The coming era of ‘on-demand’ marketing

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Försäljning / Sales on April 30th, 2013 by admin

Emerging technologies are poised to personalize the consumer experience radically—in real time and almost everywhere. It’s not too early to prepare.

Digital marketing is about to enter more challenging territory. Building on the vast increase in consumer power brought on by the digital age, marketing is headed toward being on demand—not just always “on,” but also always relevant, responsive to the consumer’s desire for marketing that cuts through the noise with pinpoint delivery.

What’s fueling on-demand marketing is the continued, symbiotic evolution of technology and consumer expectations. Already, search technologies have made product information ubiquitous; social media encourages consumers to share, compare, and rate experiences; and mobile devices add a “wherever” dimension to the digital environment. Executives encounter this empowerment daily when, for example, cable customers push for video programming on any device at any time or travelers expect a few taps on a smartphone app to deliver a full complement of airline services.

Remarkably, all this is starting to seem common and routine. Most leading marketers know how to think through customer-search needs, and optimizing search positioning has become one of the biggest media outlays. Companies have ramped up their publishing and monitoring activities on social channels, hoping to create positive media experiences customers will share. They are even “engineering” advocacy by creating easy, automatic ways for consumers to post favorable reviews or to describe their engagement with brands.

But we’re just getting started. The developments pushing marketing experiences even further include the growth of mobile connectivity, better-designed online spaces created with the powerful new HTML5 Web language, the activation of the Internet of Things in many devices through inexpensive communications tags and microtransmitters,1 and advances in handling “big data.” Consumers may soon be able to search by image, voice, and gesture; automatically participate with others by taking pictures or making transactions; and discover new opportunities with devices that augment reality in their field of vision (think Google glasses).

As these digital capabilities multiply, consumer demands will rise in four areas:
1. Now: Consumers will want to interact anywhere at any time.
2. Can I: They will want to do truly new things as disparate kinds of information (from financial accounts to data on physical activity) are deployed more effectively in ways that create value for them.
3. For me: They will expect all data stored about them to be targeted precisely to their needs or used to personalize what they experience.
4. Simply: They will expect all interactions to be easy.

This article seeks to paint a picture of this new world and its implications for leaders across the enterprise. One thing is clear: the consumer’s experiences with brands and categories are set to become even more intense and defining. That matters profoundly because such experiences drive two-thirds of the decisions customers make, according to research by our colleagues; prices often drive the rest.2

It’s also apparent that each company as a whole must mobilize to deliver high-quality experiences across sales, service, product use, and marketing. Few companies can execute at this level today.3 As interactions multiply, companies will want to use techniques such as design thinking to shape consumer experiences. They also will need to be familiar with emerging tools for gathering the right data across the consumer decision journey. Finally, the marketing organization’s structure will need to be rethought as collaboration across functions and businesses becomes ever more essential.

What to expect in 2020
Over the next several years, we’re likely to see the consumer experience radically integrated across the physical and virtual environment. Most of the technologies needed to make this scenario happen are available now. One that’s gaining particular traction is near-field communication (NFC): embedded chips in phones exchange data on contact with objects that have NFC tags. The price of such tags is already as low as 15 cents, and new research could make them even cheaper, so more companies could build them into almost any device, generating a massive expansion of new interactive experiences.

Now
Marketers have gotten a foretaste of the consumer’s desire for more urgency and ubiquity. Bank balances running low? Send the consumer an alert on her cell phone. A question about fees shows up on the bank’s Twitter handle? Post an immediate response. An executive of one major bank believes that the immediacy of smartphone apps has already made brick-and-mortar contact unnecessary for many young consumers, who use a range of mobile services to manage their accounts and rarely interact with the brand physically. Yet having an entire bank in your phone may be only a baseline for the experiences on the horizon. Consider one European beverage company’s beta test of beer coasters embedded with NFC technology. A club patron contemplating a new brew can tap a coaster with a cell phone and get a history of the beer, bars where it is served, upcoming promotions, and a list of friends who have given it a thumbs-up.

In this environment, a marketer’s “publishing” extends to virtualized media such as the coaster or Diane’s headphones, which become touch points for considering and evaluating products and services. Digital information technologies, operating behind the scenes to integrate data on all interactions a consumer has across the decision journey, will provide insights into the best influence pathways for companies, while also triggering new personalized experiences for consumers.

Can I
Most first-wave digital capabilities helped people access things they already did—shopping, banking, finding information. Consumers must often settle for compromises in their digital experiences. Yet robust programming, data-access, and interface possibilities now available could make every digital interaction an opportunity to deliver something exceptional.

Consider Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s new smartphone app, which changes the house-hunting experience. A prospective home buyer begins by taking a picture of a house he or she likes. Using image-recognition software and location-based technologies, the app identifies the house and provides the list price, taxes, and other information. It then connects with the buyer’s personal financial data and (with further links to lender databases) determines whether the buyer can be preapproved for a mortgage (and, if so, in what amount). This nearly instantaneous series of interactions cuts through the hassle of searching real-estate agents’ sites for houses and then connecting with the agents or with mortgage brokers for financing, which might take a week.

The mortgage app shows how the digital environment is now integrating disparate sources of information, at low cost and at scale, for many new domains. The challenge for companies is to look beyond today’s interfaces and interactions and to see that moving past compromises will require a rethinking of aspects of packaging, pricing, delivery, and products.

For me
Some online marketers already use features in devices such as cameras and touch screens to help consumers see what apparel and accessories may actually look like when worn. Web retailer Warby Parker, for example, offers hundreds of customized views of eyeglasses overlaid on a Webcam picture of the consumer.

In the future, demands for more personalized experiences will intensify. A phone tap, a click, or a stylus jot will instantly personalize offers, using information captured on “likes,” recent travel, income, what friends are doing or like, and much more. With each interaction, the consumer will be creating new data footprints and streams that complement existing digital portraits, sharpening their potential impact. Facebook will eventually be able to mine the world’s largest database of photographs, linking individual people to their activities. Smartphones have rich data on every place where you have traveled with one in your pocket. This is just a start, and the privacy, security, and general trust implications are staggering. Yet consumers consistently show a desire to provide more data when companies use captured information to provide truly helpful feedback (you’re over budget or you are doing well in your exercise program) or to offer recommendations, services, and customization tools rather than just push what might appear to be intrusive (and creepy) messaging.

Simply
The quest for simplicity led Amazon to create a subscriber model for delivering bulky repeat-buy items (such as diapers) and Starbucks to adopt a tap-and-go approach to mobile payments. Yet many interactions remain complex and fragmented: to name just a few, finding, organizing, and redeeming online coupons; turning weekly meal plans into online delivery orders; tracking your monthly cash flow; and staying on top of your health-insurance bills and reimbursements.

Evolving technologies and consumer behavior should make it easier to redesign many complex experiences. For example, companies offering inherently complicated products or services could overlay a game interface on certain Web pages, to let consumers play at trading off different options and prices. Visual-recognition technology could allow you to scan health-care bills, receipts, statements, and appointments into one integrated calendar and cash-management system. Already, start-ups in travel, expense, and sales-force management are experimenting with approaches that streamline processes and make interactions more inviting—using touch and swipe to make changes, gestures to activate large displays, and data in phones to recognize consumers and automatically customize interfaces.

Setting strategies and building capabilities
Consumers will soon make these demands of every interaction they have with companies. Although the marketing function may often be the best conduit to get customer input and to drive decisions about how to distinguish brands, coordinated efforts across the enterprise will be needed on three levels.

Designing interactions across the consumer decision journey
Today, many companies have successfully defined and addressed customer interactions across a few channels. What they need to be designing, however, is the entire story of how individuals encounter a brand and the steps they take to evaluate, purchase, and relate to it across the decision journey. Marketing or customer research can’t do this alone. At one apparel retailer, managers from multiple functions go together into the field to do deep ethnographic research— watching how customers shop, going into their homes, and uncovering the triggers and motivations that drive behavior. These managers look for the compromises that people face as they try to get things done, probing for their higher aspirations. And the managers watch how customers react as they interact with brands.

Among the findings, the managers identified seven key “use cases”—customer situations that lead to satisfaction along different decision journeys. They found a wide range of trigger points for choosing an “outfit solution” for a social occasion, learning that shoppers became frustrated, especially online, when they couldn’t see how items would look together. Customers wanted to drag and drop items on an on-screen model or to see great combinations in advance. But that required different merchants to work collectively and the stores to bring items together on sales floors.

Cross-functional teams also came together in workshops. With third parties such as fashion bloggers and thought leaders from online-media companies, they mapped out new ways to influence the decision journeys of customers with different attitudes toward the retailer’s brand or different kinds of spending behavior. One of the most valuable outcomes was clarity on how the store’s brand positioning could guide the design of new experiences. The teams knew that their story would always be “better value than the shopper expected, delivered in a friendly way.” That meant warm visuals and messaging on the company’s Web site and across various media to reinforce the story of value to the customer. And the teams explored new ways social media could help customers show off the value they received.

Out of the work came not only a shared, company-wide sense of the decision journeys of consumers but also immediate buy-in to a wide range of initiatives that could boost market share. These initiatives are on track to provide an 8 percent sales lift above what the existing plan envisioned and were implemented more quickly because of the management team’s shared sense of engagement.

Making data and discovery a nonstop cycle
To win over on-demand customers, you must know them, what they expect, and what works with them, and then have the ability to reach them with the right kind of interaction. Data lie at the heart of efforts to build that understanding—data to define and contextualize trends, data to measure the effectiveness of activities and investments at key points in the consumer decision journey, and data to understand how and why individuals move along those journeys. To realize that potential, companies need three distinct data lenses.

Telescope
A clear view of the broad trends in your market, category, and brand is essential. Digital sources that track what people are looking for (search), what people are saying (social monitoring), and what people are doing (tracking online, mobile, and in-store activities) represent rivers of input providing constant warning signs of trouble or signals of latent opportunity. Many companies are drowning in reports from vendors providing these types of information tools, yet few have much clarity on which things they need to look for and who needs to know what.

One packaged-goods company got a jump on competitors when it saw a spike in online conversations about the lack of natural ingredients in shampoos and then recognized a corresponding rise in search inquiries on the subject. A new line of natural hair care products, launched at record-breaking speed, has become a successful early mover in a growing segment. A telecommunications company has become similarly plugged in: it now has a war room to track every online comment anywhere. Besides being better able to address—in an open, friendly, and fast way—problems that could escalate, it now has a great frontline source of line-outage signals that trigger repair crews and increases in call-center capacity.

Binoculars
Against this backdrop of market activity, few companies have a complete, integrated picture of where they spend their money, which interactions actually happen, and what their outcomes are. Most direct-sales companies (retailers, banks, travel services) measure the performance of their spending through isolated last-attribution analyses that look narrowly at what consumers do after confronting a search link, an e-mail, or an advertisement. Branded-goods companies try to throw all of their media spending together into an econometric model assessing the effects of their media mix. In the world of on-demand marketing, where multiple interactions take place along multiple journeys, last-action attribution explains only part of the impact of media spending, and media-mix models fail to account for touches and costs outside of paid channels.

What’s next?
Deploying tools that rapidly assemble databases of every customer contact with a brand, companies will need to push every customer-facing function to work together and form an integrated view of consumer decision journeys. With longitudinal pictures of customers’ touches and their outcomes, companies can model total costs per action, find the most effective decision-journey patterns, and spot points of leakage. As more contacts become digitized—and they will—the data will gradually get easier to create. Getting a head start can help companies build ongoing test labs where they tune the ability to create and analyze the right data and immediately learn where to add investments. One bank has already realized millions of dollars in added value from the knowledge that weak points in the customer on-boarding process were undermining major marketing programs. Only when branches, call centers, and marketing worked together could the bank find the right fixes, improve customer satisfaction, and raise marketing’s return on investment.

Microscope
Trust is essential, and personalization can show customers they matter. They expect a brand to be a good steward and user of data about them and, increasingly, have high expectations for what a brand should know. In the example described earlier, data about Diane powers the brand’s ability to make it easy for her to share photographs, to buy a headset, to set up and manage a free Spotify subscription, to receive information about a local event, to be recognized at it, and to get additional special offers. Information about Diane is the thread that keeps all of her brand interactions immediate (now), valuable (can I), relevant (for me), and easy (simply).

Yet given the laser focus on getting programs into the market to improve performance, few marketers (or even line executives) have stepped back and pulled their teams together to work through the scenarios and customer-data models they will now need to build. Even fewer have a strong sense of what the current plans of the company’s IT department will deliver in which time frame. One company that addressed these issues has identified over 20 types of consumer decision journeys as archetypes of experiences it must support over the next three years. From those decision journeys, it has derived a core set of information capabilities it will need to build and is well down a tight road map of development that has already enabled it to launch products in breakthrough ways.

Delivering with new skills and processes
To deliver these new experiences, executive teams must rethink the role and structure of the marketing organization and how it engages with other functions. The changes are likely to cut deeply, transforming the way companies manage campaigns and communities, measure performance, provide customer support, and interact with outside agencies. It’s still early days, but consider the breadth of recent efforts.

Raising a consumer-packaged-goods company’s digital game. A European CPG company started by creating a digital-analytics group with worldwide operations. Rather than sprinkle digital experts across the globe, the company developed a unified structure with common standards for roles, common training, and digital career tracks to build an arsenal of future talent. The analytics team is part of a broader digital center of excellence that provides service support to the business units and drives major upgrades in IT capabilities. Defined commitments from managers in finance, legal, and HR help the center deal with challenges that arise as it seeks to offer customers a richer digital experience.

The company also reviewed all of its e-commerce trade accounts and decided that it needed a much more granular approach to serving customers. Says one executive, “It is not just an issue of managing our relationship with pure-play e-commerce sellers versus our traditional channels; it also is an issue of managing the online versus brick-and-mortar sides of the same traditional partner.” A new e-commerce trade team with added digital-analytic support is helping both to enhance the online-merchandising mix and to improve the placement of the company’s products in the search engines of e-commerce providers.

Finally, marketing leaders established a novel customer-relationship-management (CRM) team because they realized that the growth of the company’s mobile services, coupon programs, sampling, and social communities was finally enabling it to gather huge amounts of direct data about how people interacted with its brands. (That information had previously been available only to retailers.) These structural and talent changes led the company to realize that it needed to reshuffle its agency relationships, replacing a single brand-and-ad agency with two agencies—one for brand programs, the other for digital and CRM direct marketing. The company also brought more media and digital analytics in-house.

Reorienting a bank. At one institution, a new understanding of emerging brand challenges led to a radical change in the status of the CMO. Marketing had earlier ranked low in this sales-driven organization, where the function’s leaders focused mostly on corporate communications and brand campaigns. Now, a new CMO, much closer to her peers on the executive board, has been charged with directing the full consumer experience.

Each month, the bank’s business-unit leaders gather to talk about their progress in improving different consumer decision journeys. As new products and campaigns are launched, these executives place a laminated card of such a journey at the center of a conference-room table. They discuss assumptions across the whole flow of the journey for different consumer segments and how various groups across functions should contribute to the campaign. Where should customer data be captured and reused later? How will the campaign flow from mass media to social media and to the bank’s Web site? What is the follow-up experience once a customer sets up an account?

The bank has created a corporate center of excellence for digital marketing to give the strategy a forward tilt and to plan for needed capabilities. It has also appointed a new team of full-time executives who focus on mobile and social technologies—executives who have become evangelists, helping business units to raise their digital game along a range of consumer interactions. The first wave of fixes and new programs has already generated tens of millions of dollars in the first six months, and the bank expects these efforts to add more than $100 million to its annual margins.

The forces enabling consumers to expect fulfillment on demand are unstoppable. Across the entire consumer decision journey, every touch is a brand experience, and those touches just keep multiplying in number. To mobilize for the on-demand challenges ahead, companies must:
•bring managers together from across the business to understand consumers’ decision journeys, to speculate about where they may lead, and to design experiences that will meet the consumer’s demands (Now, Can I, For me, and Simply)
•align the executive team around an explicit end-to-end data strategy across trends, performance, and people
•challenge the delivery processes behind every touch point—are the processes making the best use of your data and interaction opportunities and are they appropriately tailored to the speed required and to expectations about your brand?

Executive recruiters tell us that corporate boards are looking for more people who can challenge and improve a company’s approach to social media, big data, and the customer experience. Staying ahead of the design, data, and delivery requirements of on-demand customers is much more than a marketing issue—it will be a crucial basis for future competitive advantage.

Source: McKinsey Quaterly, April 28, 2013
Link
Authors: Peter Dahlström and David Edelman
About the authors: Peter Dahlström is a director in McKinsey’s London office, and David Edelman is a principal in the Boston office.

Tänk nytt för att hitta dolda talanger

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on April 29th, 2013 by admin

Michel Jordan, Asafa Powell och Ronaldo ansågs inte platsa – men förvandlades till högpresterande stjärnor. Att lära från idrotten kan enligt Rasmus Ankersen vara receptet som gör företag till vinnare.

Det är snart fem år sedan som Nokias tidigare vd Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo sade att ”från ett konkurrensperspektiv är Iphone inget annat än en nischprodukt”. Då var Nokia världens bäst säljande mobilföretag, idag har det finska företaget 5 procent av den marknaden.

Självbelåtenhet gör dig blind, enligt dansken Rasmus Ankersen. 29 år gammal har han skrivit fyra bästsäljande böcker. Förra veckan var han på besök i Sverige.

Inför den senaste boken ”The goldmine effect” gav han sig ut på en resa jorden runt för att ta reda på hur vinnarmentalitet skapas, hur medelmåttor kan förvandlas till stjärnor – och hur organisationer kan undvika att bli morgondagens Nokia. Han reste till Etiopien för att se hur en liten stad med 30000 invånare kunde få fram fyra guldmedaljörer till OS i Peking, till Kenya för att förstå hur en stam kan ha gett upphov till otaliga OS-medaljörer på 3000 meter hinder och till Sydkorea för att komma till klarhet om hur 35 av damernas 100 bästa golfare kan komma från samma område utanför Seoul.

Han bodde och tränade med några av världens största stjärnor och upptäckte att det inte var hur de motionerade som var nyckeln till framgång, utan mängden och inställningen.
– Vad vi tror är talang är i själva verket någon som har tränat 10 000 timmar vid unga år, säger Rasmus Ankersen.

Men han blev även andra lärdomar rikare. Den jamaikanska tränaren Stephen Francis, vars friidrottslag inkluderar stjärnor som Asafa Powell och Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, berättade att han hellre rekryterar en talang som springer 100 meter på 10,08 utan professionell träning än en stjärna som springer samma sträcka på 10.02 och som redan har ett helt lag av träningsexperter. Något som företag kan lära av enligt Rasmus Ankersen.
– Skulle du anställa någon som presenterar fantastiska resultat på Apple eller någon som visar okej resultat på Microsoft. Kanske är det bättre att välja den från Microsoft som inte har haft samma vinnande lag bakom sig.

Vill du anställa någon för att ge bra service är det enligt Rasmus Ankersen bäst att leta där det är som svårast att bemöta kunder på ett bra sätt. Men han anser att rekryterare tenderar att överskatta betyg och underskatta personen bakom – tidigare framgång kan bero på tur, marknadsläge, unika förutsättningar, bra chefer och kolleger, det intressanta är hur bra personen kan bli på det aktuella företaget. Han rekommenderar att söka efter de dolda talangerna som har lyckats trots att alla förutsättningar inte har varit optimala.
– Problemet med uppenbara stjärnor är att de ofta är dyra och inte sällan beter sig som primadonnor. En talang som viskar har inte samma nackdelar men kan kanske uppnå lika bra resultat med träning och uppmuntran.

Som exempel på förbisedd talang nämner han den brittiska entreprenören Richard Branson, grundare av Virgin Records, som är dyslektiker och som sågs som lågpresterande i skolan. Men det finns samtidigt exempel på arbetsgivare som lyckas se under ytan. Facebook var 2006 för litet för att ha råd att köpa upp talanger från konkurrerande företag. I stället skapades ett spel på Internet och de få som klarade det gick direkt vidare till personalkontoret. En av dem var Evan Priestley som en gång hoppat av skolan efter att ha bytt huvudämne tre gånger och som senare blev en legend på Facebook. I dag kommer enligt Rasmus Ankersen var femte person på det amerikanska företaget från det spelet.
– Många tror att en talang som är stor nog alltid kommer att upptäckas, men det stämmer inte. Det krävs att rätt person upptäcker talangen och att den som blir upptäckt har som mål att lyckas.

Källa: SvD.se, april 2013
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Rekrytera är dyrt …

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on April 28th, 2013 by admin

..men att rekrytera fel är dyrare! I alla fall om man skall tro den undersökning som Poolia just presenterat.
Här framgår ett en av tio chefrekryteringar definieras som felaktig och man uppskattar att kostnaden är ca. 700.000 kr!

Multi-tasking dåligt på jobbet

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on April 27th, 2013 by admin

Är du en person med simultanförmåga som gör två eller fler saker samtidigt på jobbet? Sluta med det, varnar forskare, det gör dig till en sämre anställd.

Att kunna göra två saker samtidigt ses ofta som något positivt, men i jobbsammanhang är verkligheten det motsatta, visar en ny undersökning. Forskare vid Stanford University i USA lät 260 personer genomföra en rad experiment som omfattade bland annat att byta arbetsuppgifter, använda minnet och sortera bort irrelevanta uppgifter.

Forskarna fann att de som hade för vana att göra flera saker samtidigt presterade sämre än de som koncentrerade sig på en sak åt gången, skriver australiska Herald Sun.

Forskaren Clifford Nass, som ledde undersökningen, säger att om en anställd tar på sig mer än en uppgift åt gången så ökar sannolikheten för att den personen gör fel, och rekommenderar istället att man koncentrerar sig på en uppgift i 20 minuters tid innan man går vidare till nästa.

Han föreslår dessutom att man bör begränsa de stunder man kontrollerar sin e-post till ett par enstaka gånger om dagen, om det är möjligt. Det skulle göra det möjligt för den anställde att koncentera sig på en uppgift utan avbrott under en längre tid, skriver Herald Sun.

En tidigare undersökning kring multi-tasking, som publicerades i den vetenskapliga tidskriften Plos One i januari, visar att personer som bollar olika arbetsuppgifter samtidigt har svårare för att ignorera störande ljud, är mer impulsiva, och har koncentrationssvårigheter.

Källa: SvD.se, 27 april 2013
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Löneförhandlinger – allt du behöver veta för att lyckas!

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on April 26th, 2013 by admin

Så går du vinnande ur löneförhandlingen

På många företag finns en stor risk att lön sätts utifrån den som är bäst på att förhandla och inte efter den som har bäst kompetens. Det säger Joakim Aare, nationalekonom och förhandlingsexpert. Här ger han tips till arbetsgivare och arbetstagare.

Tänk dig att du ska köpa bil och har hittat en annons på Blocket som du ringer på. Utgångspriset är 35000 kronor men du lägger ett skambud på 10000 kronor och får ett rungande ja till svar. Plötsligt är du troligtvis inte lika intresserad. Du tänker att något säkert är fel på bilen och drar dig ur köpet. Exemplet kommer från Joakim Aare och illustrerar att förhandling kan ha ett självändamål.
– Om jag säger att jag vill ha 40000 kronor i lön och arbetsgivaren direkt accepterar kommer jag sannolikt att gå därifrån och tänka att jag kunde ha fått ännu mer. Även om arbetsgivaren tycker att det är ett bra läge, har man gjort båda en otjänst, säger Joakim Aare.

Han anser att förhandling inte ska ses som en strävan efter att vinna på andras bekostnad, utan om en dialog som ska leda till att båda blir nöjda. Det är lättare att komma ut som två vinnare från en förhandling om båda parterna går från att definiera sig utifrån position till att utgå från behov.
– En bra dialog kan visa att behovet är ett annat än man först trott och båda kan bli nöjda.

Som exempel kan en medarbetare komma till mötet och resonera utifrån att han eller hon vill ha högre lön, men allt eftersom kommer det fram att anledningen är en längtan efter att kunna segla på semestern. Då kan ett alternativ vara att diskutera hur parterna kan möjliggöra seglarsemestern.

Både för arbetsgivaren och arbetstagaren blir det utifrån det synsättet viktigt att på förhand fundera kring alternativ och komplement till höjd lön såsom mer ansvar, kompetensutveckling, frihet att jobba hemifrån, pensionsavsättningar, städhjälp eller en extra semestervecka.
– Strukturera upp behoven och byt mellan dem om förhandlingarna fastnar. Är det fortsatt en återvändsgränd – byt tidpunkt, plats och förhandlare.

Mer läsning:
Slarva inte bort ditt viktigaste samtal

De har samma kompetens och presterar lika bra men den ena får höjd lön i hundringar och den andra i tusenlappar. Olika förhandlingsstilar kan påverka facit efter lönesamtalet, men tydliga kriterier kan förhindra att osakliga löneskillnader växer.
Är du den som motvilligt möter en löneförhandling med känselspröten på utsidan av kroppen? Eller ser du med fullt självförtroende en tjusning i att sätta hårt mot hårt i närkamp med arbetsgivaren?

En ny kvalitativ rapport från fackförbundet Civilekonomerna pekar på att olika inställning till löneförhandling kan vara en delförklaring till osakliga löneskillnader bland unga ekonomer.

Kvinnor anslutna till Civilekonomerna tjänar i genomsnitt 87 procent av männens lön och enligt studien är det vanligare att kvinnor intar ett mer passivt förhållningssätt i en löneförhandling, och att män är mer offensiva. För den arbetsgivare som är ouppmärksam kan det leda till ett större lönegap.
– Både män och kvinnor värderar lön lika högt. Men män går oftare hårdare in i en förhandling medan kvinnor oftare intar en mer avvaktande position, och detta späder på skillnader i lön, säger Alexander Beck, utredningschef på fackförbundet Civilekonomerna.

Det visar sig också att när kvinnor antar en offensiv förhandlingsstil för att höja sin lön mottas det oftare mer negativt än när män gör detsamma.
– Förhållningssätt går att förändra men det är inte bara för kvinnor att tuffa till sig. Det är framför allt upp till arbetsgivaren att sätta lön utifrån kompetens och prestation, och att vara medveten om olika förhandlingsstilar, säger Fanny Hemmingsson, projektledare på Civilekonomerna.

Att uppmärksamma och diskutera lönefrågor, gärna redan under studietiden, kan enligt rapporten vara ett sätt att arbeta för en mer jämlik arbetsmarknad.
De med en passiv inställning till att löneförhandla tenderar också att gynnas av tydliga lönekriterier.
Men deltagarna i studien beskriver att det i många fall saknas tydliga former för lönesättning på arbetsplatser, och det bidrar till att det är svårare att se och påverka den egna löneutvecklingen. Något som särskilt missgynnar personer med ett passivt förhandlingssätt.

Därför bör företag enligt Fanny Hemmingsson uppmärksamma strukturen kring lönesättning.
– Det är viktigt att det på företag finns tydliga kriterier med koppling mellan prestation och lön, säger hon.

Det finns samtidigt ett antal faktorer som förenar män och kvinnor som deltagit i studien, bland annat uppfattningen om att det är svårt att löneförhandla.
Gemensamt är också upplevelsen av att befinna sig i underläge i förhållande till arbetsgivaren och att det är svårt att förhålla sig till den egna lönenivån. Studien pekar på att övning och praktisk träning i argumentation kan vara ett sätt att stärka mäns och kvinnors förhandlingsförmågor.

Både Mikael Andersson, förhandlingschef på Civilekonomerna, och Cecilia Beskow, samhällsekonomisk chef på fackförbundet Unionen, understryker också betydelsen av att komma väl förberedd till lönesamtalet.
– Det är många som inte är uppmärksamma på att det är på lönesamtalet som det händer. Förbered dig, det är dumt att slarva bort årets viktigaste samtal, säger Cecilia Beskow.

När Unionen genom Novus frågade 1020 tjänstemän i privat sektor om deras senaste lönesamtal visade det sig att de som var mest förberedda inför sitt samtal också var mer nöjda med resultatet.

Så maximerar du din lön

Varje månad trillar enorma summor pengar in på bankernas lönekonton. Men låt inte dina surt förvärvade slantar stanna kvar på konton med nollränta, utan sträva efter att alltid ha så lite pengar där som möjligt. SvD Näringslivs Jacob Bursell guidar i hur du kan optimera din lön.
Ha så lite du kan på lönekontot

Ett vanligt lönekonto ger som regel ingen ränta alls, och givet inflationen innebär det att dina pengar faktiskt går upp i rök. Svenskarna har närmare 1200 miljarder kronor på vanliga bankkonton, och just lönekontot har ibland kallats för hushållens ”värsta sparfälla”. I den mån du inte vill bekosta bankens upplåning, ska du alltid sträva efter att ha så lite pengar som möjligt här.

Betala räkningarna – och flytta resten
Bredbandsavgifter, telefonräkningar, kreditkortsfakturor och andra månatliga ”fönsterkuvert” förfaller ofta i månadsskiftet. Betala direkt, eller gör åtminstone ett överslag på hur mycket du måste lägga ut. Resten ska du få bort från lönekontot.

Rimligt: minst 2 procent ränta
Fixa ett sparkonto med fria uttag, utan avgifter och en bra ränta – åtminstone över 2 procent. Har du tur finns det hos din bank, men med största sannolikhet måste du leta på annat håll. Glöm inte att kontot bör ha insättningsgaranti, som skyddar dig om din nya bank går upp i rök. Här kan du nu låta dina pengar vila i stället för att låta dem ligga på lönekontot utan ränta.
Exempel:
• SBAB: 2,20 procent
• Marginalen Bank: 2,20 procent


För över till privat pensionssparande snarast

Avsättningar för tjänstepension, allmän pension och premiepension dras från din lön innan den landar på kontot. Har du däremot ett privat pensionssparande, i aktier eller andra former, för du snarast över pengarna från lönekontot.

Pengar att tjäna på kortbetalningar – om du är i tid
För löpande betalningar, oförutsedda utgifter eller andra personliga extravaganser har vi lärt oss använda olika former av plastkort. Fördelen med ett kreditkort, i det här sammanhanget, är att bankerna som regel erbjuder räntefria krediter. Det innebär att du kan flytta pengarna från lönekontot till ett sparkonto med bättre ränta. Efter månadens inköp och löpande utgifter kommer i stället en kreditkortsfaktura, som betalas likt vilken räkning som helst.

Eftersom krediten inte uppbär någon ränta – förutsatt att räkningen betalas i tid – kan du själv tjäna differensen mellan lönekontots nollränta och räntan på sparkontot. I dagens ränteläge ger det en begränsad förtjänst, kanske någon tusenlapp över ett år, men ur principiell utgångspunkt kan det inge förtröstan att inte behöva finansiera bankens upplåning. Glöm dock inte att betala fakturan i tid, för med skyhöga straffräntor blir det en dyr historia som lätt äter upp det du tjänat på att flytta ut pengar från lönekontot.

Källa: Karriär, SvD, Näringsliv, 25 april 2013
Länk

70% of the buyer’s journey is completed before sales is ever contacted!

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on April 23rd, 2013 by admin

The term “Content Marketing” has become quite the buzzword in 2013 – especially from marketing professionals. But, even with its ubiquity, marketers are still struggling to define the meaning. Because of this ambiguity, many in the industry are wondering, “is content marketing really a thing I need to pay attention to?”

Let me tell you, it is. And here are two reasons why.

No one wants to talk to sales
First, there’s a massive change in the behavior of consumers on the web. Buyers are no longer calling up salespeople and asking them about products. Those days are over.

Nobody wants to talk to a sales rep–and nowadays most buyers avoid that conversation until they’re ready to make a purchase. In fact, a study by SiriusDecisions reported that 70% of the buyer’s journey is completed before sales is ever contacted.

So how are these buyers getting information and where are they looking?
Online. They’re researching solutions to their problems independently–i.e., without picking up the phone to call a sales rep–and they’re doing it by searching on the web. Which leads me to my next point.

It’s A Google World for the Content MarketeerIt’s a Google World
It’s a Google world we live in. Consumers are opening their browsers and doing the research themselves, which has led to a dramatic shift in the world of marketing. Now that consumers are going to Google and using it as a tool to learn about your product or brand, there better be some pretty good information waiting for them. Otherwise, they’ll never learn about your solutions or pay attention to your products.

Web users are increasingly using Google to navigate the web. The number of Google searches have increased every year for the past 10, and 2012 was the highest ever. Marketers are finding that if their content doesn’t appear in search results, they will miss out on consumer interactions and sales. Because of this, content marketing has become the highest priority for marketing groups in 2013.

These two trends, disdain for sales and the rise of Google, has placed content marketing firmly in the spotlight this year.

Cool, Mike, but why should I care?
If you don’t care about the impact of these two trends, you’re playing by outdated marketing standards. It’s like golfing with your grandaddy’s wooden clubs when everyone else is swinging with titanium. You may like the game better the old way, but you’re not going to win without embracing new technologies and methods. Not to mention you’re giving your competitors a significant advantage.

Marketers, you need to have a new conversation with your buyers. Instead of sales reaching out before a buyer is ready to purchase, the conversation needs to start with informative–and awesome–content that your buyers can find online. Besides, creating content that helps people solve their problems is the right thing to do. Your company is an expert in something–otherwise you wouldn’t be successful–and sharing that knowledge is the best way to get people in your lead queue. But you’re not tricking buyers into paying attention to you and your products, you’re actually helping them meet their goals and be more successful. With that, and the fact that content marketing drives more traffic, leads, and revenue for your organization, everyone wins.

By embracing content marketing, your organization will be more successful at reaching customers and you’re going to make the world a better place for your buyers–even if it is Google’s world.

Source: marketeer.kapost.com, April 2013
Link

Föreläser på Chefsdagen Norr imorgon i Skellefteå

Posted in Aktuellt on April 22nd, 2013 by admin

6 steps to accomplish your goals and resolutions

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on April 21st, 2013 by admin

Don’t let your goals and resolutions fall by the wayside. Chances are that to achieve your dreams and live a life you love, those goals and resolutions are crucial. Goal setting and goal achievement are easier if you follow these six steps for effective and successful goal setting and resolution accomplishment.

You need to deeply desire the goal or resolution
Napoleon Hill, in his landmark book, Think and Grow Rich, had it right. “The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.” So, your first step in goal setting and achieving your dreams is that you’ve got to really, really want to achieve the goal.

Visualize yourself achieving the goal
Lee Iacocca said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” What will your achievement feel like? How will your life unfold differently as a result? If the goal is a thing, some gurus of goal setting recommend that you keep a picture of the item where you see and are reminded of it every day. If you can’t picture yourself achieving the goal, chances are – you won’t.


Make a plan for the path you need to follow to accomplish the goal

Create action steps to follow. Identify a critical path. The critical path defines the key accomplish-ments along the way, the most important steps that must happen for the goal to become a reality. Stephen Covey said, “All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation of all things. You have to make sure that the blueprint, the first creation, is really what you want, that you’ve thought everything through. Then you put it into bricks and mortar. Each day you go to the construction shed and pull out the blueprint to get marching orders for the day. You begin with the end in mind.” He’s right.

Commit to achieving the goal by writing down the goal
Lee Iacocca said, “The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.” I agree completely. Write down the plan, the action steps and the critical path. Somehow, writing down the goal, the plan and a timeline sets events in motion that may not have happened otherwise. In my own life, it is as if I am making a deeper commitment to goal accomplishment. I can’t fool myself later. The written objective really was the goal.

Establish times for checking your progress in your calendar system
Whatever it is: a day planner, a PDA, a PDA phone or a hand written list. If you’re not making progress or feel stymied, don’t let your optimism keep you from accomplishing your goals. No matter how positively you are thinking, you need to assess your lack of progress. Adopt a pessimist’s viewpoint; something will and probably is, going to go wrong. Take a look at all of the factors that are keeping you from accomplishing your goal and develop a plan to overcome them. Add these plan steps to your calendar system as part of your goal achievement plan.


Review your overall progress regularly

Make sure you are making progress. If you are not making progress, hire a coach, tap into the support of loved ones, analyze why the goal is not being met. Don’t allow the goal to just fade away. Figure out what you need to do to accomplish it. Check the prior five steps starting with an assessment of how deeply you actually want to achieve the goal.

This six step goal setting and achieving system seems simple, but it is the most powerful system you will ever find for achieving your goals and living your resolutions. You just need to do it.

Sourece: Humanresources.about.com, April 2013
Author: Susan M. Heathfield
Link

Making great decisions

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on April 13th, 2013 by admin

Every few years, Stanford University professor Chip Heath and his brother, Dan, a senior fellow at Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE), distill decades of academic research into a tool kit for practitioners. The bicoastal brothers offered advice on effective communications in Made to Stick, on change management in Switch, and now, in their new book, Decisive, on making good decisions. It’s a topic that McKinsey’s Olivier Sibony has been exploring for years in his work with senior leaders of global companies and in a number of influential publications.1

Chip and Olivier recently sat down to compare notes on what matters most for senior leaders who are trying to boost their decision-making effectiveness. Topics included Heath’s new book, research Sibony and University of Sydney professor Dan Lovallo have under way on the styles of different decision makers, and practical tips that they’ve found make a big difference. The discussion, moderated by McKinsey’s Allen Webb, represents a state-of-the-art tour for senior executives hoping to help their organizations, and themselves, become more effective by benefiting from the core insight of behavioral economics: systematic tendencies to deviate from rationality influence all of our decision making.

The Quarterly: What’s the current state of play in real-world efforts to improve decision processes through behavioral economics?

Olivier Sibony: The point we haven’t conveyed effectively enough is that however aware you are of biases, you won’t necessarily be immune. You should see yourself as the architect of the decision-making process, not as a great decision maker enhanced by the knowledge of your biases.

Chip Heath: The analogy I like is how we handle problems with memory. The solution isn’t to focus harder on remembering; it’s to use a system like a grocery-store list. We’re now in a position to think about the decision-making equivalent of the grocery-store list.

Olivier Sibony: We’re doing ourselves a disservice by calling it a decision-making process, because the word process, as you point out in your book—

Chip Heath: —It’s boring.

Olivier Sibony: It immediately conjures up images of bureaucracy and slowness and decisions by committee—all things associated with bad management.

Chip Heath: Early in the history of decision making, people were optimistic about a better process called decision analysis. But nobody ever used it, because very few people have the math chops to fold back probabilities in a three-layer decision tree. The process that we’re advocating runs away from decision analysis and bureaucracy. We wanted some tools that someone could use in five or ten minutes that may not make the decision perfect but will improve it substantially.

Olivier Sibony: There are individual solutions and organizational solutions. Perhaps because we’re a consulting firm, we tend to look for organizational solutions. In an article you wrote long ago, Chip, you quote somebody who asks something like, “If people are so bad at making decisions, how did we make it to the moon?” Your answer was that individuals didn’t make it to the moon; NASA did.2 That insight has been translated into all sorts of operational decision making. It is the fundamental insight behind work in continuous improvement—for instance, when people are trained to go beyond the superficial, proximate cause of a problem by asking “five whys.”

But we don’t apply that insight when we move from shop floors to boardrooms. Partly, that’s because of a lack of awareness. Partly, it’s because the further up the hierarchy you go, the harder it becomes to say, “My judgment is fallible.” Corporate cultures and incentives reward the kind of decision making where you take risks and show confidence and decisiveness, even if sometimes it’s really overconfidence. Recognizing uncertainty and doubt—it’s not the style many executives have when they get to the top.

Chip Heath: Yes, but we’re never really sure when we’re being overconfident and when we’re being appropriately confident. That’s where we go back to processes.

Olivier Sibony: It’s a lot easier to say, “Let’s build a good process so your direct reports have better recommendations for you” than “Let’s come up with a process for you to be challenged by other people.”

Chip Heath: I love that emphasis: “We’re going to help others get you the right recommendations.” We all tend to believe “I’m not subject to biases.” But we can easily believe that others are. I’m curious about your batting average, Olivier. Suppose you walk into an executive group and start talking about the behavioral research and how they could change their processes to overcome biases. Are a third of the people interested? Five percent?

Olivier Sibony: If we tell the story like that, it’s zero. But exactly as you just suggested, a lot of executives are open to discussing how their teams could help them make better decisions. So we will say, for example, “Let’s talk about what works and what doesn’t work in your strategic-planning process.” We don’t talk about biases, because no one wants to be told they’re biased; it’s a word with horrible, negative connotations. Instead, we observe that people typically make predictable mistakes in their planning process—for instance, getting anchored on last year’s numbers. That’s OK because we are identifying best practices. We end up embedding this thinking into processes that generate better strategic plans, R&D choices, or M&A decisions.

Chip Heath: The process changes don’t have to be very big. Ohio State University professor Paul Nutt spent a career studying strategic decisions in businesses and nonprofits and government organizations. The number of alternatives that leadership teams consider in 70 percent of all important strategic decisions is exactly one. Yet there’s evidence that if you get a second alternative, your decisions improve dramatically.

One study at a medium-size technology firm investigated a group of leaders who had made a set of decisions ten years prior. They were asked to assess how many of those decisions turned out really well, and the percentage of “hits” was six times higher when the team considered two alternatives rather than just one.

Olivier Sibony: You can make a huge number of those small changes. One thing we did, which worked quite well, was to always ask people making an investment recommendation to present their second-best choice. It’s rarely better than the first. But both might actually be good, and both recommendations of another business unit might not be. Considering just one recommendation from every business unit will deprive you of many investment opportunities you’d get if you asked for two.

The Quarterly: Is the right approach to suggest a couple of simple things senior executives can do or to recommend that they take a step back and look at a whole checklist or framework to create a healthier process?

Chip Heath: I’m a fan of frameworks, but you don’t have to be 100 percent there to improve dramatically. One legitimate criticism of the decision-making field is that we have this overwhelming zoo of biases. In our most recent book, Decisive, we therefore came up with 4 intervention points in the decision process. Others propose 40 intervention points. Nobody will be successful intervening at 40 decision points.

Olivier Sibony: We too have looked at this zoo of biases and tried to sort out what really matters to executives. When people ask me what will make a difference as they build decision processes, I emphasize three things. First, recognize that very few decisions are one of a kind. You are not the first person to decide on an acquisition. Lots of M&A happened before, and you can learn many things from that experience.

Second, recognize uncertainty—have alternatives, prepare to be wrong, and have a range of outcomes where the worst case is real and not “best case minus 5 percent,” which is very common. Creating a setting where it’s OK to admit uncertainty is very difficult. But if you achieve that, you can make headway.

Third, create a debate where people speak up. It’s the most obvious but also the most difficult. If you’re the decision maker, when you get to the debate you’ve already got an idea of where you want it to lead. And if you’re an experienced executive, you’ve already influenced your people, consciously or unconsciously. A good intervention point, for instance, is to ask subordinates if anyone disagreed with them about a recommendation they bring to you. If everybody agreed, that’s a sign that there may have been “groupthink.”

Chip Heath: All of the things you’ve highlighted are things we grappled with in designing the WRAP process we propose in our book (see sidebar, “Four principles for making better decisions”). A Wider set of options means you’re going to have more debate. By Reality-testing assumptions, you look at the reference class of events. If you make a decision about restaurants, you read reviews because that’s your reference class. Yet if you’re making a merger decision, you won’t look at the reference class of companies in similar situations. Why do this research for a $200 dinner but not a $200 million acquisition? Then there is the process of actually making a decision. It’s now slightly more complicated because instead of one option you’ve got two, and you’ve done some due diligence on both. When you find yourself agonizing about a choice, it’s important to step back and Attain some distance. Finally, you should be Preparing to be wrong at the end of the process—that’s about hard-to-acknowledge uncertainty.

Four principles for making better decisions
Authors (and brothers) Chip and Dan Heath propose four steps for improving decision making. Below is an overview of that process, whose initials spell “WRAP.” It’s elaborated in their new book, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Business (Crown Business, March 2013).
For example:Consider at least two robust options for every decision.
Important because:Adding just one alternative makes very good strategic decision making more likely—six times more likely, according to one research study.

For example:Enforce vigorous debate on both sides of an issue and resolve debates with data by running small experiments to test assumptions.
Important because:We are two times more likely to consider information that tends to confirm our assumptions than information that tends to disconfirm them.

For example:“Fire” yourself and ask what your successor would do. That’s how Andy Grove broke through Intel’s indecision in the mid-1980s about whether to divert resources from the company’s long-standing core business in memory chips and go full force into microprocessors.
Important because:The status quo is powerful. Research shows that over time, even arbitrary choices are regarded as valuable and right.

For example:Set a clear tripwire now: “If we don’t achieve a market share greater than 20 percent in the first year, we’ll revisit our idea of entering the Southern market.”
Important because:Our predictions are often incorrect, even when made with high confidence. In one study, doctors who expressed complete certainty in a diagnosis were wrong 40 percent of the time.

Olivier Sibony: How do you envision people using your WRAP framework—as a checklist when they make decisions, or as a tool to coach other people making decisions?

Chip Heath: We’ve heard from people doing both. One person had a career decision and had gone through the list blow by blow. “What are my alternatives? Can I ask disconfirming questions? How do I step back and make this decision?” In many situations, you could work through the WRAP framework in 30 minutes. And you can also have it running in the back of your mind as you’re coaching others.

Olivier Sibony: I find people asking when to get the facts and figures for a decision. Usually, they assume that you get all the facts first and then discuss them, which is not the way to go. Only when you create a debate and identify what it would take to believe one option versus another will you look for facts that would disprove your initial hypothesis. Save time for fact finding at a later stage.

Chip Heath: That’s really important. The trick is collecting information in the context of actual experience. At Intuit, founder Scott Cook developed what they call a culture of experimentation. As he put it, most decisions are based on “politics, persuasion, and PowerPoint,” and none of these “three Ps” are fully trustworthy. So Intuit bases decisions on experiments.

For example, they had a team with an idea for a service that would let Indian farmers use their cell phones to get information about market prices in surrounding towns. The top-leadership team was unanimous in thinking it was a bad idea. Scott Cook said he thought it was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard—why would people in the markets give you this information, since it might be used to undermine them? Others said the information should be valueless because in competitive markets, the price should be the same, controlling for transportation costs.

Nonetheless, Intuit has a culture of experimentation, and the leadership team said, “OK, run your experiment.” Twenty experiments later, they have 1.3 million Indian farmers using this service. It’s been tremendously successful. It has raised the income of typical farmers using it by 20 percent—enough to afford books and tuition fees for their kids.

Olivier Sibony: How did he create this culture?

Chip Heath: For years they’ve had it at the lower levels of the firm. Before they add a feature, say, to TurboTax, they will test out variations and see how people respond. They call it “Fake-O-Backend.” Imagine that they put up a Web page for a new “deduction analysis” service, and when people plug in their information on the Web site, the company goes to a tax attorney for the answers instead of programming all the computations. The back end is fake. The front end tests whether people would purchase a new service.

This tradition of testing, of collecting data that allows you to be surprised by the outcomes, helps cultures of debate evolve in certain firms. I don’t think it has to come from the very top of the organization. But as a CTO or a CFO, you can develop that culture within your area. Any manager at any level can start. If you create that culture in your team and you get into a disagreement, somebody will eventually say, “Look, it’s an empirical question. We can run a test.” If more people at more levels of organizations said that, the culture would start to change.

Olivier Sibony: I want to go back to this notion of helping people see when they’ve been wrong and helping them get better at learning from their own experience. We’ve tried to do this through the idea of decision-making styles (see “Early-stage research on decision-making styles”), which is still at an early stage. Rather than telling someone he’s hopelessly biased, you say, for example, “Look, you’re a certain kind of decision maker—a real visionary—so you make fast decisions breaking with convention. The downside is that you could be wrong, so when you make an unusual decision you might want to stop and listen a bit.” Whereas someone else will tend to fall into the opposite trap.

We’re trying to build a language that would help people see how to get better at making decisions. The hope is that it would make individuals more conscious of their own style and also enable debate. If you and I are around the same table, rather than telling you that you’re out of your mind, I can tell you, “We know that you’re a visionary, right? So you would see things in this way. Well, I’ve got a different style, so here’s how I think about it.” A bit like the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator.4 Does that sound like a promising idea? Again, I don’t want to get too excited about it, because it’s early stage.

Chip Heath: I think that’s very promising. I love the idea that you can create a language for helping people introspect about their decision process. People love personality approaches. Psychologists have always had this approach–avoidance relationship with them because we can’t get them to be as predictive as we want, but they provide this tremendous social language.

I got to be at a dinner one time when I was in graduate school, where Danny Kahneman and Amos Tversky listened to a group of consultants telling them about the Myers–Briggs. The consultants didn’t know they were talking to two Nobel-caliber psychologists, so they were a little condescending as they explained MyersBriggs to their dinner companions, who should have known about it already. Kahneman and Tversky listened. And they weren’t telling the consultants, “Decades of social-psychology research says that it’s really hard to design a personality test that predicts anything useful about behavior.” Danny Kahneman walked out of the room and turned to Amos Tversky and said, “You know, that was a brilliant feat of social engineering. Instead of saying, ‘So-and-so is a jerk,’ they say, ‘Oh, he’s an INTP.’”

The Quarterly: Let’s talk about points in the business system where people can attack these problems. Start with budgeting and planning.

Olivier Sibony: Clearly, the dominant bias is inertia—doing a budget that’s too close to last year’s, largely because of anchoring.6 You can re-anchor the budget around something different, typically a vision of the future, like where the growth will be. Usually, the discussion with a business unit would start, “Your budget last year was 100. You’re telling me it should be 105. I think it should be 95. Let’s argue.” Instead, start with something like, “Your budget last year was 100. My model says it should be 375. Let’s discuss why 105 is better than 375.”

The Quarterly: What about M&A?

Chip Heath: M&A is a classic confirmation-bias situation. Something becomes available or draws you to a target. You’ll start gathering data to confirm or deny that choice, but on average you’ll be tempted to confirm it because you were interested in the first place.

Olivier Sibony: We tried to address that in one large company by adding something to the existing routine, which was superb. A month before the anticipated time of the final decision, when everyone still has a cool head, we suggested that the M&A team write a memo to the CEO entitled “Reasons you would say no to this deal.” The CEO will look at the memo in a month and ask whether these questions have been fully addressed. In effect, you have a dialogue between yourself a month ago and yourself now.

Chip Heath: I’ve seen procedures for getting distance by picturing yourself in the future looking back on a decision. Your idea is to have a present self look back at a past one. I love that.

The Quarterly: Let’s move to personnel choices for the senior team.

Chip Heath: A headhunting firm that had done 20,000 executive placements at the C-suite level went over its records and found that about 40 percent are pushed out, fail, or quit within 18 months. That’s a shockingly high failure rate. Lots of confirmation biases kick in here. People who are taller or more attractive do exceptionally well in interviews. Those qualities have little to do with the job.

The research says you can improve the interview process by treating it less like a conversation and more like a job sample. You can ask CFO candidates, say, to grapple with the financial decisions you’ve made over the last five years—what they would have thought about, what information they would have collected, what they would have done.

The Quarterly: What about new-product launches?

Chip Heath: Saras Sarasvathy, a professor at the Darden School, at the University of Virginia, has researched the differences between how entrepreneurs and very good senior managers at Fortune 500 firms think. She gives them a scenario about a new-product introduction. The typical Fortune 500 manager will run projections from the market data. But the entrepreneur says, “I don’t trust the data. I’d find a customer and try to sell the product.” The entrepreneur’s reaction is, “I’m gonna experiment. I’ll find my way into the market as opposed to project my way into it.” The entrepreneurs’ impulse to experiment is right. We don’t breed that enough in corporate America.

The Quarterly: Last question—there hasn’t been much work done on decision making and organizational structure. The classical view is that structure rationally follows strategy. Yet we know that’s not always the case. Should we be applying behavioral economics to this realm?

Chip Heath: Dan and I are actually thinking about it. I think there’s a systematic set of biases. For example, we favor division of labor over thinking about coordination. That underemphasizes the difficulty of coordinating across specialists that speak different business languages. I think that’s a really interesting set of questions.

Source: McKinsey Quaterly, April 2013
Authors: Dan Lovallo and Olivier Sibony. The discussion was moderated by Allen Webb, editor in chief of McKinsey Quarterly, who is based in McKinsey’s Seattle office.
Link

The hidden dimension of corporate culture and effective teams

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on April 9th, 2013 by admin

After the tragic events of 9/11, a team of Harvard psychologists quietly “invaded” the US intelligence system. The team, led by Richard Hackman, wanted to determine what makes intelligence units effective. By surveying, interviewing, and observing hundreds of analysts across 64 different intelligence groups, the researchers ranked those units from best to worst.

Then they identified what they thought was a comprehensive list of factors that drive a unit’s effectiveness—only to discover, after parsing the data, that the most important factor wasn’t on their list. The critical factor wasn’t having stable team membership and the right number of people. It wasn’t having a vision that is clear, challenging, and meaningful. Nor was it well-defined roles and responsibilities; appropriate rewards, recognition, and resources; or strong leadership.

Rather, the single strongest predictor of group effectiveness was the amount of help that analysts gave to each other. In the highest-performing teams, analysts invested extensive time and energy in coaching, teaching, and consulting with their colleagues. These contributions helped analysts question their own assumptions, fill gaps in their knowledge, gain access to novel perspectives, and recognize patterns in seemingly disconnected threads of information. In the lowest-rated units, analysts exchanged little help and struggled to make sense of tangled webs of data. Just knowing the amount of help-giving that occurred allowed the Harvard researchers to predict the effectiveness rank of nearly every unit accurately.

The importance of helping-behavior for organizational effectiveness stretches far beyond intelligence work. Evidence from studies led by Indiana University’s Philip Podsakoff demonstrates that the frequency with which employees help one another predicts sales revenues in pharmaceutical units and retail stores; profits, costs, and customer service in banks; creativity in consulting and engineering firms; productivity in paper mills; and revenues, operating efficiency, customer satisfaction, and performance quality in restaurants.

Across these diverse contexts, organizations benefit when employees freely contribute their knowledge and skills to others. Podsakoff’s research suggests that this helping-behavior facilitates organizational effectiveness by:

•enabling employees to solve problems and get work done faster
•enhancing team cohesion and coordination
•ensuring that expertise is transferred from experienced to new employees
•reducing variability in performance when some members are overloaded or distracted
•establishing an environment in which customers and suppliers feel that their needs are the organization’s top priority
Yet far too few companies enjoy these benefits. One major barrier is company culture—the norms and values in organizations often don’t support helping. After a decade of studying work performance, I’ve identified different types of reciprocity norms that characterize the interactions between people in organizations. At the extremes, I call them “giver cultures” and “taker cultures.”

Give, take, or match
In giver cultures, employees operate as the high-performing intelligence units do: helping others, sharing knowledge, offering mentoring, and making connections without expecting anything in return. Meanwhile, in taker cultures, the norm is to get as much as possible from others while contributing less in return. Employees help only when they expect the personal benefits to exceed the costs, as opposed to when the organizational benefits outweigh the personal costs.

Most organizations fall somewhere in the middle. These are “matcher cultures,” where the norm is for employees to help those who help them, maintaining an equal balance of give and take. Although matcher cultures benefit from collaboration more than taker cultures do, they are inefficient vehicles for exchange, as employees trade favors in closed loops. Should you need ideas or information from someone in a different division or region, you could be out of luck unless you have an existing relationship. Instead, you would probably seek out people you trust, regardless of their expertise. By contrast, in giver cultures, where colleagues aim to add value without keeping score, you would probably reach out more broadly and count on help from the most qualified person.

In light of the benefits of more open systems of helping, why don’t more organizations develop giver cultures? All too often, leaders create structures that get in the way. According to Cornell economist Robert Frank, many organizations are essentially winner-take-all markets, dominated by zero-sum competitions for rewards and promotions. When leaders implement forced-ranking systems to reward individual performance, they stack the deck against giver cultures.

Pitting employees against one another for resources makes it unwise for them to provide help unless they expect to receive at least as much—or more—in return. Employees who give discover the costs quickly: their productivity suffers as takers exploit them by monopolizing their time or even stealing their ideas. Over time, employees anticipate taking-behavior and protect themselves by operating like takers or by becoming matchers, who expect and seek reciprocity whenever they give help.

Fortunately, it is possible to disrupt these cycles. My research suggests that committed leaders can turn things around through three practices: facilitating help-seeking, recognizing and rewarding givers, and screening out takers.

Help-seeking: Erase the shadow of doubt

Giver cultures depend on employees making requests; otherwise, it’s difficult to figure out who needs help and what to give. In fact, studies reviewed by psychologists Stella Anderson and Larry Williams show that direct requests for help between colleagues drive 75 to 90 percent of all the help exchanged within organizations.

Yet many people are naturally reluctant to seek help. They may think it’s pointless, particularly in taker cultures. They also may fear burdening their colleagues, lack knowledge about who is willing and able to help, or be concerned about appearing vulnerable, incompetent, and dependent.

Reciprocity rings
It’s possible to overcome these barriers. For example, University of Michigan professor Wayne Baker and his wife, Cheryl Baker, at Humax Networks developed an exercise called the “reciprocity ring.”2 The exercise generally gathers employees in groups of between ten and two dozen members. Each employee makes a request, and group members use their knowledge, resources, and connections to grant it. The Bakers typically run the exercise in two 60-to 90-minute rounds—the first for personal requests, so that people begin to open up, and the second for professional requests. Since everyone is asking for help, people rarely feel uncomfortable.

The monetary value of the help offered can be significant. One pharmaceutical executive attending a reciprocity ring involving executives from a mix of industry players saved $50,000 on the spot when a fellow participant who had slack capacity in a lab offered to synthesize an alkaloid free of charge. And that’s no outlier: the Bakers find that executive reciprocity-ring participants in large corporate settings report an average benefit exceeding $50,000—all for spending a few hours seeking and giving help. This is true even when the participants are from a single company. For example, 30 reciprocity-ring participants from a professional-services firm estimated that they had received $261,400 worth of value and saved 1,244 hours. The ring encourages people to ask for help that their colleagues weren’t aware they needed and efficiently sources each request to the people most able to fulfill it.

Beyond any financial benefits, the act of organizing people to seek and provide help in this way can shift cultures in the giver direction. Employees have an opportunity to see what their colleagues need, which often sparks ideas in the ensuing weeks and months for new ways to help them. Even employees who personally operate as takers (regardless of the company’s culture) tend to get involved: in one study of more than 100 reciprocity-ring participants, Wayne Baker and I found that people with strong giver values made an average of four offers of help, but those who reported caring more about personal achievements and power than about helping others still averaged three offers.

During the exercise, it becomes clear that giving is more efficient than matching, as employees recognize how they gain access to a wider network of support when everyone is willing to help others without expecting anything in return rather than trading favors in pairs. After running the exercise at companies such as Lincoln Financial and Estée Lauder, I have seen many executives and employees take the initiative to continue running it on a weekly or monthly basis, which allows the help-seeking to continue and opens the door for greater giving as well as receiving.

Dream on
There are other ways to stimulate help-seeking. Consider what a company called Appletree Answers, a provider of call-center services, did back in 2008. John Ratliff, the founder and CEO, was alarmed by the 97 percent employee-turnover rate in his call centers. The underlying challenge, Ratliff believed, was that rapid expansion had cost the company its sense of community. Appletree had undergone 13 acquisitions in just six years and grown from a tiny operation to a company with more than 350 employees. As the cohesion of the group eroded, employees began prioritizing their own exit opportunities over the company’s need for them to contribute, and customer service suffered.

During a brainstorming meeting, the director of operations suggested a novel approach to improving the culture: creating an internal program modeled after the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Ratliff and colleagues designed a program called Dream On, inviting employees to request the one thing they wanted most in their personal lives but felt they could not achieve on their own. Soon, a secret committee was making some of these requests happen—from sending an employee’s severely ill husband to meet his favorite players at a Philadelphia Eagles game to helping an employee throw a special birthday party for his daughter.

After granting more than 100 requests, the program has helped promote a company culture where, in the words of one insider, “employees look to do things for each other and literally are ‘paying it forward.’” Indeed, employees often submit requests on behalf of their colleagues. The program has helped reduce the uncertainty and discomfort often associated with seeking help: employees know where to turn, and they know they’re not alone. In the six months after Dream On was implemented, retention among frontline staff soared to 67 percent, from 3 percent, and the company had its two most profitable quarters ever. “You’re either a giver or a taker,” Ratliff says. “Givers tend to get stuff back while takers fight for every last nickel . . . they never have abundance.”

Such programs aren’t limited to small companies. In a study of a similar program at a Fortune 500 retailer, Jane Dutton, Brent Rosso, and I found that participants became more committed to the company and felt the program strengthened their sense of belonging in a community at work. They reported feeling grateful for the opportunity to show concern for their colleagues and took pride in the company for supporting their efforts.

Boundaries and roles
Despite the power of help-seeking in shaping a giver culture, encouraging it also carries a danger. Employees can become so consumed with responding to each other’s requests that they lack the time and energy to complete their own responsibilities. Over time, employees face two choices: allow their work to suffer or shift from giving to taking or matching.

To avoid this trade-off, leaders need to set boundaries, as one Fortune 500 technology company did when its engineers found themselves constantly interrupted with requests for help. Harvard professor Leslie Perlow worked with them to create windows for quiet time (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays until noon), when interruptions were not allowed. After the implementation of quiet time, the majority of the engineers reported above-average productivity, and later their division was able to launch a product on schedule for the second time in history. By placing clear time boundaries around helping, leaders can better leverage the benefits of giver cultures while minimizing the costs.

Alternatively, some organizations designate formal “helping” roles to coordinate more efficient help-seeking and -giving behavior. In a study at a hospital, David Hofmann, Zhike Lei, and I examined the importance of adding a nurse-preceptor role—a person responsible for helping new employees and consulting on problems. Employees felt more comfortable seeking help and perceived that they had greater access to expertise when the preceptor role existed. Outside of health-care settings, companies often develop this function by training liaisons for new employees and leadership coaches for executives and high-potential managers. Designating helping roles can provide employees with a clear sense of direction on where to turn for help without creating undue burdens across a unit.

Rewards: To the givers go the spoils
In a perfect world, leaders could promote strong giver cultures by simply rewarding employees for their collective helping output. The reality, however, is more complicated.

In a landmark study led by Michael Johnson at the University of Washington, participants worked in teams that received either cooperative or competitive incentives for completing difficult tasks. For teams receiving cooperative incentives, cash prizes went to the highest-performing team as a whole, prompting members to work together as givers. In competitive teams, cash prizes went to the highest-performing individual within each team, encouraging a taker culture. The result? The competitive teams finished their tasks faster than the cooperative teams did, but less accurately, as members withheld critical information from each other.

To boost the accuracy of the competitive teams, the researchers next had them complete a second task under the cooperative reward structure (rewarding the entire team for high performance). Notably, accuracy didn’t go up—and speed actually dropped.

People struggled to transition from competitive to cooperative rewards. Instead of shifting from taking to giving, they developed a pattern of cutthroat cooperation. Once they had seen their colleagues as competitors, they couldn’t trust them. Completing a single task under a structure that rewarded taking created win–lose mind-sets, which persisted even after the structure was removed.

Johnson’s work reminds us that giver cultures depend on a more comprehensive set of practices for recognizing and rewarding helping behavior in organizations. Creating such a culture starts with expanding performance evaluations beyond results, to include their impact on other individuals and groups. For example, when assessing the performance of managers, the leadership can examine not only the results their teams achieve but also their record in having direct reports promoted.

Yet even when giving-metrics are included in performance evaluations, there will still be pressures toward taking. It’s difficult to eliminate zero-sum contests from organizations altogether, and indeed doing so risks extinguishing the productive competitive fires that often burn within employees.

To meet the challenge of rewarding giving without undercutting healthy competition, some companies are devising novel approaches. In 2005, Cory Ondrejka was the chief technology officer at Linden Lab, the company behind the virtual world Second Life. Ondrejka wanted to recognize and reward employees for going beyond the call of duty, so he borrowed an idea from the restaurant industry: tipping.

The program allowed employees to tip peers for help given, by sending a “love message” that adds an average of $3 to the helper’s paycheck. The messages are visible to all employees, making reputations for generosity visible. Employees still compete for bonuses and promotions—but also to be the most helpful. This system “gives us a way of rewarding and encouraging collaborative behavior,” founder Philip Rosedale explained.

Evidence highlights the importance of keeping incentives small and spontaneous.3 If the rewards are too large and the giving-behavior necessary to earn them is too clearly scripted, some participants will game the system, and the focus on extrinsic rewards may undermine the intrinsic motivation to give, leading employees to provide help with the expectation of receiving.

The peer-bonus and -recognition programs that have become increasingly popular at companies such as Google, IGN, Shopify, Southwest Airlines, and Zappos reduce such “gaming” behavior. When employees witness unique or time-consuming acts of helping, they can nominate the givers for small bonuses or recognition. One common model is to grant employees an equal number of tokens they can freely award to colleagues. By supporting such programs, leaders empower employees to recognize and reinforce giving—while sending a clear signal that it matters. Otherwise, many acts of giving occur behind closed doors, obscuring the presence and value of helping-norms.

Sincerity screening: Keep the wrong people off the bus

Encouraging help-seeking and recognizing those who provide it are valuable steps toward enabling a giver culture. These steps are likely to be especially powerful in organizations that already screen out employees with taker tendencies. Psychologist Roy Baumeister observes that negative forces typically have a stronger weight than positive ones. Research by Patrick Dunlop and Kibeom Lee backs up this insight for cultures: takers often do more harm than givers do good.

As a result, Stanford professor Robert Sutton notes, many companies, from Robert W. Baird and Berkshire Hathaway to IDEO and Gold’s Gym, have policies against hiring people who act like takers. But what techniques actually help identify a taker personality? After reviewing the evidence, I see three valid and reliable ways to distinguish takers from others.

First, takers tend to claim personal credit for successes. In one study of computer-industry CEOs, researchers Arijit Chatterjee and Donald Hambrick found that the takers were substantially more likely to use pronouns like I and me instead of us and we. When interviewers ask questions about successes, screening for self-glorifying responses can be revealing. Mindful of this pattern, Barton Hill, a managing director at Citi Transaction Services, explicitly looks for applicants to describe accomplishments in collective rather than personal terms.

Second, takers tend to follow a pattern of “kissing up, kicking down.” When dealing with powerful people, they’re often good fakers, coming across as charming and charismatic. But when interacting with peers and subordinates, they feel powerful, which leads them to let down their guard and reveal their true colors. Therefore, recommendations and references from colleagues and direct reports are likely to be more revealing than those from bosses.

General Electric’s Durham Engine Facility goes further still: candidates for mechanic positions work in teams of six to build helicopters out of Legos. One member is allowed to look at a model and report back to the team, and trained observers assess the candidates’ behavior, with an eye toward how well they take the initiative while remaining collaborative and open. In such environments, the fakers are often easy to spot through their empty gestures: as London Business School’s Dan Cable reports, the takers “try to ‘demonstrate leadership’ and ‘take initiative’ by jumping up first.” When it comes to predicting how people will actually treat others in a company, few pieces of information are more valuable than observing their behavior directly.

Finally, takers sometimes engage in antagonistic behavior at the expense of others—say, badmouthing a peer who’s up for a promotion or overcharging an uninformed customer—simply to ensure that they come out on top. To maintain a positive view of themselves, takers often rely on creative rationalizations, such as “My colleague didn’t really deserve the promotion anyway” or “that customer should have done his homework.” They come to view antagonism as an appropriate, morally defensible response to threats, injustices, or opportunities to claim value at the expense of others.

With this logic in mind, Georgia Tech professor Larry James has led a pioneering series of studies validating an assessment called the “conditional reasoning test of aggression,” a questionnaire cleverly designed to unveil these antagonistic tendencies through reasoning problems that lack obvious answers. It has an impressive body of evidence behind it. People who score high on the test are significantly more likely to engage in theft, plagiarism, forgery, other kinds of cheating, vandalism, and violence; to receive lower performance ratings from supervisors, coworkers, and subordinates; and to be absent from work or quit unexpectedly. By screening out candidates with such tendencies, leaders can increase the odds of selecting applicants who will embrace a giver culture.

Walk the talk
Giver cultures, despite their power, can be fragile. To sustain them, leaders need to do more than simply encourage employees to seek help, reward givers, and screen out takers.

In 1985, a film company facing financial pressure hired a new president. In an effort to cut costs, the president asked the two leaders of a division, Ed and Alvy, to conduct layoffs. Ed and Alvy resisted—eliminating employees would dilute the company’s value. The president issued an ultimatum: a list of names was due to him at nine o’clock the next morning.

When the president received the list, it contained two names: Ed and Alvy.

No layoffs were conducted, and a few months later Steve Jobs bought the division from Lucasfilm and started Pixar with Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith.

Employees were grateful that “managers would put their own jobs on the line for the good of their teams,” marvels Stanford’s Robert Sutton, noting that even a quarter century later, this “still drives and inspires people at Pixar.”

When it comes to giver cultures, the role-modeling lesson here is a powerful one: if you want it, go and give it.

Source: McKinsey Quaterly, April 2013
Author: Adam Grant is a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
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