1. Effective use of social media

    May 15, 2016 by ahmed

     

    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).


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

    May 7, 2016 by ahmed

     

    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.


  3. Critical things ridiculously successful people do every day

    April 13, 2016 by ahmed

     

    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.


  4. I’ve worked for two billionaires. Here’s what I learned from them

    March 29, 2016 by ahmed

    PCB

    Originally posted on LinkedIn by Paul Carrick Brunson

    I have spent decades “being educated” – in college, graduate school, numerous professional certifications, and now a PhD program. All of that schooling and training helped shape the person I am today, but at no point in my life has there been a more profound education than my time working for Enver Yucel and Oprah Winfrey.

    Enver and Oprah are two extraordinary people. And on top of that, they’re both billionaires. On the surface, they appear to be totally different people. They are in different industries, have different family structures, practice different religions, and speak different languages. However, once you get past their written biographies and dig deeper, you will notice they possess many of the same successful habits.

    I had the opportunity to work with both Oprah and Enver for 6 years collectively and those were, hands down, the best professional experiences of my life. I worked my ass off for them and in doing so absorbed everything I could.

    It’s my honor to share with you what I learned from them. Here is Part 1 of the 20 successful habits I learned working for two billionaires:

    1) Invest in Yourself
    This is a very simple concept, but something you would think someone who has “made it” would stop doing. Not at all for these two. I saw them both spend a significant amount of time dedicating their resources to self-development (whether it be a new language, exercise, social media classes, etc). The moment you stop investing in yourself is the moment you have written off future dividends in life.

    2) Be Curious…About Everything
    What the average person sees as mundane or overly complicated is not viewed the same way with a billionaire mindset. I once had a 30 minute conversation with Enver about the height of the curbs in Washington DC versus Istanbul, Turkey. Billionaires are incredibly curious; what the rest of the world thinks is a problem and complains about — that’s what these people go and work on.

    3) Surround Yourself With “Better” People
    I hope this is why they kept me around :-). Seriously, I never knew my bosses to keep anyone less-than-stellar in their inner circle. There were many times I thought to myself, “Damn, they have dream-teams built around them.” Jim Rohn had it right, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

    4) Never Eat Alone
    The last time I had dinner with Enver, as well as the last time I ate dinner with Oprah, there were easily 15 people at our tables, respectively. Coincidence? While most of us derive our key information from blogs or the newspaper, power players get their information from the source (other power players), directly. However, just because you can’t call up the Obamas and break bread with them doesn’t mean eating with others in your circle doesn’t carry value. In one of my favorite reads of the last few years called Never Eat Alone author Keith Ferrazzi breaks down how you can identify “information brokers” to dine with you. I’ve seen first hand how enormous the benefits are of this strategy.

    5) Take Responsibility For Your Losses
    I was working for Oprah during the time she was taking heat from the media about poor network ratings. I was also working for Enver during the closing of one of his prized divisions. What I witnessed them both do in response was powerful. Opposed to covering the losses up with fancy PR tactics, both stepped to the stage and said in essence “I own it and I’m going to fix it” and dropped the mic. Guess what? They sure did fix things (It’s widely noted Oprah’s network is realizing ratings gold and Enver’s assets have probably doubled since the division closing).

    6) Understand The Power Of “Leverage”
    This is something that was quite a shock to me. From afar, a billionaire appears to be someone who is a master at everything. But, in truth, they’re specialists in one or a few areas and average or subpar at everything else. So, how do they get so much done? Leverage! They do what they do best and get others to do the rest . Here’s a great article on leverage. Keep in mind I see this done with wealthy people and their money all of the time – they use OPM (other people’s money) for most or all of their projects.

    7) Take No Days Off (Completely)
    I recall going on vacation with Enver several times, yachting up and down the southwestern coast of Turkey (also known as the blue voyage). Sounds ballerific, right? No doubt we had a great time, but mixed in with all that swimming and backgammon was discussion of business, discussion of strategy, planning and plotting. The best way I can describe this habit is thinking about your business or your idea like your literal baby. No matter your distance, you don’t stop thinking of him/her (and after just having a second son, I can attest to this).

    8) Focus On Experiences vs. Material Possessions
    When you have money, your toys are big. However, the vast majority of money I saw spent on their “leisure” was on actual experiences versus the typical car, jewelry, and clothes we’re familiar with seeing in music videos and gossip blogs. I recall one time at dinner with Oprah, I spotted a table of about 20 girls off to the side. I later found out Ms. Winfrey was treating some of her graduating girls from her school in South Africa to dinner in NYC. Experiences create memories, and memories are priceless.

    9) Take Enormous Risks
    This is another one of those successful habits every entrepreneur can attest to. A matter of fact, Entreprenuer.com created a great infographic outlining commonalities of the world’s billionaires and one of the most prominent was this characteristic: billionaires are not adverse to risk. What intrigues me even more about Enver and Oprah was that even at their high financial status and success level, they still possessed a willingness to risk their most precious asset (their name and legacy) on new and bolder projects. If you’re not taking risks, you’re not making moves!

    10) Don’t Go At It Alone
    Nothing great in life is achieved alone. Especially in business, success isn’t a solo act. This character trait is akin to “surrounding yourself with better people.” It takes teamwork to make the dream work.

    What I witnessed from working for Enver and Oprah were characteristics and successful habits that not only apply to business “wins,” but also translate to general life success. I sincerely hope the tips I’ve shared here will inspire you to create (or maintain) great habits for your success.


  5. Where success isn’t an accident: Process management tips from a Baldrige award-winning school district

    March 23, 2016 by ahmed

     

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Christine Schaefer

    As superintendent of the Baldrige Award-winning Pewaukee School District, JoAnn Sternke is widely considered an expert on systematic process management (among other areas addressed by the Baldrige Excellence Framework). Sternke is frequently asked to share her district’s best practices to help other organizations around the country improve their systems so they too can achieve their desired results.

    Yet Sternke recently said something that new users of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence may find both surprising and reassuring. In regard to the “Operations Focus” category (where process management is assessed), Sternke admitted, “I used to fear category 6.”

    “Now I recognize that process is so vital to any organization’s success,” she added. “Improving processes will truly get us long-lasting results.”

    At the Baldrige Program’s Quest for Excellence® conference next month, Sternke—along with Pewaukee School District Information Technology Director Amy Pugh—will provide guidance on process management in the session “How to Manage Your Processes So They Don’t Manage You.” According to Sternke, “Participants will learn a five-step process to identify, document, measure, analyze, and improve processes.”

    Pewaukee

    “Without a process you don’t have a guide,” said Pugh. “Having a process makes it so much easier to identify targets and then collect key data points around those goals, monitoring them regularly and making changes as necessary.”

    Sternke agreed, “Success isn’t a happy accident if you can rely on process. [Having a systematic process] is what makes positive direction sustainable and predictable—and that’s what we aim for.”

    Tips and Insights on Managing Processes

    Based on her district’s experience, Sternke offered the following tips for managing key processes to support excellence across an organization:

    1. Have a process owner who is identified as the “go to” for this process, and have this person document the process so there is a collective understanding of the process.
    2. Know what’s key and measure this.
    3. Have a systematic review of the process—remember the “S” and the “A” in Plan–Do–Study–Act [improvement methodology]. Don’t become so busy doing the process that you don’t evaluate it or refine it.

    Sternke also shared her insights on innovation in relation to process management:

    “I’ve learned that innovation truly comes from process, not in ‘lightbulb moments,’” she said. “The quest to offer greater value to stakeholders is what drives both process improvement and innovation. They go hand in hand.”

    Benefits of the Baldrige Framework in Education

    Why is using the Baldrige Excellence Framework (including the Education Criteria for Performance Excellence) beneficial for school districts today? According to Sternke, she’s “better equipped to lead my organization using this framework” and doing so helps her avoid merely “pursuing random acts of improvement” as a leader, ensuring systematic improvement.

    “We can’t be successful if we just lead from one cool idea to another, thinking that is improvement,” she explained. “The people who come to work and learn each day deserve an organization that allows them to do the good work they want to do.”

    “The Baldrige framework is a proven means to better outcomes—and we all want that for our students,” Sternke added. “The Education Criteria focus our organization on the right things: the questions guide me as a leader and all of us in our organization to think more deeply about how we can make our organization operate best in order to be successful.”