Markers of Meaning

“The startling truth is that 70% of the workforce is disengaged – their bodies may put in long hours, but their hearts and minds never punch in.  You may even be one of those that’s searching for ways to make work really work for you.  This is a terrible dilemma for organizations trying to motivate employees to do more with less. So how to motivate the disengaged, and further engage the engaged?  It’s not pay, perks, or promotions.

The answer is to foster meaning at work, that is, give work a greater sense of personal significance, and thus, make work matter. “    Scott Mautz

Through his research, Mautz has discovered that specific Markers of Meaning exist, or unique conditions that create meaning in and at work. It’s possible to learn how to trigger each Marker of Meaning and inspire elevated performance and fulfillment that sustains over the long haul.

Markers of Meaning:

Direction

  1. Doing work that matters

Discovery

  1. Being congruently challenged
  2. Working with a heightened sense of competency and self-esteem
  3. Being in control and influencing decisions/outcomes

Devotion

  1. Working in a caring/authentic/teamwork-based culture
  2. Feeling connection with and confidence in leadership and the mission
  3. Being free from corrosive workplace behavior

Looking at this list of markers, I can see why such conditions would be motivators for engagement in any company or work environment. But how do we foster these markers of meaning in our organizations?

Join us on July 7th to learn how. We have invited Scott Mautz to present his findings and answers at our Soundview Live webinar How to Motivate By Creating Meaning. You’ll walk away equipped with a host of specific ideas, insight, and practical tools to help do so.

Modern Day Gold Rush

The discovery of gold nuggets in the Sacramento Valley in early 1848 sparked the Gold Rush, arguably one of the most significant events to shape American history during the first half of the 19th century. As news spread of the discovery, thousands of prospective gold miners traveled by sea or over land to San Francisco and the surrounding area; by the end of 1849, the non-native population of the California territory was some 100,000 (compared with the pre-1848 figure of less than 1,000). A total of $2 billion worth of precious metal was extracted from the area during the Gold Rush, which peaked in 1852.

To accommodate the needs of the ’49ers, gold mining towns had sprung up all over the region, complete with shops, saloons, brothels and other businesses seeking to make their own Gold Rush fortune. The overcrowded chaos of the mining camps and towns grew ever more lawless, including rampant banditry, gambling, prostitution and violence. San Francisco, for its part, developed a bustling economy and became the central metropolis of the new frontier.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and a new gold rush is taking place. As Charles Morgan, author of Matters of Life and Data, puts it: “Data mining is the new gold rush, and we were there at first strike, dragging with us all our human frailties and foibles. In this book’s cast of characters you’ll find ambition, arrogance, jealousy, pride, fear, recklessness, anger, lust, viciousness, greed, revenge, betrayal, and then some.”

Morgan, the Founder, Chairman & CEO of Acxiom Corporation (NASDAQ: ACXM), world leader in data gathering and its accompanying technology, grew Acxiom from an early-stage company to an international corporation growing to $1.4 billion in annual revenue during his tenure as CEO from 1972 to 2008.

If you’d like to hear the inside story of this 21st century gold rush from one of the key players, join us on June 30th for our Soundview Live webinar with Charles Morgan titled The Remarkable Story of a Big Data Visionary. You’ll get the inside scoop of the good and bad players in the data industry, as well as learning about how this data gold rush is affecting our business and personal life.

 

You Too Can Take the Stage!

“If you would like a stronger voice in discussions; if you wish to express yourself with more clarity and impact; if you want others not to interrupt you because they don’t “hear” you; if you’d liked to be assertive but not aggressive, promote yourself, be visible, speak with presence, and move your career forward by showing yourself as a confident, capable leader – if you say “yes” to any of these, then this book is for you.”                  Judith Humphrey

This book Humphrey is talking about is her latest title Taking the Stage. While the book is aimed primarily at women, the principles apply to anyone who is seeking to move up in the business world. Having the confidence to speak up in any situation takes courage and knowledge, and Humphry provides the information and techniques needed to shine.

Here are some of the things you can learn:

  • Speak up confidently, even when others don’t agree.
  • Convey your accomplishments without self-doubt.
  • Be assertive but not aggressive.
  • Deliver clear and convincing messages.
  • Move beyond “minimizing” language and apology.
  • Find your own powerful and authentic voice.
  • Achieve confident body language and a leadership presence.

If you would like to achieve this kind of confidence in your workplace, then please join us on June 9th to hear Judith Humphrey explain how to reach for this level of confidence. Strengthen your voice at our Soundview live webinar Taking the Stage. And bring your questions to post during the event.

Tips From the Top

In September of 2004 Michael Feuer began writing a column for Smart Business magazine called Tips From the Top. Fred Koury, CEO of Smart Business, had invited Feuer to write the column after reading Feuer’s employee newsletter which he sent out to the staff at OfficeMax during his time as CEO of the company.

Feuer’s column includes his observations and lessons learned as the Founder and CEO of OfficeMax and covers a wide range of subjects over 10 years and more than 125 columns written. Recently, Feuer and Smart Business editor Dustin Klein collected these columns together as an e-book by the same name. The book is organized by subject and includes gems of wisdom on:

  • Managing People
  • Communication
  • Overcoming Challenges
  • Building Value
  • Innovation
  • Competition
  • Leadership
  • Customer Service
  • Evaluating Opportunities
  • Negotiating

We have invited Michael Feuer to join us on May 21st at our Soundview Live webinar entitled, of course, Tips From the Top. Join us to hear what Feuer has learned over the years as an entrepreneur, CEO, and through his more recent experiences with Max-Ventures and Max-Wellness.

The Power of Branding

Daymond John epitomizes the rags-to-riches, American-dream story.

An entrepreneur in every sense of the word, Daymond John has come a long way from taking out a $100,000 mortgage on his mother’s house and moving his operation into the basement. John is CEO and Founder of FUBU, a much-celebrated global lifestyle brand, and a pioneer in the fashion industry with over $6 billion in product sales. He is an award-winning entrepreneur, and he has received over 35 awards including the Brandweek Marketer of the Year, Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign, and Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

John also provides the means for others to find success through the Shark Tank show, The Daymond John Center for Entrepreneurship and through his two best-selling books. And what is John’s message – that you are the brand you build.

Drawing on his own experiences on the cutting edge of the fashion business, as well as on his hard-won insights developed as a sought-after marketing consultant to global trendsetters and taste-makers, John maintains that branding relationships have now seeped into every aspect of our lives, and that in order to survive and thrive in the marketplace consumers and aspiring professionals need to understand and nurture those relationships.

But don’t take my word for it. Join us on May 14th for our Soundview Live webinar with Daymond John entitled The Power of Branding. At this event you will hear John’s story and the entrepreneurial principles he has learned and developed. And you’ll have the opportunity to ask him your questions during the webinar.

 

Eight Powerful Strategies to Fix Your Meetings

Meetings are at the heart of effective organizations. Each meeting is an opportunity to clarify issues, set direction, sharpen focus, create alignment, and move ambitions forward. We have to change the way we think about meetings, the way we design and lead them, and, most importantly, how we manage what happens between meetings.

Paul Axtell offers eight powerful strategies for fixing our meeting problems, and within each strategy, he provides concrete advice you can put into action immediately such as limiting participants, being vigilant about what gets on the agenda, designing the conversation for each agenda item, and managing the experience for everyone in the room so people leave feeling heard and appreciated.

Here are the eight strategies:

  1. Choose the perspective: This Matters.
  2. Master effective conversations.
  3. Create supportive relationships.
  4. Decide what matters and who cares.
  5. Design each conversation.
  6. Lead meetings for three outcomes.
  7. Participate in meetings to add impact.
  8. Build remarkable groups.

If you’re struggling with making your meetings productive and powerful, then join us on April 28th for our Soundview Live webinar with Paul Axtell: Eight Powerful Strategies to Fix Your Meetings. Bring your team together for the webinar and post your questions for Paul during the session.

Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System

Philip Kotler is widely acknowledged as the father of modern marketing and the world’s foremost expert on strategic marketing. He was voted the first Leader in Marketing Thought by the American Marketing Association and named The Founder of Modern Marketing Management in the Handbook of Management Thinking.

So why would this marketing guru write a book on capitalism? Here are his reasons in his own words:

First, I want to understand it myself.

Second, I believe capitalism is better than any other system.

Third, I want to examine and propose solutions to each of the fourteen shortcomings that would help make capitalism perform better and benefit more people.

Fourth, many readers want a shorter book on capitalism to get their thinking started.

Fifth, I believe that my background provides an opportunity to develop some special insights into the workings of capitalism.

So what are these fourteen shortcomings that Kotler refers to? Capitalism –

  1. Proposes little or no solution to persisting poverty.
  2. Generates a growing level of income and wealth inequality.
  3. Fails to pay a living wage to billions of workers.
  4. May not provide enough human jobs in the face of growing automation.
  5. Doesn’t charge businesses with the full social costs of their activities.
  6. Exploits the environment and natural resources in the absence of regulation.
  7. Creates business cycles and economic instability.
  8. Emphasizes individualism and self-interest at the expense of community and the commons.
  9. Encourages high consumer debt and leads to a growing financially-driven rather than producer-driven economy,
  10. Lets politicians and business interests collaborate to subvert the economic interests of the majority of citizens.
  11. Favors short-run profit planning over long-run investment planning.
  12. Should have regulations regarding product quality, safety, truth in advertising, and anticompetitive behavior.
  13. Tends to focus narrowly on GDP growth.
  14. Needs to bring social values and happiness into the market equation.

This is quite a list of shortcomings, and yet Kotler believes that capitalism is the best system out there! So what does he offer for solutions to this broken economic system? Join us on April 21st and hear for yourself, as we have invited Philip Kotler to our next Soundview Live webinar, Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System. It’s sure to be an exciting and perhaps controversial discussion.

The Revolution That’s Transforming Everything

“By one estimate, 90 percent of all of the data in history was created in the last two years. In 2014, International Data Corporation calculated the data universe at 4.4 zettabytes, or 4.4 trillion gigabytes. That much information, in volume, could fill enough slender iPad Air tablets to create a stack two-thirds of the way to the moon. Now, that’s big data.”  Steve Lohr

Steve Lohr has covered technology, business, and economics for the New York Times for more than twenty years and writes for the Times’ Bits blog. In 2013 he was part of the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. He was a foreign correspondent for a decade and served as an editor, and has written for national publications such as the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, and the Washington Monthly. He is the author of Go To: The Story of the Math Majors, Bridge Players, Engineers, Chess Wizards, Maverick Scientists, and Iconoclasts—the Programmers Who Created the Software Revolution. He lives in New York City.

In his book Data-ism, Lohr makes several claims about the explosion of data:

  • That Big Data is the next phase, in which vast, Internet-scale data sets are used for discovery and prediction in virtually every field.
  • That this new revolution will change the way decisions are made.
  • That relying more on data and analysis, and less on intuition and experience, can transform the nature of leadership and management.

In our upcoming Soundview Live webinar, The Revolution That’s Transforming Everything, Steve Lohr explains how individuals and institutions will need to exploit, protect, and manage their data to stay competitive in the coming years. Filled with rich examples and anecdotes of the various ways in which the rise of Big Data is affecting everyday life, it raises provocative questions about policy and practice that have wide implications for all of our lives.

Join us on April 16th to learn how big data affects your business decision making, and post your questions for Steve during the webinar.

What Is Self-Reliant Leadership

“Self-Reliant Leadership is synonymous with knowing which questions to ask yourself and having the courage to answer them and act.” Jan Rutherford

In Rutherford’s book The Littlest Green Beret, he tells the story of making it in Special Forces in spite of his young age (17) and small stature (5′ 4 1/2″). He teaches that self-reliant leadership requires three mutually supporting concepts:

1. Self-Awareness: Leaders understand their strengths and short-comings and how those traits affect their ability to create willing followers.

2. Selflessness: A leader needs to have a steadfast passion for serving others, and that requires putting others first.

3. Self-Reliance: Leading means being out front and there are more naysayers than supporters when trailblazing. Self-Reliant leaders believe in leading by example to develop followers who have initiative, persistence and determination.

If your goal is to become a self-reliant leader, then you’ll want to join us on April 9th to hear Jan Rutherford tell the stories of how he learned self-reliance as he moved up the ranks in Special Forces. Register for Self-Reliant Leadership: Embracing Adversity as the Crucible to Strengthen Character and Culture today.

Creating Urgency in a Nanosecond Culture

“The only way to ensure your company’s success is to change faster on the inside than the world is changing on the outside.” Jason Jennings

Jennings and his researchers have spent years up close and personal with thousands of organizations around the world—figuring out what makes them successful in both the short and long term. He understands the real challenges that keep more than eleven thousand CEOs, business owners, and executives up at night. And he knows how the best of the best combine speed and growth to deliver five times the average returns to shareholders.

In The High-Speed Company, Jennings reveals the unique practices of businesses that have proven records of urgency and growth. The key distinction is that they’ve created extraordinary cultures with a strong purpose, more trust, and relentless follow-through. These companies burn less energy, beat the competition, and have a lot of fun along the way.

Jennings strategies include:

  • Encouraging employees to make the right moves without hesitation. J.M. Smucker has done this well by creating five guiding principles that employees at every level can apply to faster individual decision making.
  • Doing more to constantly innovate and bring in new customers. Besides spending more than $2 billion on research and development, Procter & Gamble sends its senior executives to the homes of families who use their products in one hundred different countries, to learn their stories and connect with them, gaining fresh insights for new products.
  • Being transparent about management decisions. Sonic Corp. knows this is the best way to drive trust and engagement with both employees and customers.

We’ve invited Jennings to join us on April 2nd for our Soundview Live webinar How to Create Urgency & Growth in a Nanosecond Culture. Please join us for this event and consider inviting your colleagues to listen in as well.