The Word ‘Sorry’ Means Nothing in Business: It’s an Unapologetic Apology: It’s Empty, Meaningless, Irrelevant…

‘Sorry’ is the word used to fix everything, but saying ‘sorry’ when it’s not actually necessary minimizes, devalues your commitments, opinions,   experiences, beliefs… According to Caitlin Jill Anders; constantly apologizing– the I’m sorry’– isn’t healthy… and when you apologize for everything; Are you ‘really’ sorry? Or, are you just a chronic apologizers… You should save ‘the I’m sorry’ for when you really mean it, otherwise it’s meaningless. According to Beth Revis; most inadequate words in the English language are; I’m sorry…

Many businesses seem to apologize too much now days, e.g.; customer service agents apologize if customers are unhappy about something, whether it’s their fault or not– remember customers are not always right… Waiters apologize when customers complains that the food is too spicy– even though menu says the food is spicy… The practice of ‘I’m sorry’ is endless; leaders over do it, manager over do it, workers over do it, we all over do it… This is not to suggest that apologies aren’t necessary, sometimes. When you make mistakes own-up, apologize and fix it… But the best approach in business is to keep the ‘I’m sorry’ to the minimum…

In the article Apologizing Hurts Your Business by Gene Marks writes: When things go wrong in business, do you always apologize? By constantly apologizing, you are probably hurting the business more than you think… Besides, customers don’t want apologies they just want to get what they paid for. Consider the following:

  • Apologies changes dynamics of relationships with customers: Saying ‘sorry’ all the time diminishes credibility… Good relationships are about equal and mutual respect, not one party having dominance over the other. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ too much will make customers question whether they made the right decision relying on your company…
  • Apologies are often empty and irrelevant: The more businesses apologize, the less meaning it has… Apology is meaningful only when it’s really deserved, and that depends on the situation…
  • Apologies open the door for more costs: The minute that you admit fault, whether it’s justified or not, customers see an opening for concessions. Show concern, fix the problem… whereas just an apology is meaningless…

In the article How to Apologize to Customers Effectively  by Carla Jerez writes: Apologies are important in business, but at times the use of ‘I’m sorry’ is not enough. And just repeating ‘sorry’ over and over again comes-off as insincere; it’s hard to be genuine when you don’t always ‘feel’ sorry… An apology must be sincere and shows a customer your deeply commitment to their satisfaction… And, it’s important to know the language that actually conveys regret, remorse, humility… instead of words that twist a would-be apology into one of dismissal and condescension… Before delivering an apology, check your words for any hint of defensiveness. If you are feeling testy or on edge, there’s a chance that it’s coming out in form of the dreaded  non-apology… Don’t use language that removes your business from responsibility…

In the article The Organizational Apology by Maurice E. Schweitzer, Alison Wood Brooks, Adam D. Galinsky write: Companies need clear guidelines for determining when a misstep merits an apology and how to deliver the message. Most apologies are low-cost and create substantial value in return… When a company is debating whether or not to apologize, they must consider the nature and severity of the violation and the costs and benefits of offering an apology… Let’s recognize two facts about apologies:

  • First, companies are psychologically predisposed to find reasons (or excuses) to delay or avoid saying they are sorry: Apologizing feels uncomfortable and risky, and they represent a loss of power– it rearranges the status hierarchy and makes company beholden, at least temporarily, to the other party: That doesn’t feel good…
  • Second, companies have a strong tendency to evaluate the situation through a legal lens: Corporate counsel may fixate on whether any laws were broken and warn managers that an apology might be construed as an admission of liability (possibly exposing the company to litigation) rather than as an effort to empathize with the wronged party… Unfortunately, a litigious perspective has become ingrained in many organizations…

In the article Why ‘I’m Sorry’ Doesn’t Always Translate by William W. Maddux, Peter H. Kim, Tetsushi Okumura, Jeanne Brett write: Many international cultures seem to differ over the simple concept of an ‘apology’– they don’t fully understand what other cultures mean or expect from an apology… There is often confusion over the meaning of and occasion for; ‘I’m sorry’, and it seems that virtually every culture has its own rules. In India, researchers have noted, apologies are far less common than in Japan. In Hong Kong they are so prevalent and ritualized that many people are inured to them…

A core issue seems to be a differing perceptions of culpability; In the U.S. an apology is seen as an admission of wrongdoing, whereas Japanese see it as expression of eagerness to repair damaged relationship, with no culpability necessarily implied. And this difference affects how much traction an apology gains… Research finding suggests the U.S. links apologies with blame, which seems to be psychological tendency among Westerners to attribute events to individuals’ actions…

Thus it makes sense that in the U.S., an apology is taken to mean; ‘I am the one who is responsible’… It also stands to reason that in Japan– which, like many other East Asian countries, has a more group-oriented culture– apologies are heard as; ‘It’s unfortunate that this happened’… Researchers have compared apologies in U.S. and China, and have found similar pattern: U.S. apologies serve to establish personal responsibility, while Chinese focus on the larger consequences of the transgression…

Only with a deep understanding of differences can executives make effective use of the apology as a tool for facilitating negotiations, resolving conflicts, repairing trust… And the misunderstandings over apologies are just one aspect of a broad semantic disconnect between East-West that’s too often ignored in rush to globalization. Businesses would do well to tune in to other cultural nuances, such as; I’m sorry– that are easily lost in translation…

 

Disaster Destruction will Grow the Economy: It’s a Fallacy– Support Victims but Disaster Economics is Neutral at Best…

Natural disasters– hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, typhoons… inflict serious damage on people, community, business… They destroy– lives, property, tangible assets such as; buildings, infrastructure, equipment, as well as, human capital and deteriorate production capacity… But the academic evidence on overall ‘economic’ impact of natural disasters is mixed… According to Arito Ono; there is a channel through which natural disasters may enhance, improvement productivity of companies that survive, and it’s due to the adoption of new/better technology in their rebuilding and replacement efforts– it’s a mechanism often called ‘creative destruction’, coined by Joseph Schumpeter who considered it an essential of capitalism…

However, to critics of the growth-follows-disaster line of thinking, the problem is, at best, a partial picture. They argue that it ignores the fact that– money, labor, resources… that go into post-disaster rebuilding are simply being redirected from other uses… According to Donald Boudreaux; if you’re a carpenter, trash remover, physician… you may be made better off after a disaster, but the things that those producers would otherwise produced are not going to be produced…

Still other research suggests that the long-term effects of disasters is less vulnerable to criticism because the crucial factor is not the use of new stuff, but better stuff… In this model, disasters perform an economic service of clearing out outdated infrastructure to make way for more efficient replacements…

Clearly major natural disasters will have short-term negative economic impact on– income, output, employment… also economists suggest that even in the longer-term there are negative consequences as measured by GDP Yes, spending on recovery will lead to higher output and employment after period of time… however, even this positive effect is some what of an illusion because GDP typically does not account for all economic losses from a disaster, notably loss of capital…

But negative economic impacts are not always inevitable; vulnerability to natural disaster is determined by complex, dynamic set of influences that may include; economic structure, stage of development, prevailing economic and policy conditions… It may be comforting to search for a plus side to the losses that so many endure, but the destruction of lives and property never results in an overall positive outcome on the economy…

In the article Natural Disasters are Good for an Economy by Rosemarie Fike writes: Some economists believe in a theory that disasters can benefit the economy, e.g.; people affected by a hurricane will spend money to replace lost belongings and to rebuild damaged property. This then creates jobs and benefits– particularly in rebuilding and replacement related industries. However other economists say, there are flaws with this line of thinking: Yes, people will rebuild. Yes, goods and services necessary for rebuilding will of course increase… But then, e.g.; money spent rebuilding will not be used to buy things that were originally intended; clothes, cars, vacations, any number of things…

So when you consider opportunity cost of the money used to rebuild– it’s unclear whether GDP will actually– increase, decrease, or largely unaffected… But it’s clear that someone who spends (either saving or debt) rebuilding home and replacing belongings is not better off than they were before, even if their expenditures do increase GDP. Yes, they have a house and belongings again but they are much less wealthy–replacement does not create wealth…

In the article Disasters Don’t Increase Economic Growth by Frank Hollenbeck writes: The economics of disasters remains a small field of study, and there are limited number of studies that examine the link between growth and natural disasters… Typically studies find that there is a short-term negative relationship between disasters and growth, while a lesser number of long-run studies find mixed results…

According to Mark Skidmore and Hideki Toya; who examined the frequency of disasters in 89 countries against economic growth rates over 30-year period found that the studies that support the economic growth theory invoke Joseph Schumpeter’s ‘creative destruction’ concept– disasters that destroy old– factories, roads, airports, bridges… allow new and more efficient infrastructure to be built, forcing the transition to a sleeker, more productive economy. Hence, disasters perform the economic service of clearing out outdated production making way for efficient replacements…

However there are three major issues with most of these studies. First is ‘counterfactual’: We cannot measure what growth would have been had the disaster never occurred… Second is ‘association versus causation’: We cannot say whether a disaster caused growth or was simply associated with it… Third problem is what economists call ‘ceteris paribus’: It’s impossible to hold other factors constant and measure the exclusive impact of a disaster on growth…

Disasters are the countless images of; destruction, death, heroic rescue, flooded streets, damaged buildings… And the many months and even years that it takes to repair/rebuild– homes, business, infrastructure… According to Jon Gabriel; all this destruction  needs to be fixed, which means big bucks spent for– cleanup, construction workers, materials… According to Frédéric Bastiat; destruction never boosts an economy, and replacing something that is already there is a maintenance cost, not a purchase of new goods… maintenance doesn’t stimulate growth…

The only economic good to come from disasters is a remedial course in basic common sense, i.e.: instead of looking for disasters to grow an economy, government should stop the unnatural disasters they inflict on consumers and job creators by eliminating red tape, silly regulations, stupid taxes… and allow citizens to be free to grow an economy through creative entrepreneurship. Yes, support victims of destructive disasters, but don’t expect this support of money, resources to grow the economy…

Art of Hostile Takeover Defense– Maneuvers to Repel Corporate Raiders: Poison Pills, Golden Parachute…

Ever love someone who didn’t love you back? Public companies can be the object of unwanted affection too… When a company says ‘no’ to an unsolicited buyer, things can quickly turn ‘hostile’. Takeovers are used by companies for variety of reasons. e.g.; increase revenues; access new markets; increase market share; limit competition; increase in economies of scale… But for many corporate raiders it’s a playground for greed; these takeover artists, speculators, sharks… are interested in mostly short-time gains… And as result some formidable anti-takeover defenses are erected to discourage, repel attempts by corporate raiders.

The anti-takeover defense can be broadly categorized into two types, namely; pre-offer defense and post-offer defense… Two most common anti-takeover defenses are– the ‘poison pill’ and ‘staggered board of directors’. The staggered board is implemented by about 60% of big corporations to forbid a bidder from altering the total make-up of the board according to its choice. The poison pill is used by about 50% of corporations, which causes a takeover to be prohibitively costly. Hence, first step in defense against hostile takeover is for board of directors, management, controlling shareholders to begin preparing for possible battle even before it begins…

2017 M&A Report by Jay Bothwick, Hal Leibowitz, Wilmer Cutler, Pickering Hale, and Dorr LLP: In 2016, number of reported M&A transactions worldwide dipped by 2%, from record 34,838 deals in 2015 to 34,191, but it still represented the second-highest annual tally since 2000. Worldwide M&A deals decreased 16%, from $3.64 to $3.06 trillion– total was still third-highest annual figure since 2000, lagging behind only 2015’s and 2007’s $3.17 trillion result…

The average deal size in 2016 was $89.4 million, 14% below 2015’s average of $104.5 million, and just shy of 2014’s average of $91.0 million, but 40% above the annual average of $64.0 million for the five-year period preceding 2014… The number of worldwide billion-dollar transactions decreased 9%, from 540 in 2015 to 489 in 2016. Aggregate worldwide billion-dollar deals declined 21%, from $2.68 to $2.11 trillion… Total deals decreased across all geographic regions in 2016 with Europe the only region seeing an increase in the number of M&A transactions:

  • United States: Deals decreased 9%, from 13,211 transactions in 2015 to 11,968 in 2016… Deals declined by similar percentage, from $2.05 to $1.86 trillion. Average deal size inched-up from $154.9 in 2015 to $155.3 million in 2016…
  • Europe: Deals improved in 2016 for third consecutive year. The number of transactions increased 6%, from 14,652 in 2015 to 15,489 in 2016– high point since 2000. Total deals decreased 12%, from $1.26 to $1.10 trillion, contributing to 17% decrease in average deal size from $86.1 to $71.3 million…
  • Asia-Pacific: Deals saw its second consecutive annual decline in deals by 8%, from 9,444 transactions in 2015 to 8,695 in 2016. Total deals decreased 14%, from $1.06 to $913.4 billion, a 6% decrease, average deal size, from $111.9 to $105.1 million…

Trends in M&A deals varied across industries in 2016:

  • Technology: Global transaction volume decreased 9%, from 5,348 deals in 2015 to 4,883 deals in 2016. Despite the decline, 2016 represented second-highest annual tally since 6,573 transactions in 2000. Global deals increased 14%, from $281.8 to $321.1 billion– eighth consecutive annual increase… Average deal size increased 25%, from $52.7 in 2015 to $65.8 million in 2016…
  • Life Sciences: Global transaction volume decreased 7%, from 1,375 deals in 2015 to 1,283 deals in 2016, while deals decreased 13%, from $324.5 to $282.1 billion… resulting in average deal size decrease of 7%, from $236.0 to $219.8 million…
  • Financial Services: Global M&A activity decreased 4%, from 1,577 deals in 2015 to 1,511 deals in 2016. Despite decline, 2016 saw second-highest annual tally since 2007, which was end of four-year with annual average of 1,779 deals. Global deals declined by 30%, from $217.7 to $152.1 billion, and resulting in 27% decline in average deal size, from $138.0 to $100.7 million…
  • Telecommunications: Global transaction inched-up from 864 deals in 2015 to 865 deals in 2016, fourth consecutive annual increase. Deals increased 45%, from $153.2 to $222.6 billion. And when combined with flat deals, resulted in corresponding 45% increase in average deal size, from $177.3 to $257.3 million…
  • VC-Backed Companies: The number of reported acquisitions of VC-backed companies increased 6%, from 531 in 2015 to 561 in 2016. Total deals increased 42%, from $58.1 in 2015 to $82.4 billion in 2016, but below 2014’s total deals of $88.5 billion…

In the article Hostile Takeovers by Ed Grabianowski writes: There are several ways to defend against a hostile takeover. The most effective company defensive measures are those that are already built into the organization making it more difficult to takeover… These are collectively referred to as ‘shark repellent’. Here are a few examples:

  • Golden Parachute: Provision in a CEO’s contract. It states that he will get a large bonus in cash or stock if the company is acquired. This makes the acquisition more expensive, and less attractive. Unfortunately, it also means that a CEO can do a terrible job of running a company, make it very attractive for someone who wants to acquire it, and receive a huge financial reward…
  • Super-majority: Defense that requires 70 or 80% of shareholders to approve of any acquisition. This makes it much more difficult for someone to conduct a takeover by buying enough stock for a controlling interest…
  • Staggered board of directors: Drags out the takeover process by preventing the entire board from being replaced at the same time. The terms are staggered, so that some members are elected every two years, while others are elected every four. Many companies that are interested in making an acquisition don’t want to wait four years for the board to turn over…
  • Dual-class stock: Allows company owners to hold onto voting stock, while the company issues stock with little or no voting rights to the public. That way investors can purchase stocks, but they can’t purchase control of the company…

In addition to takeover prevention, there are steps companies can take to thwart a takeover once it has begun. One more common defense is the ‘poison pill’– some of the drastic poison pill methods involve deliberately taking on large amounts of debt that an acquiring company must pay-off…  A poison pill can take many forms but it basically refers to anything the target company does to make itself less valuable or less desirable as an acquisition:

  • People pill: High-level managers and other employees threaten that they will all leave the company if acquired. This only works if the employees themselves are highly valuable and vital to the company’s success…
  • Crown jewels defense: Sometimes a specific aspect of a company is particularly valuable– its ‘crown jewels’… It might respond to a hostile bid by selling off that part of the company, or spinning it off into a separate corporation…
  • Flip-in: Provision that allows current shareholders to buy more stocks at a steep discount in the event of a takeover attempt. In essence diluting the value of each share…

Hostile takeovers are often characterized by the underlying greed and selfishness of corporate raiders. The cold and competitive realm of corporate business promotes only those behaviors that foster growth and profit… As consequence, hostile take-overs are often site of bitter battles which, in time, become strewn with the bodies of its victims, and typically, no winners…

CyberLoafing– Workplace Gain or Drain on Business Productivity: Rules for Employees Non-Work Related Internet Usage at Work…

It’s ubiquitous: You’re hard at work and cranking stuff out, when you check your smartphone for a weather update. Then an email from a friend sends you to funniest dog video you’ve seen, since yesterday. And before you know it, it’s lunchtime… Employers are paying employees to work, yet a significant amount of time is lost to cyberloafing… In a survey 89% of employees admitted cyberloafing, which is estimated to costs the U.S. economy upward of US$63 billion per year… 

Cyberloafing describes employees who surf the Internet, write e-mail, engage in all sorts of online activities that don’t have anything to do with work… while being paid by the employer… Cyberloafers, unwittingly or otherwise, visit websites which can expose themselves and organization to serious risks, e.g.; malware, computer viruses, cyber ransom… Research suggest the most common forms of cyberloafing are; personal email, social media, playing games, watching videos, porn, shopping, managing finances, job searching… And due to these internet distractions some experts suggest there is a net drain on both personal and business productivity… Other experts suggests the opposite, that even with all distractions, there is a net gain in productivity…

In the article Employee Internet Management: Management Issue by Erin Patrick writes: Employee Internet access is commonplace, and a necessary productivity tool for most employees. Rightly so– much of the productivity gains can be attributed to the Internet… However, while internet access offers many work enhancing efficiencies, such as; e-mail, e-commerce, research tools… and also streamlining many work processes… But it has also opened gateways for employee distraction at a mouse-click , ranging from; entertainment, gaming, sports, shopping… to offensive, such as; gambling, pornography, cyber bullying…

These are just a few of the online temptations many workers have trouble resisting at the office– the trends are unsettling… As a result it’s suggested that internet is fostering both lost productivity and serious problems, among them being– hostile workplace lawsuits… This means management of employee internet access is shifting from a strictly information technology (IT) matter to a management issue. And as shift continues, management must take a more educated, proactive role in managing employee non-work internet usage at work. It’s matter of  achieving some balance between employer and employees interests.

 In the article Cyber Loafing Drains Productivity by Peter Strozniak writes: It takes more than a policy to stop employees from wasting work time surfing the Web. Between 60% and 80% of employees time at work on the Internet has nothing to do with work… More important, it put organizations at risk when employees engage in unacceptable behavior. According to John Urgin, John Pearson; bad behavior is not restricted to particular group, e.g.; both older and young workers waste time on Internet but in different ways, e.g.; older workers do things like manage finances, while young workers spend more time on social media and networking…

Just having a policy in place does not change attitudes or behavior, e.g.; even when employees knew that they were being monitored it did not act as a deterrent..It’s dilemma– damned if you do, damned if you don’t, e.g.; when organizations take invasive actions to stop it, they are criticized as ‘big brother’. When organizations do nothing things get out of control and productivity suffers… When an employee is dealing with a serious personal issue it becomes a big work distraction, and using the Internet may help mitigate some of the stress…

In the article Cyberloafing Boosts Productivity by Dave Jamieson writes: Research finds that a moderate amount of mindless web surfing actually makes workers more productive at work– the more mindless the surfing, the better. According to Sarah Mahoney; the implication is clear, while cyberloafing costs companies millions in lost productivity, the answer may not be for employers to act autocratic, i.e.; monitoring or blocking access, but rather empowering workers be a part of policy-making solution. But employees must also act responsible by taking an honest look at how they spend their time at work on the internet, e.g.: How often do they surf the Web? How often do they log on Facebook? How often do they use Tweeter? Then ask simply: Is this reasonable behavior?

But the question remains: Is cyberloafing a problem in workplace? Are people really spending valuable work time on personal matters that are impacting productivity? According to Matthew McCarter; more people use their own smart phones at work, and mix business and personal usage, and that makes it difficult to measure actual employees work hours. And with technology making employees reachable 24/7, many feel the boundary between work and non-work are blurred beyond distinction. But ultimately a predominant attitude that feeds proliferation of cyberloafing is; everyone is doing it, so it must be OK.

So while cyberloafing is an increasing trend, it’s debatable whether it’s an actual threat to an organization’s productivity… According to some  research; cyberloafing may actually produce more benefits than not… plus it’s an inevitable aspect of the modern workplace rather than a drain on productivity. Hence, as workers engage in bit of– online games, social networking, checking recipes, checking favorite sport team score, checking potential holiday destinations… it’s highly unlikely that it will seriously impact productivity as long as they are getting the ‘real’ work done, as well…

Labor Day Has Lost All Its Meaning– Forgotten are the Achievements of the Union Movement: The Day is Now an Anachronism…

The message of Labor Day has gotten lost and much of its meaning has been ignoredAccording to Claudette Millette; to most people Labor Day symbolizes that summer is fading away and we are staring down face of autumn. But what is this holiday all about? The observance of Labor Day began over 100 years ago and born out of U.S. labor unions. According to Fernando Rendon; most Americans don’t realize it’s a day that honors ‘workers’, i.e.;  laborers, plumbers, carpenters, dish washers, electricians, masons, craft workers of all types… who built this great nation…

The first few Labor Days were not officially recognized and workers who participated did so without pay and risked retaliation, possibly losing their jobs and perhaps physical violence... At that time there was no such thing as– 8 hour day, overtime pay, 40 hour work week, safe working conditions… Workers were little more than indentured servants… So on Monday, as you enjoy a day off with pay, think about the job benefits that most take for granted… Think of these things and realize that none of them were available until organized labor… Think of these things and try to understand the ‘true’ meaning of– Labor Day.

In the article True Meaning of Labor Day by Eric Zorn writes: Labor  Unions have been far from saintly: Some would argue that many of the demand they’ve made were unreasonable, and many concession they’ve won were not necessarily good for the general public, but we still owe them… Even though only about 10% of the private work force in the U.S. now belongs to a union, most of the other 90% are beneficiaries of the organization of labor… According to Thomas Geoghegan; when it comes to the benefits, working conditions, pay standards… that were elevated because of the threat of labor unions, now many non-union workers and professionals are enjoying these same benefits… and some would say they were given a free ride… 

 According to Sam Rosenberg; as union membership has declined, over last two decades, so has share of income earned by working class… The idea that, somehow, technology or human moral evolution has rendered unions and laws that support them obsolete is as quaint as it’s apparently popular… According to Alberto Pupo; union membership is at an all time low and many states are adopting ‘right to work laws’… Hence, Monday’s holiday smacks of insincerity and flat-out hypocrisy. Labor Day needs to be celebrated as a day that truly honors the worker…  

In the article How Labor Day Was Hijacked by David Sirota writes: Quite obviously there has been a transformation of Labor Day from an occasion to specifically honor workers solidarity into a political vacation day… Los Angeles Times noted; the holiday is the creation of the labor movement, which wanted a holiday to honor workers… and highlight the need for labor reform laws, but the meaning of the day has been forgotten: It’s about time we all celebrate the true spirit of this holiday… We all must remember and acknowledge the true meaning of what Labor Day is really all about, and restore its real significance.

However, there are differing views about labor union and labor day as a holiday, e.g.; According to Phillip Wilson; many unions, for most part, have outlived their usefulness and are mainly able to thrive in non-competitive niches of the economy. Spending a lot of money trying to get people to join current unions is just a waste of time– there is just not enough lipstick for this pig… Instead, most labor unions need to re-think the supply/demand curve for their offerings and re-make the bundle of services they offer to fit with demands of modern workers and employers. If they insist on living the past and maintaining their old model, then the future of labor unions is dim… 

Societies face a dilemma that cannot be solved by more debt or more technology, i.e.; How to distribute not just the output of the economy, but the work and responsibility so that everyone has the opportunity to contribute and earn a fair livelihood… According to Charles Hugh Smith; society must either re-discover the value of the worker and recognize the benefits of their labor, or devolve further into a ‘death spiral’ of social instability…

Power of Followership– Great Leaders Know When to Be Followers: Stepping Aside and Allow Others to Lead…

The relationship between leader and followers seems pretty straight forward: Leader lead! Followers follow! But according to Barbara Kellerman; significant shifts in technology and culture have changed that dynamic, giving followers more power… According to Ronald E. Riggio; good followers support and aid the leader when he or she is doing the right thing and stand up to the leader– having the courage to let the leader know– when he or she is doing something wrong or headed in the wrong direction… Many of the same qualities that are admired in leaders, e.g.; competence, motivation, intelligence… are the same qualities needed in the best followers. Moreover leaders, regardless of their level, also need to follow…

Follow the leader is often the easy way out. You might feel that it’s your responsibility as a leader to share your vision, rally the troops and be ‘the one’ who grants permission to others to move forward… But this traditional style of leadership is– flat, boring, mostly ineffective… True leadership comes from stepping aside and allowing others to lead… According to Warren Bennis and James MacGregor Burns; effective followership is crucial for organizations to survive. Even the best leaders cannot be successful without courageous ‘star’ followers, and the qualities of these ‘star’ followers are the same that qualities possessed by the most effective leaders…

In the article Best Leaders are Great Followers by Michael Hyatt writes: If you want to be a great leader, you must first become a great follower… Although it’s rarely discussed, this is where almost all of history’s greatest leaders got their start… Also, history’s worst leaders never learned to follow… As a result they became tyrants making the lives of their followers miserable. So what does a great follower look like? It’s suggested that great followers share at least these characteristics:

  • They understand the role: You can’t be a good follower unless you have clearly identified the leader. While you may be a leader in your own realm, everyone has a boss… Great followers not only accept this fact, they embrace it…
  • They are obedient: While obedience may be a politically incorrect concept, it’s essential for organizational effectiveness. No one should be allowed to give orders who can’t obey orders. This is how great leaders model the standards of acceptable behavior to their followers…
  • They are servants: This is crucial. Great followers are observant. They notice what needs to be done to help the leader accomplish his or her goals. Then they do it joyfully, without grumbling or complaining…
  • They are humble: Great followers don’t make it about them. They are humble. They shine the light on the leader. They make their boss look good, especially in front of his or her boss…
  • They are loyal: Great followers never speak ill of their boss in public. This doesn’t mean they can’t disagree or even criticize. Great followers understand that public loyalty leads to private influence…

In the article Leader-Follower Theory by David Robertson writes: The leader-follower relationship is critical in the grand scheme of an organization. Essentially it equates to the concept that leaders and followers are in-fact working together: The leader is willing to lead; the follower is willing to follow. It’s not to say that a follower could not be the leader, or that the leader could not be a follower. Instead, it says that the team– leader and followers– come together and work towards a common goal with the roles defined as necessary…

According to Gilbert and Matviuk; in a leader-follower relationship– followership escapes the box of simple subordination and obedience and opens up opportunities for innovative followership that generates and enhances growth for both leader and followers… This relationship benefits everyone within the organization: It equates to greater efficiency and higher job satisfaction for both follower and leader… The ‘leader-follow theory’ demonstrates that the end result should be the symbiosis of leader and follower working together to reach a common goal while at the same time enriching one another in their roles…

In the article Great Leader Learn to Follow by Ronald E Riggio write: There is a common misconception that you are either a leader or a follower: Not true. The reality is that all leaders must also follow. Research suggests that best leaders are also best followers. Effective leadership and effective followership have much in common– knowing how to follow makes a better follower, or a better leader… According to Robert Kelley; there are different types of followers, e.g.:

  • Sheep: Followers who passively wait for leaders to give them directions or motivate them; they do nothing until told…
  • Yes-performers: Followers who expect the leader to make all decisions… The problem with ‘yes-performers’ is that they don’t take any initiative in moving things forward…
  • Alienated: Followers who are independent who think they know best, and aren’t afraid to challenge the leader. Their skepticism and cynicism can create a lot of negativity in organizations…
  • Pragmatics: Followers who watch out for themselves and back whoever they think will ultimately benefit them. They defend the status quo…
  • Star-performers: Followers who are active, positive, and work in unison with the leader to achieve the desired outcome. They are ‘leaders in disguise’…

Followership is not the opposite of leadership: Followership is not blind obedience…  Followership is the effective collaboration with the leader to achieve the desired outcomes… According to Barry Reynolds; followers are not merely minions who do as they are told, on the contrary, the traits of effective followership closely match those of effective leadership… Just as you expect the best leaders to be highly competent, credible, genuine… you also expect those traits from the best followers. Without competent followers organizations cannot achieve success…

 The key to understanding the relationship between the leader and follower is recognizing that no one is either one type or the other… Leaders are expected to provide vision, motivation, direction… and followers are expected to support the leaders in achieving results. Neither role operates in vacuum; it’s mutual beneficial relationship and impossible to have one without the other… If you are preparing yourself for a leadership role within the organization, there is no better place to begin than practicing the role of an effective follower…

Corporatization of Non-Profits Business Models: Emerging of Philanthro-Capitalism– Change How Business is Done…

In a capitalist world where everything revolves around money, the concept of a non-profit organization (non-profits) may seem strange or just plain extraterrestrial. You’ve heard about these organizations many times, and let’s be honest, most of us still don’t understand what they do, how they work… Nonprofits are involved in many philanthropic initiatives including; everything from neighborhood associations with few assets, to major university and foundations with tens of billions in assets, e.g.; they include; charities, churches, chamber of commences, environment groups, labor unions, museums, soup kitchens, performing arts, boys scouts, girls scouts… list is endless. Unfortunately there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ way to think about non-profit organizations…

Non-profit organizations are divided into subsection of the U. S. Internal Revenue Code 501(c)… There are about 1,424,918 tax-exempt organizations, including; 956,738 public charities, 97,435 private foundations, 370,745 other non-profit organizations.  And combined they report over– $1.65 trillion in total revenues, $1.57 trillion in total expenses, over $3 trillion in total assets…

However to survive in highly competitive, ever-changing fund-raising environment, many nonprofits have taken new approaches in moving money to social issues by emphasizing the use of corporate-like business models… Even though non-profits are primarily mission-driven. they must be built on an underlying business model that creates value… and accountable to funding sources, while being sustainable long-term…

In the article Non-profit Funding Models by William Landes Foster, Peter Kim, Barbara Christiansen write: Money is a constant topic of conversation among nonprofit leaders: How much do we need? Where can we find it? Why isn’t there more of it? In tough economic times, these types of questions become more frequent and pressing. Unfortunately, the answers are not readily available. That’s because nonprofit leaders are much more sophisticated about creating social programs than they are about funding them. And philanthropists often struggle to understand the impact (and limitations) of their donations. Hence, the consequences of this financial fuzziness is that funds do not flow to the intended purpose…

Whereas, in the ‘for-profit’ world there is a much higher degree of clarity on financial issues. This is particularly true when it comes to understanding how business operate, which can be encapsulated in a set of principles known as business models… Although there is no definitive list of corporate business models, there is enough agreement about what they mean that investors and executives alike can engage in sophisticated conversations about any given company’s strategy. When a person says that a company is ‘low-cost provider’ or ‘fast follower’… the main outlines of how that company operates are pretty clear… Whereas, in the non-profit world they rarely engages in equally clear and succinct conversations about an organization’s funding model…

In the article Corporatization of Philanthropy by Alison R. Bernstein writes: The role of many philanthropy is changing the way many non-profits are managed. This new management is more sensitive to the economics of the institution using various metrics to track the efficiency and effectiveness of the funds applied… While no one can dispute the importance of knowing the ‘metrics’ of an organization and trying to make them as efficient as possible… efficiency isn’t always the most important factor in determining what gets funded… 

Metrics by their very nature only measures what can be measured, and thus it’s a proxy or an incomplete indicator of what is actually happening… In philanthropy, a corporate approach to measure impact and effectiveness can be highly problematic, especially philanthropy that is concerned with social change as opposed to improving a specific outcome… The challenge posed by metrics-mania and false bottom lines is the assumption of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model. Nonprofits are too diverse and problems they hope to address effectively are too complex to be reduced to a metrics model…

In the article Non-Profit and For-Profit Business Models by Bill E. Landsberg writes: It’s becoming a generally accepted truth in the nonprofit world that they must embrace the best practices of the for-profit business world in order to survive… However, some experts suggests that when/if nonprofits embrace for-profits business acumen of commercialization and revenue streams– that it threaten the very missions of nonprofits…

And that has become the modern-day non-profit paradox; embraces for-profits business practices, but these practices threaten to undermine the nonprofits–culture, mission, public image… Hence in an effort to save its bottom line, the modern nonprofit risks losing its soul… Basic conflicts exist between the values expressed in for-profits and those of non-profits. And it matters a great deal that nonprofits not evolve into another version of for-profit. At stake is the cultural relevance of non-profits and the missions that it serves…

In the article Non-profit Business Model by Rebecca Reynolds writes: Non-profits need to innovate just as continually and effectively as do for-profit organizations… But too many non-profit organizations are being misguided by good intended philanthropists who come from ‘for-profit’ organizations. These philanthro-capitalists do not fully understanding the true missions of the 501(c), or the profession of nonprofits… But they still insist on using ‘for-profit’ like metrics to manage the non-profits, e.g.; outcome assessments, best practices, bench-marking, social impact, performance standards… For many non-profits, it’s the ‘corporatization’ of the organization…

Corporatization is rapidly becoming an important consideration on the way non-profits are managed, and in many ways it undermines the very ‘mission’ of the philanthropic world… However for long-term sustainability, non-profits must devise creative ways to insure that their intended  missions are being fulfilling… and there is real accountability to satisfy the concerns of philanthropist who donate millions of dollars in funding for well-intended causes…

Shape Sales Organization for Year 2022: Traditional Sales Organizations That Work Now, Won’t Work Later…

The days of large burgeoning sales organizations driving around the country cold calling or speculatively visiting on existing customers in hope of winning business has ended… Technology, buyers’ behavior and sellers’ expectation are shaping sales organizations for the digital age. According to Lisa Leitch; the challenge that most organization face is the complex social and organizational demographic of the digital age… Ask yourselfWhat percentage of sales teams are currently under the age of 35 (millennials)?

The response typically is around 40% of the sales teams are ‘baby-boomers’ and less than 20% are millennials… and by 2022, around 65% of the workforce will be millennials… Are you prepared for the impact this will have on the sales organization and more importantly, customers?

  • Baby-boomers make-up around 40% of workplace demographics:  They hold many senior positions and have had a strong influence over cultural characteristics of the workplace.  This generation places value on long work hours, relationships and face-to-face meetings…
  • Generation X holds around 25% of the workplace demographics:  This generation is not a fan of status or titles and seeks work-life balance in an informative, fun, work environment…
  • Generation Y or Millennials represent around 20% of the workforce with pre-set expectations of what they want in the job: They are innovative, tech-savvy, self-sufficient, collaborators who need a higher purpose in life…
  • Millennials are here to stay and sales organizations must attract and engage them, now: The traditional sales organization by 2022 will no longer be a relevant model…

The world of sales as we know it is undergoing significant change. Sales organizations are being forced to reevaluate the way they sell. Empowered customers and trends, such as; mobile, cloud, social, big data… are major change agents; and organizations must reevaluate their; sales process, people, tools… Traditional sales organization just don’t work anymore… But it’s also important to keep in mind that at the heart of all successful businesses are ‘people’ who make things happen…

In the article Rise of Social Sales Organizations by Mark Fidelman writes: Social networking provides information, which is almost impossible to obtain through traditional means… A lead today can be someone complaining on Twitter that their current vendor is driving them crazy, or it can be a question in a LinkedIn group, or it can be an unassuming comment on a Facebook page… Today leads are far more than a call from a friend, a business card from an event, or a chance encounter on an airline flight…

The phrase; ‘go where the customers are’… has always been true and now it’s truer than ever: Customers use social networks. Sales use social networks. Fans and detractors use social networks… and they all talk to each other. This chatter is information, and best and most sophisticated sales professionals are using it to qualify leads and grow sales. The best sales people are using social selling right now, to ‘go where the customers are’...

Social networking is changing communication and how sales are made and how sales teams are organized… Customers are changing how they buy. They are engaging vendors much later in the sales cycle. They have access to more information. The buying/selling process is increasingly more public and visible. Customers are expressing their thoughts, frustrations, concerns publicly… All of this is changing how selling is done and how sales organizations are structured…

In the article Mega-trends for Sales Organizations by Hugo Sarrazin and Lareina Yee write: To succeed in digital age, sales people must develop a new set of skills to respond to rapidly evolving customer expectations and behaviors, i.e.; bigger, faster, more. These three adverbs are part of the growing conversation about selling in the digital age. But what’s really happening? Here are key mega-trends that are shaping how sales organizations need to adapt:

  • Highly networked ‘super-buyers’: New disruptive technologies are changing buyers’ attitudes and actions. Specifically, powerful and affordable analytics, connected communities, and the cloud… making access to information and processing cheap and quick. The result? An expanding group of ‘super-users’ who understand products extremely well. They are highly networked with each other, they can easily find people who have faced similar challenges, they learn from each other, they influence each other. Sales people need to understand this context…
  • Micro-segments, macro-behaviors: Two fundamental shifts in buyer demographics are forcing changes in how companies sell. First, as emerging economies like China and India continue to grow rapidly, emerging cities will have 60% of the new urban consumers globally within a few years… Second, Millennials will outnumber Gen-Xers and 75% of them use social networking versus 50% of Gen-Xers (and 30% of boomers)… These shifts both lead to more granular geographic opportunities and a critical mass of new but shared global behaviors. Companies will need to develop go-to-market models that meet both sets of needs…
  • Growth through learning: Collaborative technologies and lower experimentation costs are game-changers for businesses… The premium today is learning quickly, and not traditional planning. Companies that organize their business model to maximize their learning from each customer will capture greater returns. But to extract the value from this learning, companies will need to be much more agile, from how their supply chains work, to how the sales people adapt to customer situations…

Social networking and online data sources have created many new opportunities but the personal approach remains ultimately essential… Understanding a customer’s needs can only be done via personal face-to-face interaction, not social media or email… According to Dave Lakhani; building an effective sales organization requires sales people with passion to succeed and demonstrated record of success despite adversity… Sales people are the lifeblood of business: Choose them well, organize them well, treat them well, let them sell

Leaders Need to Shut-Up and Listen, More Often: Smart Leaders Know How to Leverage the Art of Silence…

Rule #1: Shut-up and Listen! That means Stop Talking! When you are talking you are not listening. This rule also applies to the talking inside your head, as well… When you are thinking intently about what you want to say you are not listening to what is being said… According to OpProf; in a rapidly changing world smart leaders find more business opportunities by listening rather than by talking. Many leaders insist-persist in dogmatic soliloquy, in which the audience is disinterested, disengaged, dying for someone to end their misery; wake-up no one is listening…

Yammering– that’s what stupid leaders do– they yammer-on about something they think is important but the audience has long since quit listening. Whereas smart leaders know when to shut-up and listen… According to Mike Figliuolo; if you simply want others around you to think you’re brilliant, there’s an easy and elegant way to do so: Just shut-up, listen... Remember that the letters in the word ‘listen’ also spell ‘silent’… According to Mike Myatt; show me a leader who doesn’t know the value of listening to others, and I will show you a train-wreck in the making… The irony is that when a leader is relaxed, doesn’t try to impress people– they are much more engaging and inspirational. Smart leaders know when to shut-up and listen…

In the article Are You Listening or Just Waiting to Talk? by Daniel Newman writes: Is listening a lost art? In a world full of so much to say, it can be hard to really listen, but to be an effective leader, you must listen… Some leaders struggle to be a good listener because their mind tends to play chess. Constantly thinking about what is next or what else needs to be done. However, if you want to move business relationships forward there is nothing more compelling than being a great listener… It’s the act of focusing on what another  person is saying, rather than preparing for what you want to say; it allows you to connect and gain real understanding of other people. It’s simple; just stop waiting to talk, and start ‘really’ listening…

In the article Leaders Need to Learn to Shut-up and Listen by Ken Gosnell writes: Leaders like to talk; they like to inspire people through words. They like to cast a vision, and challenge the status quo. These are all necessary qualities for effective leadership, however, smart leaders also understand the power of silence… According to Lao Tzu;  silence is a source of great strength… Great leaders learn how to add more silence into their lives… According to Jennifer V. Miller; most leaders would say they foster a ‘speak-up’ culture, but many quashing other people’s ideas before they can come to light: Leaders must understand the importance of their silence and allow others to speak-up… A few critical times when leaders should practice silence: 

  • Leaders should practice the art of silence when they want to learn something: You cannot learn when you are talking. Learning and personal development come through silence and reflection…
  • Leaders should practice the art of silence when they want to hear new ideas and innovative thinking: A leader who hopes to inspire others in effective brainstorming and creativity must practice silence. The leader’s silence encourages and empowers others to speak. The leader’s silence communicates the desire for others to share their thoughts and perspectives…
  • Leaders should practice the art of silence when they are not up to speed on the topic: One fatal flaw that can sabotage the leader in the eyes of followers is when they speak on subjects or topics that they know little or nothing… Abraham Lincoln was known to have said; better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt…

In the article Why People Talk Too Much by Lydia Dishman writes: Research shows people’s favorite subject to discuss is themselves. People spend 60% of conversations talking about themselves, and 80% when chatting on social media; apparently it just feels good… But this propensity to pontificate is at odds with most people’s collectively dwindling attention spans…

Silence is a greatly underestimated source of power: In silence you can hear not only what is being said, but also what is not being said… In silence it can be easier to reach the truth. Abraham Lincoln’s genius for power was simple; see people, hear people. Take-in the thoughts of all people, no matter what their ideology, or class background. Today we call that empathy; the understanding of what other people– think, feel, say…

The big miss for most leaders is that they fail to understand that the purpose of communication is not to message, but to engage… and this requires listening. Don’t be fooled into thinking that being heard is more important than hearing…  Almost universally, the smartest person in the room is not the one doing all the talking, it’s the person asking the relevant engaging questions, and very carefully listening to the answers… Leadership is about action but many leaders simply don’t listen, hence they don’t understand the critical issues that they must decide… and that’s a reason many organizations under-perform. Great talkers are a dime a dozen, but great listeners are a rarity…

Competing on the Edge of Chaos — Unpredictable, Unknowable, Unforeseen: Chaos is the New Normal…

Organizations perform best and worst when on the edge of chaos. According to Shona Brown and Kathleen Eisenhardt: the edge of chaos lies in an intermediate zone where organizations never quite settle into a stable equilibrium but never quite fall apart, either. This intermediate zone is where systems of all types– biological, physical, economic, and social– are at their most vibrant, surprising, flexible… The edge of chaos captures the complicated and unpredictable, yet adaptive behavior that occurs when there is some structure but not very much. The critical managerial issue at the edge of chaos is to figure out what to structure, and as essential, what not to structure.

To stay on the edge of chaos requires energy and conscious effort. There is a natural tendency to swing either to the chaotic (i.e. to fall apart), or the static (become stagnant, controlled, bureaucratic). Organizations need to continuously redefine purpose and disrupt existing ineffective behavior… This is a story that has repeated itself countless of times across different industries; established organizations become stagnant, focused-on exploiting their current competences and position, but fail to see that the competitive environment is no longer as it was before. Even if change is inevitable, the efforts to resist it tend to be stronger than efforts to innovate…

An organization’s greatest challenge is to develop strategies that are flexible enough to adapt to unforeseen competitive situations while sustaining their purpose, goals, objectives… According to Geary W. Sikich; this requires thinking out-side-the-box, thinking about strategy that is on the edge of chaos… This is not a radically new concept in management theory, rather it recognizes that strategic responses/ actions  do not always happen fast enough… Unpredictability is the new normal. Never under-estimate the impact of change in a rapidly changing, interconnected world… Biggest threat to any organization is staying with a previously successful business model, too long and not being able to adapt to the fluidity of changing competitive situations…

In the article Innovating on the Edge Of Chaos by Peter Hinssen writes: Everyone wants to innovate, and no one will rest until the innovation is so radical that it will disrupt an entire industry… Most organizations have the means, the talent and the processes in place; But it just doesn’t seem to work. Most are only able to optimize their existing offerings… The reason is that innovation only works when it’s messy, chaotic, and battling in a highly competitive environment. According to  Zhang Ruimin; create an entrepreneurial culture inside the organization by transforming the rules of the outside market inside the organization… 

Transform the organization into a fast flowing network of new ideas, with minimal  hierarchy, empowering all employees to innovate and propose new ideas… Most important embrace the ‘zero-distance-to-customers’ rule, i.e., everything begins and ends with the customer. However, this approach will not work for every organization; there is no silver bullet when it comes to innovation, for-the-day-after-tomorrow… What works for one organization might destroy another. But radical innovation needs an environment that’s a little off, i.e.; not too safe, not too neat, and on the edge of chaos…

In the book Leading on the Edge of Chaos by Daryl R. Conner writes: It’s the age of disruption; gone are the days when innovations and new ventures were incremental in scope and sequential in nature. In their place is ‘perpetual unrest,’ unending, fundamental changes. The tempo of change has sped up to a dizzying pace over the past few years: Globalization, rapid-fire technological innovation, mounting pressure for shareholder value have pushed the markets into a state of ceaseless turmoil. What was cutting-edge change management theory just five years ago now seems naive…

Success amidst such a maelstrom of change calls for much more than what change management models have traditionally offered… Now it calls for a radically new kind of organization, nimble enough to adapt instantly to changing market conditions, and piloted by leaders versed in the art of leading at the edge of chaos… This is not about decision-making; it’s about execution… It’s not about predicting change; it’s about adapting to it at a moment’s notice…

According to Jay Deragon; organizations that are battling to stay alive must recognize element of chaos created by disjointed change efforts and the lack of knowledge… Unless leadership and management are unified in methods and messages an organization cannot effectively manage through chaos. According to Nancy Green; leaders cannot prepare for chaos, but they can prepare for its impact, they must step out of day-to-day operations and think in terms of readiness for chaos of the future…

Chaos is transformational if the organization is led and managed with knowledge and decisiveness… Knowledge without action is an accumulation of trivia, and action without knowledge is a path to failure. According to Jack Welch; willingness to change is a strength, even if it means plunging part of the organization into total confusion or chaos for a while… Brilliant and mind-boggling innovations happen on the edge of chaos… a state that is chaotic enough to generate creativity but orderly enough to sustain and conclude such creativity…

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

Translate »