1. 3 Daily habits of Peak performers

    May 25, 2016 by ahmed

    phelps

    Originally posted on Forbes by Carmine Gallo

    Spend some time with U.S. Olympic men’s swimming coach Bob Bowman, as I recently did, and you’ll understand why some people go from good to great in a chosen field, while others, like Bowman’s longtime student Michael Phelps, go from good to record-shattering.

    Phelps’ record is extraordinary. His 22 total medals and 18 gold medals is the greatest medal performance in all of Olympic history. I caught up with Bowman to speak about his new book, The Golden Rules, and to learn how his years of coaching superstar Michael Phelps can help everyone-especially business leaders-reach peak performance in their chosen fields.

    In my conversation with Bowman it became clear that raw talent alone is not enough. Champions like Michael Phelps practice three daily habits to achieve excellence.

    Habit No. 1: Vision

    “Not one of my athletes has a problem understanding why we’re in the pool and what we are there to do that day,” says Bowman. The vision, according to Bowman, is to swim a time that will be fast enough to win a medal. Bowman’s strategy is to help his athletes focus on the process, not the outcome. You can’t control or predict who will win a medal in any given race, “but if you’re fast enough, the outcome will take care of itself.” Medals are tangible rewards, but Bowman believes that—as a leader and an individual who wants to achieve peak performance—it’s more important to pursue excellence every day and to remind yourself (or remind your team) of the ultimate vision. This daily habit will result in long-term greatness.

    Habit No. 2: Mental Rehearsal

    Vision and mental rehearsal are two sides of the same coin. “You must program your internal viewfinder,” says Bowman. He’s speaking of visualization and no one, in Bowman’s opinion, does it better than Michael Phelps. “For months before a race Michael gets into a relaxed state. He mentally rehearses for two hours a day in the pool. He sees himself winning. He smells the air, tastes the water, hears the sounds, sees the clock.” Phelps take visualization one step further. He sees himself from the outside, as a spectator in the stands. He sees himself overcoming obstacles, too. For example, what would he do if he fell further behind in a race than he intended? Phelps practices all potential scenarios.

    According to Bowman mental rehearsal is a proven, well-established technique to achieve peak performance in nearly every endeavor. “ The brain cannot distinguish between something that’s vividly imagined and something that’s real.”

    Bowman believes that all of us—regardless of our field—have a strong belief in who we are today and who we’d like to be tomorrow. When we set goals in business, sports, or any area of achievement, there’s a gap between where we are and where we want to be. “The most strongly held mental picture is where you’ll be… so get really good at mental rehearsal,” Bowman advises. “If you can form a strong mental picture and visualize yourself doing it, your brain will immediately find ways to get you there.”

    Habit No. 3: Practice

    A person can be blessed with raw talent (or an 80-inch wingspan like Michael Phelps), but nobody can achieve excellence without putting in hours and hours of practice. To prepare for the 2004 Olympic games, “Michael Phelps trained 365 days a year for six years,” says Bowman.

    “You’ve got to be kidding,” I said in astonishment.

    “I know because I was there for all of it,” Bowman responded. “For Christmas, New Year’s and birthdays. Michael worked harder than I’ve seen anybody work in any endeavor.”

    An excellent performance in any field can be deceiving. The audience often assumes the performer is naturally talented because they make it look easy. I’ve seen the same reaction among great public-speakers. Brain researcher Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor delivered one of the most popular TED Talks of all time. She told me she practiced her presentation 200 times. Most business leaders I’ve met haven’t practiced 200 times for all of their presentations combined, and then they wonder why they’re not making a sale or connecting with an audience.

    The wonderful result of practice is that you have literally programmed your brain for peak performance. On the day of the event you can clear your mind and your body and trust that they will do what you’ve practiced dozens, hundreds, or in Phelps’ case, thousands of times before.

    Bob Bowman doesn’t get the public glory that his famous student does, but make no mistake—there is no Michael Phelps without Bob Bowman and his daily habits. “Without Bob I have no shot at achieving the records I’ve achieved or winning the medals that I’ve won,” writes Phelps in the forward to Bowman’s book.

    Practicing these three daily habits might not take you to the Olympics, but you’ll be more likely to outshine your competition when the race counts.


  2. Toward a world class innovation strategy: Dubai Statistics Center leading the way

    May 17, 2016 by ahmed

    3rd Progress Sharing Day

    On the 28th of April, the 3rd Progress Sharing Day of Dubai We Learn was held. For those new to the initiative, this initiative is led by the Dubai Government Excellence Programme and the Centre of Organisational Excellence Research (COER), New Zealand. The initiative aims to empower a culture of institutional learning and the transfer and exchange of knowledge within Dubai’s government sector.

    The initiative consists of the mentoring of 13 benchmarking projects, training in organisational learning and benchmarking, and the provision of a best practice resource, http://www.BPIR.com, for all 37 government entities.

    To assist in the sharing of best practices, 3 progress sharing days for the 13 benchmarking projects have been held. During these days, each team describes the progress they have made with their projects. As all project teams are using the TRADE benchmarking methodology it is easy to compare progress. Some teams have recorded video clips to showcase their work and the benefits they are obtaining, such as the example below from Dubai Municipality.


    To add interest to the day, each team is given 10 minutes to present and the audience vote on which projects have made most progress. At the 3rd Progress Sharing Day, 4 teams were selected as achieving the most progress with Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC) achieving the most votes. The four projects were:

    • Shams Dubai Initiative (Customer awareness & engagement) – Dubai Electricity & Water Authority
    • Improving Purchasing Channels – Dubai Municipality
    • People Happiness – Knowledge & Human Development Authority
    • Innovative Statistics – Dubai Statistics Center (DSC)

    The aim of DSC’s project is to “identify best practices in Innovation to enable DSC to develop and implement a strategy for innovation to improve its processes and services”.

    DSC started its project by undertaking a number of innovation self-assessments. The self-assessment tools they used were from the BPIR.com. Of the 5 Innovation Self-assessment Tools, DSC found the self-assessment titled “Innovation Maturity (organisation-wide)” the most comprehensive and useful. The self-assessments enabled DSC to identify its current level of Innovation Maturity and identify specifically what needed to be improved. In particular, they identified the need to improve in: innovation strategies, innovation measurement, innovation labs, suggestion schemes and innovative statistical information delivery.
    During the search for potential benchmarking partners, DSC used the identified areas of improvement as criteria for selecting benchmarking partners. For example, DSC searched for organisations with an innovation strategy that resulted in an innovative culture.

    By the 3rd Progress Sharing Day, DSC had finished benchmarking visits to four organisations locally and obtained many best practices through internet research. Some examples of the practices that they are considering implementing are:

    • Innovation Management Standard: The European Innovation Management Standard CEN/TS 16555 has been underway since 2008, and as such it incorporates a lot of the elements which are believed to constitute current best practices on innovation management. The Standard consists of 7 documents:
      • Innovation management system (16555-1:2013)
      • Strategic intelligence management (16555-2:2014)
      • Innovation thinking (16555-2:2014)
      • Intellectual property management (16555-4:2014)
      • Collaboration management (16555-5:2014)
      • Creativity management (16555-6:2014)
      • Innovation management assessment (16555-7, 2015)
    • e-Cap System: An electronic system to follow-up corrective actions, analyse risks, prioritize actions and raise status reports as they consider any corrective action as a creative idea.
    • Government Innovation Lab Manual: A manual designed to provide tools and techniques on how to implement an innovation lab from brainstorming workshop to idea implementation.
    • Customer Pain Point: A system to find the problems faced by the customer in order to come up with innovative solutions, in other word it is a customer inspired innovation.

    For more information about this initiative download the attached article and sign-up up to COER’s newsletter to receive the latest updates.


  3. Effective use of social media

    May 15, 2016 by ahmed

    social media

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Harry Hertz

    In 2013, the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence started asking questions related to an organization’s use of social media. An emphasis was placed on effective use of social media. In the early days of this criteria change, many users of the Criteria had limited engagement with social media. More recently, every organization is using and must use social media, but not always effectively.

    So you might ask, what is ineffective use of social media? We probably all have personal experiences that could fit in this category. This blog was conceived after I received a recent marketing e-mail, the kind that has your name in the salutation. This one read as follows:

    “Good afternoon [first name],

    Hope this note finds you well. Based on your interest in …”

    How do you know my interests, if you address me as [first name] and don’t even know who I am? This was further exacerbated by actually dealing with a subject of absolutely no interest to me.

    This solicitation reminded me of other personalized solicitations that use mailing list information directly and start with something like:” Dear Hertz H,”. Will solicitations like these cause me to read further? Certainly not, other than to note the sender’s organization and lower my opinion of them and their brand. And with that goes overall brand image.

    There are many other examples of brand image that suffer because of ineffective use of social media. Some that have affected me and really strike a negative reaction are:

    • The charitable organization that solicits me by e-mail (and snail mail) several times a week. Am I contributing to their cause or their social media campaigns?
    • The organization that is regularly surveying me, but never seems to respond to customer feedback in any manner: not by a personal response (although I don’t expect that), not by changes in their performance from a customer’s perspective, and not by general responses through a blog, web site change, or mass e-mail that says we have listened and here are some changes we have made. The organization usually states my time is valuable, but in practice they don’t seem to value my time at all.
    • The company or organization that has been hacked and my data compromised, but the organization never notifies me or notifies me by a blanket announcement only after the press announces they found this out weeks or months after the actual occurrence.

    There are other examples I could cite and many more you could cite from your personal experiences. The Baldrige Criteria questions are designed to cause you to think about your organization from a systems perspective, to think about key linkages and cause-effect relationships. The 2015-2016 Criteria for Performance Excellence have added the consideration of brand image. Item 3.2 on Customer Engagement, has the following question: “How do you leverage social media to manage and enhance your brand and to enhance customer engagement and relationships with your organization?”

    Effective use of social media has become a significant factor in customer engagement and ineffective use can be a driver of disengagement and relationship deterioration or destruction. It is also a key factor in employee engagement. How effective is your organization’s use of social media? What impact has it had on your brand image, customer engagement, and employee engagement? Let me know your experiences (without mentioning brand names, please).


  4. How Target built a world-class digital marketing team: Tips from CMO Jeff Jones

    May 7, 2016 by ahmed

    Target

    Originally posted on Linkedin by Kyle Wong

    Brands create elaborate marketing strategy plans in hopes of attaining that elusive goal: to deliver a great experience that reels customers in and keeps them coming back. Unfortunately, there’s a wide gulf between what brands want to do with digital and what they actually do — because they simply can’t hire enough top-tier digital marketing talent to execute on their visions.

    For example, brands know they should embrace social, visual storytelling, and experiential marketing to connect with Millennials, but they aren’t able to hire the talent who can execute on these emerging trends. Competition for superstar digital marketers is fierce, with companies such as Facebook and Google, as well as deep-pocketed startups, snatching up the best and brightest.

    So how can brands attract the kind of talent they need to stay relevant? Target is a prime example of an established retail brand that does digital marketing well. Target’s stock is trading near its record high and the company has strong revenue growth – and that’s in large part due to a talented marketing team. Target spends well over $1 billion a year on marketing and has over 1,000 team members on its global marketing team. I recently sat down with Target CMO Jeff Jones to find out how his company attracts – and keeps – the best digital marketing talent.

    What’s unique about Target?

    There are four main reasons top digital marketers choose to join Target, according to Jones. First, they know “marketing has a seat at the table.” In other words, marketers at Target feel their work is valuable and their voices will be heard. Second, they know Target is willing to try experimental digital marketing trends – from sponsoring Gwen Stefani’s performance of a live commercial video at the Grammy Awards to the company’s billion-dollar mobile coupon app business, Cartwheel, to the Target Media Network that lets brands connect with Target shoppers online, on mobile, and in-store via creative marketing content. All of these initiatives were conceived and built entirely in-house. Third, at Target, digital marketing isn’t just a cost center. Every program must meet specific revenue goals, making the digital marketing team a strategic part of company growth. Fourth, they know the work they do will reach millions of consumers; more than 30 million people visit Target stores, and 20 million make purchases online, each week.

    Of course, not every company has the pull of Target. So what can you do to attract top digital marketing talent if you aren’t already a multibillion-dollar brand beloved by hundreds of millions of consumers? Jeff has a few tips for any organization looking to snag great marketers.

    Tell your unique marketing story

    You can’t attract great marketing talent if you don’t have a great marketing story. Target is well-known for launching cool campaigns, trying cutting-edge techniques, and building a cohesive brand message. If you’re a small company, you’ll have to work harder to “tell your story” to potential candidates. First, get your CMO involved directly in hiring, sending him or her out on the road to meet potential candidates, give talks, and connect with aspiring marketers at top universities. Use every communications strategy possible to share your company’s passion for cutting-edge marketing – from articles and content, to speeches, videos, and more. Showcase your marketing wins, but also be honest about challenges. The best talent loves to tackle big challenges through new marketing methods. Most important, articulate your company’s vision for the future. Talented, ambitious people want to work at companies with a clear vision to change the world.

    Understand the barriers keeping talent away

    Sometimes, top talent isn’t interested in working for your company for an easy-to-fix reason. Target, for example, realized some go-getters weren’t willing to relocate to the company’s headquarters in Minneapolis, so they opened offices in San Francisco and New York. Other times, marketers stay away because of a deeper problem. For example, one common issue is that companies “silo” their marketing teams into groups such as social, video/TV, online, traditional, etc. But the best marketers don’t want to work in vacuums. They want to work on teams that cross-pollinate ideas, contributing directly to the company’s overall growth. If your marketing teams are fractured, consider bringing everyone together under one division, allowing team members to interact with one another on a daily basis. Jones is convinced Target’s “one big marketing team” is a fundamental reason the company has been so successful in telling a cohesive brand story.

    Think ahead to retention

    Attracting top talent is only the first step – retention is even more important, and far more difficult. Target deals with potential poaching of its top talent on a regular basis, so the company puts a focus on retention. Jones points out that retention can’t be tackled in broad strokes; leaders must take time to truly understand the individual aspirations of each person and help them achieve these goals over time. Always try to spot signs of discontent early, and then work with the individual to create a path forward that makes her feel appreciated, valued, and supported. Of course, what the best talent values is outlined above: a seat at the executive table, being part of a cross-pollinating team, and proof their work contributes directly to the bottom line. Make sure you don’t just promise these “golden tickets,” but actually deliver on them every day.

    Only brands that embrace the newest marketing methods will survive in the next decade. Thus, those companies unable to hire top digital talent will be the first to fail. Even the best digital strategy is moot unless you have digital talent to execute on your vision. Make sure your company is a fantastic place to work for digital marketers and you’ll have a good shot at building a successful marketing organization like Target.


  5. Critical things ridiculously successful people do every day

    April 13, 2016 by ahmed

    Gates and Buffett

    Originally posted on Linkedin by Dr. Travis Bradberry

    Having close access to ultra-successful people can yield some pretty incredible information about who they really are, what makes them tick, and, most importantly, what makes them so successful and productive.

    “Whenever you see a successful person, you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.” – Vaibhav Shah

    Kevin Kruse is one such person. He recently interviewed over 200 ultra-successful people, including 7 billionaires, 13 Olympians, and a host of accomplished entrepreneurs. One of his most revealing sources of information came from their answers to a simple open-ended question:

    “What is your number one secret to productivity?”

    In analyzing their responses, Kruse coded the answers to yield some fascinating suggestions. What follows are some of my favorites from Kevin’s findings.

    They focus on minutes, not hours. Most people default to hour and half-hour blocks on their calendar; highly successful people know that there are 1,440 minutes in every day and that there is nothing more valuable than time. Money can be lost and made again, but time spent can never be reclaimed. As legendary Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller told Kevin, “To this day, I keep a schedule that is almost minute by minute.” You must master your minutes to master your life.

    They focus on only one thing. Ultra-productive people know what their “Most Important Task” is and work on it for one to two hours each morning, without interruptions. What task will have the biggest impact on reaching your goals? What accomplishment will get you promoted at work? That’s what you should dedicate your mornings to every day.

    They don’t use to-do lists. Throw away your to-do list; instead schedule everything on your calendar. It turns out that only 41% of items on to-do lists ever get done. All those undone items lead to stress and insomnia because of the Zeigarnik effect, which, in essence, means that uncompleted tasks will stay on your mind until you finish them. Highly productive people put everything on their calendar and then work and live by that calendar.

    They beat procrastination with time travel. Your future self can’t be trusted. That’s because we are time inconsistent. We buy veggies today because we think we’ll eat healthy salads all week; then we throw out green rotting mush in the future. Successful people figure out what they can do now to make certain their future selves will do the right thing. Anticipate how you will self-sabotage in the future, and come up with a solution today to defeat your future self.

    They make it home for dinner. Kevin first learned this one from Intel’s Andy Grove, who said, “There is always more to be done, more that should be done, always more than can be done.” Highly successful people know what they value in life. Yes, work, but also what else they value. There is no right answer, but for many, these other values include family time, exercise, and giving back. They consciously allocate their 1,440 minutes a day to each area they value (i.e., they put them on their calendar), and then they stick to that schedule.

    They use a notebook. Richard Branson has said on more than one occasion that he wouldn’t have been able to build Virgin without a simple notebook, which he takes with him wherever he goes. In one interview, Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis said, “Always carry a notebook. Write everything down. . .. That is a million dollar lesson they don’t teach you in business school!” Ultra-productive people free their minds by writing everything down as the thoughts come to them.

    They process e-mails only a few times a day. Ultra-productive people don’t “check” their e-mail throughout the day. They don’t respond to each vibration or ding to see who has intruded into their inbox. Instead, like everything else, they schedule time to process their e-mails quickly and efficiently. For some, that’s only once a day; for others, it’s morning, noon, and night.

    They avoid meetings at all costs. When Kevin asked Mark Cuban to give his best productivity advice, he quickly responded, “Never take meetings unless someone is writing a check.” Meetings are notorious time killers. They start late, have the wrong people in them, meander around their topics, and run long. You should get out of meetings whenever you can and hold fewer of them yourself. If you do run a meeting, keep it short and to the point.

    They say “no” to almost everything. Billionaire Warren Buffet once said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” And James Altucher colorfully gave Kevin this tip: “If something is not a ‘Hell Yeah!’ then it’s a no.” Remember, you only have 1,440 minutes in a day. Don’t give them away easily.

    They follow the 80/20 rule. Known as the Pareto Principle, in most cases, 80% of results come from only 20% of activities. Ultra-productive people know which activities drive the greatest results. Focus on those and ignore the rest.

    They delegate almost everything. Ultra-productive people don’t ask, “How can I do this task?” Instead, they ask, “How can this task get done?” They take the I out of it as much as possible. Ultra-productive people don’t have control issues, and they are not micro-managers. In many cases, good enough is, well, good enough.

    They touch things only once. How many times have you opened a piece of regular mail—a bill perhaps—and then put it down, only to deal with it again later? How often do you read an e-mail and then close it and leave it in your inbox to deal with later? Highly successful people try to “touch it once.” If it takes less than five or ten minutes—whatever it is—they deal with it right then and there. It reduces stress, since it won’t be in the back of their minds, and it is more efficient, since they won’t have to re-read or re-evaluate the item again in the future.

    They practice a consistent morning routine. Kevin’s single greatest surprise while interviewing over 200 highly successful people was how many of them wanted to share their morning ritual with him. While he heard about a wide variety of habits, most nurtured their bodies in the morning with water, a healthy breakfast, and light exercise, and they nurtured their minds with meditation or prayer, inspirational reading, or journaling.

    Energy is everything. You can’t make more minutes in the day, but you can increase your energy to increase your attention, focus, and productivity. Highly successful people don’t skip meals, sleep, or breaks in the pursuit of more, more, more. Instead, they view food as fuel, sleep as recovery, and breaks as opportunities to recharge in order to get even more done.

    Bringing It All Together
    You might not be an entrepreneur, an Olympian, or a billionaire (or even want to be), but their secrets just might help you to get more done in less time and assist you to stop feeling so overworked and overwhelmed.

    What do you do to stay productive? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.