January 01, 2013 11:46:17 AM by
At the end of the year, many people stop to reflect. Businesses use this time to consider the accomplishments of the past year and establish goals for the upcoming year. For the analysts here at 9Lenses reflection is essential for generating insight. Since we have a large volume of data that we handle, we have to understand how each data point relates to the next. Constructing these spatial relations is a matter of practice and perseverance. Reflection helps us understand the trends in the data. By reflecting on the nature of the business problems we examine, we can establish commonality, divergence, and comparability.
In light of this reflective spirit, we have created three categories and populated them with the top three comments from 2012. These are the Best Comments of 2012.
A. Three Most Upbeat Comments
1. IT Wizardry
“Our IT department is the "bomb.!" They work with limited resources and are very efficient in responding the Help requests!”
Occasionally, the analysts find some very interesting information in our data. We noticed that employees of this company revered there IT department. This seemed odd to us because most of the time people only notice support services when they are dysfunctional. For whatever reason, this IT department delivered superior service to the company despite their limited resources
“[This is a] merit based, non-bureaucratic, fast moving company that will make money for itself and its employees.”
Businesses prize efficiency and optimization. In the world of market economies, those who are not deft, swift, and agile will eventually be left behind. While this basic assumption is pervasive, it is easy lose sight of this insight amidst the technical challenges of day-to-day operations. One might think that their company is adequate when it is actually quite cumbersome. Consequently, reflection helps us gain a valuable perspective about our company. As this comment demonstrates, adaptability affords companies with many opportunities.
3. Turnaround Successes
“There has been a dramatic turn around in attitude, enthusiasm, and energy with the recent change in CEO. The company’s employees are highly motivated and excited to pursue the common good of the company and each other.”
Even the most morose individual can appreciate an inspirational turnaround story. There are times when companies face daunting challenges. Often, people can become discouraged by these perceived failures. However, as this company discovered, if there are inspirational champions in the company, people will be encouraged to pursue excellence. This kind of inspiration can turn a company away from imminent catastrophe to venerable success.
B. Three Most Despondent Comments
1. Resource Bottleneck
“Penny wise, pound foolish is the best way to describe the situation in the last few years. Employees weren't provided with necessary resources to do their job efficiently and nothing was done to better morale and professional development”
However, for every success there are many failures. One of the most common problems we come across is that the law of scarcity often means companies do not have enough resources to operate effectively. This could be a lack of raw capital, employee talent, or manpower. As this commenter noted, this unfortunately cripples morale and long-term development.
“We went from a small, cohesive, productive work environment, to "tired", "misunderstood", "I don't matter anymore" type of attitude ... Breaks my heart to have this same area filled with over-worked, tired, stressed out employees, where we shared such great ideas, hopes for growth and you couldn't even get tired after 12-14 hour days because the adrenaline of being a part of something big was bigger than any need for sleep!”
Understanding the importance of employee culture can often mean the difference between success and failure. Unfortunately, this commenter has discovered the hard way that if culture isn’t managed, people will become discouraged and burn out.
3. Motivation is key
“Common sense was thrown out the window a long time ago. For every dedicated hard working employee we have there are five employees that care about getting a check every two weeks and that is it. …No one talks to each other. you think you have given all the information for a project to be handed off but it never gets to the right person. It is amazing we have stayed in business with the incompetence that we have.”
Proper motivation is key to providing the drive to persevere and excel. If an employee is not motivated, they will not perform. As this comment illustrated, if a paycheck is the only motivation for remaining at a company, there is little reason for that employee to improve or excel.
C. Three Most Useful Comments
1. Enjoyment in work
“I feel that one reason the culture has turned around is due to the Fun Committee. Having different events and including everyone has resulted in a better work environment.”
Morale, however, cannot be neglected. Some companies have found creative ways of overcoming work stress. This is perhaps one of the most creative ideas for building a business culture. This company has a committee that planned social functions for the company. Interestingly, their efforts helped improve the overall morale of the company by building employee relationships.
2. Communicating Effectively
“Sending a corporate email with substantive information at a point in time is not the best communication method. Any employees hired after the email is sent will likely never receive that communication. We need to work on the intranet platform, so we can figure out a way to house corporate communications / important roll-outs and messaging in a way that's accessible beyond a single email or point in time.”
Effective communication is essential. However, it is also where most people struggle. It is easy to forget that one needs to consider the most effective means of communication, the method of delivery, and clarity of conversation. It is not enough to simply talk, one must communicate. Part of effective communication involves effective documentation. This commenter has interesting idea for tracking information that would otherwise be lost. Preservation of essential information saves people pain in the future.
3. Expertise is the Differentiator
“We have a wide range of expertise available in the company and have provided unique approaches to projects that have saved clients time and money in implementing projects. Sometimes we are called in to "clean up" after a client's project has gone awry. Sometimes clients call us because they have been referred by others who had similar problems that this company was instrumental in devising solutions. Sometimes we have a unique analytical or assessment capability that allows us to better serve clients”
This is an excellent example of diverse expertise in an area of work. It is important to remember that success is not a matter of luck; it is the product of perseverance, dedication, and knowledge. This is what defines expertise and separates the good companies from the mediocre ones. One cannot succeed if they do not refine their skills and strive to continually improve.
The New Year
In light of this drive to improve, we at 9Lenses look forward to what 2013 brings. It will be a year with challenges, but challenges help us improve. Every year is a year for learning and improvement. Therefore, reflection should occur often. Since we can never know enough, no one can neglect the value of insight. That is the key to excellence. Happy New Year!
December 21, 2012 9:35:56 AM by
From Direct Employers: “Best ways to increase employee productivity in the New Year” by Shama Kabani
“In the New Year of 2013, every company will be faced with doing more with less as cutbacks in people and hours is fast becoming the new normal. So the question is — how do we positively increase employee productivity to keep delivery schedules, maintain high customer service, and stay profitable. Last week, I sat down with five CEOs and they each give me their top tip to keep employees motivated, customers happy, and profits strong.
1. Implement Employee Wellness Program. Nothings says an employer cares better than showing that you do! And even the government agrees as the new healthcare roll-out includes incentives for companies who have preventative wellness programs in place. According to Hiran Perera, CEO of Walkingspree, the leading provider of employee walking programs, 70% of healthcare claims are from preventable diseases. An employee who walks regularly can cut as much as $2,000/year from your benefit costs. Studies show an overweight employee who slims down can mean added savings, reduced blood pressure or cholesterol readings can save on pharmacy expenses and regular physical activity can slow future health claims for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. When your employees feel well — they work well! Start them walking in the New Year.
2. Help teams access tools and resources. No one wants to spend money and waste time — but many companies do when they don’t efficiently optimize their marketing and sales outreach initiatives. One example is trade show participation for both attendees as well as exhibitors. “When there is a free app that will help all sides of the event get more out of it — share that info with your staff,” says Anthony Krumeich, CEO of Bloodhound.com, the world’s first free trade show app which helps organizers, exhibitors and attendees generate more ROI in leads, information, and purpose. “There is so much out there,” says Krumeich. “Do the homework and make sure everyone knows about it!”
3. Appreciate, Recognize & Reward. Running an IT company that focuses on app development — keeping employees inspired and motivated in a rapidly changing environment is key to success. Dallas-based Sean Yalamanchi, CEO of InfoVision, believes the answer to high employee productivity is making everyone feel special and valued. “Our management teams shows appreciation on a day to day basis from regularly taking teams out for lunch, coffee, or even rewarding them with small gifts from gift cards to an extra day hour when extended hours have been required for deliverables,” says Yalamanchi. He reminds us to know who the overachievers are but also zero in on underachievers — try to find out their strengths, then guide them in that direction to help them succeed.
4. Get employee feedback. Whether you use surveys, monitor social media or sit down with your employees in an inviting setting — find out what they think and listen to their ideas to improve your operations and the workplace culture. “Leaders lead while your workforce works so to get them motivated it is important to listen and learn,” says Mohsin Momin, Co-Founder of BenjiFrank.com, an e-commerce eyeglass & sunglass boutique. “Either through in-person meetings or posting questions on Twitter — give your employees a chance to share their views.
5. Act on what you learn. “The whole point of finding out what your employees think is to gain the clarity to be a more effective decision-maker,” says Edwin Miller, CEO of 9Lenses, a social enterprise performance platform. According to Miller, because business leaders are now able to act with unprecedented clarity, it is essential for them to establish a baseline—a foundation for comparison. “Data is the means to clarity; social discovery the method to get it quickly and in a structured and engaging way.” ”
November 29, 2012 11:17:24 AM by
In a widely-shared article that made its way to the top of LinkedIn Today, enterprise performance author Bernard Marr argues that "the most successful companies today make decisions not on beliefs or gut-feel but mainly on facts and data-driven insights." This quote sounds eerily familiar.
An executive at a Fortune 500 company, when responding to an Operations Lens diagnostic in the 9Lenses "Business 360" said almost the same thing: "Our culture is that we want to make a decision and move to execute. We never study the problem, leading to debates based on belief not fact."
So here it is: Google is notorious for hiring smart, talented, and credentialed people. Why all the hubbub about listening, then? Could it be that making decisions on fact, rather than belief, is a smart way to do business? Obviously. But is it a possible way of doing business for the rest of us? It is now. Social technology and good data management can be combined to reveal actionable insights across your company. This is the strategy recommended by 4-time CEO Edwin Miller in Insight to Action: A Social Approach to Business Optimization, which proposes a framework for leadership clarity that is only possible by with today's technology.
Can you imagine this world?
- Instead of paying a consultant for discovery, you collect unfiltered insight from all stakeholders on any business problem or the business as a whole. You might still need the consultant, post discovery phase, but chances are that your people told you how to improve.
- Instead of collecting unstructured noise like Yammer, your "top challenges" and "biggest strengths" are immediately clear across all 9Lenses.
- Someone three floors down that knows you are about to lose a contract; another employee is thinking of suing; a manager is thinking of leaving; a customer is upset—you gave this person a voice.
- Every year, quarter, or month you see upticks and downticks across your organization, benchmark it against other companies, and diagnose organizational health on an ongoing basis.
That world is here now. Start making decisions like Google.
October 10, 2012 4:11:31 PM by
9Lenses just announced their exclusive partnership program for executive coaches. By partnering with 9Lenses, executive coaches receive unfettered access to the suite of organizational learning applications. 9Lenses’ executive coach program is designed to equip coaches with quantitative performance measurement tools.
“Executive coaches are masters at leadership development,” says CEO and Founder of 9Lenses Edwin Miller. “An executive coach can transform the entire culture of a business. Unfortunately, fewer than twenty-five percent of executive coaches ever provide quantitative data to demonstrate the impact of their services.”
9Lenses insight platform helps coaches reveal key sources of organizational dysfunction like misalignment, personality conflicts, and communication bottlenecks. In just a few hours, coaches can ascertain any organization’s top opportunities and challenges. Most importantly, 9Lenses’ secure cloud-based software applications help coaches track and quantify the evolution of their client’s organizations over time.
Consider how powerful that information becomes when placed in the hands of an executive coach. A coach is often an executive’s closest sounding board, council, and friend. With 9Lenses, that coach can help executives pinpoint actionable areas for improvement across the entire company, and track their client’s success as they flourish.
MetrixGlobal LLC recently found that the average return on executive coaching was about $7.90 for every $1 invested. Unfortunately, few coaches have tools at their disposal to demonstrate their ROI. 9Lenses’ executive coach application suite tracks the health of every part of their client’s organization and helps coaches articulate the direct and indirect improvements caused by their training efforts.
With 9Lenes, partners gain:
* Referrals—Coaches develop a new sales tool. The analytics dashboards within the 9Lenses schema demonstrate the changes affected within a client’s company. Leverage these to win referrals.
* Reengage—Coaches can reengage old clients in a robust conversation about the present state of their business and offer to reveal top opportunities and challenges.
* Credibility—Executive coaches gain credibility when they benchmark their services against clearly defined industry standards.
* Evolve—Coaching changes perceptions. Tracking those changes allows coaches to adapt mid-play.
* Catalyst—The coach becomes the catalyst of some of the most important changes in their client’s organization.
* Record—Develop a proven track record by quantifying ROI for future clients.
* Compare—Coaches can even compare their data to other industries, to best of breed enterprises, and the portfolios of other coaches to learn and continue to grow.
* Happiness—By encouraging clients to leverage 9Lenses, executive coaches empower those in the organization who normally wouldn’t speak out to share their perspectives which makes them feel valued and heard.
Crowd Sourcing Applications
enterprise management software
October 08, 2012 2:32:36 PM by
Top down strategy is dead, but executives still have to lead, and they do so by setting forth strategies. Those strategies control how even the most social companies behave. Strategy will always matter most, but in the social era it’s holistic rather than top-down. The most important question then, is how does the social era affect strategic planning?
Meet Social Strategy: Or Strategic Planning Gone Social
Even social businesses (e.g. KickStart, which relies on a crowdsourcing-as-service model) fail to bring social strategies into the boardroom. For most organizations, “social” means nothing more than CRM, marketing, and product feedback cycles. Few realize the exponential rewards hidden in every company’s “Social Consciousness.” That’s what social era leaders need to tap into.
Imagine a business where every employee, customer, executive, board member, and investor could share his/her perspective on the organization’s performance with the CEO before the next strategic offsite. Pretend for a moment, that the executive leadership team collaborated and strategically planned around up-to-the-second data that accurately reflected the business’s health.
Stop imagining! The age of social strategic planning is here, and it all starts by connecting every part of a business; here we say by connecting all 9Lenses. Business leaders need to find social tools that don’t just collect data, but organize it, make it meaningful. The best social tools use schemas to map and interrelate business data end-to-end, cut through the clutter, or at least organize data in a super useful way, to make insights actionable.
Too few organizations are applying social principles like transparency, collaboration, innovation, and connected learning to strategic planning. That’s probably because it’s difficult to know how. Social technology is new, and many executives are still struggling to discern the best way to integrate new solutions.
However you chose to take on social strategy, remember, you need to listen and learn from everyone affected by you business. Your employees, customers, investors, and advisors have knowledge you need to strategize effectively. Find a way to hear “the crowd” across your entire business, and connect rather than segment the input. Now you’ve got a thousand strategists pushing information to the top in a way that enables good decisions, instead of the top dictating a strategy that a thousand innovative employees think is bunk. Or, worse, nobody knows if it is or isn’t because the business isn’t connected.
We’ve crowd sourced business strategy: check it out!
Let me know what you think of this post, and sign up for our RSS feed because Part II: Structuring the Social Strategy is coming out soon. Don’t miss this step-by-step guide for executives who want to use social data to drive strategic planning initiatives.
enterprise management software