Our Solutions News Blog was envisioned to gather and share information from the very best to help you and your business to become more effective.
How to Get Unstuck
Why do people feel so miserable and disengaged at work? Because today's businesses are increasingly and dizzyingly complex — and traditional pillars of management are obsolete, says Yves Morieux. So, he says, it falls to individual employees to navigate the rabbit's warren of interdependencies. In this energetic talk, Morieux offers six rules for "smart simplicity." (Rule One: Understand what your colleagues actually do.)
Source: TED / Presenter: Yves Morieux
Everything Starts With An Idea
Here's a twist on Creativity and The Big Idea. Nothing is original, says Kirby Ferguson, creator of Everything is a Remix. From Bob Dylan to Steve Jobs, he says our most celebrated creators borrow, steal and transform. And how does copyright come into play. Embrace the remix.
Source: TED / Presenter: Kirby Ferguson
How to get your ideas to spread
In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to just ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.
Click HERE » for additional TED Talks to discover... Where Ideas come from.
Source: TED / Presenter: Seth Godin & Various Others
One Small Adjustment
What can you learn about perception from a social psychologist and body language expert? If you’re one of the 16 million people who have already watched Cuddy’s compelling TED talk -- you know there’s plenty to learn. Cuddy discuses how body language and even physical posture can affect not only others' perception of you, but your own self-perception as well. Could changing your posture change your life? It just might. Watch Cuddy’s TED talk and decide for yourself if an adjustment could alter your course.
Source: TED / Presenter: Amy Cuddy
Still one of the most popular TED Talks in existence, filmed in 2009, this TED Talk by Simon Sinek has over 16 million views. He’ll have you thinking about the importance of your why and the reason that “why” truly makes all the difference in the world. While most people and companies start from the outside “what they do,” and work their way in, Sinek shares that true innovators start at the core addressing the “why” first, and then work from the inside out for great success. His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers ...
Wondering about Dominion Blue's "Why"
We're printing for your success and we believe that printing and should be stress free. This really is why people choose us. Click HERE » to find out what customers are saying.
Source: TED / Presenter: Simon Sinek
One of my favorite things about working remotely -- which I do a few times a month -- is the freedom to get comfortable. When I work from home, I'm usually find myself in one of three positions: sitting up at the table, laying down with my laptop, or buried in a pillow avalanche on my couch. (Sound familiar to anyone?)
While most offices have a few full-time remote workers -- and probably a few that operate like I do -- the idea of more remote employees may be one companies need to get used to.
Why is remote work becoming such a big deal? Well, from where I'm sitting (currently "sitting up at the table"), it's simple: Because good candidates are asking for it, and technology's making it an easier thing to demand -- no matter what the position entails.
For employees, this is great news. They can live where they want, spend less time and money commuting, and wear their bathrobe to meetings. But what do companies get out of it?
According to research by online freelance marketplace Upwork, sourcing and onboarding in-office employees takes an average of 43 days, compared with three days for remote employees. Not to mention, being open to remote team members widens the talent pool.
So to help you sort through the operations and expectations that employers need to consider to make remote work effective, let's walk through some practices that make it easier for me to communicate and collaborate with my remote teammates.
How to Make Remote Work Work
On Setup & Technology
I have very little in the way of tech savvy, but I do know that a good operational and technical foundation helps remote workforces stay productive. This is where two key teams come into play: Finance & Accounting and IT.
It starts with a commitment -- if you're interested in making it -- to investing in your remote team as actual employees that will grow with the company. Not contractors. Not freelancers. That investment means working with Finance & Accounting to understand the administrative costs of paying employees in different states or countries. Are there visa costs you'll need to consider? Will employees need to travel to the office on a regular basis -- and if so, is the company financing it? Do they have the technology they need at home to communicate with you effectively? Again, are you financing it if they don't?
These questions extend to IT and the infrastructure they'll need to set up, too. They'll want to build in security measures for employee devices, and will need to equip your office with the technology your in-office team needs to communicate with remote team members. This includes chat software, remote meeting software, telepresence devices, and potentially some high-tech conference rooms to make coordinating all of that seamless. One of my teammates who works remotely half the week and works with our global offices quite a bit actually takes pains to dial into meetings on video, specifically. She found it difficult at first but says it made her far more productive being visually present in meetings, and is grateful to have the infrastructure to support that.
If you start with all of this built into your budget from the get-go, two things happen: 1) you're not hit with surprise costs, and you can do a much better job with hiring planning; 2) you end up with streamlined operations for onboarding remote employees so their experience starting with your company is as good as it would be for anyone else.
The best IT setup in the world doesn't help unless we're all using it toward the right ends. At the risk of being trite, the most successful relationships between in-office employees and their remote team members comes down to good communication from both parties. And figuring out what good communication means is kind of a beast. So bear with me while I try to break it down to its most pertinent parts for our purposes here.
Combat "face time" with over-communication.
One of the challenges remote work presents is the lack of "face time." Think about all those random one-off conversations you have in the hallway, or at the water cooler, that wouldn't be possible if you weren't in-office.
To combat this, you really need to nail the whole "regular and effective communication" thing.
Sam Mallikarjunan, who works from his home down south most of the time, found that a lot of the "random collisions" he used to have in the hallway don't happen anymore. (Obviously.) When I asked him how he makes up for it, he said "I just over-communicate. I have to proactively find opportunities to work with other people. I make a point of reaching out to people more often to tell them what I'm working on if I think it might be useful to them, and I actively talk to other people about their projects, too. There's a lot less 'the ball is in their court' mentality when I'm remote."
That proactive approach to communication is something that remote team members may start to pick up on just because they're experiencing the need for it first-hand, so it's equally important to have in-office employees reciprocate. Make it a practice in your company to systematize communication -- to me, that means in-person decisions and conversations are always formally recapped over email, in your group chat client (provided it's not in a room with only casual participation and monitoring), or for the big stuff, in a team meeting.
Use your words.
I have this theory that if street signs were properly punctuated we'd all be better writers. My favorite example is the "STOP CHILDREN" sign.
STOP THEM FROM WHAT?!
When communicating without the benefit of body language or tone, clarity with written and verbal communication is more important than ever. In an ideal world, everyone's already really good at finding the right words to say what they mean. But that's not reality, so we're left with a few options here:
1) Try to be better at it. If you're writing an email, take a beat to reread what you've written. See if you've really communicated what you're trying to say clearly and succinctly. Consider whether you've included enough context for everyone to understand what's going on. If you're having a phone or video conversation, take a moment before responding or posing a question. And if what you said makes no sense, own it and say, "Sorry I don't know what I'm trying to say, let me start over."
2) Know that reading comprehension matters. If you're on the receiving end of a communication ask clarifying questions before responding with an equally confusing answer. I try to either copy and paste the exact copy from the email, quote it, and then ask my clarification question -- or if it's a verbal conversation, repeat back what they said before asking my clarifying questions. It's important to avoid layering confusion on top of confusion.
3) Avoid reading into tone. People's tones suck sometimes. Especially over email. If a typically bubbly person didn't include a barrage of emojis or explanation points, they're probably just running late, or feeling stressed ... or something else that has nothing to do with you.
Put some alert metrics in place.
We've used the term "pothole" metrics before -- the numbers you report on regularly that, if they get out of whack, signify a deeper problem with a part of the business. I like to use that principle here as a way to be sure we're all catching everything that's going on if communication ever fails. I also like to expand that principle out to encompass the good stuff as well as the bad stuff.
These could be numbers that indicate someone's doing well or struggling -- for example, setting up traffic waterfalls if a team member's work is directly tied to hitting a traffic metric. But they can include non-numerical things, too -- like hitting project milestones for people that work in roles that are more about discrete deliverables that have changing definitions of success.
Frankly, this is a good exercise to go through for every team member -- yourself included -- whether in-office or remote. Really, it just means everyone knows what "good" looks like, and you're all able to break down "good" into its component parts so you know if you're making reasonable progress.
If managers are interested in hiring remote team members, they'll have some specific responsibilities to keep things chugging along nicely. Most of this is just about setting the right precedent for how to think about remote work for your team -- I've broken it down into the stuff you need to do proactively, and what you need to squash.
Over-communicate the work being done by remote team members, and the value of that work. Yes, they should do this on their own. We talked about that earlier. You have to be the champion of your own career, and self-promotion is part of life ... and all that jazz. But sometimes people forget. Or they do say it, but it'd sure help if someone else reiterated it.
This becomes particularly important when someone's work output isn't very visible. For example, if your job is to write one article a day, it's pretty easy for people to see that you're doing your job. You either wrote the article or you didn't, and everyone can see it. If your role is to build operational efficiencies into backend systems that four people in the company touch ... it's really easy for that work to disappear.
To that end, don't let resentment or pettiness build toward remote employees -- particularly those that are part-time remote. This starts to manifest itself in little comments like: "Oh is this one of the days so-and-so is in? I can't even remember." Letting that kind of stuff slide is what makes it seem like in-office employees inherently provide more value than those that are in less often. Worse, it perpetuates the notion that face time is more valuable than work output, which I think we're all on board with as being total bunk.
Encourage other people on your team that are in-office and have roles that allow them to work remotely ... to work remotely sometimes. That pettiness I was just talking about? It's a lot less likely to happen if working from home once in a while doesn't feel like a special privilege levied on a few special snowflakes.
This is where things can get tricky, too. Remote work only works when it works. Notice how I said you should only encourage remote work when people have roles that allow them to work remotely? We all know not every role makes that possible. But beyond that, not every person is always a good fit for remote work at every point in their career, either. I'll volunteer myself as an example of someone who, when starting a new role, would struggle to not be around people while I get my footing.
Or if someone is having performance issues, it may not be the right time to green light remote work. That's another reason giving feedback early, often, and candidly is important. And that rationale extends to remote employees that start having performance issues while they're already engaged in a remote work agreement with you.
Finally, always remember to do this:
We talked earlier about treating remote employees not like contractors or freelancers, but like actual full-time employees. That means they have career ambitions, and are probably interested in growth and promotion opportunities. Be sure to keep them in mind for new projects, promotions, and additional responsibility. If good people fall out of sight and out of mind, you might lose 'em.
After you've got the infrastructure set up, to me, most of this really comes down to good hiring. Get the right person, for the right role. If you've got capable people you can trust in a role, you should be able to trust that not only are they doing good work, but that they'll let you know if and when they need something different from you.
The right person can make even roles that you don't think will work in a remote scenario, work. (Unless that role is chef. Then you definitely need to be at work.
Source: Hubspot / Written By: Corey Wainwright
Advice for achieving and maintaining customer centricity at a time when customers expect nothing less.
Customer centricity is all the rage in today's world of marketing; a world where technologically empowered consumers expect more and more from businesses and their marketing. Fortunately for marketers, technology continues to advance at a remarkable rate for businesses, as well. However, all of the technology in the world can't salvage a marketing strategy that isn't wholly focused on these empowered consumers.
In this Q&A, captured during the 2016 Direct Marketing News Marketing&Tech Innovation Summit, Vivek Sharma, CEO and cofounder of email marketing technology provider Movable Ink, a Summit sponsor, spoke with DMN's Editor-in-Chief Ginger Conlon about the opportunities in customer-centric marketing, the balance between marketing on a contextually relevant level, and relying too heavily on marketing technology.
Source: Direct Marketing / Written By: Perry Simpson
“I feel stuck. Where should I go from here?”
It’s not uncommon to feel like there’s no obvious next step in your career. It’s hard work to guide yourself, especially when you’re walking into the unknown.
So what do you do when you feel stuck? Do you jump ship? Apply for a new role within your company? Or just stick it out? In the right context, any of those options could work out just fine. But how do you know which direction is right for you?
If you’re in marketing or a part of a big team, chances are you work with individuals with many different skill sets. Maybe you sit next to a woman named Tracie who’s a jane of all trades. It seems like there’s nothing she can’t do! Your other co-worker, Seth, might be the go-to-guy for all things analytics and reports. Sometimes he even holds team workshops on metrics and reporting tools.
Despite their differences, both Tracie and Seth are most likely equally valued by the company. Their roles represent two common directions an employee might pursue in one’s career, depth and breadth, and both are excellent paths to get yourself unstuck.
Click HERE » to View the Full Article
Source: Hubspot / Written By: Rebecca Corliss
When was the last time YOU listened carefully, reflectively, meaningfully and thoughtfully to a ''world-class", college commencement speech?
If your kids recently graduated, then probably recently - - BUT DID that commencement speaker's message REALLY hit home for YOU - - as well as your child? If YOU graduated from college or grad school a while back, do you even remember what YOUR commencement speaker had to say, share, his or her life-forging reflections, admonishments, hard-won lessons shared?
Each of the 7 speeches here is unique, wildly different than one another, each profound in its message. Each addressed the subject of how to embrace, manage/master or understand the rest of your adult life - - from highly-original vantage points and unexpected, deeply reflective "life-lesson processes" - - that might be relevant to YOU right now - - as YOU grapple with a tumultuous, and massively, changing world. There are a lot of BIG IDEAS left to think up and explore.
Cheetos Made Lip Balm? 18 of the Weirdest Product Releases From Famous Brands, and 16 of Them Flopped!
When it comes down to it, the underlying goal of any type of advertising or big idea is to solidify a company’s brand identity in the minds of consumers. Brands who succeed in doing this become virtually synonymous with goods or services: Starbucks to coffee; Coca-Cola to soft drinks; Nike to athletic equipment.
Sometimes, though, a brand’s identity is so intertwined with a type of product that any attempt to branch out can be, well ... really weird. Like, is-this-an-April-Fool's-Day-joke weird.
Take Colgate, for instance. Long associated with toothpaste, toothbrushes, and all things oral hygiene, it made the unfortunate decision to try its luck in the ready-to-eat dinner market by introducing a line of frozen foods called "Kitchen Entrees." Needless to say, these products didn’t stay in grocery store freezers for long, as consumers were unable to disassociate the minty fresh taste of Colgate toothpaste from Colgate spaghetti.
But this wasn’t the only instance of a brand launching a disconnected product line. In fact, it’s happened a number of times and surprisingly, not all have failed. Check out this interesting infographic from Plumbworld chronicling the weirdest examples of brands branching out.
Source: Hubspot / Written By: Matthew Kane