develop their skills, and can also drive innovation.

Three Elements of Motivation

Gamification works because it addresses the three elements of motivation:

Autonomy. Gamification allows people to opt in, then make their own choices as they proceed through the game.

Mastery. Everyone has a deep-seated desire to improve and make progress. Perhaps full mastery is not possible in gamification as in real life, but gamification provides the constant positive feedback that motivates people to keep trying harder.

Purpose. Gamification is different from traditional games because there is an overriding purpose. Unlike a game, which is simply created to entertain, gamification “engages players at an emotional level to help them achieve a goal that is meaningful to them,” Burke writes.

For example, Burke describes how a hospital for children developed a game app to encourage sick children to keep up their pain journals. These journals are important for doctors to know which treatments are working, but children, especially those having a bad day, are not always motivated to fill out the journal. With the iPhone “Pain Squad” app, children become members of a police force who progress through the ranks depending on how many days in a row they fill in their journals.

Three Audiences

Gamified solutions are usually targeted at one of three audiences: employees, customers and communities of interest (for example, ecologically-minded people who through Internet-based gamification are encouraged to recycle).

The Pain Squad example above illustrated how gamification was able to engage customers – in this case, the sick children – to change their behaviors. Barclaycards uses gamification to engage customers in driving innovation for their Barclaycard Ring credit card. This low-rate credit card is unique because it operates as a separate profit center, and “profits generated by the community are shared with the community,” Burke writes. Through status tiers (bronze, silver, gold, platinum and palladium) and badges, Barclayscard Ring members are pushed to participate in developing the community by suggesting or voting on ideas that would improve the product, or taking such actions as recruiting new members.

NTT Data uses its Ignite Leadership game to identify and develop leadership skills among their employees, many of whom are dispersed to various client sites, some of them for years and even decades. Under such circumstances, they lose their connection with the company. Ignite Leadership creates real-world-scenario questions and allows the player to choose among a multitude of options; there is no right answer. The training is structured as a journey, with points and badges awarded at different levels and a leaderboard that shows player rankings.

These are just three of Burke’s many examples as he illustrates the wide variety of situations in which gamification can be used. In the second half of the book, Burke offers a detailed, step-by-step process for gamification, starting with defining the business outcomes, target audiences, and player goals and moving on to such issues as the player engagement model (for example, is the game collaborative or competitive, emergent with an unknown outcome or scripted?).

In Gamify, Burke reveals the full complexity and potential of gamification but presents his material in a succinct, clearly organized manual that will motivate leaders to follow the example of the successful companies featured in the book.