How Companies Must Adapt to Survive

THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF SOCIAL MEDIA

In A World Gone Social, social media entrepreneurs Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt lay out the growing impact of social media on our lives and our businesses.

They begin by exploring how social media has shifted the power away from corporations and into the hands of their customers and their frontline employees. The power that social media has given customers is fast becoming legendary, as stories spread of how one unhappy customer is able to bring a corporation to its knees — well, at least send it scurrying for cover — by creating a maelstrom of discontent and bad publicity.

For example, the ill-advised Bank of America fees for services typically offered for free — such as having a debit card — created a social media-based firestorm of protest from customers, causing the financial services giant to reverse its position. The authors note that BoA’s initial reluctance to respond made the situation much worse than it had to be. The authors describe, in contrast, the response of Verizon, which made a similar ill-advised decision to put in a small fee on a traditionally free service. Unlike BoA, however, Verizon retreated as soon as resistance began to build.

Empowered Employees

Social media has also empowered employees. The authors tell the story of a minimum-wage Target worker who resisted a call to work on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Her respectful open letter on social media to Target’s CEO went viral, and Target was put on the defensive. The retail giant crafted a careful response, noting that rather than resistance to the holiday work, there were more volunteers than shifts open for those who wanted to work on Thanksgiving. However, the response also stated that there was no corporate mandate to work on Thanksgiving, which clearly left open the opportunity for local Target managers to make Thanksgiving mandatory.

Another damaging threat comes from insulting or insensitive comments on social media from high-ranking employees, leading to what the authors call a “virtual lynch mob.” In one case described by the authors, one manager tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get Aids. Just kidding. I’m white!” before boarding a plane to Africa. When the manager got off the plane, she learned that she had been fired — and that her dismissal had been publicly announced.

The transparency of social media puts the spotlight on corporations in ways that had never been possible, and corporations must respond accordingly, the authors write. For example, employee engagement is more vital than ever. An unhappy workforce has myriad options for venting their disapproval. (In one example, employees described in bloody detail — through the company’s own communications channel — the massive layoffs sweeping through the company and the impact on those who were being laid off. The marketing director finally became aware of the posts and eliminated them from the platforms, but the damage had been done.)

Going Flat

Social media presents challenges for corporations, but it also presents new opportunities, the authors write — although perhaps not necessarily or exclusively for corporations. In fact, one of the first rules of the social media age, according to the authors, is “the death of large.” Large, rigid corporations don’t have the agility to compete in today’s dynamic marketplaces.

Companies must go flat, the authors write. It’s time to lose the layers of middle managers. Communication must be direct, open and easy — which means it’s time to lose the old useless meetings that, according to the authors, “serve only the grandstanders and bureaucrats.” Going flat also means greater accountability from everyone. A case study of America’s largest tomato processing company shows that going flat is possible in even the most traditional industries far removed from the “knowledge” economy.

The effectiveness of crowdsourcing for solutions, the top priority that must be given to the customer experience and the requirement for leaders to be “social” — to know how to be a true and engaging presence on social media (tweets “from” the CEO actually created by PR employees don’t count) — are some of the other topics covered in this wake-up call to companies and leaders who are slow to embrace social.

How to Become an Expert Negotiator

You may be a high-ranking CEO or a first day salesman, a service provider or self-employed. If you face encounters with your partners, clients, suppliers or employees, in which you want them to think differently at the end of the meeting and actually do what you want – our next Soundview Live webinar is for YOU. The objective of this webinar, How to Become an Expert Negotiator with Daniel Weiser, is to improve your negotiation skills and to move you one step closer to closing your deal.

Here are 27 Negotiation Tips from Weiser’s book Become An Expert Negotiator:
#1: Ask about the other’s reference point at the beginning of the interaction.
#2: Find out if you’re both in the same “ballpark.”
#3: The status quo effect is the “mother” of many objections.
#4: Lower the perceived risk.
#5: State your purpose in order to lower the firewall.
#6: Don’t talk about a certain topic – before you know the other party is interested to listen about it.
#7: Don’t wait for an anticipated rejection – vaccinate against it.
#8: Adjust your communication style to that of your counterpart.
#9: Address what the term “partnership” means to your business partner.
#10: Pierce the firewall through Aikido.
#11: Don’t tell the other side what he will gain – ask him to speak about it.
#12: Establish that the deal is “fair” according to external objective criteria.
#13: Reframe the interpretation of the situation.
#14: Elicit statements that can later be used to support your position.
#15: Indicate others who made the same decision as the one requested in this negotiation.
#16: Use the rule of comparison often.
#17: It’s not about being nice – it’s about being similar.
#18: Be the first to give something.
#19: When you concede on an issue – request something in return.
#20: The foot in the door.
#21: Limit the time to respond to an offer.
#22: Present the upside potential, but also the downside of rejection.
#23: Feel successful and radiate it.
#24: Be specific about your references and success indicators.
#25: Talk about the fears of relevant others.
#26: Fulfill your negotiation partner’s needs and keep quiet about achieving yours.
#27: Sometimes, simply ask for help.

If you would like to hear more about these tips, join us on January 29th and bring your whole sales team. As we know, every little improvement in our negotiation skills could be the difference between getting the sale or not.

Three New Summaries to Lead Better

Leaders help themselves and their teams to do the right things. However, sometimes leaders need to re-think their vision or processes to improve their organizations. Leadership is about mapping out where you need to go as a team or an organization to be successful. Learn how to be a better leader by developing a culture of excellence within your organization, asking the right questions, and becoming a strategic thinker to “win” with these three new Soundview Executive Book Summaries.

Becoming_Your_Best

by Steven Shallenberger

Becoming Your Best by Steven Shallenberger. In Becoming Your Best, Steven Shallenberger, states that as a leader you can succeed in business and live a happy life at the same time. Shallenberger reveals the 12 principles for developing a culture of excellence within your organization. These principles will help you reach your highest potential and drive the kind of innovation that turns good companies into industry leaders, all while living a well-balanced personal life.

 

 

Good_Leaders_Ask_Great_Questions

by John C. Maxwell

Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John C. Maxwell. To learn and grow into a successful leader, you need to yourself and your teams question, but the key is asking the right questions. John C. Maxwell presents the process of becoming a successful leader by examining how questions can be used to advantage, in Good Leaders Ask Great Questions. Maxwell shares leadership questions he has gathered from others and from his own experience that will inspire both seasoned leaders and new leaders to ask great questions to improve their leadership skills and careers.

 

Game_Changer

by David McAdams

Game-Changer by David McAdams. You can turn defeats into wins, if you have the vision to “change the game”. In Game-Changer, David McAdams uses game theory to out-strategize your rivals. McAdams discloses six basic ways to change games: commitment, regulation, cartelization, retaliation, trust and relationships. By learning to be a deeper strategic thinker, you’ll be able to “change the game” to plot business tactics and gain insights for your advantage.

How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

THE LEADERSHIP THAT GUIDED THE DIGITAL AGE

After his phenomenally successful biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson’s new book, The Innovators, stays in the technology field, but this time with a group biography of the wide variety of people who created the digital age. Through its rich details and Isaacson’s fine storytelling, The Innovators reads more like a sprawling epic novel than a treatise on technological founders. The first character he introduces is a surprising one: the daughter of the 19th century Romantic poet, Lord Byron.

Lady Ada Meets Charles Babbage

For many people, the age of computing begins with Charles Babbage, the British aristocrat who conceived and built mechanical devices to help people calculate and do other tasks mechanically — thus lightening the thinking load of man. But Babbage needed money, and lots of it, to pay for his “Difference Engine” and especially his more sophisticated “Analytical Engine.” Enter Ada, Countess of Lovelace, Byron’s only legitimate child and an adept mathematician. As Babbage’s collaborator and publicist, one of her tasks was to translate a French description of the machine for the scientific periodical Scientific Memoirs. Knowing more than the original French author about the machine, Ada decided to write some “Notes from the translator.” These “Notes” would earn her place as one of the earliest founders of the digital age because — extrapolating far beyond the mechanical devices of her boss — they conceptualize, for the first time, the idea of a computer: a machine that could, in Isaacson’s words, “store, manipulate, process and act upon anything that could be expressed in symbols: words and logic and music and anything else we might use symbols to con-vey….This insight would become the core concept of the digital age: any piece of content, data, or information music, text, pictures, numbers, symbols, sounds, video could be expressed in digital form and manipulated by machines.” The Notes also included, in step-by-step detail, how what we now call a computer program or algorithm would work.

Collaboration and Leadership

Moving through the years, from the 19th century to the 20th and the 21st, Isaacson carefully lays out the history of the two strands of the digital age — computing and . networking — telling the stories of the famous and not-so-famous who piece-by-puzzle-piece would construct the world we live in. Isaacson emphasizes that such a world was not created by lone inventors who single-handedly pushed the technology forward in leaps. Instead, technology advanced through a quiet insight here, a new system there, which were then connected to another insight or system or technology to finally create the breakthrough. Occasionally, one person would indeed give the technology a major push. Tim Berners-Lee correctly deserves full credit as the man who almost single-handedly conceived the World Wide Web. However, in most cases, The Innovators is a story of intense and sometimes complicated collaborations — symbiotic collaborations from which innovation could emerge. Leadership is an important component of the process. Isaacson details the great and not-so-great leadership that guided the history of technological progress. For example, Gordon Shockley, who led the team that invented the transistor, never succeeded as a businessperson; tired of Shockley’s ham-fisted leadership, the team February 2015 started their own company, sponsored by the rich inventor and playboy Sherman Fairchild. The compelling stories will keep you turning the pages of The Innovators.

Overfished Ocean Strategy

Microsoft is researching a way to turn data servers into residential furnaces – saving millions on cooling off data centers while providing a crucial utility to homes across the world. FLOOW2 is making money by allowing businesses to sell their temporary overcapacity – underutilized machines, skills, and real estate – all with the click of a button.

Puma is getting rid of shoe boxes in favor of the remarkable intelligence of the light and reusable Clever Little Bag, while BMW has stopped selling cars and is now selling mobility, electricity included. In Peru, the first billboard that converts air into drinkable water has gone up, while in the Netherlands, wasteful party confetti biodegrades and grows into flowers.

These are just a few examples of the new movement in business, which Nadya Zhexembayeva describes in her book Overfished Ocean Strategy. She offers five essential principles for innovating in this new reality. Zhexembayeva shows how businesses can find new opportunities in what were once considered useless by-products, discover resource-conserving efficiencies up and down their value chain, transfer their expertise from physical products to services, and develop ways to rapidly try out and refine these new business models.

How might these principles apply to your business? For the answer to that question all you need to do is register for our next Soundview Live webinar: Powering Up Innovation for a Resource-Deprived World. You will hear Zhexembayeva give a deeper explanation of these principles, along with examples of what is happening right now throughout the world.

Join us on January 22nd and invite your whole team to attend with just one registration. It will be well worth your while if you find even one resource that your company could be reusing right now.