Wednesday, March 29

Boss vs. Leader 

This just in from John Williamson in the UK:
I've just come across these words by H. Gordon Selfridge and thought I'd share them with you:

The boss drives his men: the leader coaches them.

The boss depends upon authority; the leader on goodwill.

The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.

The boss says 'I'; the leader says 'we'.

The boss says 'Get here on time'; the leader gets there ahead of time.

The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.

The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how.

The boss makes work a drudgery; the leader makes work a game.

The boss says 'Go'; the leader says 'Let's go.'

In my opinion, sometimes you have to be 'the boss' and sometimes you have to be 'the leader'. A lot depends upon the kind of business and the type of manpower resources you have to work with. What has been your experiences, what do you think?

Thursday, March 23

Ready for a Flood of Talent? 

Management consultant Roger Herman says there's one on the way, as top execs start to eye smaller pastures

Over the next several years, small-business owners will have access to top talent -- and they won't have to pay exorbitant salaries to get them. Or so says Roger Herman, a certified management consultant based in Greensboro, N.C., and the publisher of the Herman Trend Alert, a weekly e-newsletter that identifies business trends.


Wednesday, March 22

Innovation/Discovery Teams 

Also known as "innovation teams," Invention/Discovery Teams are small groups of carefully selected, cross-functional professionals, often assisted by a creativity specialist. They work intensely for a relatively brief time on promising initiatives commissioned by senior management. If sponsored properly, they are well supported in their efforts and given priority treatment. As the name implies, the major goal of I/DTs is the invention and/or discovery of potential new products, services, programs, and technologies.

The I/DT is positioned as a fast track vehicle for innovation, and as such, it can be an important element in a corporation’s "portfolio" of innovation strategies. These portfolios may include:

Research & Development Laboratories: These are viewed as the standard pillars of creativity and innovation. R&D labs, however, have many roles in today’s business environment. These include new research, developing concepts suggested by other functions (e.g., marketing), and "fixing" existing products or product ideas. Some research indicates that only about 19% of viable new product ideas have their source in R&D.

Advanced Concepts Teams: These may be special teams within R&D or they may be separate entities. The challenge for these teams is to explore the frontiers of their domains in order to discover and develop cutting edge concepts and technologies.

Expeditionary Teams: Often composed of top executives or of individuals who report directly to the top, these teams could also be called "discovery and acquisition" groups. Their chief function is to scan the horizon for newly developed product ideas and/or small companies with great potential, either of which their larger company might acquire.

Skunk Works: Based on archetypal teams at Apple and Lockheed Martin, these research groups may be large versions of the Advanced Concept Team with the added dimension that they often work in almost complete secrecy. While advanced concept work may focus on "pure" science, skunk works often have very concrete business objectives that would provide their companies with a competitive edge in dynamic markets.

Consumer Science: These days, this initiative can go far beyond focus groups and surveys. Using ethnographic research or "empathic design," these teams are often the prompters, if not the sources, of new concepts.2 Their function is to conduct in-depth investigations into the needs of consumers; as such, they represent the tips of the organization’s antennae. Combined with a good information infrastructure and an aggressive intellectual property department, consumer science offers an important complement to the other initiatives.

Empowered Personal Research: Pioneered by innovative giants such as 3M, this approach allows and encourages individuals to use some portion of their work time (5-15%) for personal investigations that could lead to new concepts. Individuals are usually given autonomy in their efforts, although there may be overarching mandates for productivity and/or benefits programs that provide incentives for prompt idea development.

Grass Roots Innovation Networks (GRINs): Self-organized by individuals interested in investigating and developing their creativity, GRINs are usually unauthorized, although they may receive some managerial encouragement. These "study groups" connect by e-mail, intranets and brown bag lunch meetings. Some receive a small amount of money or support for speakers or workshops. Examples of such groups include DuPont’s "Oz Network," 3M’s "Grass Roots Innovation Team," and Rohm & Haas’s "All Thinks Considered."

Which of these does YOUR organization have in place?

Friday, March 10

Fundamentals of sales value 

Many issues contribute to your professional value. The fundamentals behind your professional value likely begin with the following:

Externally (among your prospects & customers)
1. How well you and your product/ service help them meet their perceived need
2. The level to which your customers & prospects enjoy working with you

Internally (within your company)
3. Meeting & exceeding sales goals (dollars & units)
4. Meeting & exceeding activity goals
5. Your intangible contribution to your team (attitude-based: do others find you helpful, inspiring, a pleasure to work with, etc.)
6. Your level of expertise on your own product/ service and industry

Tuesday, March 7

Send a letter! 

From Karen Post, the Branding Diva:

"Don’t underestimate the power of a letter. As a speaker, author and consultant I constantly look for the most effective ways to market and expose my services. Six months ago I decided to approach top business publications about writing a guest column. I selected 10 magazines. I wrote one letter, included writing samples and suggestive topics for stories. Within 2 weeks received an email from Fast Company indicating their interest and a contact person I should follow up with. This one letter secured me a writing contract, a monthly column, added credibility and already several other big income generating assignments. When you think you see a good opportunity, act on it today. Be proactive. Send a letter."

Karen Post, www.brandingdiva.com

I'm outta here! 

Research shows that while employees can live indefinitely without a corner office, perks, or even assigned parking, the one thing they can't go without for long is recognition. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) statistics show that 79 percent of people who leave their jobs cite lack of appreciation as one of the key reasons. That's not a few nuts, but 8 out of every 10 people who walk out the door are saying they didn't feel acknowledged by their boss.

For leaders, that puts turnover in a whole new light. It makes it personal. Employees aren't always leaving for more money. They often leave in search of a supervisor who recognizes their achievements.

Dr. John Sullivan, a researcher on employee motivation, has tracked the difference in salary between what former employees were paid at their old jobs and what they earned at their new firms. Says John, "The average salary differential was a little more than five percent."

Five percent! With taxes, that's maybe two more trips to Starbucks a month. And for the tall not the grande.

Few people will leave a great workplace for that kind of increase. But people do leave for good managers who provide them with challenges, opportunities and (most importantly) confirmation that they make a difference, supported by recognition and rewards. We love a quote by one of our heroes, Mary Kay Ash, the founder of the cosmetics giant. She said, "There are two things employees want more than sex and money: recognition and praise."

Friday, March 3

Get your book BOOKED on TV! 

You've spent countless hours writing the book---but the media won't even read your press release. It's a common problem.

Getting booked to talk about your book on TV doesn't have to be as difficult as some authors make it.

So, here are five steps to becoming a guest that even some PR pros don't know:

Become a student of the news. Is the news media covering a story that relates to your book? You need to sell what the news is buying. A Dallas businessman, Jim Halperin, wrote a novel about cryonics several years ago. And yet every time the subject of freezing yourself comes up, he successfully books himself on the morning television talk shows to talk about his book. In fact, when controversy broke out last summer about legendary baseball player Ted Williams being frozen, Halperin was successful in getting national attention for his novel, The First Immortal.

Perhaps the most common mistake even some PR pros make is trying to sell a good book to the wrong show. Before you call a TV station, start watching their morning show. Do they interview authors? Is there a regular segment featuring books each morning at the same time? Don't pick up the phone or send a news release until you know the answers to these questions.

If I were going to pitch a morning show producer, I'd start out by complimenting them on their program. I'd say something like; "I'm constantly amazed how you fill the show with such interesting guests. You have a great team in the mornings. I have a book that I think your hosts, Bill and Jane, would love!"

If I were going to send a press release to a morning show producer, I'd write the kind of headline that a newspaper would run. And I'd make the rest of the release so conversational that a TV anchor could read it right on the air. Why is this so important? Most major market newsrooms get hundreds of press releases every day. Often the decision on whether to cover your story is made in a matter of seconds. Many times that well-crafted sentence in the third paragraph of your press release is never read.

The holidays are the slowest "news times" of the year. When government offices are closed, so are most of our sources. Take advantage of it. In fact, take out your calendar and begin circling government holidays. If the government isn't making news, we reporters are scrambling to find something to cover. Pitch even an average story on a day when the media is starving for news, and you're much more likely to get coverage. There you go. Now you're armed with knowledge that even some well-paid public relations professions don't practice. If your idea is timely, and pitched to the right person when the supply of news is running thin, you're in!

Want more help with building your business around your books?

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