25
Jul 16

CMO.com – Think Executives Are Rational Decision Makers? Think Again

When you create a message for VPs or higher personas, you may be tempted to assume that their decisions are strictly rational and logical and that it’s all about the math. Why? Because they tell you that, and they believe it themselves.

Well, they are lying to you. Not on purpose, but lying nevertheless, according to a recent experiment we conducted with Dr. Zakary Tormala, a social psychologist with expertise in messaging and persuasion.

The study found that in a business decision-making scenario, you can provide executives with the same math with respect to a business proposition, but get significantly different results depending on how you frame the situation.

Conrad Smith, VP of consulting at Corporate Visions, reached out to Corporate Visions’ network of executives and asked them to take part in an online experiment. Participants—113 of them—came from a wide array of industries, including software, oil, finance, aerospace, and others, and occupied a range of high-level roles at their companies, from vice president up to CEO.

More of the CMO article from Tim Riesterer


24
Jun 16

Fast Company – How Giving Up TV For A Month Changed My Brain And My Life

I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, I don’t know what the Scandal is, and I couldn’t name a single “real” housewife. I thought I didn’t watch much television and that taking a 30-day break would be a piece of cake. I was wrong.

The average adult watches 2.8 hours per day of television, according to the American Time Use survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another study puts this number higher, at four hours and 15 minutes each day. I added up all of the viewing at my house, and we were definitely on the high side.

-A one-hour standing date with Judge Judy, marking the official end of my workday
-An hour of news
-Thirty minutes of Jeopardy (because it’s educational)
-And an hour-plus of mindless shows before bed

Nielsen, we have a problem.

THE DANGERS OF TV
A lot of research has been done around TV viewing and children, and Adam Lipson, a neurosurgeon with IGEA Brain & Spine, says one of the best studies is from Tohoku University in Japan. “They noted thickening of the frontopolar cortex, which is related to verbal reasoning ability, and also correlated with a drop in IQ in proportion to the number of hours of television watching,” he says. “In addition, they noted thickening in the visual cortex in the occipital lobe, and in the hypothalamus, which may correlate with aggression.”

More of the Fast Company article from Sephanie Vozza


23
Jun 16

HBR – Every Fast-Growing Company Has to Combat Overload

It feels horrible: You’re scaling up aggressively and working harder than ever, but with each passing day you feel more overwhelmed. Your business is a success, but you feel like a failure. You used to be able to track everything with an Excel spreadsheet, personally designed by your CFO; now you’ve got an SAP installation in its place, supported by an entire IT department. You and your founding team used to feel like members of the same small tribe; now you’re working with unfamiliar layers of staff hired from companies whose culture is not like yours. You used to know your key customers by their first names; now you know them only as averages on PowerPoint slides. Every employee used to know what made your mission special; now most of them don’t. Things are spinning out of control, and you don’t know what to do.

What’s going on? You’ve hit overload—the internal dysfunction and loss of external momentum that strikes young, fast-growing companies as they try to rapidly scale their businesses. Overload is one of the three predictable crises that companies experience as they grow. With overload everyone in the company becomes stretched and loses the focus on the customer. A helpful image to keep in mind here is that of a plate spinner. As the spinner sets more and more plates in motion (growth), he obviously has to keep them in motion. This gets harder and harder, especially if he hasn’t prepared adequately for the challenges involved. Soon what once was a satisfying process becomes a deeply troubling and threatening one (overload): plates start to wobble, and the spinner has to scramble ever faster to keep them all in motion. His mission has changed. He’s no longer thinking about serving and delighting his audience (customers). He’s just trying to manage the chaos and avoid catastrophe.

More of the Harvard Business Review post from Chris Zook


16
Jun 16

CIOInsight – Why IT Must Pursue an Information Governance Plan

Most organizations can benefit from outside help on governance. Call me if you’re looking for resources.

The majority of IT executives said their organization is either implementing a formal information governance (IG) program or is planning to do so, according to a recent survey from Veritas. The resulting “State of Information Governance” report defines IG as “the activities and technologies that organizations employ to maximize the value of their information while minimizing associated risks and costs.” To support this, the research reveals that most companies are issuing formal data use policies and requiring employees to identify data that is confidential. They’re also training staffers on data storage and archiving. In addition, findings break down organizations into those which are “high performing” on IG, and those which are not. While overall adoption rates among both are strong, high performers are more likely to deploy email and file archiving, while issuing formal use policies. “Information is both the lifeblood and the bane of any business, no matter its size, industry or location,” according to the report. “Enterprises collect and analyze data from a myriad of internal and external sources to improve business efficiencies and decision-making processes.

More of the CIOInsight slideshow from Dennis McCafferty


15
Jun 16

HBR – The Dirty Little Secret About Digitally Transforming Operations

Earlier this year, we walked the halls of the Hannover Messe, one of Europe’s largest events for industrial manufacturers. The newest robots, 3-D printing systems, and data-mining hardware and services were all there along with a host of people hyping Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Manufacturing, and big data and advanced analytics. It seemed as though everybody from the best-known software giants to basic industrial parts providers was marketing a “latest technological breakthrough” — even if it amounted to little more than a new sensor attached to an old piece of equipment.

Amazing dreams were being sold: A black box that could be installed in your plant and would improve your competitiveness — all by itself; big data servers and algorithms that would tell you how to improve your process — with no additional engineering investment; virtual-reality glasses that would make your workforce more productive — just by putting them on.

It was all reminiscent of 19th century advertisements for cure-all patent medicines.

More of the Harvard Business Review article from Markus Hammer, Malte Hippe, Christoph Schmitz, Richard Sellschop and Ken Somers


26
Apr 16

Fast Company – The Real Reason Women Are Leaving STEM Jobs

A recent report revealed a surprising gender gap: women job hop more than men and it’s getting more pronounced. While the analysts at LinkedIn who did the study said that further research was needed to determine why (it’s not about balancing family and work, as most of the job hoppers weren’t parents yet) the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) may have a clue.

In the first gender-based study of its kind conducted in the STEM space in the U.S., the data revealed women leaving jobs was the result of multiple factors beyond sexual harassment that the survey “Elephant in the Valley” found rampant among established working women at tech companies in Silicon Valley.

SWE’s Corporate Partnership Council’s study found that there are gender differences in workplace priorities, particularly as companies that are meeting female hiring goals are unable to retain them—especially five to eight years after they started.

More of the Fast Company article from Lydia Dishman


14
Apr 16

HBR – Which industries are the most digital and why?

When business leaders talk about going digital, many are uncertain about what that means beyond buying the latest IT system. Companies do need assets like computers, servers, networks, and software, but those purchases are just the start. Digital leaders stand out from their competitors in two ways: how they put digital to work, especially in engaging with clients and suppliers, and how intensively their employees use digital tools in every aspect of their daily activities.

Recent research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) looked at the state of digitization in sectors across the U.S. economy and found a large and growing gap between sectors, and between companies within those sectors. The most digital companies see outsized growth in productivity and profit margins. But what are the key attributes of a digital leader? And how can companies benchmark themselves against competitors? We looked at 27 indicators that fall into three broad categories: digital assets, digital usage, and digital workers. Our research shows that the latter two categories make the crucial difference.

More of the Harvard Business Review article from Prashant Gandhi, Somesh Khanna, and Sree Ramaswamy


07
Apr 16

HBR – When Was the Last Time You Asked, “Why Are We Doing It This Way?”

During a time when many retailers are struggling, business is booming at Target. But it wasn’t too long ago that the discount retailer’s future didn’t glow so bright. When CEO Brian Cornell took the reins two years ago, he inherited a company that had been struggling for years, taking far too few risks, and sticking too close to the core.

Since then the world has fallen in love with a far edgier Target, which has expanded its offerings through collaborations with such power brands as Lilly Pulitzer, Toms, Neiman Marcus, and SoulCycle, and updated product lines that break the status quo, like its latest gender-neutral kids home brand Pillowfort. But Cornell didn’t start right out of the gate making any big changes like these. Instead, he took time to carefully contemplate his approach, listen to his team, and ask questions.

At the MIT Leadership Center, I recently spoke with another leader, Guy Wollaert, chief exploration officer at Loggia Strategy & Design, about similar experiences he encountered at another highly visible brand, Coca-Cola. During his 20-plus year tenure with the global beverage brand, most recently serving as its chief technical and innovation officer, Wollaert made it a point to seek — and surround himself with — new ideas and people who challenged him to reflect and question first, then act later.

More of the Harvard Business Review post from Hal Gregersen


05
Apr 16

IT Business Edge – Diverse Infrastructure Requires Diverse Efficiency Metrics

Achieving data center efficiency is not only challenging on a technology level, but as a matter of perspective as well. With no clear definition of “efficient” to begin with, matters are only made worse by the lack of consensus as to how to even measure efficiency and place it into some kind of quantifiable construct.

At best, we can say that one technology or architecture is more efficient than another and that placing efficiency as a high priority within emerging infrastructural and architectural solutions at least puts the data industry on the path toward more responsible energy consumption.

The much-vaunted PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) metric is an unfortunate casualty of this process. The Green Grid most certainly overreached when it designated PUE as the defining characteristic of an efficient data center, but this was understandable given that it is a simple ratio between total energy consumed and the portion devoted to data resources rather than ancillary functions like cooling and lighting. And when implemented correctly, it does in fact provide a good measure of energy efficiency. The problem is that it is easy to game and does not take into account the productivity of the data that low-PUE facilities provide nor the need for some facilities to shift loads between resources and implement other practices that could drive up their ratings.

More of the IT Business Edge article from Arthur Cole


08
Feb 16

Wall Street Journal – CIOs Say Focus on Customer Is Paramount

We asked chief information officers how they expect their role to change in 2016 and beyond. They said the “seat at the table” discussion is over, and that the CIO exerts greater influence inside the C-suite as technology permeates every line of business.

Many CIOs said they now shape corporate strategy, not just support it. While they still have a mandate to improve operating performance, keep costs down and drive productivity using technology, they also guide product development and user experience design.

“Regardless of industry, CIOs will have more responsibility directly to the customer,” said Bill Bradley, CIO at CenturyLink Inc.

While in the past viewed as mostly a technical position, “the CIO…is now considered very valuable in the ability to bridge the gap between IT and internal and external customer needs,” said Erika Lance, CIO at Nationwide Title Clearing Inc.

More of the Wall Street Journal article