Many Leaders Suck When Managing Organizations: Wrong Culture, Wrong Focus, Wrong Attitude, Wrong Skills…

There are great leaders, there are good leaders, and sadly there are leaders that suck… Leaders suck when they lack the basic elements of leadership… According to Peter Philippi; many useless leaders spend 80% of effort on things that don’t matter, as a result; they under-serve  customers, employees, partners… and ignore job of leadership… According to Tamilyn Banno; most employees across the globe are generally skeptical about their leaders… in fact, it’s the #1 reason, by far, why employees leave their jobs… The truth is, people aren’t inspired anymore by their leaders and they need help… and because leaders suck many employees lack motivation, passion, feel unappreciated…

The truly useless leaders– leaders that suck– tend to shut down the natural enthusiasm of their staff, e.g.; they say; Don’t do it like that, do it like this… Really useless leaders hire good people and then tell them exactly how to do their job… Really useless leaders banish emotions from the workplace. They say things, such as; ’emotions play no part in decision-making– killing workplace emotion goes against what we know to be true, people work harder in a happy, enthusiastic and productive workplace… Really useless leaders never bother to explain themselves or to understand why other people see things differently… A good explanation is worth gold– leaders must give a coherent business case that motivates people…

Sadly most leaders that set team goals never involve the team in setting them. Many leaders assume that people should just get on with the task they set… Research shows what common sense already suggests– leaders must involve others in goal-setting and certainly implementation… Most important, useless leaders simply aren’t fair:  Fairness is the lifeblood of leadership– fairness is critical because if people feel they haven’t been dealt fairly they lose trust, instantly… The lack of trust is a leader’s downfall…

In the article Many Leaders are Useless as Leaders– They Suck by Merge Gupta-Sunderji writes: Unfortunate fact: there are a great number of people in leadership positions in organizations who really have no business being in charge of people… Their employees don’t respect them because they’re clueless, or micro-managing, or credit-grabbing (or all of the above); and staff either find ways to work around them, or just go through the motions until they can escape to something better… But before you malign these leaders completely, consider this: perhaps this state of affairs isn’t entirely their fault…

Most people get promoted to leadership because they have a track record of results, usually in some sort of analytical or technical role. They were accomplished at getting things done, and the eventual reward for their good work was the title of  ‘leader’…  But here’s a critical fact that many people simply don’t realize: all the skills and behaviors that make people successful as an individual contributor are also the very skills that will cause them to fail as a leader…

When people move into a role of leadership, an occupational change occurs. And if they don’t make a fundamental intellectual shift to accommodate this change in occupation, and if they don’t change the way they do things, they will become (at least to their staff) ‘the leader who sucks’… Inadvertently, thousands of people set themselves up to fail as leaders because they don’t know that the occupation called ‘leader’ requires different skills and behaviors than what created success for them in the past…

In the article Many Leader Sucks by Dov Baron writes: Research shows that more than 70% of the workforce is disengaged. Much of the cause of disengagement often stems from ineffective leadership, often described as the leaders suck… According to Mark Stevens; there are several signs of leaders suck that set-up for failure, e.g.: Rudderless leadership tops the list: This happens when leaders loses control of an organization and it becomes a group of balkanized people who are working under the same roof but are rarely rowing in the same boat…

When a rudder is removed the boat goes around in circles… The genesis of  leaders suck doesn’t have a clear-cut single cause; it’s usually an amalgam of several flaws… The renewal of leadership will only happen when leaders respect the value of others, when their faith in leadership turns fearless, and when they desire to deepen the gift of leadership to serve and strengthen others…

In the article Most Leaders Really Suck by Karlyn Borysenko writes: You have likely heard of the Peter Principle— people get promoted to their own level of incompetence… It’s the foundation of the leaders suck principle, i.e.: Leaders that focus more on process than on people  generally have good intentions… But when they are created without considering the human elements, they ultimately fail, or drive the best employees away. Instead, leaders must focus on people and understanding what drives their productivity…

Leaders that don’t delegate are not only holding back their employees from growth opportunities and professional development, they are costing the organization money… It’s the leader’s responsibility to delegate…The leaders suck do two things: They create obstacles, and they set-up their employees for failure… Useless leaders, the ones that suck, dismiss importance of moral and morale… these are leaders who just ‘don’t care’, and think that moral and morale has nothing to do with achieving result…

CEO Out of Touch– Symptom of Business in Disarray: Wrong Culture, Wrong Priority, Wrong Outcome…

CEOs of fast-growing companies face a special challenge today; they need to set the tone for a positive and productive culture that’s in line with the reality of the digital world… But too many CEO out of touch with reality of the digital workplace… According to Peter Drucker; the ever-increasing presence of the knowledge worker threatens to render the traditional assumptions about top-down leadership obsolete. There are two main reasons CEOs are out of touch; hubris or omniscience… Simply put, they don’t value other people’s opinion highly enough, or they don’t have the means in place to get it…

Increasingly employees don’t leave companies but instead CEOs are being fired… According to surveys from PwC and Bain & Co; CEO out of touch with customers and employees; as result the outcome is poor performing businesses… You may have heard the expression; out of sight, out of mind, out of touch, out of influence: CEOs increasingly are out of touch with basic business issues, and role of the knowledge worker in the digital age… According to Bruce Nussbaum; CEOs have the wrong conversations about the wrong things with the wrong people… 

In the article CEO Out of Touch, Out of Time by Ray Bigger writes: The status quo in business appears to be entrenched and transformation is well overdue… According to Gary Hamel; many CEOs still cling to the past and, increasingly, the knowledge age workforce is being led by an industrial age CEOs… Gallup reported; 82% of CEOs are trained according to the traditional rules of command and control. Whereas today’s knowledge workers are more independent minded and want to know more about what they are doing and why…

Hence, there is a disconnect between the world inhabited by CEOs on the one hand, and the real world of– customers, suppliers, employees, society at large…Whether its intentionally or not, the facts is there are multiple layers of separation between the CEO and where the action occurs and decisions are made… both within and outside the organization…

In the article The CEO Out of Touch by Nancy Roberts writes: Many CEOs aren’t stepping up; it’s like the same conversations over and over again, and the same problems show-up over-and-over… Most of today’s CEOs developed their careers under the influence of command and control leadership, where the culture of most organizations are hierarchical and autocratic… Beyond that, many CEO’s were raised in very traditional cultures with a mother or father who used discipline as the parenting style. Dad barked the orders and the kids complied  — add school, religion, military… and other traditional, hierarchical culture on top of that and you have CEOs who never saw any other way to lead…

There are times when command and control leadership style is still appropriate, but increasingly in the digital age work environment it’s not the most effective leadership style… The days of the CEO driven, autocratic, obsessed with results, no-nonsense, challenging everything and relying on their own knowledge and intuition to make critical decisions is rapidly becoming ineffective… We’ve all heard the adage– ‘what got you here, won’t get you there…’ And perhaps, a little less known adage is ‘business cannot grow beyond the level the CEO of it has grown…’ According to Ralph Waldo Emerson; the speed of the leader determines the pace of the pack…

 In the article CEO Out of Touch, Out of Influence by Kathy McAfee writes: There is a  business statistics (not sure how true it is) that says with every month that a CEO does not communicate, they lose 10% of their ‘influence’. At this rate, it doesn’t take too long to drain what ever influence they possess to zero… According to Henry Mintzberg and Peter Todd; CEOs who are in touch only through their keyboard are out of touch with the vast world beyond it… They risk is substituting breadth for depth… Research shows that you may have more connections today but fewer relationships…

CEOs who believe that they can learn about their business only through– e-mail, text… and who rarely walk down the hall, let alone get on airplane and visit and talk with people face-to-face… may find themselves out of touch. They may gather facts but they may miss the meaning… And the increasing use of 140-character tweets to convey impressions of an organization or person will likely result in even greater loss of nuance. According to Mark Holmes; CEOs must get out of their fancy offices, get involved, get their hands dirty at least once in a while, if they expect to grasp reality… Many CEO out of touch tend to grow confident in their own creative process and just cruise along in their own comfort zone without input from others…

It’s a safe place for CEOs, but they become insulated and out of touch– they lose real-world reality, relevance. They lose connection with customers, employees, partners… and they assume that their perspective is correct when in fact they have lost touch… When CEOs lose touch with important stakeholders they become invisible lose a sense of reality and credibility… According to Sheiresa Ngo; many CEO out of touch make their decisions based on the belief that they are always right– they don’t listen or see the sign of the times– they become clueless and ride on a short journey to failure… One of the worst things that can happen to a CEO is being out of touch with the changing reality of a new world order…

Disasters Strike When Least Expected: Every Business Must Have Some Preparedness Against the Unexpected…

Disasters strike when you least expect it, and increasingly organizations can no longer afford to believe that such emergencies won’t happen to them… Disaster recovery and continuity planning is a process that helps organizations prepare for disruptive events– whether those events might include; a hurricane or simply a power outage caused by a backhoe in the parking lot… Disaster recovery is the process by which business can resume a level of normal operations after a disaster event. The event might be something huge, e.g.; an earthquake, or a terrorist attack… or something small, e,g,; malfunctioning software caused by a computer virus…

But given the human tendency to look only the bright side, many business executives are prone to ignore ‘disaster recovery’ because a disaster is an unlikely event… Business continuity planning suggests a more comprehensive approach to making sure a business can keep making money, not only after a natural calamity but also in the event of smaller disruptions including; illness or departure of key staffers, supply chain partner problems or other challenges that businesses face from time to time…

Hence, it’s necessary more than ever to create a strategy that will both prepare an organization for the unexpected, as well as, having a contingency plan that facilitates a rapid recovery process… Once a disaster occurs it’s too late to begin the planning process… A study by National Small Business Association found that a startling 83% of businesses still lacked a recovery and continuity plan… Having a plan in place before a disaster event occurs is the key ingredients in getting an organization back in some form of normal operation, quickly… A few telling facts:

  • 25% of businesses will experience a significant crisis in any given year…
  • 43% of businesses that experience a disaster will never reopen…
  • 71% of businesses do not have a disaster plan in place…
  • 64% of businesses stated they don’t think they need one…
  • 63% of businesses are confident they would be able to resume business within 72 hours, even history shows this is optimistic…

In the article Disaster Strikes When Least Expected by Gary A. Scott writes: There are many types of disasters that are expected, but it’s the ones that are not expected are the ones to worry about. The world has changed and many events that unfold are totally beyond an organization’s control… Although many businesses try to predict the future, disasters by their very nature are unpredictable, e.g.; severity of hurricanes, behavior of global economy, behavior of North Korea, new innovations, disruptive technology… You can’t change the future but you can control how an organization adapts to whatever does take place…

The aim of a recovery strategy is to ensure that an organization can restore essential services and return quickly to normal operations… According to Charlie Harris; developing recovery plan is essential for survival of any organization– failure to recover quickly after a disaster has extremely dire consequences… According to IBM Global Services; 40% of companies without continuity or recovery plan fail within a few years of a major disaster…

In the article Business Disaster Recovery by Suzannah Hastings writes: Companies must have the proper systems in place to ensure that their business continue to operate in the event of a disaster. This means ensuring that staff can work remotely and access critical resources when physical facilities are not available. Also, organizations must have backup or alternative solutions to facilitate recovery efforts and restore assets quickly… The objective during recovery process is to minimize physical damage, get employees to work… and quickly resume serving customers…

So a good first step is a ‘business impact analysis’… According to Derek Slater; ‘business impact analysis’ identifies the most crucial systems and processes in the business and the effect an outage would have on the business. The greater the potential impact the more money a company should spend to restore a system or process, quickly… For instance, a stock trading company may decide to pay for completely redundant IT systems that allows it to immediately start processing trades at another location. On other hand, manufacturing company may decide it can wait 24 hours to resume shipping… The value of a  ‘business impact analysis’ is to help business set restoration sequence to determine which parts of the business should be restored first…

In the article Every Business Needs to Plan for Disaster Recovery by Alan Joch writes: Organizations of all sizes must have established plans to ensure an unexpected disaster does not put them out of business… Regardless of industry, when an unforeseen major event takes place and brings day-to-day operations to a halt, an organization must be able to recover as quickly as possible and continue to provide services…

The importance of a disaster recovery plan cannot be overstated… From data security breaches to natural disasters, there must be a plan in place in case of a catastrophe…According to Matt Kimball; it’s absolutely imperative to have disaster preparedness and contingency planning. The unfortunate reality is that all it takes is one large event to wipe out an organization’s critical infrastructure…

Not having a disaster recovery plan in place can put the organization at risk of high financial costs, reputation loss, and even greater risks for its clients and customers… Even when you do not encounter any disaster situations, it’s important to revisit the plan periodically to make sure it’s up-to-date and everyone in the organization understands steps that are required in a worst-case scenario… Everyone must be on the same page to ensure that recovery and continuity plan goes as smoothly as possible; when/if it needs to be implemented…

Manage Volatility in Business– Pig Farmer Perspective: Excessive Volatility Means Do Things Differently…

Volatility is one of the major buzz words in many industry– whether running– dairy, pig farm, arable unit… all farmers need to know the month-to-month swings in price which can be a crucial factor affecting profitability… Volatility is the new normal, and while no one can predict it, everyone must prepare for it… Hedging alone is just a partial solution: What is really needed is some creative strategies– ones that provide alternatives to hedging, such as; negating, defect,  transfer… It’s an integrated approach to risk, which  separates those who react to volatility from those who manage it…

In volatile times things never go as planned: Some business leaders are inclined to want to reflect and plan for contingencies, while others wait than react as problems arise before dealing with them. Both work when managed properly. The important thing is for the business leader to pick one style and follow it through! According to Richard Lloyd; in volatile environments leaders must continually strive to achieve right balance between near-term efficiency and sustainable effectiveness. But they must also acknowledge this inter-dependency  and embrace its possibilities…

In the article Strategies to Overcome Business Volatility by Sheldon Perkins writes:  Few businesses enjoy predictable and continual stability. In some businesses seasonal fluctuations are somewhat predictable but no less of a challenge to year-round sustainability. In other businesses disruptive competitors can quickly have a negative impact on sales… During downturns business need to be more flexible, agile and give more creative thought to– how and where they do business to ensure competitiveness while delivering real value…

They must plan ahead for volatility and disruption and develop a business strategy that is sustainable over long-term… It’s important to measure the response to specific tactical maneuvers, and identify what worked and what didn’t, and adjust tactics to do more of what worked best… Implementing a disciplined and flexible approach is more likely to yield sustainable returns and give confidence during volatile situations… Leaders must anticipate some level of volatility and be prepared to manage– during and through downturns…

In the article Navigate Through Business Volatility by Dave Kuder writes: For decades, companies have thrived, survived by building mighty castles to protect their positions. To ward-off competitors incursions companies build barriers and walls to entry… these near impenetrable walls are potent weapon when change is predictable and manageable… However, the world of business is evolving at a faster pace than ever before, hence a different way of thinking is required, e.g.:

  • Becoming a shipbuilder: The harsh reality is stability is becoming increasingly rare in today’s marketplaces, and instability makes castle building a poor choice for sustainable advantage… The businesses that will prosper in tomorrow’s world must build ships  that are able to maneuver nimbly through an ever-changing world… Ships and crews must be keenly aware of their surroundings and able to adapt quickly. Building strong ships that endure volatility is strategic imperative. Companies cannot dig moats deep enough to make them immune from volatility that change markets and customer demands…
  • Focus on capabilities: New and emerging growth opportunities may need vastly different capabilities than what are in place today. Identifying those capabilities requires a holistic process that begins with a vision supported by clearly articulated business model, i.e.; where to play (e.g., customers, products, geographies) and how to win (e.g., value proposition, profit models, partnerships)… Company leaders must take a hard look at their market assumptions and identify alternative scenarios…
  • Global navigation: Businesses need to fortify global expansion with specific strategies to reach the next billion customers. Globally integrated operations that can expand into different markets and easily shift outputs between them are hallmarks of future success. Companies built like ships can move swiftly to the harbors where the opportunities are most promising. This ability to navigate across the globe gives companies a distinct advantage in nascent markets…

Volatility is a challenge that management needs to deal with… To facilitate business sustainability and growth, both business strategy and investment decisions need to be reviewed and adjusted– based on both short and long-term economic outlooks, and the likelihood of disruptive or volatile events… According to Prof Tim Lloyd; one negative consequence of volatility is that it tends to lead to under-investment. One of the longer-term effects is that businesses are less able to cope with future increases in demand…

The key to success in volatile markets is to be agile but for many businesses that requires different mindset, which must be combined with productive, well-managed, cost-effective end-to-end value chain… It’s a vicious circle– volatility leads to under-investment and under-investment leads to less supply and, as result, businesses are more prone to volatility in future… Most business leaders come to the table thinking that volatility is bad– sending signals to do things different.  Excessive volatility that leads to catastrophic losses is clearly something to be avoided but volatility, in itself, may not be such a bad thing…

Suddenly, Everyone is a Business Expert: Beware of the Charlatans Who Can Kill Your Organization…

The world is full of so-called business expert — people who will tell you all the many thing that can or can’t be done for your organization– that’s what experts do… But how can so many of these experts advise people on how to– improve, grow, sustain… business when they themselves never did it? The rise of experts offering opinions and advise on subjects they know little to nothing about can seriously damage an organization… But don’t give up; according to Barry Moltz; many business experts can benefit business with guidance that shows– what is possible, or encourage business to think bigger, or work smarter, or try new things… Just don’t be influenced by the so-called experts who pontificate about issues they– know little or nothing about… It’s time to raise the bar on who you are willing to listen to…

The most important lesson is to recognize that advice is relative, its contextual… Most people love to share success stories and suggest that you follow in their footsteps, but most people really have no idea how they achieved what they achieved. They look back and connect dots that maybe weren’t there, then they lay it out in a slick presentation, and encourage you to do the same thing… The lesson is– don’t take advice from so-called experts who know nothing about your business… What works for one business doesn’t necessarily work for others…

In the article Everyone is Business Expert by Jason Fried writes: The internet is a living, breathing, professional self-help platform… The advice on how you should run a business comes in all forms– in 140 (or now 280) characters at a time on Twitter, or you can get it from the homespun– podcasts, or media experts, or newsletters… There’s hardly anyone on internet who doesn’t profess to hold some key wisdom that can lead to building a great business. However all this proliferation of advice isn’t informing people, it’s overwhelming them…

So what are you to believe; what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s leading, what’s misleading? There are plenty of ‘experts’ out there telling you how to grow business who never grew one themselves– like business school professors who have spent their careers in academia… If an ‘expert’ has never done it, dismiss the advice– you don’t want or need theory… you need real world experience… And if the expert has done it, then find out when they actually did it: Was it years ago? Are they still doing it? Good advice has an expiration date…

In the article Beware of Charlatans by Robert Strohmeyer writes: Lately it seems you can’t go anywhere without running into a gaggle of social media experts bloviating about wonders of social network marketing… These are slick shake-and-bake experts’ promising to help leverage the power of– Twitter, Facebook… but scratch the surface on most of these claims and they instantly crumble… Typically the experts come to your office and put on a training seminar for the staff…

They spend an hour or two pontificating about power of social media to raise awareness of your brand and the magical benefits of building closer relationships with your customers in 140 characters or less… They’ll probably even offer a few ‘insider tips’ based on ‘deep expertise’ in the field. The only problem; it’s a load of bull, and in vast majority of cases it’s almost certainly a waste of resources… Hence, the time spent typing 140-character updates about your business is nowhere near as frivolous as time and money spent listening to self-styled ‘expert’ blather about how to do it…

Combine a rapidly growing trend of social media adoption with an economy that has forced thousands of creative workers to reinvent themselves as experts… And you  have the perfect recipe for ‘expert’ overload. And since no one seems to know what’s going on with Twitter anyway, nearly anyone can promote themselves off as an expert on the subject… In a world of social media, experts of this kind are a rule rather than the exception…

In the article Business  Expert by Marc A. Price writes: It’s interesting to observe how many people on the internet define themselves as an expert in something and how loosely it’s used in– marketing, social media, business strategy… According to Jeff Sheehan; okay, people want to be known as experts to attract more attention to themselves, and to develop a higher ranking in an internet search: Great. But when they define themselves as an expert without the experience and/or educational credentials to support the claim, then that’s potentially very damaging to all the players concerned…

Come on folks! Let’s be real and not describe yourself as something you’re not… Hence when an ‘expert’ approaches you trying to give you advice, check out their credentials… And at the same time hold onto your wallet or purse until you’ve done doing it… We are in an era that can be described as the– second coming of the snake oil ‘expert’, whether you like it or not… And, there seems to be awful lot of snake oil out there for sale…

Power and Peril of Not Thinking– Instinct Vs. Intellect: Role of– Hunch, Intuition, Gut Feel… Make Good Decisions…

Great decision-makers aren’t those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating but those who have perfected the art of filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables… According to Malcolm Gladwell; the ability to ‘think without thinking’ has several important functions, e.g.; it allows you to cut through information overload to come to good decisions, and quickly, decisively in times of crisis… The only way that human beings could ever have survived as species is that they developed another kind of decision-making– instinct vs. intellect. Ability of exercising very good judgments based on very little information…

In many organizations CEOs often discount the factual data and make tough decisions based largely (if not solely) on their gut instinct– often leading to riches, and other times to catastrophic losses… According to Richard Branson; I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics… Hence the questions: Should leaders make important calls based on gut or data? Most experts say: Instinct is important part of decision-making, however, there is simply too much at stake in the highly competitive business world to ignore sound factual information…

In the article Gut Instinct vs. Intellect in Making Business Decisions by Saar Bitner writes: Factual information provides business with very powerful data-based insights, and these insights must be taken into account before tapping into the gut feelings… These decisions come with far less risk since they leverage both instincts and added power of factual data… According to Don Valentine; follow your instincts, do your homework, analyze things carefully, review options, but eventually trust your judgment and have courage of your convictions– even if they are unpopular…

Leadership experts and those working in organization development give a lot of credence to IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence) but in fact ‘intuitive intelligence’ is perhaps greatest weapon for business decision-making. Some people think that if they’re not creative they don’t have much propensity for intuitive thinking… They assume that intuition, like creative thinking, is a ‘right’ brain function… However whereas many skills and capabilities are relegated to either ‘left’ brain, or ‘right’ brain… intuition is a ‘whole’ brain function…

In the article Instinct vs. intellect Leadership by Jamie Lawrence writes: Instincts and hunches may have a comforting influence on day-to-day decisions, but when it comes to major strategic choices and matters of great complexity, intuition doesn’t often get a seat in the C-Suite… Leaders are more likely to rely on hard evidence and data, logic and analysis… to support the most important decisions. However, recent insights and discoveries in field of neuroscience have given new importance and credibility to the role of intuition in leadership, especially when it comes to decision-making…

The best leaders have learned not only to trust instincts but to obey them. Obeying instincts requires that you listen to your internal voice, acknowledge your internal reference point, rather than rush to embrace the myriad references and voices of others… The situations in which leaders most consistently rely on intuitive intelligence for making business decisions include:

  • In crisis: When rapid response is required and there is no time to go through a complete rational process of analysis…
  • In high-speed change: When the factors upon which decisions are made change rapidly, without warning…
  • In messy situation: When problem or challenge is poorly defined…
  • In ambiguous situation: When the factors to be considered are hard to articulate without sounding contradictory…

In the article Intuition Is Highest Form Of Intelligence by Bruce Kasanoff writes: Often, people have hunches in decision-making which they cannot explain but it leads them on a certain path and, more often than not, it’s the right path… Call it intuition or call it gut instinct but what ever you call it, it’s important that you listen to it… Put a bit simpler– sometimes a corporate mandate or group-think or the desire to produce a certain outcome can cause the rational mind to go in the wrong direction. At times like these, it’s intuition that holds the power to save you. That ‘bad feeling’ gnawing away at you is your intuition telling you that no matter how badly you might wish to talk yourself into a certain direction, it’s the wrong way to go…

Smart people listen to those feelings– it’s harnessing the power of intuition… According to Pete Swabey; it’s not an instinct vs. intellect debate. There is a role for instinct in decision-making, which you might think of as common sense checking, which can help you make the best decisions… It’s law of instincts that determines how you manage the moment, and strategically forge ahead without fear of failure and potentially put the business and brand in the spotlight…

Instinct and intuition intelligence helps you navigate faster through vast amounts of unstructured data and work around gaps, conflicts in the information. Yet even the most highly developed intuition can be misled hence it’s critical to balance the two; factual data and rational mind– call it instinct, intuition, gut feel… It’s the right balance to make good decisions– intuitive mind is great weapon when you learn how to use it confidently and accurately

Cashless is the Future of Business– Billion-Dollar Realization: Cash May Not Be Necessary in the Digital Economy…

Cash is King: Well not so fast. Today the reverse seems to be happening: Cashless is becoming a preferred payment choice driven by the rapid rise of various digital payment methods– credit and debit cards, mobile apps, smartphones, enhanced security… According to Nikki Gilliland; in many businesses cash is no longer the preferred method of payment– where credit/debit cards account for most purchases… The focus is on consumer convenience and satisfaction– consumer don’t have to fiddle about with cash… Also business benefits through greater efficiency, less cost, reduced errors…

Arguably the transition to a totally cashless business environment may not come any time soon, but payment methods such as; mobile apps, wallets, credit/debit cards… are gaining significant traction but still not embraced by most consumers. According to survey; 80% of iPhone 6 users don’t use cashless payment, and just 3% use it regularly.. Clearly the digital payment revolution is gaining pace, but businesses must proceed cautiously and not get ahead of themselves or out pace the consumer… where they risk alienating the market…

In the article Cashless the Future of Business by Shannon Vissers writes: The use of cashless transactions/payments in business reflects advances in digital and mobile technologies, such as; web-based payment apps, smartphones, cloud, enhanced security… as well as; changing consumer-spending habits. According to Gallup poll; consumers use much less cash than they did just five years ago… But in reality businesses are a long ways away from becoming truly cashless…

As long as traditional currencies remains in circulation, some percentage of consumers will prefer or have no choice to pay with cash, and many businesses will continue to meet that need… However, as fewer consumers pay with cash, and digital payment technologies continue to advance, more alternative payment methods will emerge… Consider a few Pros and Cons for cashless business:

  • Pros: Cashless in business bring several potential benefits, e.g.; reduced risk of robbery and employee theft; cleaner, quicker transactions; customers spend more when they don’t pay cash; removes cost of managing and storing currency… But will benefits outweigh the cost of cashless, e.g.; 2% of every transaction in processing costs?
  • Cons: Cashless in business have downsides, e.g.; customers who want to pay cash are not served, loss of anonymity for customers; greater risk of fraud– even with more-secure chip cards… Moving toward a cashless society hurts low-income consumers who are less likely to have a bank account– 7% of U.S. households don’t have a bank account or credit card, and cash is their only method for purchase…

In the article Providing Consumers Choice for Payment by Brian Bailey writes: Many businesses are indeed adding choices for facilitating cashless payment, e.g.; credit and debit cards, smartphone-driven digital pay, mobile order and pay options… But consumers show little interest in being ‘all in’ with purely cashless payment, or having their choices limited in any way– the notion that consumers want to be limited to cashless payments is not consistent with their behavior… Consumers insist on choice…

In a survey; 89% of consumers want ability to use variety of payment methods… 90% of consumers use at least two payment methods a month… 82% of consumers would miss using cash if not available… Also, regardless of their personal payment preference, 61% of consumers admit they get upset when establishments don’t accept cash… and among millennials there’s an up-tick to 68%…

In the article Businesses Go Cashless by Bizibl writes: There are many advantages for running a cashless business but primarily– its cost and efficiency… Also consumers don’t have to spend that extra 20 seconds finding exact cash in their pocket or waiting for the cashier to give them change… Cashless checkout can help speed up the paying process and minimizes queues… Cashless payments save money by eliminating the costs of handling cash…

According to Sage report; handling cash money costs business over $20 billion annually, factoring in– security, fraud, theft… In addition, cashless helps to minimize handling errors, e.g.; 52% of 1,100 business surveyed said cash is the most error-prone payment method… However, businesses should not turn away customers that attempts to pay with cash– the best policy is to give customers the choice to pay however they desire– it’s counterproductive to remove a payment option that could result in losing sales, irritating customers…

In the article Businesses Where Cash is Not Welcome by Aimee Picchi writes: To get a glimpse of the future of consumer payment behavior look no further than Sweden... The Scandinavian country is largely a cashless society, with consumers relying on mobile phone payments or plastic. While U.S. is still far from achieving the same level of cash-free existence, increasing numbers of businesses are going cashless, and the practice of– cash not welcome– is more common… Some businesses are refusing to take cash, telling customers they only accept mobile payments or cards… Also some newer vending machines only accept credit/debit cards or mobile payment…

While going cashless is still at an experimental stage, many predict that more businesses will be adding cashless payment options…  However, business have good reasons to embrace the trend for moving away from cash, e.g.; removes costs of handling, storing, transporting… the physical bills and coins… also it reduces the potential for physical theft… However, there are downsides, e.g.; businesses that refuse cash may be effectively shutting out many low-income customers– about one out-of-10 U.S. households are without traditional bank accounts, such as; checking/savings accounts…

While many cashless benefits are clear, not all consumers are ready and willing to go cashless… And that’s the debate– taking away the option for cash is– unfair, ultimately discriminating against those who do not have, or want to use cashless payment methods– cards, apps… There are many individuals and families that rely only on cash to make purchases… Although cash isn’t in any danger of disappearing anytime soon… according to researchers; the U.S. Treasury has much to gain by phasing out cash, the U.S. spends about $200 billion/year to keep cash in circulation…

Grand Strategic Dilemma- Innovation or Imitation: Dare to Be Different, or Play the Copycat Game…

Most organizations worship the great tribal god– ‘innovation’, hailing it as necessity for survival, growth… Yet in spite of extraordinary drive  for innovation and new ways of doing things, by far the greatest flow of newness is not innovation, but rather ‘imitation’... Simple math shows there is more imitation than innovation. No  organization can be, or prudently afford to be, as constant an innovator as compelled to be an aggressive imitator… According to Oded Shenkar; 98% of value generated by innovations is captured not by the innovators, but by the often overlooked, unlikely imitators…

One of the biggest problems with an overemphasis on innovation is that it can end-up devaluing competence: It says to employees, it’s not good enough to do your work extremely well– you are only truly valued if you ‘think outside the box’ or ‘push the envelope’… An obsession with  innovation can lead to a distorted reward system, confused priority, and ultimately disenfranchisement of the best workers… Innovation has its place– a ‘very, very important place’, but it’s not every place…

Imitation and innovation are both essential forces in driving and developing competitive strategy, and both must be regarded as complementary, and not as opposing… Innovation brings new things, and imitation spreads them; innovators break old molds, and imitators perfects them; innovators win big, and imitators win bigger… Indeed in many cases, what might look like innovation is often actually artful imitation… According to Steve Jobs; innovation is just connecting things– the real genius is not in how it creates new technologies but how it synthesizes and packages existing ones…

In the article It Pays to Imitate by Darren Dahl writes: Rather than get stuck trying to come up with the next great innovation, many organizations might be better off imitating and improving upon an existing idea… Innovation is all the rage, as start-ups and established organizations strive to find ground breaking new products, services to their probably for success. But the truth is that majority of successful businesses weren’t started by innovations, e,g.; Facebook wasn’t the first social networking site, just as Google was far from first search engine… According to  Navdeep Mundi; the advantage that these companies leveraged was that they were late-movers (imitators)…

A first-mover (innovator) advantage is being first in a market or first to use a particular strategy… A late-mover (imitator) advantage is the position earned by organizations that are late in entering a market, usually following the innovators… The point is that when an organization sets about finding the next grand new idea, they might want to first look at the competition for some inspiration… According to Lauri Flaquer; while new ideas are grand often there is much more value by following innovators… After all, why take the risks of blazing a new trail when someone else has cleared the way for grand strategic opportunity. Watch, listen, learn and you’ll be able to avoid making costly mistakes of innovators…

In the article Path to Strategic Agility by Oded Shenkar writes: To argue that imitation can be strategic seems almost blasphemous in the current scholarly climate of innovation… But imitation can be strategic and should be part of the strategic repertoire of any agile organization… Imitation is a critical capability for any strategically agile organization… According to Peter Drucker; imitation seems to work best in high-tech because of its tendency to focus on technology rather than on markets… where it creates opportunities for an imitator who is more in tuned to market-demands, or quick learners who learn from the missteps of innovators…

To stay competitive organizations must imitate, however they must do it with an understanding that imitation is as valuable as innovation, and that imitation must be strategically conceived and systematically executed… However, when organizations imitates without regard for innovation it can disincentivize creativity. Organization that only get hooked on imitation can inadvertently sap their ability to innovate… In other words, organizations must  be innovative about imitation…

What is needed is a sensibly balanced view of the world. Innovation is here to stay– it’s necessary, but it does not exhaust the whole of reality. Every organization needs to recognize the impossibility of sustaining innovative leadership in its industry, and the danger of an unbalanced dedication to being the industry’s innovator… No single organization regardless of its determination, energy, imagination, resources… is big enough or solvent enough to do all the innovations that ever occur in an industry, and to always beat its competitors to all the innovations emanating from the industry…

Hence an affirmative policy of supporting a strategy of imitation in some organized fashion has the virtue of not only having necessary imitative activities into motion early, but of communicating to the entire organization that while innovators are valued, so are creative imitators… This realization legitimizes systematic imitative thinking as much as the more glamorous innovative thinking… Perhaps it’s an over-statement to say that innovation is the false messiah and mistake to say that imitation is the new messiah. But behaving as if innovation were the only messiah, at the expense of a realistic appreciation of the fructifying power of systematic imitation is even a greater mistake…

Creating Real Customer Value is Key for Business Success; More Important– It Must ‘Prove’ That It’s Best Competitive Choice…

Creating customer value is the essence of business. But sometimes you lose sight of what ‘value’ really is. You turn it into an abstract concept– a kind of business-buzzword— and you lose the tangible sense of what it really means to create value. According to Gideon Rosenblatt; value is very concrete– it differentiates one organization from another… When creating value– think different, unique… The purpose of ‘value’ to serve the mission of specific group of customers better than other values.

The concept of value has many different meanings and the definition changes depending on who you talk to… To some value is price, to others it’s– service, or performance, or features… It’s a tangible ‘worth’ that it contributes to specific– consumers or company, or enterprise, or organization, or government… According to Gautam Mahajan; value is the perception of what a product or service is worth to customers versus the possible alternatives… Worth means whether customers feels that they got something special for what they paid…

In the article Customer Value and How Can You Create It by Gautam Mahajan writes: Value has many different meanings. To some value means price, to others it means benefits… It also means the worth of something. That is why you hear some people say– ‘value for money’ (meaning they are price sensitive); and others who prefer– ‘money for value’ (meaning they are will pay for what they consider as benefits…)

The dictionary meaning of the word ‘value’ include: The regard that something is held to deserve; importance, worth, or usefulness of something… Synonyms are: merit, worth, usefulness, use, utility, practicality, advantage, desirability, benefit, gain, profit, better, service, help, assistance, effectiveness, efficacy, significance… No wonder, customers are confused about the word ‘value’ that they uses so often…

When used in the vernacular it does not matter, but when used as a technical term, like– customer value, the meaning of value must be precise, so that everyone understands what it means, e.g.; customer value is perception of what– product or service is worth to a customer versus the possible alternatives. Worth is when a customer feels they get superior benefits over price… Creating  value increases customer satisfaction and the customer experience. (The reverse is also true: A good customer experience will create value for a business).

In the article Create Value for Customers by fortune group writes: It’s common to hear business extol the importance of creating value for customers, but why is it so important? All too often businesses act like ‘walking, talking brochures’ simply regurgitating information. But most customers don’t buy the rhetoric, they are mostly focused on solutions to their problems, and solving their problems is what creates value for them. So when a business beats its chest and rattles off the great wizardry that goes into their products/services, they often fail to understand the customer’s pain, frustration, aspiration…

The underlying goal of business is to create value for customers by understanding the problems confronting them… Creating customer value starts with knowing the customer… You  need to get inside the head of customers and develop good understanding of– what they value… Because it should go without saying that all customers value different things; there’s no cookie cutter ‘model of value’ and how to create it for every customers… Business must build a strong, effective relationships, which lays the foundation for creating customer value…

In the article Critical Ways to Show Value to Your Customer by Mark Hunter writes: Value and price are not the same thing but many businesses often allow customers to think of them as the same… When price is only thing the customer is focused on, then its– lose, lose situation… Value is far more than price; it’s the benefit the customers receives: Think outcome! The customer’s outcome… Keep customers focused on how they benefit from your offer. Prove to them that the value you deliver helps them solve or mitigate– pain, frustration, aspiration…

Value is in eyes of the customer… Value is not what an organization says it is, it’s what the consumer says it is, by their willingness to buy from one organization over another… According to John Jantsch; one way to increase value is ‘stuff’ more features into a product/service in an effort to make them seem better than what others have to offer, but the problem with that approach alone is that it’s so easy to copy… A far better long-term approach is to do things that differentiates a brand by adding real value that makes it worth more to customers…

You do this by creating more value for customers through tangible and intangible acts that builds deep customer relationships. This is how you create value that can’t be mimicked. This is how you create a brand that attracts customers… This is how you create more value… An organization must decide how it will serve target customers; how it will differentiate and position itself in the marketplace; how it will create value for customers…

Value is the set of benefits an organization promises to deliver to consumers that are designed to solve or mitigate– pain, frustration, aspiration… It differentiates one brand from another. It answers the customer’s question: Why should I buy one brand over another? Organizations must create strong and compelling, deliverable– value that give the greatest competitive advantage to target customers… But more important, organizations must ‘prove’ that the claim of ‘value’ is legitimate…

Power of Hope– Real or Delusion: An Essential in Business– Source of Great Strength and Source of Great Weakness…

Power of Hope– Real or Delusion: Hope is the belief that things will get better– for many it’s not just a wish it’s an actual belief, no matter how big or small… For many business leaders, hope is the life-blood that keeps the metaphorical body going, and without hope the desire to give-up is strong… According to Ari Weinzweig; hope is the stimulus to challenge the status-quo, to try new things, to be open to new ideas, to support others who are striving for greatness, to believe that great things are possible…  Hope is vital for growing business, and most people are hopeful about the future, especially when things look hopeless…

 However in business, there is a thin line between ‘delusion’ and ‘hope’, which can drive it towards either success or failure… it can be uplifting or disastrous… There is absolutely nothing wrong with hope, but it must be accompanied with– common sense, check on reality, and most important action! Power of hope recognizes the reality that failure happens, and success is not assured, the laws of physics don’t change and prudence is needed to discern when to persevere– and when to pivot… Hope doesn’t demarcate a linear path, but it does guide us through twists and turns. Hope views the glass as half full, not half empty. Hope supports realistic optimism, a necessary component of success…

In the article Power of Hope Can Be Delusion by Ruth Ostrow writes: Despite insightful, despite logic, despite advice from advisers, some people just won’t let go of ‘hope’… They live in false hope; blind to the evidence that other people can see… The thing about false hope as it leads to resentment and exhaustion. The person whose business won’t pull through blaming everyone; advisers, staff, even the web optimizer… False hope is a delusion that lives for a brighter future but has no evidence that it will come. Hope is waiting for someone/ something to change when there is no realistic reason or evidence to believe that it will happen…

There is a thin line between ‘delusion’ and ‘hope’: Hope is a feeling when something you want desperately has the possibility of coming true. Hope drives people towards success and sometimes hope is the only thing that gets them through the day… Whereas, delusion drives people towards goal that are impossible to achieve. There is no chance of it coming true yet people strive for it any way… The line between hope and delusion is never obvious…

In the article Power of Hope in Strategy (Well, Sort Of) by Deborah Mills-Scofield writes: We’ve all heard the phrase– Hope is not a strategy– and it isn’t, especially when based on illusion, delusion, fiction or false assumptions… But power of hope is a critical part of achieving a strategy when based on what is possible; perhaps not highly probable, but possible. Hope is a belief that something is possible and probable, and recognition that the degree of each is not necessarily equal…

Power of Hope supports realistic optimism, a necessary component of success… Hope is a common denominator of success and directly tied to strategy… Especially when it’s; based in fact, not fiction; based on experienced, not wishful thinking; focused on real problem solving instead meditation; embraces optimism against the naysayer and status quo…

In the article Power of Hope in Business by Paul Ratner writesHope has a place in business, e.g.; in formulating vision or conceptualizing strategy… but it has no place in running a business… According to Jack Dunigan; running a business demands being clearheaded and cold acceptance of reality… Whereas hope tends to engage vague thinkingit rounds off the corners of life’s sharp edges. It edits the images you see so that only preconceived notions are seen and accepted… It tends to promote delusional thinking, which is powerful force, one that can charmed people into a level of fantasy that can disappointing or worse… Hope often rejects facts, glosses over evidence, and wants to believe that something is true, no matter how far-fetched it might be…

Hope when used as a replacement for sound judgment is deadly… Hope inflates the positives, deflate the negatives, and therefore clouds the mind to make intelligent decisions and take intelligent action… It’s important to understand that the ‘hope’ can be bad for business… If a business just hope that things will get better, chances are it’s in deep trouble… Some business leaders prefer to promote ‘hope’ instead of sharing brutal facts of the current state of the business… Some business leaders only superficially discuss the ‘harsh reality’ of the current situation, hoping that things will improve…

But for many businesses hope is a delusion and business leaders don’t exercise sound judgment, motivated by realistic assumptions, with a willingness to accept facts as they are. According to Howard Lewinter; leaders cannot justhope’ that things will improve, they must take real action to make them improve… Often business leaders say things like: I hope to get the contract, or I hope to do (fill in the blank)… Remember; hope in business can be a delusion, and just to ‘hope’, without taking action, will not achieve success…

Subtle Shifts in Business, Leadership, Management, Organization, Strategy, Innovation– Bring Big Results…

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