Thinking for the Future
We’re living in an era of mechanized intelligence, an age in which you’re probably going to find yourself in a workplace with diagnostic systems, different algorithms and computer-driven data analysis. If you want to thrive in this era, you probably want to be good at working with intelligent machines.
Merging technology and humansDavid Brooks, NYT, predicting the future.
Mines the fact that employable people must align their working skills to symbiotically team up with technology, in a tight partnership. Notes that w
ithout these mechanical/technological skill sets, a person will be unemployable. Among the thinking styles we will see in the coming year, the following are in the majority:
Interested? Click the title or image to read on. Source is NYTimes.com You might also enjoy:
- "Freestylers" are people who understand the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and technology, adapting to work in the best of both worlds. The technology and the human work together, each compensating for the weaknesses of the other. The technology goes to work, and a person overrides only when deemed necessary based upon skills and knowledge.
- "Synthesizers" are people who are able to sort through and filter the excess of information in today's world of computers. This kind of synthesis requires that a person know the technology well enough to pull from it only the pertinent details to define a "pattern or story." To synthesize means to sort through and pull together a common thread.
- "Humanizers" are people with the advanced skill of making technology easier for others to relate to. We evolved to connect with other people, not machines, so this skill of humanizing is advanced and useful. People with this skill make technology more ergonomic and user-friendly.
- "Conceptual engineers" are people who are able to use technology to come up with creative ways to solve unanticipated and complex problems.
- "Motivators" are people who can spark extreme effort in employees who work in a deeply technological work environment. They must first be inwardly motivated, and have the extraordinary ability to kindle ambition in others.
- "Moralizers" are people who see employees as complex beings that cannot be reduced to machines, technology, or statistics. Technology strives for efficiency, overlooking the human factor. Moralizers are people who can instill morale and meaning in the hearts of employees working with impressive technology.
- "Greeters" are people with the ability to make customers and clients feel at home in a technological environment. A select few will have wealth and disposable income (no more than 15%), and greeters will create an environment of pampered, personal service that connects with the wealthy. They offer top of the line service to others.
- "Economizers" the wealthy will only make up about 15% of the population, and the remaining 85% will be people with less marketable skills than those above. They may struggle financially, but economizers will have a social and intellectual advantage. They will not make much money, but their thrift in a highly technological world will allow them to live comfortably.
- "Weavers" another segment of the 85% who are less financially fortunate will lack the ambition to create fulfilling lives for themselves. They represent "social disintegration" because weavers will drop out of the work force and drift. Many organizations and people will spring up to combat this entropy (providing employment opportunities in the process).
Before you leave, let us know what you think about this model of the human mind and technology in the future.
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The Customer Support Hierarchy of Needs
Today, being on social media or providing customers an awesome experience at just about every touch point is not really a choice that businesses have anymore. In fact, delivering exceptional customer experiences is steadily becoming the new status quo. You need to be exceptional today just to keep your head above water.
The great pyramid of support needs, based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Mines the importance of customer relations from the chaos of starting-up, through the highest level of alignment, in order to show you how to effectively become a customer experience superstar. Notes that the psychologist Clayton Alderfer created the "ERG model" that simplified Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. The E at the base of the pyramid stands for Existential, or the most basic needs of a person; the R stands for Relatedness, or a person's social needs; and the G at the top of the pyramid stands for Growth needs. People cannot move up to the next level before the previous level is fulfilled.
This model can be used as an analogy
for the needs in relationships with customers, as is depicted in the image above:
- "Chaos to control" - as a company grows rapidly, customer relations and support often move into chaos until the leadership can teach lessons to the chain of employees, manage the needs of customers, and respond to their issues. Once under control, the organization can move to the higher level.
- "Reactive to Proactive" - as the company progresses they become able to satisfy the customers needs before they even arise, making the customers satisfied without further resolution. This is awesome service, and once completed, the company can move to the highest level.
- "Growth Pains to Scale-up" - the business expands and needs to provide the same great service across a higher number of products and a bigger volume of customers. Once there, the company can move to the highest level.
- "Darkness to Alignment" - a lesser degree of chaos still exists until the company can fully align its goals and objectives with the way the treat every customer. Alignment is the highest stage because the business goals are fully aligned with the greatest level of customer experience. Both the customers and the business are happy.
The company continues in infinite progression
at this level, focusing on growth, investment, giving lower level management and employees more ownership of their roles. The company moves from impressive to giving the finest touch of customer service. The customer is left thinking "wow" after working with the company. Interested? Click the title or image to read on. Source is HBR.org You might also enjoy:
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The 8 Ways To Start Every Day Like A Winner
What do you think characterizes a winner? Winners are characterized by their excess of energy and resources. Winners have an ability to show that they are on top of things and nothing can stop them in pursuit of their goal. Have you ever witnessed true winners?
Start out right to finish first
How you start determines how you finish
the preparation required
to start a day that will lead to complete success, fulfilling goals and tasks. Notes
that people who succeed adopt specific habits to help:
- Rise to greet the day 10 minutes earlier. The instant that you awake is a magical moment you can seize to mindfully start your day on the right track. Waking ten minutes earlier than usual allows you to enter the day, slow and focused. This is a sharp improvement over a hurried and frantic morning, always behind the clock. Take control.
- Spend the ten minutes to visualize your perfect day, full of productivity and energy. Visualization yields powerful results in accomplishing what you have already seen. Be positive and grateful for the awesome things in your life.
- Look in the bathroom mirror and show yourself a huge smile. The act of smiling alters the mind, infusing positive energy. Give it 30 seconds or so.
- Take 5 to 10 minutes to organize your day. Planning makes you feel secure and prepared and will prevent stress that you do not want. You are ahead of the day.
- Fuel your body with a power breakfast. Most of the energy you will need during the day you consume during your breakfast. Make it healthy and energizing. Make sure you get some protein for the long term energy it provides.
- While still in your home, do something good for someone. A focus on helping others establishes perspective and makes you feel good.
- Emerge from your home with a smile and confidence in the fact that this is going to be a good day. That positive attitude will make it likely to happen.
You will find that the positive energy you launch with will remain with you throughout the day. If you commute spend the time focusing on the positive. Interested?
Click the title or image to read on. Source
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Improve Sales: Change Your Marketing Approach, Not Just Your Tools
In this article, you'll learn...
- How the playing field is changing for your sales teams and what you can do to evolve.
- How content marketing can impact sales decisions.
- What you can do to learn more about your prospects.
Rethink your whole approach to marketing.
Mines the evolving methods marketers are using as the consumer population is in a state of constant flux. Notes that C level employees are constantly raising expectations and increasing accountability in sales and marketing. Management is trying to push the marketing department to evolve ahead of the competition, anticipating shifts and changes. While tools and technology are helpful in filling this need, to truly connect with clients, marketers must draw closer to the people they serve by:
- Recognizing the fact that the consumers know more about your company than vice versa tells you about what they want and need. Marketers are currently preparing for the mighty first contact by putting together a sales pitch, rather than drawing clients in subtly with powerful content that nurtures relationships. They should actually make contact as soon as possible and nurture a trusting relationship with potential clients. Tools can't accomplish this, but people can.
- Focusing on fresh, quality content that is of value to your target audience will develop a sense of loyalty in them. You become their trusted source. Potential buyers do their research and get to know the companies they connect with, so giving them valuable content helps to establish a bond of trust with you. Buyers prefer receiving valuable information from a company to worthless advertisements. Develop a strategy that uses your content to funnel potential clients into a relationship with you.
- "Thought leadership" has more value than simple relationships and connections. Thought leaders draw the target audience to them by providing readers with the help and answers they need. Look to other thought leaders to assist you in sparking your own innovative thinking.
- The market changes so quickly that sometimes spending on un-budgeted task can be an innovative opportunity. Now is not the time to stick to a rigid budget, forgoing insightful ideas for the sake of adhering to an arbitrary budget. Not that you should be wasteful, but you should not be completely bound to the budget either. New ideas and opportunities will be long gone by the time the next budgeting cycle comes along. Monitor the news and the web to keep on the front edge, spending money with risk when necessary.
The current market wants to know you before they meet you,
connecting with you virtually first and making use of your knowledge and innovation. Then they will be prepared to take the next step. Interested? Click the title or image to read on. Source is MarketingProfs.com You might also enjoy:
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You’re a Thought Leader and We Need Your LeadershipOne of the cool things about modern discussions of leadership is that we now recognize that “leadership” is available to everyone, at every level of every kind of organization – or no organization at all. Anyone can lead and can even start a movement, simply by influencing the person next to them to influence someone else.
Thought leaders: Chaos of information.
Mines a new concept of thought leadership, which in contrast to the old, allows everyone to participate and excludes no one. Notes that today's powerful leadership is not patriarchal or hierarchical, but allows anyone with a smart phone to participate in guiding the thought of the people around them.
In the past, thought leadership was exclusive, and only popular book authors, researchers, and top industry leaders could make a difference. However, today we can all share the knowledge we have in order to guide other people and make the world a better place.
The only requirement is that you participate. People today listen to intelligent information regardless of its source. Thought leaders are risk takers who have the courage to advocate the unpopular so that stagnant discussion shifts and is revised.
Sometimes these leaders fail, but because of their courage, they are usually accepted into the group because people see potential in their novel ideas. You have thoughts, ideas, and opinions, some of which might be revolutionary, with the potential to change culture.
Consciously decide to have the courage to develop your ideas and make them heard. The world needs your voice, and technology today provides the avenue for you to make your ideas heard. Step up and be a positive thought leader, rather than shy away and let your ideas die out. Darin's Note:
Thought leadership requires not only courage but persistence.
Many times revolutionary ideas are rejected for a long time until others catch on and see the importance of your ideas. Be passionate and be persistent. Interested? Click the title or image to read on. Source is SwitchandShift.com You might also enjoy:
Challenge: Make a goal to clarify your unique thoughts, develop them, and share them to the public. You can do it! Sharing Tools:
The myth of the brainstorming session: The best ideas don’t always come from meetings
Over dinner a couple months ago, one of my friends said he needed some help coming up with a name for a new website. He told me a bit about the site and asked if I could help think of something over dinner. He also asked my other friends to join in so we could get a whole bunch of ideas on the table and choose the best one.
Mines the processes we traditionally go through to create and innovate in order to show that mass brainstorming sessions may not be the best way to accomplish goals. Notes that the traditional method of marathon, spontaneous brainstorming sessions leads to various problems that inhibit innovation:
- Employees are afraid of having their ideas judged critically by those in authority.
- Idea generation is often rushed and pressured.
- When in groups or herds people tend to behave cautiously and fear ideas that are risky or unusual.
- Extroverts tend to take over the brainstorming session, stifling the creative ideas of introverts.
These traits of brainstorming sessions shut down the most important kind of creativity. Graham Wallas back in 1926 developed some useful steps in describing the process of creativity.
Preparation (individual study to focus your mind on the problem and explore its dimensions)
Incubation (the problem enters your unconscious mind and nothing appears to be happening externally)
Intimation (you get a “feeling” that a solution is on the way)
Illumination (your creative idea moves from preconscious processing to conscious awareness)
Verification (your idea is consciously verified, expanded upon, and then executed)
The traditional team brainstorming session short circuits this ideal creative process at almost every step, and the best and innovative ideas never have time to rise to the surface. A different approach to brainstorming sessions might avoid the pitfalls of tradition. One of the first methods allows the time for ideas to incubate and develop. If you allow a brainstorming session individually before the group session, you allow time for the best ideas to percolate, and you also facilitate creativity for introverts. The group session will be more productive and efficient.
Mikael Cho suggests some other helpful ideas that work for him in his company:
So team and group brainstorming meetings can work effectively, but you should think about bending the traditional rules, opening the team up to potential that might not be realized with restrictions. Individual thinking is an integral part of the collaborative sessions.
- Do not follow a strict agenda, but allow for productive tangential discussion.
- Avoid setting time limits since this might shut you down in the most productive moments.
- Have the patience to hold off on quick conclusions and decisions, allowing individuals to ponder the ideas in their own space.
- You might consider limited alcoholic beverages as studies show that people become more creative and open with a little beer in them. Too much, however, shuts the brain down.
Interested? Click the title or image to read on. Source is TheNextWeb.com You might also enjoy:
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The Five Rules Every New CEO Should Follow
Last week, an executive who was on the verge of being promoted to head his large global publicly traded company asked for my advice on how to be effective as a brand new CEO. I gave him a list and he was so appreciative that I was motivated to write a blog about it.
5 Rules for those at the top and anybody in leadership.
Essentials of Modern Leadership
the methods new CEOs should employ
, but the lessons apply more broadly to people just arriving in a leadership position. Notes
that included in the 5 commandments are:
- Focus on increasing revenue immediately. Some CEOs try to generate revenue by taking from departments, but this is the surest way to create friction in the organization. Better to focus yourself and all departments on increasing all streams of revenue so that you then have money to work with. Increase money spent in priority areas, waiting for more money to come in. After proving yourself by increasing revenue, you can then cut more easily in the non-priority areas.
- Commit yourself to following the processes in place. CEOs new or old do not have to do this because they can change the rules. Everyone will be watching you closely until you prove yourself, and actions that seem arbitrary or one-sided will hurt your image. For example, don't begin by firing a ton of people you feel you don't need. Far better to work with what you have to show results, and wait to make cuts down the road. You need to increase productivity in low producing areas, but do it the hard way: employee evaluations, counsel, team work, mentors, etc.
- Look for opportunities to consult with key allies on teams and in departments. This may add time to the decision making process, but the benefits to your image as a collaborator rather than a dictator are worth the time cost. Save unilateral and necessary one-sided decisions for later, and employ them sparingly.
- Advertise to the organization that the new regime will be one that includes many people in decision making and enjoys hearing input from all employees. Embrace diversity and input, and show the teams that you really consider them and put them in practice when possible.
- Establish high goals and standards. The above ideas should not suggest that as a new CEO you should be passive. Demonstrate that you employ changes in the large vision of strategy and goals, making sure to be logical and consistent. The bar needs to be set high by you, but encourage departments and teams to set their own standards high, without imposing it from the top. They will be more committed when they know you have high expectations and they are essential in the process.
Notice that the five steps involve action rather than passivity.
However, the actions are designed so that they will be received well by the employees that are watching you closely. Interested?
Click the title or image to read on. Source
is Blogs.HBR.org You might also enjoy:
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Reinventing the To-Do List: A Multi-billion Dollar Opportunity
Gotta love Dan Markovitz’s post decrying to-do lists. Contrarian, yes. But it unfortunately ignored the digitally-enhanced tomorrow made possible by the very device you’re reading this on.
To-do list apps have gone viral.
Hunting for the perfect list
Mines the present condition of the to-do list app industry
which is poised to become the next multibillion dollar, big thing on the internet and personal devices. Notes
that the industry has already established its success, but Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, LinkedIn, or another corporation with massive capital will surely enter the market,
with the top players seeking to dominate. The to-do list business is already huge and not overly complicated, a simple mixing of pieces of software that already exist. The question is who will come up with the best mix and what it will include. The to-do list industry will likely combine with "recommendation engines," the likes of Google and Amazon.
You know, the algorithms that predict what you might want to purchase and offer recommendations based on data collected about you. These engines invite exploration and innovation in the lives of the consumers that make use of them. When the recommendations are accurate and helpful, people are highly persuaded by them. The recommendation engine's motivation for improvement is pleasing you the consumer, so that the bottom line of the to-do list company increases. Gmail is currently pushing recommendation technology, helping users to decide how to group emails and judge the level of importance and purpose of individual pieces of mail. The power of the mobile environment means that to-do recommendation lists will exist on multiple platforms with easy cloud syncing between devices.
Google, Microsoft, and Apple have an early advantage because they already have access to your calendar and can synthesize that data with your to-do list information, but all LinkedIn or Facebook would have to do to gain this ability is get you to link your calendar with their platform. Advertising is naturally integrated into the purpose of to-do lists, which record and organize what you need to do and purchase. The jump to customized to-do lists, powered by recommendation algorithms is a small one, so that the big players can tap into all the data they possess about you to generate customized and comprehensive lists of what you need to accomplish, work on, and purchase. Imagine the power and influence
of such customized to-do lists that, with tweaking and advancements, can virtually plan your existence for you. They could be programmed in an infinite number of finite ways to wake you up, tell you what to work on, and direct you when to go to bed. The to-do lists could be trained overtime to work as personal assistants, easily penetrating the terrain of purchasing everything from food to stocks. To-do lists powered by recommendation engines offer serious benefits to consumers, and it is difficult to see what would hold them back from using them extensively. Darin's Note: The utopian to-do lists, powered with recommondation algorithms seem too good to be healthy.
Experience with technology teaches us that the ease of virtual help always comes with a cost that is embedded deeply and concealed. In this case, I am frightened by the integration of advertising with my lists of things I need to do. I also fear surrendering my autonomy to technology. The potential exists to help us make better, easier decisions, but hidden beneath this simplicity is a form of manipulation that is more powerful than the silly subliminal messages everyone used to fear. Powered with the recommendation algorithms, the to-do lists seem to know too much about the person, manipulating the decision making process by telling people what to do and when. I will be cautious in connecting with this intimately intrusive technology, but it is likely that the masses will only see the dazzling benefits and overlook or ignore the harder to detect disadvantages. Interested?
Click the title or image to read on. Source
is Blogs.HBR.org You might also enjoy:
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Get the Right People to Notice Your Ideas
... “But,” she asked, “what advice do you have for making sure that anything you do is read by the right people?”
To be known by the influential
The direction to head in order to get your content noticed by important people
the essentials of content creation to be noticed and develop a brand
through blogging, podcasting, posting on social networks, and filming videos. Notes
that the famous blogger Chris Brogan
revealed that eight years of writing passed before he reached his first 100 subscribers, but also that most of us don't have that kind of time or patience for slow, painful strategy. To help accelerate the pace, three essential concepts will help:
- Include the names and information of the people who you want to recognize you as you develop your content. With the complexity of search information today, important people are alerted when people are writing or podcasting about them. Talking about their ideas will get you noticed by them if you include names and website links.
- Aggressively share the content you create, and be creative in the methods you use. Don't spam, but get the content out to the right people. Many influential people would love to hear about the article you wrote on them. If you become aware that a key figure has shared a weakness or struggle, be proactive by sending them a link to your content that will solve their problem. Most leaders will appreciate a quick note and link that responds directly to their concern.
- Develop a "ladder strategy" for your articles and content. You cannot rely upon people to randomly search and find you, so build a solid audience by reaching out to fellow content generators and bloggers, even news outlets. These people already have a mass of followers that you can tap into. Try offering to guest post for some of your favorite authors and thinkers. Pitch an article idea to a news site. Having your work out there on these larger platforms will attract attention to you and drive people back to your website. This will also help to develop your brand as people begin associating you with important people and sites.
If you are proactive from the first day, you will soon be recognized and rise within communities. Most important, you will develop a solid community of your own.
Click the title or image to read on. Source
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Before you leave, let us know what other strategies are useful for getting your names in the minds of the right people.
10 Essential Steps to Making the Perfect Pitch
To make it as a freelancer, you need to be able to sell your work. That’s why making a great pitch to a prospective client is one of the key skills you can develop to be more successful.
You have one chance to make the pitchThe perfect sales pitch.
Mines the the solution to making a solid pitch as a freelancer or entrepreneur, when the pressure is on to be at your peak performance. Notes that there are a million ways to screw up, but focus instead on a few solid, tested techniques that will prepare you for sure success. This involves both practice and preparation, but if the client is important to you, it's worth making every effort to seal your relationship.
Be mindful of the simple details:
- Your number one job is to know your audience in all pitches. The presentation bears so much potential for success if you take extra time to research the person, the company, and the product. In our digital social age, it is easy to know a person you've never met. Use websites and social media.
- Your job is to identify their goals, not to focus on your own. You must know what the client wants from you or what she wants to achieve. What are her goals, hopes, and aspirations? Analyze advertisements, talk to employees, follow up on leads and connections, and leverage these to target your pitch to their specific goals.
- Emphasize the key methods you will employ to achieve their goals, making them real and specific. This will cinch the position for you because, if the client has faith in your ability to assist them in meeting their goals, they are sold. You must show them a specific plan, in vivid detail so that they can see it and realize your vision. They will also see, through scenarios, case studies, and other forms of evidence that you both have the same vision.
- Make everything about the pitch short and easy. Most clients are going to be difficult to pitch to one on one because it takes too much time. Even a phone call might seem a burden to a busy client. Think focused, fast, and on message. Send them an email that hits hard the key points in a professional manner and stay on message in every detail. Limit yourself to the three to five selling points that will achieve your customer's goals.
- Put on a role in your communication, meaning be the consummate professional who is enthusiastic but not a salesman. Be neither too casual, nor too formal.
- Avoid talking budget, time frame, or too much detail because you want to be short. Convince them that you will help them achieve their goals, the rest will follow at another time.
- Be bold in describing yourself and stating your experience, but don't oversell. Let them know that you have done this before and can do it for this client as well.
- Mention a few past successful projects so that you can provide links to your work, a sharp portfolio that highlights your best work.
- Your potential client expects that you will follow-up, so if days pass without hearing from him, write an appreciative follow-up email. If no reply comes within a week or two after your follow-up, more than likely the client is a dud.
- Many pitches win the prize. You should create a series of small pitches, each building on the last, and have multiple potential clients that you are actively pitching to. A good guide is to be actively pursuing three to ten clients at a time, depending on your work load.
A little trick I figured out for finding a company's goals and aspirations - look at a job advertisement
from the company. In these, companies always state explicitly what their core values and mission are. They will even provide you with a bulleted list. Interested? Click the title or image to read on. Source is FreelanceSwitch.com You might also enjoy:
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