Here’s to Success in the New Year!

No matter how you ended up your year, one thing is for sure. You can improve in 2018. If you’re coming off a good year, next year can be even better. If things didn’t go so well, you can change direction and strive for success. For many, the improvement will only come with change. Change a habit or two, change some behaviors, and you can change the outcomes.

Of course, we’re quite familiar with the coincidence of the beginning of the year with “resolutions” for change, often in the areas of health, fitness, and diet. But what if you are looking to make changes in your life that will affect your business success?

Fortunately, if there is one thing the internet is famous for, that would be information on the habits of successful people, winners, good bosses, killer entrepreneurs or just about any category you can think of.

Here are a selection of suggestions I’ve found – and they’re all good!

You might want to start by looking at an area that we don’t always think of as productive – sleep. It might seem that it’s hard to succeed while you’re snoozing, but examining the sleep habits of successful people, it’s pretty easy to see that getting 5 – 8 hours of sleep, and waking between 5 AM and 7 AM is characteristic of success.

If you think Mark Twain was a smart guy, and you should, take his advice and tackle your toughest task first thing in your work day. He referred to it as “eating a frog” but we get the meaning. The eating the frog concept is reprised in this list of 11 Ways Successful People Start Their Mornings, along with some other good day-starters, like keeping and reviewing a “to-don’t” list, and kissing your partner goodbye.

Apparently, wealthy people agree that watching TV (especially reality TV shows!) is a bad idea. And they like to read, although they tend to focus on self-improvement rather than reading for entertainment. And among the challenges successful folks learn to overcome (or ignore) are age, fear and other peoples’ opinions! Watch your mouth (!) could certainly be an anthem for success, as there are lots of opinions about what successful people never say (example: no gossiping).

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll gain the habits of focus, perseverance and leaning when to cut your losses. Other entrepreneurial tricks – warning some of these are radical – include going for a hike, getting rid of your smartphone, and “thinking binary”.

The lists are nearly endless (including this last gem) and the nine references I’ve provided today include dozens of things you can put into practice (or strive to avoid). The best advice I can give you is to choose two or three that you know deep inside would help you the most, and get started.

Have a great year!

Take This Challenge – See Your Future!

recent HBR article provides the backdrop for a challenge I would like to suggest to anyone who feels the pressure to envision the future of their organization – and if you aren’t feeling this pressure, you should be.

John Boudreau, USC Marshall School of Business professor, Research Director for the school’s Center for Effective Organizations, and well-respected management expert, examines the future of work as it evolves along two axes, neither of which are speculative, as we are seeing transitions on both fronts in nearly every field of business and commerce.

The first measurement index is the degree of “Democratization of Work”, influenced and indicated by the extent to which a workplace sees a reconfiguration of social and organization relationships and foundations, the wide expansion of the talent market as it becomes both easier and more acceptable to employ workers without traditional geographical and even cultural constraints, and the nearly ubiquitous connectability that has come about in the past decade, leading to far more communication and collaboration, teamwork and shared leadership. The second measure is the degree of “Technological Empowerment” which builds on the connectability already mentioned and also includes the logarithmic explosion in technology development – think robots, self-driving (autonomous) vehicles, wearable devices, and the ability to connect almost any device to any other (the IoT). Add in the interface of humans and automated devices that characterizes the gains we see in the world of Artificial Intelligence and you begin to get the picture, and an amazing picture it is (for most of us)!

The quadrant graph that emerges is thus one in which the status quo represents the core block, and, as titled by Boudreau, the work that evolves through increased democratization is “Work Reimagined” and that which emerges from greater development and implementation of technology is “Work, Turbo Charged”

So here’s your challenge. Imagine first that nothing changes technologically, but that you can expand the work you do and the people you reach by accessing new, global platforms, increasing project-based work, connecting and utilizing freelancers, contract workers, part-timers and consultants and even using contest or crowd-sourced methods to define some or all of what you do. What would your new “Reimagined” workplace look like? How could you be more successful than you are today? What changes would these novel approaches bring to your compensation systems, your hiring processes, your bottom line? This will give you an idea of what “Work, Reimagined” might look like at your company.

Now, assume that nothing changes in the structure, composition, and deployment of your workforce, but you have access to supportive technology like never before and can employ cloud-based training, effective remote supervision and monitoring, local devices and smart device based apps to support your workers’ efforts and your overall ability to manage those efforts. You are beginning to get a glimpse of what a “Turbocharged Today” might look like for you.

If you really want to get excited, combine the two approaches. Technological advances, coupled with a new democratization of work structures usually go hand in hand, and have a synergistic effect on one another. Boudreau calls this collective, evolving space the “Uber Empowered” workplace in which both the type of work arrangements and the technologies employed are advancing together. Can you imagine how that would play out in your work-space?

Be assured that some of your competitors are engaging in just such efforts as I have been describing and that some of them are using the vision and insights that result from these exercises to strategically plan what the future of their company (and your industry) will look like. I hope you will too!

The World’s Most Innovative Companies – So What?

Forbes business magazine publishes an annual list which they call The World’s Most Innovative Companies. The rankings are based on what is called the “innovation premium” which compares market cap and the value of cash flows from their existing businesses to measure the bonus points that savvy investors might give to their belief that the companies will continue to grow and be profitable. You can read more about the process elsewhere, it’s not necessary that you totally understand how the numbers are derived to appreciate that thought and science (and math) go into the rankings.

The list includes companies that most of us are familiar with, like Amazon, Under Armour, and Coca-Cola. There are also a lot of companies that are not household words, like Incyte, FleetCor Technologies, and Perrigo. My quick read of the list convinced me that I didn’t know nearly 60% of them!

The important thing about a list like this is, what’s in it for me? You may have some thoughts on what you could do with a list of highly innovative companies, but here’s my plan. I am going to visit the company websites – you can learn a lot from seeing what other businesses promote through their web presence, how they encourage current and potential customers or business partners to connect with them, and the attention they pay to this very public face. I am going to follow these companies Twitter feeds, again to get insights into good social media practices and also to find practical tips and wisdom which I expect will be present in their messaging. I am going to find people in my LinkedIn communities that work for companies on this list and invite conversations with them to ask about their “internal perspective” on working for highly innovative corporations. Finally, I am going to realize that even though it’s pretty likely my own business may never make it to this lofty list, there is plenty I can do to improve, by learning from the winners!

You can access the current Forbes Most Innovative Companies list right here.

Just Don’t Do THAT!

After having read somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 versions (you think I am kidding, oh no) of articles titled “X Things You Shouldn’t Do on Social Media”, I feel relatively qualified to make my own Top 10 List. Truth be told, I could probably make a Top 100 list, but the purpose is to inform and entertain, not to put anyone to sleep. So, herewith is my list of the Top Ten Things Businesses Should Avoid Doing on Social Media!

Ask for something, or try to sell something too soon:

It is a cardinal rule in the Social Media universe that you engage and build trust with your audience first, before you try to turn them into customers or supporters. Even when trust is established, a good rule for your Social Media should be 60% education, 30% information, and 10% commerce.

Buy followers, likes or plus 1s:

Yes, there are companies who will “sell” you hundreds of followers. At best you will waste a lot of money to get new followers who aren’t paying any attention to you, and never convert into customers or supporters. At worst, legitimate followers will figure out what you are doing and you will lose credibility with the people who really count.

Criticize the Competition:

The best plan is usually not to mention your competition at all, unless you are working out a partnership or collaborative effort. Otherwise, talk all you want about what makes you special but never speak ill of your competitors.


Sharing and curating content is a legitimate strategy on Social Media, so go ahead and post that link to a well written article, blog post, or web resource. Just don’t use content without attribution and never post what someone else has written as if it were your own. I was getting daily commentary from a connection on LinkedIn that was pretty good stuff. Then one day he posted something that sounded just too familiar to me, and I found that he had published, without any editing or changing, an article I had read that very morning from someone else. Now curious, I went back and looked at several of the articles this guy had written previously, and, sure enough, every single one of them  had been ripped off from somewhere else. I sent this information to LinkedIn, and guess who isn’t on that platform any more?

Participate Without Measuring Impact:

There are many tools to help measure the ROI on your Social Media activity. Some are free, some are built into the platform, and you can pay for services as well. Or you can just keep your own statistics on whether your latest Tweets about a new service correlate with increased sales, or an online discussion of your nonprofit’s need appears to stimulate more donations. In any event, use some form of measurement and check often.

Cross the Controversy Gap:

My mother always said that there were three things you shouldn’t discuss in polite company; religion, politics, and money. This is good advice for your Social Media presence as well. Of course, if you are a financial services firm you will talk about money, or if you are a religious fellowship you are going to talk about your own belief systems. But if any of these topics is not directly related to your product, your process or your mission, stay away!

Post too often:

There are plenty of resources that recommend posting frequency. 4 or 5 Tweets per day, 1 or 2 postings on Facebook, 2 to 4 blog posts per week. Pay attention to these limits. If you consistently overdo it, you will find your followers dropping you, or at the very least they will start ignoring your messages.

Delete negative remarks:

If you allow comments to your blog posts, or otherwise solicit feedback from readers, you should expect negative feedback from time to time. Don’t run away from this, and don’t delete negative responses unless they are clearly trolling efforts. Face your critics, explain your position when appropriate, and move on. Arguing with a critic is rarely a good idea.

Misspell words, use poor grammar or otherwise write badly:

If you aren’t naturally good at writing well, spelling correctly, and using words as they were meant, make sure everything you post is proofread by at least two others before you let the world see it.

Work without a plan:

This of course could, and probably should be at the top of the list, because no business should even begin to use Social Media without first creating a strategy. What platforms should we be on to reach our customers? Who is in charge? How much time can we invest in SM? Of course, if you are already online, the time to slow down for a minute and create your plan is right now.

And now that I’ve given you some good education and information, I will add that Innovaision can help your business create a great Social Media Strategy. Contact us if you’d like to talk about how we can help!


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