The Magic of Dialogue
Who doesn’t love a great conversation? There’s something compelling about swapping stories, sharing hurts, and multiplying joys as we connect together each day. Companies are finding the catalyst to true connection often comes through listening.
Marketing and editorial strategists Michelle Horowitz and Kendall Meade believed so strongly in conversation that they launched an entire online platform called InTELLects to grow real-life interactions that promote conversation, creativity, and community:
“I’m energized by making connections and asking people deeper questions,” says Michelle. “It’s how I learn, and it’s how I grow.”
InTELLects features notable leaders, thinkers, and change agents, building a community of mentors and offering users the chance to ask questions – any questions – to grow the collective conversation. The co-founders believe authentic discussions pave pathways to clarity, grow existing communities, and instigate this new universal truth: “ask, and you shall succeed.” InTELLects is promoting a paradigm shift that’s moving companies away from “shoving a sales pitch” and toward authentic customer engagement.
The Critical Surfing “Slow Down”
In today’s complex ecosystem, marketers are realizing that consumer engagement (or return on EXPERIENCE) is a long-term, holistic measure of a customer’s encounter with a brand. Engagement includes any action a customer takes to connect with a company: downloading an app, participating in a forum, or referring products to friends. Engagement brings significantly greater return than website traffic, as researchers report that attention span in “surfing” is typically less than nine seconds per page.
How can we slow people down? Horowitz says asking questions is a wonderful place to start.
“True engagement stems from building a place where people can honestly learn, share, and engage,” she said. InTELLects believes that real conversations transcend the noise and forge emotional connections.
Through digital channels, today’s entrepreneurs have powerful tools to create highly personalized relationships. While community forums have been around for ages, expanding social networks like LinkedIn Groups and Google+ Communities offer a chance to connect with customers and ask questions that can build emotional connections that last. Recent data shows that 68 percent of audiences spent more than 15 percent of their time reading the comments section of a story – revealing the allure of dialogue to build powerful community connection.
Growing the Conversation
As you seek to build your own “conversational opportunities,” here are a few questions to consider:
1. What does your target audience connect with?
2. What questions do they have about your product?
3. What is their favorite feature of your business?
4. Where can you proactively predict what they want to stay ahead of the design curve?
5. What educational or training gaps could your company offer on their behalf?
6. What are some practical questions you could pose to gain insights in these areas?
Need ideas to get you started? Grab your team and brainstorm how you might:
•Host a contest
•Promote customer achievements on your own social media page
•Allow your VIP customers to co-create content
•Host webinars or events
•Make someone your “brand ambassador” for the month
•Allow users to have fun, like the Reddit community did in its season-long Fat Tire experience
As technology barrels ahead, one of our own goals is to keep people at the forefront. Whether it’s online forums, beautifully handcrafted printing, or just the face-to-face interactions we have with you every day, we believe nothing trumps relationships. We enjoy hearing about your own questions and ideas, and we look forward to serving you this year. Let’s keep talking!
Monday, April 23, 2018
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
7 Reasons Why Data is Important for Your Business
In 1854, the idea of clean sanitation in London was generally non-existent in the urban setting. There was no such thing as running water; average people had to get their water supply daily from a local street hand pump. As a result, pests and disease spread quickly, which was the case with a cholera outbreak in London's Soho district at the time.
Focus In on the Problem
At first, no one could quite figure how cholera was infecting people, and the common thought blamed vapors or people's breathing. John Snow, a doctor already well established in London circles and practice, focused on a hypothesis that cholera was spread by shared water. However, many of the other doctors and officials thought a water-borne disease idea was a silly concept.
Because the authorities at the time needed convincing with greater evidence and the local cholera epidemic was spreading and killing more and more, Snow devised the idea of taking already known data and combining it with a local map. He already knew from public health records who had become sick with cholera and died as well as their home addresses. Snow mapped their locations in relation to local water supplies.
Interpret the Results
By creating the spatial relationship, Snow was objectively able to display that the cluster of cholera infections in 1854 was within close proximity to one water source - the Broad Street Water Pump. Using this information, Snow then convinced the local city authorities to remove the pump handle, making it inoperative. With the source gone, the cholera infections soon died down, and Snow's hypothesis was supported.
Business Lessons You Can Glean
So how does John Snow's smart use of existing data teach us valuable lessons about managing a business? There are 7 gems to glean from his example:
Business data is all around us and can be used for far more than just one purpose if we open our eyes to see how it can be used.
Data behaves in trends and patterns which, frequently, can help make solid business predictions about what is to come.
A company needs both access to its data regularly as well as the right tools to make the information valuable and useful. Too often businesses have one or the other but miss their opportunities because no one has connected the dots so to speak.
Staff need to be trained to think outside the box. The reason Snow was successful was due to the fact that he didn't follow traditional convention. He asked "why."
Management has to be willing to listen to alternative options based on good data. London city authorities were locked up in old-fashioned ideas about cholera until Snow showed them obvious connections of disease spread.
Data comes in lots of different shapes and forms. Standardization is key to allowing useful data to be pulled across different operations. Snow had to combine public death records, maps, stories, and authority information in one combined grid to make it useful.
Keep it simple, stupid. Snow didn't transform his data into an archaic medical thesis. He produced useful information on a simply everyday map that everyone could understand quickly and easily.
Existing business data can be a gold mine for marketing and business strategy if companies are willing to actively take advantage of what they have. That requires an open mind, good skillsets in data interpretation, and a management team that can act quickly on opportunities as they become apparent.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
How to Lead by ExampleAs a leader, the people you supervise watch your every move. To gain their confidence and trust you must provide an example they will want to follow. You could lead via a system of punishments and coercion, of course, if accelerating turnover is your hobby. But motivating them positively is a much better way to go.
To that end, here are 6 examples you can use to become the type of leader that people want to follow.
1. Do not think of them as workers only.
It’s important to keep in mind that the people working under you have bills to pay, troubles to cope with, and possibly a personal tragedy or two in their lives. Approach them with respect and be kind, knowing that they may be going through hard times.
2. Take the time to make them feel special.
It may seem corny, but try keeping notes on the people working under you, just one fact about each of them. It could be something you overhear in the hallway- perhaps a hobby, a favorite musician, a peculiar interest. You can use this information at opportune times to let them you take a real interest in them.
3. Listen to emotions.
This can be hard for some, but with effort, even the most stoic of us can discern emotions. Listen to what employees say and take a moment to mentally tag their statements with an emotion. Just say to yourself, ‘Mark feels frustrated,’ or ‘Sally is disappointed.’ Even if the emotion is irrelevant to the situation, just take a moment to recognize it without judgment. Make a habit of this and in a short amount of time you will begin to behave in a more empathetic way, and they are certain to pick up on that.
4. Don’t fight every battle.
For diligent, hardworking, and logical people, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to right every wrong. But there’s a fine line between being a problem solver, and being belligerent. Remember, your internal resources are limited, as are those of the people around you. Trying to squash every small discrepancy will drain your resolve, and it will squash morale.
5. Always let them save face.
‘Praise in public and censure in private’ is the golden rule of leadership. When someone has made a mistake and you must have a word with them, help them avoid the scrutiny of their coworkers. Don’t force them to take the walk of shame into your office after announcing over the P.A. that they are being summoned. They will appreciate it immensely.
6. Display solidarity
Your job is important, and no one would expect you to get into the trenches every day- however, there’s no better way to establish respect and to understand the day-to-day realities of the work your employees do than to occasionally step into their role. It’s not enough to have done it before. You must demonstrate the willingness to do it again. Remember, this isn’t your chance to show them up by outdoing them. It’s a way to develop solidarity and to understand the challenges they face each and every day.
Some of these tips may sound overly soft-handed. But if you apply a little imagination and find a way to maintain your proper station and dignity while following these guidelines, you can transform yourself from a competent manager into an inspiring leader.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Women Leadership Matters in BusinessThere are plenty of lists in business and the news. However, they frequently only represent one half of the human race with men. The fact is, women can be just as tremendous as business leaders, and they are showing their capability daily. Here are five women we all can take a lesson from in how they function and perform as leaders and would provide great case studies if the higher education system would recognize them:
1. Mary Barra
General Motors has been in the heat of regulatory and litigious battle over faulty car ignitions that were known by its management to exist but were allegedly tolerated for cost savings. However, it has been Mary Barra who has been at the helm of the company leading it back on the correct path. And Barra is no stranger to the car world. She worked her way up from the bottom through engineering and then through administrative management as an insider. She is the most powerful American car company CEO yet most American drivers know nothing about her.
2. Ginni Rometti
If your name is on a government file somewhere, there's a good chance Rometti's company product has touched it. As the CEO of IBM, Rometti's products and services have the widest reach and are used worldwide. Ginni Rometti was also an insider, starting with IBM as a system engineer in 1981 and then working upward into management. Today, her decisions impact every big company and government that relies on large database systems and related hardware, but many in the tech field would be hard-pressed to remember her name on a test.
3. Meg Whitman
Probably one of the most recognizable of women business leaders due to her run for Governor of California in 2010, Whitman today is the in-charge CEO of HPE (formerly Hewlett-Packard). Whitman first gained fame as hard-charging CEO of eBay, launching its massive growth in the 2000s, but she was already on the executive track well before. Although she resigned in February 2018, Whitman continues to redefine her role as one of the longest-lasting CEO role models for women in business. And many wonder what Whitman's next step will be in 2018 as the leader has reincarnated herself multiple times.
4. Marillyn Hewson
Another insider who worked her way up the ranks, Hewson started with Lockheed-Martin in 1983. In her earlier executive capacity, Hewson has held key roles in operational leadership in a company that competes with the biggest brass for top aviation contracts from the government, military, and industry. Since 2015, she has been aggressive on the military market, reading the tea leaves for a resurgence in military spending. Her strategy was correct, especially after the latest Presidential election results. Most would not expect to see Hewson next to generals in photo ops, but she is the face of Lockheed-Martin on Capitol Hill.
5. Debra Crew
When people think of a cigarette company CEO, they visualize an older man with thinning hair and a cigar. They don't think of Debra Crew. Yet this CEO has cut her teeth in PepsiCo, Dreyers, and as a veteran intelligence officer prior to her executive days. Crew's challenge is huge, making a company work in a world where smoking seems to be a dying market. And since her start as CEO the company has grown in capitalized market value by 16 percent.
These five women are not models, actresses, or famous wives. They are battle-hardened CEOs worth their title and with billions in market investment at their fingertips. https://store.printcafeli.com/blog/Print_Cafe_Blog.html
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
8 Traits of Outstanding People
We know that the outstanding stand amongst us because we can feel it when we’re around them. They have something special inside we wish we possessed inside of ourselves. The good news is we are all capable of excellence. It is helpful to spend time learning about outstanding people and to bear witness to how they do what they do to be who they are. As we learn about them, all we have to do is emulate their character traits and own them as our own. Outstanding isn’t something a person has, it is something a person does.
What does it take to be outstanding?
1. PurposeOutstanding people are driven by a powerful sense of purpose both in their individual lives and in relation to the world at large. They have defined the impact they desire to have and have held tight to their vision with every ounce of their focus. The purpose of life, for outstanding people, is always about service. They want to be involved in ways where they have the opportunity to show and use their compassion to help elevate others. To be outstanding, we have to find something dear to our heart and hold onto it. We need a purpose we are so deeply invested in that motivation and inspiration are not hard to access. We must know who we are and how we want to be of service in this world.
Outstanding people back their purpose with an unrelenting energy of passion. They follow their dreams, they work hard, are willing sacrifice whatever they need to, and refuse to let naysayers get in the way of their dreams. Their mission in life has nothing to do with surviving. Outstanding people don’t survive life, they live their lives to the absolute fullest. They make sure to possess a humble and great sense of humor, they make time for their personal growth and development, are dedicated to self-compassion and to living their lives with an energy of class. Their sense of passion for what they do is intoxicating. To be outstanding, we must follow our passions. We must be prepared to work hard and to sacrifice. We must shun our naysayers by removing them from our consciousness, live our days with a lighthearted composure and deeply love what we do.
3. PerseveranceNothing in life comes easy. Outstanding people don’t lament about his fact, they respect it. What they want out of life is perceived as worth the hard work it takes for them to get it. They are prepared to have to fight and dig for what they believe in. They are prepared for setbacks and accept that these are the times when they will need to gather their courage and fortitude. They are prepared to be tired, to feel burned out and frustrated. They expect all of this and are wise to prepare for it. They know that whatever they are going through, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. They know all they have to do to get to the end of a challenge is to simply keep grinding. If we want to be outstanding, we have to be diligent in our pursuit. We have to develop the tough-mindedness and work ethic it takes to rise above the rest.
4. ChoiceOutstanding people wake up each day and choose life. They choose joy, they choose grace, and they choose to see their blessings. Outstanding people thrive on the freedom they gain from being able to continue to make their mistakes and the choices necessary to learn and to grow from them. They know that it is one thing to be in the climb to the top, and a whole other thing to be at the top. Outstanding people make the choice to look their fears in the face. Through this process, they gain the strength, knowledge and experience to be exactly who they are. If we want to be outstanding, we need to look back at the horrors and hardships we’ve experienced and know that we stood steadfast. We must see our time on this earth as limited. We cannot and must not waste any time while we’re here. We must gather the resources we need to make the best choices we can to set ourselves apart to live our own blessed journey. We must wake up and choose to succeed.
Commitment is the cornerstone of success. Outstanding people understand that commitment isn’t something they come by naturally, so they back all their desires with the discipline to achieve them. They commit to their own excellence by actively being a person they can love and respect. If we want to be outstanding, we cannot low-key commit, we must commit one hundred percent to what we’re pursuing. If we aren’t fully committed, we cannot fully live our dreams. Outstanding people never do anything halfway, and neither should we.
Outstanding people welcome and respect the concept and experience of failure. Nothing takes them further in their own learning, and nor does anything teach them or redirect their efforts more fully or quickly than failure. Genius will not; talent will not; but hard work and a willingness to learn are the qualities that take outstanding people wherever they want to go. If we want to be outstanding, we must learn not to stand in fear of our failures; rather, we must learn to build upon them. We must view our failures as stepping stones to our own success and greatness. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. We must never give up. We must learn to start from where we are, with the resources we have, and to do what we can from this place.
7. SupportOutstanding people embrace the idea that succeeding is never a one-man job. Outstanding people have a team of confidants and supports who travel with them along their journey through life. These supports are an integral part of them being as outstanding as they are. Outstanding people aren’t just outstanding, they have lost hope, they have lost direction, and they have been broken and put back together time and again. It has been their supports who have helped them navigate through their tougher times.To be outstanding, we must gather our supports. We must listen to them, love them and appreciate them. We all need support and understanding to ward off the ugly predators of anxiety, fear, depression and frustration.
8. OptimismOutstanding people embrace the undeniable value of being positive. Optimism gives them the faith they need to achieve all their aims. They know that absolutely nothing they set out to accomplish can be accomplished without hope and confidence. For this reason, outstanding people make sure to smile a lot, to focus on the bright side and to positively acknowledge those who support them. If we want to be outstanding, we must be positive. We must love what we do enough that we allow that love to spill over onto everyone around us. Few things in this world are more powerful than giving another person a positive push. Optimism is the culture we want to create, so that the purpose we're pursuing has a greater chance at longevity. If someone puts us down or criticizes us, we need to keep believing in ourselves and turn that negative into something positive. We were born to win, but to be a winner, we must plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win.
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