Thursday, December 28, 2017

How to Be Truly Innovative

Have you ever considered why you need water to mop a floor?
If so, you may have thought that the water doesn’t really help clean the floor – it just turns the dirt into mud. Mud that then must be cleaned from the mop.
That’s exactly what a small research design team realized when Proctor and Gamble directed them to explore how, when and why people mop their kitchen floors.
Not only did mopping floors with water mean more time was actually spent cleaning the mop than cleaning the floor – but better mops required even more mud cleaning from the implement.
That’s when the research team questioned P&G engineers: Isn’t there something better to clean up the dirt? Their answer: dry cleaning cloths that use electrostatic forces to pick up dust – no water necessary.
The Swiffer was born. The disposable pads and the tool to hold them have made the company billions of dollars.
“It was solving the right problem – a problem that P&G didn’t even know existed,” says Thomas Lockwood, who has a PhD in design management. The Swiffer development is one of the stories he explores with Edgar Pike in “Innovation By Design: How Any Organization Can Leverage Design Thinking to Produce Change, Drive New Ideas and Deliver Meaningful Solutions.
Solving the right problem, Lockwood explains, is the first tenet to design thinking. So is a deep understanding of the user through observation (read more here)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Are You Confused About Your Company's Identity?

Testing personal DNA has become quite popular, with many people trying to figure out exactly who they are – their country of origin, their race and even if what they’ve been told all their lives about their heritage is true.
Andy Cunningham says that companies need to do the same thing. Of course, an organization can’t send in a saliva sample for testing, but there are other ways to determine a company’s DNA.
That’s important, she says, because too many companies don’t have an accurate read on their DNA and so fail to correctly position themselves in the marketplace – and customersinstantly sniff out their lack of authenticity and turn away from it.
“It’s just like if you sometimes ask someone what they’re good at, they don’t really know,” Cunningham says. “Well, companies (read more here)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

4 Signs That You're A Toxic Boss

There has been much written lately about sexual assaults and sexual discrimination in the workplace, and many people have lost their jobs because of it.

But that doesn't mean abuse of workers has been stopped or that all bad bosses are going to be shown the door.

There are still plenty of bad bosses out there, doing their damage in workplaces both big and small. These bosses are the ones who belittle employees. They are snide, rude and often are very consumed with their own self-worth. They are emotionally immature and overconfident of their abilities. 

What this means is that they could care less about an employee who may be struggling with a personal problem or having difficulties with a work project. These bosses are so determined to succeed that they put any empathy on the back burner and instead focus on their own self worth. In fact, these bad bosses are probably not being held accountable for their despicable behavior because they are delivering results.

While there are signs that more companies are not willing to tolerate such toxic bosses, getting rid of them isn't going to happen overnight. But change is coming. So, if you're in a management role, it's time you assessed your own behavior to determine if you need to improve. 

Signs you may be a bad boss include:

·        Making someone feel small. “Good try,” or “I didn’t expect you to be able to handle that,” are not encouraging, but focus on weaknesses.
·        Remaining silent. By withholding information or feelings, it becomes impossible to have an open and meaningful relationship with others.
·       Making personal judgments.  If you judge the individual, and not the performance, then you make yourself look like a big shot, while making the other person seem worthless.
·        Trivializing. You forget to show up for an appointment with an employee, cut off a conversation with “that’s enough” or dismiss some important personal event in an employee’s life. That makes the person feel a keen lack of respect.

      Over the holiday break, take time to assess whether the behavior you show at work would be tolerated by your friends or family. If not, it could be time to make some changes so that your toxic behavior is left behind.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Top Supply Chain Trends for 2018

Remember a few years ago when you paid extra to have something delivered in two days?
That’s no longer the case, and now companies like Amazon offer same-day delivery on a wide variety of items.
This focus on making faster deliveries to the customer at no additional charge is changing the way that supply chains operate – and more changes are expected in 2018 as companies ramp up their focus on customers, says Brian Hodgson, executive vice president of business development at MP Objects.
“Retailers are transforming their supply chains in two ways: building stronger and more integrated relationships with suppliers; and changing their distribution network to be closer to their customers,” he says.
He explains the stronger relationships with suppliers provides the ability to offer a broader catalog without carrying the inventory. At the same time, more advanced integration can enable the retailer to decide whether the shipment is sent from the supplier or its warehouse based on inventory, consumer proximity and transportation costs, he says.
“With respect to the distribution network, in addition to leveraging suppliers, retailers are moving fulfillment close to the consumers, and often will leverage third-party logistics companies for this coverage,” he says.
He adds that retailers also will require a broader carrier mix to cover (read more here)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Doing This One Thing Will Give You a Professional Edge

When you were growing up, your teacher or your mom probably made you write thank-you notes. You hated it. You vowed when you grew up, you would never, never, never, never write another thank-you note.

So, you didn't. You didn't send a thank-you note when Aunt Nancy sent you a graduation gift. You didn't send a thank-you note when you got married and people gave you a bunch of cool stuff.

This "no thank-you note policy" may make sense to you. You might say "thank you" the next time you see Aunt Nancy (which is good enough), or you may believe that if the gift-giver really cares about the giving, then you shouldn't have to send a thank-you note.

You're not writing a thank-you note. Discussion over.

OK, I'll go along. You don't have to write a thank-you note in your private life if you don't want to -- even if I do believe you sound like a spoiled ingrate. That's your business.

When it comes to your professional life, however, I'm going to advise you to write thank-you notes. Here's the reason why:

  • It shows you're mature. 
  • It shows you have emotional intelligence.
  • It shows you're not an ingrate.
  • It makes a good impression.
Writing thank-you notes can be difficult for some people, but if you Google "how to write thank-you notes," more than 7 million results pop up. That means you can jot off a thank-you note in about five minutes and earn yourself a lot of goodwill from clients, colleagues, mentors and bosses.

Believe me, it makes a difference. People have become so lazy about writing thank-you notes that when you do, it will stand out. It will impress the boss. It will impress a hiring manager. It will impress a potential client.

The bottom line: Show more appreciation in your professional life, and more appreciation is likely to be shown for you.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Research Reveals New Insight About Workaholics

Many people have turned to mindfulness or meditation or yoga as a way to deal with the stresses of their careers. They believe that if they don't want to drop dead at their desks, then they need to figure out ways to let their workplace worries go. (Overwork, research shows, can lead to insomnia, anxiety, headaches, stomach ailments, etc.)

But there are also people who love what they do, and don't mind how many hours they spend doing it. Such people often are called workaholics, and friends and loved ones predict such people will, undoubtedly, drop dead doing their jobs.

Or will they?

New research is presented in a paper called "Beyond Nine to Five: Is Working to Excess Bad for Your Health?" has some interesting findings, such as:

  • Working long hours doesn't wreck your health. As researchers note, not all workaholics work long hours, and working long hours doesn't make you a workaholic. Some of those who work long hours, for example, can recharge after a good night's sleep and not risk becoming ill.
  • Being compulsive can hurt you. If you can't switch off work, you risk health problems. Tossing and turning all night as you think about your job means that your body isn't getting the rest that it needs and that can lead to physical problems.
  • Not all workaholics are created the same. If you're a workaholic and don't like your job, your risk of developing poor health increases. But if you're a workaholic that loves what you do, then you stay healthy.
  • Support helps. If you're a workaholic that really is engaged and passionate about what you do and you have support from a spouse, friend or colleague, then that's a real advantage. Such workaholics were found to have better communication skills and better time management and didn't ruin their health.
Researchers stress that there can be real long-term health consequences for those working long hours who don't like what they do and are not engaged or enthusiastic. They say that time for recovery is critical, as is finding balance and getting support.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

8 Ways to Create Greater Workplace Happiness

On a scale of one to 10, how happy are the employees in your organization?
If your answer is “seven” then you’re right in line with the answer given by most CEOs.
“Seven is an interesting number,” says Kris Boesch, an workplace culture expert. “It’s representative of ‘we’re doing okay, not great’ or ‘I really don’t know.’ You’re confident that no one is going to go postal. Overall you have a good group of people who get along well enough. There are some areas that could use improvement. It’s a ‘safe’ number.”
But Boesch says no one should be thrilled with such an assessment, because when employees are happier, the bottom line is healthier.
Further, don’t try to defend your culture to Boesch by claiming that your workers are “satisfied” or “engaged.”
“That’s a pretty low bar to try and hit. Would you be thrilled to say that your clients are ‘satisfied’? And what is engaged? I don’t really know (read more here)

Monday, December 4, 2017

5 Reasons to Attend the Office Holiday Party That You May Not Have Considered

Have you started plotting your excuse to get out of the holiday party yet?

You've got malaria.

Your dog ate all your clothes.

Your great-grandmother is expected to die on the day of the party. (Even though she died before you were born).

Some people truly dread the office holiday celebration, for a bunch of different reasons. I don't really care why you don't want to go (believe me, I've had my share of reasons), but it's important that you attend.

Since I know that you can come up with many reasons why you don't want to go and shouldn't have to, I'm going to give you the reasons you must attend:

1.  Everyone will talk about you if you don't go. And it won't be nice.

2. You will miss the boss wearing an ugly holiday sweater that his Nana made for him 10 years ago. It's not meant to be ironic, by the way.

3. You won't be in any photos that will be posted on Facebook talking about what a great time was had by everyone. While the enjoyment factor may not have truly been outstanding, your absence will be noted by senior managers. (This is not a good thing).

4. The elusive IT guy you've been trying to reach for three months to fix a bug in a key client's system is at the party, and feeling very open to conversation. You missed him reciting "Oh Captain! My Captain! near the dessert table, and also therefore failed to nab his cooperation to fix a big problem for you.

5. After your boss's boss led a conga line, she was in such a jovial mood that she revealed the next big project the company  is working on. This led to her setting up future appointments with those in her conga line so that she could discuss potential assignments more in-depth during the workweek. You failed to make the party, the conga line -- and a chance to get in on a big, new exciting project that could pay off for your career.

Instead of thinking up excuses of why you don't want to attend the holiday party, think of all the things you want to accomplish this next year, and how interactions at the holiday party could go a long way in helping you achieve them. New projects, better collaboration with other departments, boosting your reputation with senior leaders -- and getting to see the ugliest holiday sweater ever -- should spur you into attending.

Have fun!