14
Apr 17

Fast Company – Could Time-Blocking Replace Your To-Do List?

A few years ago, my to-do list was an endless source of frustration. At the end of every day, it seemed like it had more items on it than when I started. I never seemed to get it all done.

So, in an effort to understand what was going on, I began to track how I was spending my time and saw some interesting patterns emerge. As I learned more, I started applying a productivity-changing principle to my daily “get it done” list: time-blocking.

Time-blocking is essentially organizing your day in a series of time slots. Instead of writing a list of tasks that take as long as they take, with a time-blocked approach, each of these time periods is devoted to a task or tasks. It immediately lets you see where you’re being unrealistic about your time and keep yourself focused on what you’re supposed to be doing.

More of the Fast Company article from Gwen Moran


03
Mar 17

Customer Think – Why Your Customer Research is Flawed

U.S. pollsters got quite a surprise in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016.

That’s when it became apparent that their sophisticated voter research had completely failed to predict the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election. Longtime Republican political strategist Mike Murphy went so far as to assert that “data died” that night.

Yes, the 2016 U.S. Presidential election was a highly visible casualty for data-driven research, but far from the only one.

In 1985, Coca-Cola announced the rollout of “New Coke,” an updated formulation of the venerable soft drink, designed to appeal to changing consumer tastes.

More of the Customer Think article from Jon Picoult


14
Feb 17

Customer Think – Stop Listening to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) Dogma and Follow the Evidence

You are probably already familiar with the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a metric used to gauge the health of the customer relationship. Although it is widely used by companies, most people don’t know that it actually has three serious problems. First, the “research” behind the NPS claims is flawed. Second, the calculation of the metric (a difference score) results in an ambiguous score that is difficult to interpret. Third, the NPS is insufficient in measuring the multidimensional nature of customer loyalty.

NPS Backgrounder

In 2003, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) was formally introduced by Fred Reichheld, and, today, it is used by many of today’s top businesses to monitor and manage customer relationships. Fred Reichheld and his co-developers of the NPS say that a single survey question, “How likely are you to recommend Company Name to a friend or colleague?”, is the only loyalty metric companies need to grow their company.

More of the Customer Think post from Bob Hayes


08
Feb 17

Fast Company – The Tech Geek’s Guide To Talking To Other People At Work

That blank stare from the CMO doesn’t mean she’s an idiot. It means you need to translate your tech speak into business speak.

I was talking with the head of research and development for a major medical device company, and he was really frustrated. “Anett,” he said, “my leadership team doesn’t understand what we’re doing. We’re not just a back-office function supporting the company—we’re building our products!” He felt like his team was getting trampled on and disregarded—he just didn’t know how to get his message across.

People in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields are used to getting blank stares and being asked dumb questions when they talk about their work. But it’s not that everyone else is stupid—it’s just that you know a lot more about the technical details than they do.

In other words, it’s a communication challenge: You need some better ways to present your solutions, discoveries, or obstacles to everybody else in your organization—to translate them from tech speak into business speak. So whether you’re a recent engineering grad just entering the corporate world, or a mid-career IT manager hoping for that big promotion, here are four tips to help you explain what you do and why it matters.

More of the FastCompany article from Anett Grant


28
Jan 17

Waking Times – New Science: DNA Begins as a Quantum Wave

This new science tells us that the universe is constantly conspiring to make biological life, whenever and wherever it can. In any given area of the universe, these hidden microgravitational waves will begin gathering atoms and molecules together to create DNA, and thus, life.

One strand of DNA from one single cell contains enough information to clone an entire organism. Obviously, understanding DNA allows us to understand much about life and the universe around us. A deeper understanding of the new science tell us that DNA beings not as a molecule, but as a wave form. Even more interestingly, this wave form exists as a pattern within time and space and is coded throughout the entire universe.

We are surrounded by pulsating waves of invisible genetic information, whose waves create microscopic gravitational forces that pull in atoms and molecules from their surrounding environment to construct DNA.

One scientist who caught these microgravitational forces in their action is Dr. Sergey Leikin. In 2008, Leikin put different types of DNA in regular salt water and marked each type with a different fluorescent color and the DNA molecules were then scattered throughout the water. In the experiment’s major surprise, matching DNA molecules were found pairing together. After a short time, entire clusters of the same colored DNA molecules had formed. Leikin believes some sort of electromagnetic charge allowed the same colored molecules to cluster. However, other experiments show that this is not the case. That it is most likely to be gravity. Let us explain.

More of the Waking Times post


25
Oct 16

Fast Company – How Unconscious Bias Is Affecting Our Ability To Listen

Sloppy grammar, sounding like you just woke up, ending statements with a slight uptick in pitch, called “uptalk” or “Valley girl speak,” have all been proven to undermine a person’s success.

But how does the listener break down information when both a man and a woman are saying the exact same thing? According to research, the voice itself is the source of unconscious bias for the listener, and women are interpreted differently as a result.

“GENDERED LISTENING”
Meghan Sumner, an associate professor of linguistics at Stanford University, stumbled into the unconscious bias realm after years of investigating how listeners extract information from voices, and how the pieces of information are stored in our memory. Study after study, she found that we all listen differently based on where we’re from and our feelings toward different accents. It’s not a conscious choice, but the result of social biases that form unconscious stereotyping which then influences that way we listen.

More of the Fast Company article from Vivian Giang


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