In the world of software, especially when using agile methods, programmers design tests at the same time they code, so they can make sure their software works.
This same idea can be applied to management (strategy, planning) and government (laws): As you create the strategy, plan, or law, also design tests that will let you know if you are experiencing success, or if you need to change something.
The test will probably be a KPI, with a pre-determined value that signifies success or failure.
For example, a plan could be: "to address our current sales slump, we will change our commission structure".
We could add, "if we do not see at least a 5% increase in sales six months after the training, we will try to find an additional solution. If sales drop more than 2%, then we will immediately revert back to the old commission structure".
(because innovation frequently happens at the intersections between groups, instead of just inside one department):
1. Organize internal seminars or lunch-n-learns where one group can present on what they are currently working on.
2. Have small social events between one or two groups (i.e manufacturing and IT), so they will mix and can discuss ideas informally.
3. If members of multiple departments have an innovative idea, give them a certain number of hours per week to work together on their idea, as well as possible seed money.
1. Not paying attention - this is getting worse as meetings become more virtual. People are multi-tasking and not fully engaging with the person talking. This results in information needing to be repeated.
2. Not admitting they don't understand - this problem particularly affects workers in other countries, so it is partially cultural. The employee does not want to admit that they do not understand what they have to do, so they are reluctant to ask clarifying questions. The result is an unpleasant surprise down the road, and the company having to invest in re-doing failure work.
3. Not being able to communicate issues clearly - employees need to be able to succinctly summarize an issue, and then be able to drill down into details, depending on the type of audience. hashtag#productivityhashtag#Communication
Remove tasks from your "to do" list, and schedule them as appointments on your calendar. I learned this from my mentor, Alan Weiss. This way, when the time slot arrives, you are motivated to treat the assignment as if it were a meeting, and work on it.
The conventional advice is that making a great first impression is critical. But is it?
In a Harvard Business Review article, networking expert Rich Stromback says “Everyone gets this wrong. They try to look right and sound right and end up being completely forgettable...I do not care about first impressions. I’d almost rather make a bad first impression and let people discover me over time than go for an immediate positive response." Hotels go out of their way to make a great first impression, with attentive doormen, friendly receptionists, and chocolates on the pillow. But, hotel executive Jeremy McCarthy says that research shows people are more influenced by peak experiences and the last impression.
One of the reasons given for hashtag#forever21 's bankruptcy is over expansion. This, again, is an example of Strategic Simplicity® (or lack of it). I like to use the example of a Middle Eastern chain, based in the Chicago-area, that expanded from 2 locations to 30 by first eliminating 80% of their menu. Logistics, supply chains, and staffing/training become problems if you don't clean up/simplify your processes before trying to scale. hashtag#scalinghashtag#retailapocalypsehashtag#logisticsmanagement
"If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."
Tech Help, Equipment, and Software for Savvy Solopreneurs
Running a business, even when you have an employee base of one, is a tough gig. There is a lot to do and only 24 hours in the day to get it done. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, you have to sleep sometimes. The good news, however, is that being an entrepreneur in the digital age means that you don’t have to look far for tools and tech that can increase your productivity, boost your bottom line, and give you the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Your Equipment Matters
Many independent business owners started out working on their laptop from the kitchen table. While there is no reason that you can’t continue on this way, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t have a powerful PC and dedicated office space.
Ideally, your work computer should have plenty of storage and a high-capacity processor that allows you to work at lightning speed. Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2 is a great option and allows you to video conference in 1080p while using the apps and services you rely on to get things done. A few things you should download on your desktop include Dragon speech recognition software, which allows you to control your computer with your voice, and a collaboration solution, such as Slack, which integrates with Gmail, Google Drive, and more.
Similarly, it pays to invest in mobile technology that lets you manage your business from wherever you are. The iPhone 11 Pro Max from Apple is a fan favorite. It is a high-end phone but offers so much for the money. Direct from the iPhone, you can shoot pics (it has a triple camera system) to post on your Pinterest page or IG feed, and email/respond to texts almost instantly. If you forget your charger, that’s not a problem either since the Pro Max has an 18-hour battery life when being used, not just sitting idle.
Android also has a nice lineup of business phones. Android Police reviewer Corbin Davenport likes the OnePlus 7 Pro, which is an affordable option that packs a punch. The OnePlus 7 Pro has respectable storage and is compatible with most GSM carriers. No matter which phone you choose for your business, before you commit to a two-year contract, make sure your preferred carrier offers a data package that works for your needs. You will also want to add insurance and double-check that their tech support is top-notch.
While we're thinking about tech support, how do you manage your own company’s technology needs? When you have the manpower of one, you’d likely spend a ton of time Googling problems and running down to your local OfficeMax for diagnostics. It’s time to stop wasting this time. There are plenty of ways to tackle your technology concerns without dipping into your productive hours. Online tech support companies can now help you fix a slow computer, remove viruses, and eliminate pop-ups and error messages. Look for a service with US-based techs that have experience in all operating systems, security, and router diagnostics.
When it is time to take your technology to another level, your tech support provider might even be able to work as an IT consultant. In this capacity, they can help you determine which equipment, software, and services will work best for your specific needs. Many IT consulting firms can also pair you with an experienced web developer that can help you integrate your website with online payment processing, chatbots, and much more.
Just because you started your business by yourself does not mean you have to go it alone. The technology available to you today can help you expand your reach, maintain, or exceed current efficiency levels, and give you — and your customers — a streamlined experience.
I don't think companies should force employees to take a lunch break. As a former corporate executive, and now as a consultant, I know that workers are different, and maximum productivity occurs when they they have control over their schedule. All employees should have the option of taking a lunch break away from their desk—without being forced to. Some will welcome the break, while others would actually prefer to work during lunch, so that they can work at a more leisurely pace in the morning or afternoon.
1. By collaborating with startups, corporations get access to cutting edge talent, fresh ideas, and an entrepreneurial environment. The corporations themselves can never recreate this because:
A. Their bureaucratic structure is designed for risk avoidance and delivery on a large scale, not innovation, experimentation, and quick, iterative cycles of test, fail, and succeed.
B. Because of this structure, cutting edge talent is not attracted to corporations.
2. A lot of times, corporations are failing to engage with startups because they act as if the startup is another corporation. For example, I know a true story of a corporation that, a couple of years ago, tried to collaborate with a hot, innovative startup in Silicone Valley. The product would have really helped the corporation, which was losing market share to an innovative, new disruptor. However, just before they sealed the deal, the corporation's legal department dumped a huge legal document with hundreds of pages onto the startup. The startup neither had the resources nor the patience to deal with that, so they killed the deal.
3. A good example of a successful partnership is Coca-Cola's collaboration with startup Wonolo (an on-demand, technology-driven flexible staffing company). Coke actually helped fund them. The secret to their success together is that:
1. The startup had skills that Coke did not possess. Coke's corporate structure is designed to create beverages, not run a staffing company. However, they had a big problem because they distribute to so many outlets, many of them small. If some of these retail points run out of product, their existing structure wasn't flexible enough to quickly provide more product. As a result, they lost money. Now, with Wonolo, Coke's local manager can use the app to hire flexible workers to rush Coca cola products to the retail outlet.
2. For Wonolo, they gained funding from Coke, a large customer, and access to advisors inside the company. What's also important is what they didn't get—micro-managed with oppressive rules and contracts.
In conclusion, the key to making collaborations work between corporations and startups is space. The corporation can fund them and offer resources, but they need to take a hands-off approach to startups, otherwise they will eliminate the flexible, entrepreneurial, cutting-edge environment that made them attractive in the first place.
As a former start-up CEO, bank executive, and now consultant, I've worked on many ERP and digital transformation projects. In every case, I've found that most of the issues have resulted from miscommunication (on both sides) and over-complexity. User-focused change management and on boarding was an after-thought, with user training and orientation done in one overwhelming swoop at delivery time. Developers and designers failed to fully understand the users' current work-flow in order to design critical tasks to be familiar.
Today, the cloud can make change management much more effective. Since the cloud handles infrastructure, designers and developers are freed up to focus more on the business logic, and customization of work-flow to match the users' current method of work. Secondly, the ease of deployment in the cloud means that mock-ups and limited-functionality demo instances can be set up during the deployment phase, so that users can be trained in phases, and provide feedback to designers while development is still taking place.
How to Grow Your Business as a Solopreneur Without Full-Time Staff
If you’re a solopreneur, chances are you like doing most of the work yourself, and you’re in no hurry to build a staff. However, if your company is successful, there may come a time when you need a little help completing a variety of tasks and pushing your business forward.
The good news is that you don’t have to bring on full-time employees to achieve this. Many solopreneurs are finding that hiring freelancers and incorporating tech provide the help they need to keep their company in a position to flourish. If you’re running your own business, these tips can help you to grow without building a staff:
Get a good phone.
First of all, it’s difficult to run a business these days without a reliable smartphone. As a solopreneur, you can use a smartphone for many different tasks, such as returning phone calls and messages, responding to emails, and taking product photos for your website or social media pages. Along with a solid phone, you also need a plan that meets your business needs and budget. Find a provider that offers several plan options, and think about what you need (e.g., talk/text, data, etc.) to determine the best one.
Make sure you have a great website.
No matter what kind of business you run, having a solid website is paramount, and hiring an HTML5 developer is the quickest way to get your site up and running. Every website you see is built on HTML code—a code that is behind features like data tables, links to social media pages, and contact forms.
HTML5 is the latest iteration of the code, and a qualified HTML5 developer will have expertise in this particular code and be able to power your site as needed. Compared to trying to code the site yourself, hiring a freelance developer will save your company a significant amount of time and money, as well as ensure that you have a professional-grade, easy-to-use website.
Offer written content.
If you peruse a variety of small business websites today, you will notice that many of them have a blog section. This is because companies of all types are finding that offering their audience written content is good for business. Not only does it help you gain visibility and build authority in the industry, it can also reduce your time spent answering individual inquiries when you provide enough information to customers in your blog posts.
Make promotional videos.
As with written content, videos are also an effective tool for building your presence. When you make a promotional video, you have the potential to reach a wide audience through your website, email marketing and social media. Whether you’re simply advertising your brand or laying out details for a new product, videos have a special power to move customers and clients to act.
Automation can transform your business operations. In short, automation carries out a variety of tasks that you would otherwise need to hire humans for. For instance, chatbots are great for engaging customers and growing your customer base, and they can even respond to customers’ questions. Likewise, marketing automation can help you to build your brand by targeting your audience through purchase history, preferences and other characteristics.
Solopreneurship is hard, but you don’t have to go at it completely alone. Make sure you have a reliable phone and service provider, and consider bringing in a freelance HTML5 developer and content writer for your website. Also, think about making promotional videos and using automation to give your business a boost. In today’s world, you can have a successful company even without any full-time employees.
Captain Ahab was obsessed with the white whale to point of losing his ship, crew, and life.
Do you have a strong obsession or passion? Can you channel it positively instead of destructively? hashtag#strategyhashtag#dreamshashtag#planning
Simplicity is a super power, and the future of the 21st century's Attention scarcity age.
Our creativity is sapped by complexity and having to make decisions. The amount of info in the world is increasing.
To scale, we need to be able to quickly train employees and educate our customers about our products/services.
Simplicity allows us to do this. hashtag#successhashtag#simplicityhashtag#strategicsimplicityhashtag#business