The power of positive employee recognition

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on juni 30th, 2013 by admin

How to Provide Effective Employee Recognition

Prioritize employee recognition and you can ensure a positive, productive, innovative organizational climate. Provide employee recognition to say thank you and to encourage more of the actions and thinking that you believe will make your organization successful.

People who feel appreciated are more positive about themselves and their ability to contribute. People with positive self-esteem are potentially your best employees. These beliefs about employee recognition are common among employers even if not commonly carried out. Why then is employee recognition so closely guarded in many organizations?

Why Is Employee Recognition Scarce?
Time is an often-stated reason and admittedly, employee recognition does take time. Employers also start out with all of the best intentions when they seek to recognize employee performance. But, they often find their recognition efforts turn into employee complaining, jealousy, and dissatisfaction. With these experiences, many employers are hesitant to provide employee recognition.

In my experience, employee recognition is scarce because of a combination of several factors. People don’t know how to provide employee recognition effectively, so they have bad experiences when they do. They assume that one size fits all when they provide employee recognition. Finally, employers think too narrowly about what people will find rewarding and recognizing. These guidelines and ideas will help you effectively walk the slippery path of employee recognition and avoid potential problems when you recognize people in your work place.

Guidelines for Effective Employee Recognition
Decide what you want to achieve through your employee recognition efforts. Many organizations use a scatter approach to employee recognition. They put a lot of employee recognition out there and hope that some efforts will stick and create the results they want. Or, they recognize so infrequently that employee recognition becomes a downer for the many when the infrequent few are recognized.

Instead, create goals and action plans for employee recognition. You want to recognize the actions, behaviors, approaches, and accomplishments that you want to foster and reinforce in your organization. Establish employee recognition opportunities that emphasize and reinforce these sought-after qualities and behaviors. If you need to increase attendance in your organization, hand out a three-part form, during your Monday morning staff meeting. The written note thanks employees who have perfect attendance that week. The employee keeps one part; save the second in the personnel file; place the third in a monthly drawing for gift certificates.

Fairness, clarity, and consistency are important in employee recognition. People need to see that each person who makes the same or a similar contribution has an equal likelihood of receiving recognition for her efforts. For regularly provided employee recognition, organizations need to establish criteria for what makes a person eligible for the employee recognition. Anyone who meets the criteria is then recognized.

For example, if people are recognized for exceeding a production or sales expectation, anyone who goes over the goal gets the glory. Recognizing only the highest performer will defeat or dissatisfy all of your other contributors, especially if the criteria for employee recognition are unclear or based on the supervisor’s opinion.

For day-to-day employee recognition, you’ll want to set guidelines so leaders acknowledge equivalent and similar contributions. Each employee who stays after work to contribute ideas in a departmental improvement brainstorming session gets to have lunch with the department head, for example. Each employee who contributes to a customer sale deserves employee recognition, even the employee who just answered the phone; his actions set the sale in motion.

This guideline is why an employee of the month-type program is most often unsuccessful for effective employee recognition. The criteria for results and the fairness of the criteria are not clear to people. So, people complain about “brown-nosing points” and the boss’s “pet employees.” These employee recognition programs cause discontent and dissention when the organization’s intentions were positive. It’s one of my common management mistakes in managing people.

As an additional example, it is important to recognize all people who contributed to a success equally. A CEO I know perpetually announced employee recognition for major projects at the company holiday celebration. Without fail, he missed the names of several people who contributed to the success of the project. With the opportunity for public employee recognition past, employees invariably felt slighted by the post-banquet thanks – no matter how sincere.

Employee recognition approaches and content must also be inconsistent. Contradictory? No, not really. You want to offer employee recognition that is consistently fair, but you also want to make sure your employee recognition efforts do not become expectations or entitlements. As expectations, your employee recognition efforts become entitlements. Bad news.

For example, a company owner provided lunch for all staff every Friday to encourage team building and positive work relationships. All interested employees voluntarily attended the lunches. He was shocked when a group of employees asked him for reimbursement to cover the cost of the lunch on days they did not attend. I wasn’t shocked; the lunches had become an expected portion of their compensation and benefits package. Sincere recognition had turned into entitlement.

Inconsistency is encouraged in the type of employee recognition offered also. If employees are invited to lunch with the boss every time they work over-time, the lunch is an expectation. It is no longer a reward. Additionally, if a person does not receive the expected reward, it becomes a dissatisfier and negatively impacts the person’s attitude about work.

Be as specific as you can in telling the individual exactly why he is receiving the recognition. The work purpose of feedback is to reinforce what you’d like to see the employee do more of; the purpose of employee recognition is the same. In fact, employee recognition is one of the most powerful forms of feedback that you can provide. While “you did a nice job today” is a positive comment, it lacks the power of, “the report had a significant impact on the committee’s decision. You did an excellent job of highlighting the key points and information we needed to weigh before deciding. Because of your work, we’ll be able to cut 6% of the budget with no layoffs.”

Offer employee recognition as close to the event you are recognizing as possible. When a person performs positively, provide recognition and a thank you immediately. Since it’s likely the employee is already feeling good about her performance; your timely recognition of the employee will enhance the positive feelings. This, in turn, positively affects the employee’s confidence in her ability to do well in your organization.

Specific Ideas for Employee Recognition
Remember that employee recognition is situational. Each individual has a preference for what he finds rewarding and how that recognition is most effective for him. One person may enjoy public recognition at a staff meeting; another prefers a private note in her personnel file. The best way to determine what an employee finds rewarding is to ask.

Use the myriad opportunities for employee recognition that are available to you. In organizations, people place too much emphasis on money as the only form of employee recognition. While salary, bonuses, and benefits are critical within your employee recognition and reward system – after all, most of us do work for money – think more broadly about your opportunities to provide employee recognition.

Source:, June 2013
Author: Susan M. Heatfield
Interested to find out how employee recognition works out in your organisation? Read more about 3S here.

Eight words to avoid when selling

Posted in Aktuellt, Customer care / Kundvård, Försäljning / Sales on juni 27th, 2013 by admin

Over the two years, I’ve read hundreds of sales messages and heard dozens of sales presentations. Probably 90 percent of them are full of words that are both trite and ineffective.
Here are the worst offenders:

1. “Exciting”
There is no word more boring than the word “exciting.” Claiming that something is “exciting” tells everybody that it’s not. Instead, find something about your offering that actually excites the customer’s interest.

2. “Innovative”
Same here. I can’t remember ever hearing Apple claim to be innovative; they just are. That’s true of every company that actually innovates. For them, it’s just normal everyday behavior. They don’t have to point it out.

3. “Discount”
Let’s leave this tired old term back in the world where “But, wait! There’s more!” is state-of-the-art sales patter. Look, your stuff has a price and maybe you’ve got some flexibility. But offering a “discount”? How cheesy.

4. “Guarantee”
Everyone in the world who has an ounce of sense knows that a “guarantee” means absolutely nothing. “Guarantee” is just the word that people use when they’re too chicken to use a word that has some real legal muscle, i.e. “warrantee.”

5. “Honestly”
When this word comes out of your mouth, it makes everything else you’ve said so far seem like you were probably lying. Same thing goes for starting a sentence with “To tell the truth,…” Say whut? You’ve been BSing up until now?

6. “Collaborate”
How did this dreadful word get into the business vocabulary, anyway? Yes, you’ve got to work together with people to get stuff done, but “collaborate”? Hey, that’s what the Vichy France did with the Nazis.

7. “Opportunity”
This is the classic case of a word that sounds positive but carries a huge load of “it’s all about me.” Calling any sales situation an “opportunity” is telling the customer that you’re all about closing the deal. Just like any other opportunist.

8. “Quota”
On what planet does a customer care whether you make your numbers? Selling is all about helping the customer make the best decision…for the customer. When you’re selling, your quota should be the farthest thing from your mind.

Source:, 27 June 2013
Author: Geoffrey James
More information about the author here
How successful is your sales organisation? Read more about how we (3S) help you to identify your potential here

Det räcker inte att komma högt i Googles sökresultat på relevanta sökord

Posted in Aktuellt, Digitalisering / Internet on juni 26th, 2013 by admin

De tre första sökträffarna i Googles sökresultat får 62 procent av klicken, enligt en studie från Chitika.

Det räcker inte att komma högt i Googles sökresultat på relevanta sökord. Om du vill få många besökare bör din webbsida hamna bland de tre första träffarna. Första platsen får 32,5 procent av trafiken, andra platsen 17,6 procent och tredje platsen 11,4 procent, enligt studien från annonsnätverket Chitika.

Sedan avtar trafiken i snabb takt. Att ranka högt är helt avgörande för synligheten på webben.

Resultatet blir dock lite missvisande då navigeringssökningar står för en betydande del av trafiken för den första platsen. Det betyder att många skriver in en webbadress de redan känner till i Googles sökruta istället för att skriva in adressen i adressfältet.
Ser man till hela första sökresultatsidan vid en genomsnittlig sökning så genererar den 92 procent av all söktrafik.

Läs mer:

Källa: magazine., 26 juni 2013

Positivity Matters

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on juni 26th, 2013 by admin

Those who lead or manage others have the unique potential to serve as an energizing force within organizations today. With their position and collected experience, they have the ability to influence not only what transpires within our work lives, but how we process those moments. A leader’s view of a challenging situation, including the psychological vantage point or “mindset” they bring to bear upon a problem, can affect how we move forward. As such, understanding how leader behavior affects the attitudes and actions of team members, is of primary interest. There are many elements to consider as we evaluate strategies to effectively lead a group of individuals in today’s world of work — but, can positivity play a central role in enhancing a team’s outlook and performance outcomes? A growing body of evidence says, yes.

We have previously discussed how the tenets of positive psychology could serve as a guide to achieve greater levels of workplace happiness and eventual success. The movement, which stresses the identification of what is “right” within our work lives, advises building on the aspects of our work lives that help us garner strength and flourish. (Emphasizing our strengths, the celebration of successes). Akin to this theory, researchers are actively examining the impact of the construct Psychological Capital (PsyCap) in the workplace. PsyCap is comprised of a number of key “state like” psychological resources. (The “HERO” resources; Hope, Efficacy, Resilience and Optimism).

The HERO resources:
•Hope. A belief in the ability to persevere toward goals and find paths to reach them.
•Efficacy. The confidence that one can put forth the effort to affect outcomes.
•Resilience. The ability to bounce back in the face of adversity or failure.
•Optimism. A generally positive view of work and the potential of success.

It follows, that we should explore the potential impact of leader positivity and the associated behaviors on members of their team. Recent research has explored this dynamic, and has revealed that leader psychological capital can not only be significantly related to levels of follower psychological capital, but follower performance, as well. One explanation for these findings: positivity in the workplace can become somewhat “contagious”, through the process of modeling. An example of the classic research of Bandura (1977) (which posits social learning through role models) — leaders can help shape follower attitudes and behavior, by exhibiting strategies that reflect higher levels of key psychological resources (for example behaviors that reflect resilience and hopefulness.)

Going forward, it appears in our best interest to encourage leaders to not only strengthen their psychological resources, but outwardly express positivity — and provide model behaviors when interfacing with their employees. This in turn can enhance workplace well-being and the achievement of valued outcomes. Those leaders that “flex their positivity”, may indeed have the ability to change the tenor of the workplace.

Some implications:
• Leader selection & development. Organizations can readily assess the psychological resources possessed by candidates who will lead or manage the work of others. Furthermore, training opportunities for leaders can include the development of these resources (resilience and optimism, for example) and the expression of a positive mindset when interacting with their teams.
• Goal setting. Leaders with higher levels of psychological resources (such as hope), set more robust or challenging goals — and are highly motivated to accomplish such goals. These leaders are more likely to bend with adversity and deal with failure, in stride.
• Problem management. Exhibiting behaviors which express positivity when facing issues and obstacles can be critical. Leaders with stronger psychological resources are more likely to develop alternatives pathways to meet these obstacles — a skill that can be learned by followers.
• Performance feedback. Leaders can utilize the power of feedback to build needed resources. Pausing to note accomplishments, can build confidence, maintain energy and enhance self-efficacy.
• Psychological capital has universal benefits. The development of psychological capital within organizations should not exclusively focus upon leaders — but those in varying roles and levels. Employees at all levels, particularly those who interface with multiple employees, have the opportunity to serve as powerful role models.

Source:, 26 June 2013
Author: Dr. Maria Gottschalk
For more posts from Dr. Maria Gottschalk
For more reading about leadership
Fact Based Management about leadership – click here

Frustrerade vd:ar ser mörkt på framtiden

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on juni 24th, 2013 by admin

Som ordförande i världens största revisions- och konsultfirma PWC har Dennis Nally inblick i några av världens största organisationer. Ändå tog de dystra resultaten i årets globala vd-undersökning honom på sängen.

Årets globala vd-undersökning från PWC som presenterades på Davosmötet i början av året visar en ökad pessimism bland företagsledarna om det egna företagets möjligheter inför 2013. Skaran av utvalda på det nordiska eftersnacksmötet några månader senare på Grand Hôtel begränsas till 100 personer och media är inte välkomna. ”Det blir ett annat typ av samtal när ledarna inte behöver tänka på sina pratminus”, konstaterar Dennis Nally.

Vad har sjunkit in för dig sedan Davos-mötet?
– Jag hade förväntat mig att vd:arna i vår undersökning skulle vara mer positiva om 2013. Inför 2012 stod vi mitt i skuldkrisen i Europa, prat om budgetstup i USA, utmaningarna i Mellanöstern och ett kommande ledarskifte i Kina. I stort sett löpte 2012 sedan utan större överraskningar, därför hade jag väntat mig höjda förtroendesiffror.

Varför är vd:arna då mer pessimistiska om 2013?
– Svaren återspeglar en besvikelse. Alla har insett att återhämtningsperioden i den globala ekonomin kommer vara längre och långsammare än vad någon föreställt sig. Företagsledarna känner också stor frustration över allt som världens regeringar har att brottas med, stora statsskulder, budgetunderskott, nya lagar, regler, skatter som påverkar företagens miljö.

Hur kommer svaren se ut inför 2014?
– Många moln måste skingras, först och främst i eurozonen. Cypern påminner om hur snabbt allvarliga problem kan utvecklas. I Italien har valet skapat en minoritetsregering som kan få kämpa för att rösta igenom förslag. Sen har vi frågan med ledarskapet i Kina och den politiska osäkerhet som följer med de senaste händelserna i Nordkorea. Den ekonomiska tillväxten i början av 2013 är lägre än förväntat. Är det hållbart, en trend? Hur de här stora frågorna utvecklas kommer ha en dramatisk effekt på hur världens företagsledare ser på 2014 och framåt.

När tror du på en återhämtning i världsekonomin?
– Jag tror på en mycket långsammare återhämtning globalt än vad alla såg framför sig för två år sedan. Och att den långsamma tillväxten kommer att hålla i sig. Men det beror på var du befinner dig i. I USA förväntar sig bedömare nu en tillväxt på 2-3 procent, medan Spanien ser en negativ tillväxt under hela 2013.

I er vd-undersökning inför 2011 var frågan om att hitta rätt kompetens den allra viktigaste för vd:arna. Har man släppt fokus på det när så mycket annat överskuggar?
– Nej, företagsledarna skulle inte klara den långsamma tillväxten om de satte talangfrågan åt sidan. Kärnan är att tillväxten kommer från utvecklingsmarknaderna och om man frågar företagsledare om det finns tillräckligt med kompetens där säger de flesta nej. 77 procent planerar att göra påtagliga förändringar i sina kompetensstrategier under 2013.

PWC planerar en kraftig tillväxt bland annat på afrikanska marknader. Samtidigt är det där företagsledare oroar sig allra mest för att hitta rätt kompetens. Hur jobbar ni med frågan?
– Mycket mer med att få nuvarande anställda att bli mer mobila, till exempel genom att vara flexibla med långtids- och korttidskontrakt. Vi jobbar också med lokala regeringar och högskolor med att utveckla kompetens lokalt. Kompetensområdet kan inte hanteras av näringslivet, regeringar eller universiteten ensamma.

Vilka är de största förändringarna du sett i hur stora multinationella kunder jobbar idag jämfört med innan finanskrisen?
– De bästa tillväxtmöjligheterna har ju funnits på utvecklingsmarknader och även medelstora företag anpassar allt från forskning och utveckling till försäljning efter kunderna där. Vi har också många fler osäkerhetsfaktorer i världen. Historiskt sett var bolagsledningarna ovilliga att driva på affärer innan en situation hade klarnat. Idag vet man att om jag ska kunna konkurrera måste jag hela tiden röra mig framåt – och utmana.

Och mer specifika följder av finanskrisen?
– Finanskrisen innebär att man måste ta ett steg tillbaka och se vilka läxor vi kan lära oss. Jag tror inte att någon vill se det hända igen – varken företag, tillsynsmyndigheter, revisorer eller politiker. Förhoppningsvis lyckas vi vara kollektivt smarta kring vilka förändringar som måste genomföras.

För revisionsbranschen finns förändringsförslag, tydligast revisionspaketet i EU, om bland annat tvingad rotation av revisionsbolag och förbud mot rådgivning i andra frågor mot revisionskunder.
– Ja och liknande diskussioner pågår i USA, Storbritannien och Kina – över hela världen egentligen. Obligatorisk rotation tror vi inte höjer utan snarare drar ner kvaliteten på revisionen då kunskap försvinner när du byter leverantör. Vi vill istället fokusera på hur vi blir mer relevanta för kapitalmarknaderna. Investerare vill bland annat se fler kvalitativa kommentarer, inte bara godkänd eller icke.

Man pratar ju om rotation ganska sällan, vart 6:e år som oftast?
– Tidsintervallet spelar förstås en stor roll, men om du har en stor komplex organisation och kunskapen om hur den fungerar hela tiden går förlorad så löper du en risk att minska kvaliteten på revisionen. Bolagen har andra mekanismer som ska garantera oberoende, till exempel roteras ansvarig partner hos revisionsfirmorna för börsnoterade bolag. Och helt ärligt ska en välfungerande revisionskommitté kunna säkerställa att revisionsfirman är oberoende. Vilket problem är det man försöker lösa – är det verkliga oberoendefrågan eller hur det ser ut utåt?

Hur skulle det påverka en jätte som PWC om de här reglerna infördes?
– Vi känner oss ganska säkra på att vi skulle få vår del av affärerna ändå. Det handlar mer om processen och att vi inte tror att en sådan reform skulle höja kvaliteten på revisionen.

Borde och hur kan revisionsbolag ta ett större ansvar i att undvika företagsskandaler och kriser ?
– Det finansiella systemet, i vilket revisorer spelar en viktig roll, behöver återupprätta företroendet. Många av de reformer och regler som införts de senaste åren är viktiga steg. Utöver det kunde till exempel revisionen breddas till att inkludera bättre riskbedömning. Revisorskommittéernas roll kunde också stärkas. Vi förespråkar en mer frekvent dialog mellan revisorer och regulatorer på finansiella institutioner samt mellan revisorer och revisionskommittéer. Det skulle ge ytterligare möjligheter att höja flaggan kring risk.

Källa:, 24 juni 2013
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Tablets are producing high levels of engagement

Posted in Aktuellt, Digitalisering / Internet on juni 24th, 2013 by admin

Around the world, web users are surfing the internet on ever-more devices. A GlobalWebIndex survey of 180,000 web users in 31 countries found that as of Q1 2013, three out of five respondents accessed the internet on a mobile phone, and 22% used a tablet. That’s in addition to the steady percentage of internet users—about 93%—who’ve been using a personal desktop or laptop for the past couple of years.

Google continues to dominate as the leading web brand or app among both smartphone and tablet users, with 72% of smartphone users accessing Google sites or apps vs. 66% of tablet users doing the same. Facebook came in second, accessed by about half of smartphone and tablet users—while YouTube and Yahoo! ranked third and fourth, respectively. Where behavior began to diverge was in the higher incidence of tablet users accessing Amazon, Skype, MSN/Windows Live and Bing compared with smartphone users.

Amazon’s greater penetration rate among tablet users points to the device’s growing role in digital purchasing. While tablet users were actually 1 percentage point less likely to shop on the device when compared with mobile users, they were more likely than either mobile or PC users to review a product or brand in more depth, purchase an online service, use a group-buying website for a transaction, and even sell a product.

When it came to entertainment, the rank of activities was the same across devices. Watching a video clip was the most popular activity, followed by checking for information on music, leisure or entertainment, and then playing an online game.

Watching a TV show live and watching a full-length sports program were both relatively unpopular digital entertainment pursuits, though about one-quarter of both PC and mobile users still enagaged in these activities on their devices, as did an even greater one-third of tablet users.

While many have said that tablet behavior is more akin to desktop behavior than mobile, it’s beginning to look like the tablet may be a device unto itself. In general, tablets were more popular than PCs or mobile devices for most entertainment activities.

And while social networking is incredibly popular—used by more than six in 10 web users via PC, mobile and tablet—these sites have not yet fully supplanted webmail, which approximately 64% of internet users on each device accessed. The most popular place to use instant messenger was the mobile phone, while for most other activities, the tablet again held parity or trumped other devices’ engagement levels.

The findings suggest that the tablet’s unique features incline even more web users to engage with a wide variety of digital activities. But tablets are also still somewhat in the early stages of adoption worldwide; those who take up tablets before they are widely popular may also be the most digitally engaged consumers overall.

Source:, 24 June 2013

Beach front condo in Naklua, Pattaya, Thailand.

Posted in Thailand / Asia on juni 17th, 2013 by admin

Interested? Just drop me an email at

– 70 minutes from the airport.
– Very calm area with no bars or traffic.
– Private beach.
– Boutique building with large pool with beach view, gym and tennis.
– Two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
– Totally renovated, European style.

The do-or-die questions boards should ask about technology

Posted in Aktuellt, Digitalisering / Internet, Fact Based Management, Leadership / Ledarskap, Technology on juni 17th, 2013 by admin

Board members should raise nine critical questions when discussing technology strategy with IT and business managers.

Some organizations are creating new technology forums, building the expertise of corporate directors, and strengthening IT governance—all with the aim of allowing boards to guide management by asking the right questions about technology.1 But what are the right questions at a time when digital technologies are beginning to disrupt industries and mastering these technologies may be the key to long-term survival and success?

The particulars of each enterprise’s situation will, of course, determine the focus of the discussion and the detailed questions to ask. However, across industries, every corporate director—IT savvy or not—will benefit from reviewing the following questions as a starting point for shaping a fruitful conversation with management about what the company needs to do to become a technology winner.

1. How will IT change the basis of competition in our industry?
Technology is making boundaries between industries more porous and providing opportunities for attacker models. For example, in the banking industry, online consumer-payment products such as Square—a mobile app and device that enables merchants to accept payments—are challenging traditional payment solutions. Free Mobile, a French telecommunications attacker, has captured significant market share by offering inexpensive mobile voice and data plans, in part by offloading some of its traffic onto the home Wi-Fi access points used by its broadband customers.

For incumbents in many sectors, technology is becoming an arms race. Companies are harnessing technologies such as social media and location-based services to reinvent the customer experience and capture market share.

Questions to ask:
•Who are our emerging competitors?
•How is technology helping us win against traditional and new competitors?
•How can we use technology to enter new markets?

2. What will it take to exceed our customers’ expectations in a digital world?
Customers are being educated by e-commerce leaders like Amazon and Apple to expect an ultraconvenient experience, personalized in real time. Attackers in many industries are differentiating themselves from incumbents through convenience and service. Digital finance company Wonga, for example, settles loans in 15 minutes.

As a result, customer expectations are rising quickly. Simply meeting these enhanced expectations can be a major effort for organizations that were not born digital. For instance, retailers may need to step up their development of digital channels. Banks, insurers, and telecommunications players may need to automate end-to-end sales and service processes so that customers can interact with the company in real time in an error-free digital environment. The bar is high for delighting customers in a digital world. Often, doing so requires investment in sophisticated big-data capabilities that use social, location, and other data, for example, to attract potential customers to product promotions at stores in their vicinity.

Questions to ask:
•How does our customer experience compare with that of leaders in other sectors?
•What will our customers expect in the future, and what will it take to delight them?
•Do we have clear plans for how to meet or exceed their expectations?

3. Do our business plans reflect the full potential of technology to improve our performance?
Technology expenses can be high, but they are relatively small compared with their potential to boost the operating performance of the business. Technology can improve business performance by driving revenues (for example, by using big data for cross-selling in digital channels), reducing overall costs (for instance, by automating end-to-end processes), and lowering risk costs (for example, in insurance, by using social-media data to aid risk calculations). Technology can also have a negative impact on performance (for instance, by reducing margins given increased transparency about pricing in the market).

By seizing the opportunities and mitigating the threats, companies can dramatically improve their performance. One retailer has doubled revenue growth by investing in the digital channel. A bank is targeting a 10 percent reduction of operating costs through automation of end-to-end processes. Ultimately, the strategy that emerges from an assessment of opportunities and threats should be an integrated plan that shows how the business will beat the competition using information over a multiyear horizon, not simply a revised annual IT budget. With the right agreement on the scale and scope of the opportunity and threat, the level of investment in IT becomes an outcome rather than a constraint.

Questions to ask:
•Has the P&L opportunity and threat from IT been quantified by business unit and by market?
•Will our current plans fully capture the opportunity and neutralize the threat?
•What is the time horizon of these plans, and have they been factored into future financial projections for both business and IT?

4. Is our portfolio of technology investments aligned with opportunities and threats?
The portfolio should clearly reflect the business opportunities and threats at stake. It also needs to be dynamic—executives must avoid the temptation to reuse the allocations from the previous year’s budget without a close review. Companies should balance short-term P&L opportunities (for example, upgrading digital channels), medium-term platform investments (such as customer databases), and carefully chosen longer-term bets (for instance, piloting new, digitally enabled business models).

Regular, often quarterly, portfolio rebalancing is needed, as assumptions can change quickly. Many companies, for instance, recently cut investment in the Internet channel, as customers have switched to mobile apps. The portfolio should also be managed to keep execution risk in an acceptable range. On average, large IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time, while delivering 56 percent less value than predicted. These risks can be managed by monitoring the portfolio carefully and deploying effective processes that assure value will be created.2

Questions to ask:
•How well is our IT-investment portfolio aligned with business value with regard to opportunities and threats?
•How well does the portfolio balance short-term and long-term needs?
•Do we have effective value-assurance processes in place to mitigate execution risk?

5. How will IT improve our operational and strategic agility?
IT has a significant effect on operational business agility (for example, time to market for new products), as well as on strategic business agility (for instance, the ability to extract synergies from an acquired business or the ability to connect systems to a distribution partner).

Leading businesses are continually using IT to improve business agility. For example, one logistics operator has created a control room where the location and condition of assets such as rolling stock can be viewed in real time, enabling a swift response in the case of equipment failure.

Business agility is underpinned by the agility of the IT function itself—its ability to design and implement changes to systems rapidly at low cost and risk. IT agility can be increased by changing the systems landscape (for example, by reducing the number of systems), improving data quality (for instance, by creating enterprise data standards), optimizing IT delivery processes (for example, by applying lean-management techniques), and building flexibility into sourcing arrangements (for instance, by buying processing capacity on demand in the cloud).

Leading businesses measure and manage both business and IT agility, ensuring that the business can respond competitively.

Questions to ask:
•How does our business and IT agility measure up with that of our competitors?
•How do our IT plans increase our business and IT agility?
•Are our sourcing relationships increasing or reducing our agility?

6. Do we have the capabilities required to deliver value from IT?
Technology alone delivers no value. It’s the combination of a clear strategy, the right technology, high-quality data, appropriate skills, and lean processes that adds up to create value. Any weak link in this chain will lead to poor value delivery from IT.

For example, one telecommunications company introduced a new IT system to support cross-selling in stores but found that revenues didn’t increase until the quality of customer data was improved, staff were trained in how to have the right conversations with customers, and sales processes and incentives were realigned.

Leading organizations actively assess their capabilities in these dimensions and target their weak spots. One bank, for example, recently created a group data-services team to improve the quality of data across the enterprise.

In many sectors, a shortage of IT-literate talent in the business is creating a bottleneck. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of executives can, with the appropriate training, learn how to manage value from IT. But capability building must start at the top. Some companies have put their top 200 managers through IT boot camp as a way to start the process.

Questions to ask:
• Do we have the capabilities needed to drive full value from our existing IT systems?
• What are the weakest links in our capabilities?
• Do we have enough IT-literate executives?
• What is our plan for upgrading capabilities?

7. Who is accountable for IT and how do we hold them to account?
In most organizations, accountability is clear for functions such as finance and human resources. In HR, for example, performance can be tracked using a scorecard of intuitive business metrics such as attrition. But accountability for IT is not always so well-defined. So-called shadow IT functions—such as IT developers hired into the marketing department to build social-media apps—can sometimes be out of reach of the core IT function. The emergence of roles such as the chief digital officer and chief data officer can further confuse the picture. Moreover, the IT function can’t be held solely accountable for delivering value from IT. Lower process costs, for example, benefit business units and functions other than IT.

IT can also prove hard to measure. All too often, volumes of technical data are presented instead of a limited set of intuitive, business-relevant metrics. Measures of IT productivity or the bottom-line value delivered by IT are seldom available.

Leading organizations define a clear IT operating model, which determines exactly who is accountable for IT activities such as developing apps, managing data quality, or implementing IT solutions in business processes. The operating model must be aligned with business priorities. Centralized models dominate when cost or control is a priority, whereas businesses seeking growth and agility often adopt federalized IT structures. Whatever the model, IT leaders should be held accountable through scorecards that measure value delivered to the business in the form of efficiency, agility, and risk levels. Scorecards should be intuitive for even the least IT-savvy board member, and they should be aligned with executives’ incentives.

Questions to ask:
• What is our operating model for IT, and is it aligned with our business priorities?
• Who is accountable for delivering business value from IT—both overall and by activity?
• Are those accountable being measured using business-friendly scorecards that create the right incentives?

8. Are we comfortable with our level of IT risk?
Cybersecurity is a significant and growing IT issue. Every large company’s security has been breached, and most executives have a poor understanding of the risks. But cyberattacks are just one category of IT risk. A failure of a small software component can cost a company a lot of money in customer compensation. IT systems can also cause business-conduct risk—for instance, if automated recommendations to cross-sell products conflict with regulatory requirements.

Companies need a comprehensive system for managing IT risk that assesses the full range of risks (for example, hacking attacks, vendor failure, and technical failure) and addresses the root causes, which include redundant technology, incorrect policies, poor processes, and insufficient oversight.

Questions to ask:
• Do we have a comprehensive understanding of the IT risks we face?
• How is our level of IT risk measured, and is it aligned with the company’s overall risk appetite?
• How are we reducing our IT risk on an ongoing basis?
• Who is responsible for overseeing the level of IT risk?

9. Are we making the most of our technology story?
IT is already on the minds of analysts, customers, regulators, and shareholders, and interest will rise as enterprises become increasingly digital. In many industries, digital is likely to become the predominant sales channel. Companies should therefore be ready to communicate their IT strategies externally.

Questions to ask:
• What are the key messages we should communicate?
• How, when, and to whom should they be communicated?

Source: McKinsey Quaterly, June 2013
Author: Paul Willmott
About the author: Paul Willmott is a director in McKinsey’s London office.

How to build a teamwork culture

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on juni 11th, 2013 by admin

Fostering teamwork is creating a work culture that values collaboration. In a teamwork environment, people understand and believe that thinking, planning, decisions and actions are better when done cooperatively. People recognize, and even assimilate, the belief that “none of us is as good as all of us.” (High Five)

It’s hard to find work places that exemplify teamwork. In America, our institutions such as schools, our family structures, and our pastimes emphasize winning, being the best, and coming out on top. Workers are rarely raised in environments that emphasize true teamwork and collaboration.

Organizations are working on valuing diverse people, ideas, backgrounds, and experiences. We have miles to go before valuing teams and teamwork will be the norm.

You can, however, create a teamwork culture by doing just a few things right. Admittedly, they’re the hard things, but with commitment and appreciation for the value, you can create an overall sense of teamwork in your organization.

Create a Culture of Teamwork
To make teamwork happen, these powerful actions must occur.
Executive leaders communicate the clear expectation that teamwork and collaboration are expected.
No one completely owns a work area or process all by himself. People who own work processes and positions are open and receptive to ideas and input from others on the team.

•Executives model teamwork in their interaction with each other and the rest of the organization.
They maintain teamwork even when things are going wrong and the temptation is to slip back into former team unfriendly behavior.

The organization members talk about and identify the value of a teamwork culture.
If values are formally written and shared, teamwork is one of the key five or six.

•Teamwork is rewarded and recognized.
The lone ranger, even if she is an excellent producer, is valued less than the person who achieves results with others in teamwork. Compensation, bonuses, and rewards depend on collaborative practices as much as individual contribution and achievement.

•Important stories and folklore that people discuss within the company emphasize teamwork.
(Remember the year the capsule team reduced scrap by 20 percent?) People who “do well” and are promoted within the company are team players.

•The performance management system places emphasis and value on teamwork.
Often 360 degree feedback is integrated within the system.

Tips for Team Building
Do you immediately picture your group off at a resort playing games or hanging from ropes when you think of team building? Traditionally, many organizations approached team building this way. Then, they wondered why that wonderful sense of teamwork, experienced at the retreat or seminar, failed to impact long term beliefs and actions back at work.

I’m not averse to retreats, planning sessions, seminars and team building activities – in fact I lead them – but they have to be part of a larger teamwork effort. You will not build teamwork by “retreating” as a group for a couple of days each year. Think of team building as something you do every single day.
•Form teams to solve real work issues and to improve real work processes. Provide training in systematic methods so the team expends its energy on the project, not on figuring out how to work together as a team to approach it.

•Hold department meetings to review projects and progress, to obtain broad input, and to coordinate shared work processes. If team members are not getting along, examine the work processes they mutually own. The problem is not usually the personalities of the team members. It’s the fact that the team members often haven’t agreed on how they will deliver a product or a service or the steps required to get something done.

•Build fun and shared occasions into the organization’s agenda. Hold pot luck lunches; take the team to a sporting event. Sponsor dinners at a local restaurant. Go hiking or to an amusement park. Hold a monthly company meeting. Sponsor sports teams and encourage cheering team fans.

•Use ice breakers and teamwork exercises at meetings. I worked with an organization that held a weekly staff meeting. Participants took turns bringing a “fun” ice breaker to the meeting. These activities were limited to ten minutes, but they helped participants laugh together and get to know each other – a small investment in a big time sense of team.

•Celebrate team successes publicly. Buy everyone the same t-shirt or hat. Put team member names in a drawing for company merchandise and gift certificates. You are limited in teamwork only by your imagination.

Take care of the hard issues above and do the types of teamwork activities listed here. You’ll be amazed at the progress you will make in creating a teamwork culture, a culture that enables individuals to contribute more than they ever thought possible – together.

Source:, June 2013
More about teamwork here

Planera för framtiden, för det är där Du kommer att tillbringa resten av Din tid …

Posted in Aktuellt, Lectures / Föreläsningar on juni 11th, 2013 by admin

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