Lost Art of Great Speech– Power of Oratory, Words Move People: Don’t Under-Estimate the Power of a Speech…

The power of a great speech is undeniable… Words can move people to risk life, shed tears, laugh out loud, recommit to virtue, feel patriotic… By weaving and spinning words into a well-crafted speech, a person can wield an almost god-like power… According to Richard Dowis; persons don’t have to possess– loud sonorous voice, or pearly white smile, or wild, charismatic stage presence to give great speech; all the fancy packaging and confidence in the world is rendered useless if speech itself is illogical, boring, poorly conceived…

What ultimately stays with an audience long after the event is over– is the content of what is said… A great speech is about the audience; establishing rapport, common ground, trust, such that; the message is– interesting, relevant, inspiring, e.g.; John F. Kennedy’s memorable speech in Berlin at the height of the cold war; ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ (‘I am Berliner’), which expressed solidarity (however symbolic) with the audience…

There are no big ‘secrets’ in preparing a great speech, only proven techniques that makes the speech– interesting, meaningful, dramatic, e.g.; the ‘rule of three’ used by speechwriters as a  rhetorical device where ideas are grouped in ‘3s’ which makes them more memorable; plus it adds drama, interest, rhythm to a speech, e.g.;

  • Abraham Lincoln: [T]hat a government– of the people, by the people, for the people–  shall not perish…
  • Julius Caesar: Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered)…
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt: I see one-third of a nation– ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished…

In the article Inspiring Speeches in Business by zillidy writes: What makes people successful? Some business leaders are inspired by people telling them they can’t do something (negative motivation)… Some find inspiration in solving big problems (sense of accomplishment). Others find motivation and inspiration in words that are well-crafted into a great speech (positive reinforcement)… Here are brief excerpts from three inspiring speeches:

  • JK Rowling’s ‘Harvard Commencement Speech’ was about dealing with failure: She said: Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you fail by default…
  • Steve Jobs’ ‘2005 Stanford Commencement Speech’ was inspiring, yet helpful speech about– keeping focus… He said: You have to trust in something– your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever; because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference…
  • Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘TED Speech’– was about too few women leaders and inspiring women to do more… She said: Don’t leave before you leave. Stay in. Keep your foot on the gas pedal until the very day you need to leave […] Don’t make decisions too far in advance…

In the article Give a Good Speech by Paul Shoebottom writes: Every good speech has two main aspects: ‘What’ you say (content): ‘How’  you say it (delivery)… But the most important parts of a speech are; ‘the beginning’ and ‘the end’: A strong first sentence captures the attention of the audience… And a strong last sentence– makes them laugh or gives them something provocative to think about… Golden Rule 1– ‘Keep it short and simple’: Keep sentences short, grammar simple, and don’t get diarrhea of the month and ramble aimlessly… stay focused on the message! Golden Rule 2– Use ‘rule of 3’, the human brain responds to things that come in ‘3s’…

Golden rule 3: Metaphors make great speech openers, because they– surprise, conjure images, appeal to emotions… According to Anne Miller; speaking without metaphors is like running marathon barefoot. Yes you can finish the race but not without pain… Metaphors surprise the audience– it’s something other than what is expected, but also link the metaphoric to the message… A great speech– lifts hearts in dark times, gives hope in times of despair, inspires courage, honors the dead, changes the course of history… Great speakers have three components: Style, Substance, Impact…

But the fact of the matter is that most people hate to give a speech… Most  people (i.e., leaders) would rather hide than get-up in front of a group and give a speech… But an ability to craft, deliver a great speech is very important for leaders’ effective communications… According to Portent; here are few tips that might help:

First remember– different people listen at different speeds, but you are only speaking at one speed. That means you are not ‘getting through’ to 66% of the audience, and frankly you run risk of annoying a lot of other people, as well… Remember not everyone processes information the same way… some people prefer to hear a speaker talk quite fast, others prefer a speaker talk quite slowly, and still others prefer a more medium voice speed… Hence varying voice speed periodically during the speech ensures you reach all listening types in the room.

Generally each person in the audience cares about one of the following; ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘how’, or ‘what-if’ information ahead of all else… For example, ‘why’ people want to hear about ‘what’ and ‘how’, but they badly need to know ‘why’ they should care, because all of ‘what’ and ‘how’ information will have no purpose, no meaning, no context… Similarly, ‘what’ people want the data and facts, and are less interested in the big picture or exactly how to use the data. The ‘how’ people want to know ‘how’ to make things work; they don’t much care about context or the raw data…

The speech structure should include data & facts for ‘what’ people; steps and procedures for ‘how’ people; and big picture context for ‘why’ people, and simple Q&A covers ‘what-if’ people… Always start with ‘why’ it sets context, since ‘how’, ‘what’ people don’t mind waiting through that. As for visual slides; scale way, way back on visuals and  only put 2 kinds of things on a slide:

  • Something that will visually explain something that otherwise would take many words to explain, e.g.; chart, graph, photo, image…
  • What you absolutely want the audience to remember: Repeat– Only, what you absolutely want the audience to remember...

A great speech must have a single, concise, clear call to action– one and only one thing… A great speech can launch a decade-long quest for man on the moon, or inspire people to compete for a prize, or find new ways to make processes more efficient… A great speech throws down the gauntlet to find new solutions to difficult problems, or conveys an inspirational and motivational sentiment… A great speech can change the world…

Ransomware– Pay-Up or Else– Billion Dollar Nightmare: Everyone is Vulnerable to Cyber– Extortion, Ransom…

Ransomware is one of the fastest-growing trends in cyber-crime: A clicked URL here, an opened file there, and suddenly your computer is infected with malware that either prevents you from accessing your machine or, worse, encrypts your work documents so you can’t access them… By the time you recognize something is wrong, it’s too late. Cyber-criminals have kidnapped your data and want you to pay up to get it back…  Estimates from the FBI put ransomware on pace to be a $1 billion dollar source of income for cyber-criminals…

The average ransom demand is now about $679. That’s more than double the average demand of $294 observed during attacks in 2015… And more troubling is that less than 50% of victims fully recover data... Ransomware propagates itself as a Trojan, e.g.; fake emails are the most often used distribution method, ahead of– websites, social media, attached infected Word documents… Ransomware is different from other malware and viruses because it’s nearly impossible to break it… In many cases, even the most accomplished coders can’t break the complicated algorithms to get access to the files without paying ransom…

In the article Ransomware a Top Threat by Lucian Constantin writes: Ransomware increasingly hits– businesses, hospitals, public utilities, public transit systems, and even police departments… According to Ed Cabrera; over the past two years there has been a dramatic shift in the type of ransomware being used by attackers… In 2014, 80% of ransomware attacks used traditional techniques, e.g.; locking desktop screen and telling users that they needed to pay fines… However, in 2015, the statistics flipped and 80% of attacks involved malicious malware programs that encrypt files…

Still another evolution is the transition from targeting individuals to organization and enterprises… This change in target is not entirely unexpected; after all business records are much more valuable than personal documents… and organizations can afford to pay higher ransoms than individuals… According to Liviu Arsene; ransomware are now focused on small and medium businesses, since they are more likely to pay larger ransom than the average individual, e.g.; a hospital paid $17,000 when hit by a single ransomware infection… which makes organizations and enterprises much more valuable targets for cyber-crime… 

Ransomware attacks can be devastating; they can cripple day-to-day activities… common entry points in many organizations are; human resource and financial departments, because it’s easy to disguise malware as, e.g.; resume, invoice… And when target are critical infrastructure provider, such as; hospitals, transportation services, communications… impact on these organizations can be catastrophic; unfortunately in these situations there are few realistic options aside from paying the ransom… In these devastating attacks, victims are usually redirected to ‘exploit kits’ via compromised websites or through malicious ads…

Unlike phishing emails these are drive-by-download attacks and it’s difficult to avoid them, since they are launched from trusted websites and are usually completely silent… These are hard decisions; security experts and law enforcement typically recommend that victims do not pay ransoms because it rewards criminals, and there are no guarantee that the attackers will fully recovery the data or provide an decryption key… According to Kaspersky Lab; one in every five organizations that pay ransom never get full-data back… However, for most organizations the decision is simply financial; it’s cost-based, e.g.; comparing– ‘costs lost’ (i.e., lost revenue, reputation, customer support, intellectual property…), versus ‘pay ransom’ (i.e., accepting unintended consequences)…

Incidents of Ransomware on the Rise: Hospitals, schools, government, law enforcement, small business, large corporations, individuals… are all targets for ransomware… It’s  an insidious type of malware that encrypts and/or locks valuable files and demands ransom to release them… According to James Trainor; paying ransom does not guarantee anything– it’s no win situation– even when victims pay they may not get full recovery… plus it emboldens criminals to target even more organizations… In addition, criminal/terrorists use the funds obtained from ransom to engage in other illegal, immoral activities.

Ransoms are profitable enterprises, and it’s very easy for cyber-criminals to organize and manage attacks when they represent themselves as legitimate enterprises… According to McAfee; cyber-criminals have figured out that they can hide/disguise themselves as legitimate enterprises… hence they make much more money, more easily, more safely with cyber ransomware, than with, e.g.; dealing drugs or other illegal activities… But key question; Should victims pay ransom?

Ransom amount vary (it’s market based system): It can be few hundred dollars, or $5,000 or more... And unfortunately victims are in no win situation– it extremely unlikely that the victim can break the malware or encryption… Hence, the decision to pay, or not often comes down to just a few limited options, e.g.:

  • No backup? Pay the ransom: If victims lack any form of file backup, they have no choice but to pay the ransom and hope they get files back. (According to survey of 300 experts; 19% of victims that paid the ransom still didn’t get their files back.)
  • Try restoring from backup: If victims have backup, they should try restoring a clean version, though in many situations customers will be down during the hours and days it takes to restore files.

Third option: Business continuity– it’s the ability for an organization to continue operations even in a disaster situation… Many organizations have plans in place for, e.g.; natural disasters, power outages, other disruptions… But few organizations have– ‘e-crisis’ response plans for cyber threats… Organizations (and individuals) must take cyber-attacks serious and develop effective contingency ‘continuity plan’ to protect themselves…

Dystopian Nightmare of Knowbots– Knowledge Robots: Changing Role of Knowledge Workers in a Knowledge Economy…

A decade ago, it was vampires. A few years ago, it was zombies. And now it’s all about– knowbots, knowledge robots, smart robots… and worries over the future of work… Why the concern; What is different this time around? According to Roy Bahat; the difference is that the jobs threatened are– yours, the elite knowledge worker– the highly educated, mobile professional who has reaped the gains of technology for the last five decades… For the first time, the chattering class might get out-chattered by– ‘knowbots’ (knowledge robots)… According to McKinsey Study; it’s estimated that knowledge work automation, tools and systems, could take over tasks that would be equal to the output  of 100 million to 140 million knowledge workers… This could have an economic impact  of between  $5.2 and $6.7 trillion by 2025…

The face of knowledge work is changing… knowledge  cognitive robotic technology, and AI is transforming the role of knowledge workers… According to Sue Troy; smart robotics will have a major impact on the knowledge labor market by shifting the knowledge worker framework from one of labor arbitrage, which reduces costs for relevant functions by anywhere from 15% to 30%, to one of labor automation, which reduces costs by 40% to 75%… According to Cliff Justice; smart robots will eventually create more career opportunities, but it’s also highly likely to be much disruption for many knowledge workers…

In the article Beyond Automation by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby write:  Knowledge work is loosely defined as work that is more mental than manual, involves consequential decision-making, and it has traditionally required a university education… Knowledge work accounts for a large proportion of the services industry jobs… and it’s the ‘high ground’ to which human have retreated as smart machines have taken over less cognitively challenging work… According to experts; knowledge workers must continually invest in learning… and ever-higher-levels of formal education to keep ahead of invading smart machines…

However many experts also overstate the extent of smart machine replacement of human knowledge workers and ignore the strong complementary nature of humans and machines working together to increase productivity… Knowledge workers will come to see smart machines as partners and collaborators in creative problem-solving… and this relationship between human workers and machine workers do have deep implications for how organizations are structured, managed.

In the article Smart Machines Redefine Knowledge Workers by Ivo Totev writes: More than three million workers will have a ‘robo-boss’ and nearly 50% of the fastest-growing companies will have more smart machines than workers by 2020, according to Gartner report. However, the manner in which smart machines impact knowledge worker productivity is another story… Trust is one of the big issues:  Yes, trusting a smart machine to deliver your Amazon order is one thing, but trusting autonomous vehicles is another, even though according to a study commissioned by Google found the company’s autonomous cars crashed 3.2 times per million miles, compared with 4.2 times for human drivers…

Hence, it’s realistic to assume that people are comfortable with smart machines where the outcomes are highly predictable and proven over time… In this sense newer smart cognitive technology takes on more of ‘augmentation’ role than ‘automation’. According to Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby; ‘automation’ starts with a baseline of what people do in a given task and subtracts from that… It deploys smart machines to chip away at the tasks that knowledge workers perform as soon as those tasks can be codified… In contrast, ‘augmentation’ means starting with what knowledge workers do, and figuring out how that work could be deepened rather than diminished by a greater use of smart machines…

In the article What Smart Robots Mean for Knowledge Workers by Zainab Zaki writes: We all know the smart robots are coming, cars drive themselves, floors clean themselves, food serves itself, clothes sew themselves… Smart robots have the potential to take over millions of tasks… but what about the traditional knowledge workers– the elite professionals who have university graduate degrees, experience, great skills– where do they fit, in the scheme of things:

Does that mean that– doctors, engineers, accountants… are in jeopardy of being replace by smart robots? According to Megan Beck; yes, knowledge workers will be disrupted, and all workers in the knowledge economy will have to retool themselves in order to compete with smart robots… But smart robot is still a robot, and it cannot connect, or interact, or empathize with humans like other humans… Hence, the new knowledge workers will require different skills to compete with knowbots…

In the article Get Ready for New Co-Worker, Smart Robot by Sharon Gaudin writes: Some experts predict that there is an invasion of smart robots, and it’s on the rise… According to one study; smart robots could take over 50% of tasks in both U.S. and UK work forces over the next two decades. That would mean the loss of roughly 80 million U.S. and 15 million UK knowledge workers… According to Tom Davenport; many knowledge workers’ tasks are vulnerable to be taken over by smart machines, e.g.; there are areas being targeted by IBM’s Watson and other cognitive technologies that involves– massive amount of data, highly complexity issues, and knowledge bases that can only be managed by smart machines…

According to Abhijit Bhaduri; cognitive technologies is reshaping, redefining the role of knowledge work, and the roles of knowledge workers. Hence, knowledge workers’ skill-set must also changes. According to Peter Drucker; every few hundred years throughout Western history, a transformation occurs in the nature of work… In a matter of decades a new world exists. And people born into that world cannot imagine the world in which their grandparents lived and into which their own parents were born…

The age of knowbots is such a period of transformation… it’s a new world that is dominated by ‘shift to a knowledge society’… it’s an age where people generate value with their minds more than with their muscle, and knowbots are becoming an important player in this new world… Increasing knowledge work productivity is the most important management issue in the 21st century– and that means organizations must determine, arbitrate, manage the task sharing between cognitive knowledge robots and human knowledge workers…

Think Metaphorically– Outside the Box, Inside the Box, Beyond the Box: Creativity is a Different Way of Thinking…

‘Think outside the box’ is an overused cliché… Nevertheless, it does capture the idea that creativity means trying and exploring different ideas… It’s heard again and again, an executive admonishing a team to ‘think outside of the box’… Of course, the intention is to inspire and to ‘think creatively’, but the problem is that it’s an uninspiring, uncreative, unencouraging way to say it… In fact, it can be darn right unproductive…

According to Tom Stevens; cliché is antithesis of creativity, and ‘out of the box’ is as cliché as it comes. Everyone knows what it means, but it’s hardly a trigger for ideas that are– different, creative, breakthrough… The human brain does respond to metaphors but in very subtle and profound ways, e.g.; if a ‘box’ is a metaphor for your experience then ‘out-of-the-box‘ suggests that you trying to discover something new and totally outside of that experience… The trouble is that thinking about things outside of your experience is almost impossible… Asking someone to ‘think outside the box’ is like asking someone to list unforeseeable events…

In the article To Think Outside The Box, Go Outside The Box by Dileep Rao writesMetaphors can help make sense of the unfamiliar by comparing them to something understandable. By looking at the familiar with new eyes, you might realize that you are blind to the obvious, or you forgot an essential element, or you discovered something entirely different… Hence metaphor can change your viewpoint by forcing you to multiplicity, i.e.; looking at things from many points of view– by re-framing situations, metaphors help creative thinking… 

One of the  most common metaphor or cliché in business is to ‘think outside the box’ (OTB)… And even though many business cultures encourage employees to ‘think’ OTB… but they really do not ‘go’ OTB… For many organization, the reluctance or inability, to shake core business habits by going OTB, i.e.; from established behaviors to a more riskier ones– can be dangerous, especially when revolutionary trends can seriously disrupt the organization. Hence in order to ‘think’ outside the box, it helps to ‘be’ outside the box… Here are a few reasons:

  • No constraints: When you are on the outside you are not limited or influenced by established behaviors… hence your thinking can seek different ways to get things done…
  • Blank-slate thinking: When you are on the outside you have a blank-slate– relatively little extra baggage that can seriously influence your thinking… hence you can create new or different rules based on the reality of situation…
  • Revolutionary trending: When you are on the outside you can adopt new revolutionary advances to gain a competitive edge rather than seeking small, evolutionary changes… Small change is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic…
  • Bottom-up analyzing: When you are on the outside you can work for the bottom-up to determine how to make customers happier without the constraints of existing practices…

In the article Think Outside the Box and Creativity by Douglas Eby  writes: What if you could boost creativity by taking metaphors literally, such as; ‘thinking outside the box’, or ‘on the one hand, then on the other hand’? Here is where Angela Leung and her colleagues created experiments with people acting out the metaphors, literally: In one experiment, each participant was seated either, inside or outside of a five-by-five-foot cardboard box. The two environments were set-up to be the same in every way, and people didn’t feel claustrophobic in the box. Participants were told that it was a study on different work environments… Each person was given a widely used test for creativity; the finding showed that those who were ‘outside the box’ tested better, than those who were ‘inside the box’...

In another experiment, participants were asked to join two halves of a coaster that had been cut (before the test)– this representation was to demonstrate; putting ‘two + two’ together. People who acted out the metaphor displayed more convergent thinking– a component of creativity that requires putting together various scenarios, then settling on one that works… Another experiments found that walking around ‘randomly’ generated more original ideas than walking in a ‘preset-line’. And still another test found that there is truth in ‘on the one hand, then on the other hand’…

All this suggests that there is some validation to metaphors that are used when talk about creativity… According to Angela Leung; having a leisurely walk outdoors or freely pacing around helps clear the mindset– it’s getting-up and walking away from your cubicle (the box) that can also create space for creative thinking…

In the article Thinking Outside the Box by Joycelyn Campbell writes: If you are stymied by the prospect of ‘thinking outside the box’, you may be relieved to find out that you cannot actually do it… The box is the mental model through which you view and interpret the world. You are always ‘inside the box’, in one compartment or another… The ‘box’ is a symbol of constraint– what you see, what you think, how you feel, what you do… The ‘box’ has implication of rigidity, squareness, and symbolizes constrained, unimaginative thinking… In contrast to the open and unrestricted ‘out of the box‘… Thinking  creatively is being  unimpeded by orthodox and conventional constraints…

The metaphor– ‘thinking outside the box’ has become so hackneyed as to be rather meaningless. The ‘box’ has come to represent all things that limit thinking, so ‘thinking outside the box’ means being able to transcend those limitations… Out-of-the-box thinking doesn’t require people to rewire their brains or take courses in creativity… To think outside the box requires only to ask: Is there a different way to think about an issue or thing?

It’s a myth: researchers have found that the conceptual link between ‘thinking outside the box’ and ‘creativity’ fails to produce the desired creativity… And far from being hindrance– past experience, training can be a key to creative thinking… According to Frans Johansson;  instead of trying to think outside the box, people are better served by deliberately– stretching, expanding, learning, exposing… oneself to new situations, different viewpointsNew and different ideas are not spun from thin air, creativity involves; synthesizing, remixing, reenvisioning what’s already inside the box. Hence creativity is all about; building a better box, a different box…

Connecting the Physical Worlds– Smart Sensors Technology: Ubiquitous — Transforming Industries, Organizations…

The Internet connects people in a global-wide web of information– zillions of bits that are stored in computer memories, hard drives… But there is an emerging revolution occurring using highly miniaturized, wireless, networked ‘smart sensors’… these devises are connecting and transforming our ability to understand and manage the physical world around usAccording to several research reports: The global smart sensors market is anticipated to reach $60 billion by 2022, and growing at a CAGR of 19.2% from 2016 to 2022…

The market size and growth potential of smart sensors covers multi-industries and across many segments, e.g.; security, surveillance, energy-efficiency, consumer electronics, automotive, healthcare, automation, robotics, manufacturing… These smart devices are the connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT)… According to Gartner; the number of sensors needed to create the Internet of Things (IoT) is mind-boggling; some 26 billion smart sensors will be installed by 2020 in everything from– cars to conveyor belts, buildings to bridges, road signs to refrigerators, test beds to toasters, smart grids, smart cities, smart environments… The use of smart sensors is truly ubiquitous…

In the article Smart Sensors by 30mhz writes: It’s a new era where objects are embedded with sensors with ability to acquire, measure, and communicate information that can improve processes, reduce costs, minimize risk. Smart sensors (often wireless) offer organizations the opportunity to capture data from– anywhere, anytime, under all environmental conditions. Wireless sensors can be placed anywhere, even in the most difficult to reach places or extreme environments… They can track where assets are, monitor their condition and save time by predicting upkeep needs… They can capture just about any metric, including; vibration, heat, moisture, image, sound… and submit data for processing via the cloud or local processor…

It’s a new era with focus on sensor driven computing as a key area of innovation and growth from street signals, to manufacturing plants, to construction cranes, to jet engines… the massive amounts data that can be collected is both overwhelming and exciting… However, it’s crucial that organizations have complete solution that not only capture sensory data but refine it into actionable insights… Sensory data augments human capability for better decision-making, and that enables organizations to be more competitive, efficient, productive.

In the article Smart Sensors and Internet of Things by Jim O’Donnell writes: Internet of Things (IoT) cannot exist without smart sensors, and growing use of smart technology is already transforming how many organizations implement the IoT… Smart sensors bring more connectivity and analytics to the value chain, e.g.: Here are some things to consider:

  • Smart sensors are the indispensable enablers of the IoT… Smart sensors, including radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, serve three broad purposes; 1. identification, 2. location, 3. condition… All have major implications for a value chain and manufacturing… They are useful in plants or warehouses because they keep track of critical indicators, such as; temperature, humidity, data logs for quality control, triggers for alarms, and process management…
  • Smart sensors are embedded in products, which help improve the manufacturing process or the products themselves. Sensors are integrated within products to create ‘smart products’ and they provide many enhanced valued added features… They can also permeate the manufacturing process to– monitor, control, and improve operations… and added to logistics to streamline how products are delivered…

In the article Healthcare With Smart, Wireless, Wearable Sensors by MDO writes: There are strong indications in the marketplace that a digital healthcare revolution is coming (often referred to as wireless, digital, or mobile health). The basic idea is to wirelessly connect the patient with care providers to monitor their health and intervene as needed– ideally preventatively– as the patient goes about normal life. The enabling technology is a miniature, smart sensors incorporated around– deployable, wearable, implantable– the patient. Wearable are attractive, because they require no medical procedure and travel with the patient…

Miniature, smart sensors are based on micro- and nano-fabrication technology, often simply referred to as MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) and NEMS (nano-electro-mechanical systems). These devices augment the computational ability of microelectronics with perception (i.e., sensing) and control (i.e., actuation) capabilities…

MEMS sensors and actuators have over 40 years of commercial history behind it, and MEMS sensor design and manufacturing advances have enabled consumer electronics volume, pricing, and performance. The MEMS industry is bullish on the prospects for wide range of smart sensors, and there is gathering momentum to develop a trillion-sensors road map…

In the article Smart Mini-Sensors, Next Big Thing by Dror Sharon writes: The proliferation of smartphones, wearable, Internet of things… have heralded the age of affordable smart sensors… For example; imaging capabilities within smartphones has evolved rapidly since introduction of smart sensor technology, including;  new lens packs, new CMOS sensors and extensive image sensor processors in order to improve the capability and/or quality of images, photos, videos… Some smartphones and wearable even have a pulse-oxymeter for monitoring health… Smart sensors with embedded microprocessors and wireless communication links are changing the way systems are– monitored, controlled, maintained…

The changing nature of technology is disrupting value chains, forcing companies to rethink and retool nearly everything they do… In the past decade the Internet’s impact accelerated with the proliferation of; always-on, cloud-connected, and multi-sensory devices, such as; smartphones, wearable devices… It’s a digital shift being instigated by the forces of– cloud, mobile, sensors, social. The Internet of things  (IoT) drives massive numbers of smart sensor connectivity, and society  is putting unprecedented pressure to balance resource constraints and environmental sustainability concerns…

Hence to name just a few examples: consider the rapid emergence of ‘smart cities’, which are full of IoT devices, including; smart electric meters, smart street lights, smart sensors to monitor traffic flow… Also consider; ‘smart buildings’, which are full of IoT devices running; smart elevators, lighting, security, HVAC systems… Also ‘smart cars’, they too are full of IoT devices that manage just about all major functions in the automobile… Smart sensors are ubiquitous– more organizations, government, companies… are exploring how they can take advantage of the combination of– smart sensors, cloud, artificial intelligence… to improve customer value, competitiveness, better decisions, improve the workplace experience…

Dreaded Strategic Drift– Road to Doom: Leaders Oblivious to Shifts in Competitiveness, Lost Touch with Reality…

Strategic drift is the often traveled ‘road to doom’– it’s a gradual decay of a firms competitiveness that ultimately results in failure… The term is also used to describe a ‘sense of cognitive sloth’ in the ability of management to meet the objectives of the organization. Common symptoms, include; group-think mind-set, status quo mentality, lack of focus, resistance to change, unable to acknowledge that current strategy is not working… According to Charles Handy; strategic drift is a gradual change that occurs so subtly that it’s not even noticed until it’s too late…

When strategic drift goes unnoticed, ignored it’s devastating for an organization, and the crazy thing is they don’t even realize that it’s happening… All that it takes is– a little compromise here, a little bad decision there… before they know it, an organization is in a situation that it never thought possible– it’s on its way to doom. According to C. S. Lewis; road-to-doom is a gradual one; gentle slope, soft underfoot, no sudden turns, no milestones, no signposts. However, organizations can avoid the dreaded strategic drift– with a little due diligence, i.e.; early warning, agility, resilience, flexibility…

In the article Strategic Drift by Tom Tierney and Jay W. Lorsch write: Strategic drift happens when the strategy of a business is no longer relevant to the external environment facing it… It usually arises from combination of factors, including; business failing to adapt to changing external environment (e.g.; social, technological change…); or, discovery that the competitiveness that worked before doesn’t work anymore; or, complacency, which is often built on previous success that management assume would continue, even when faced with evidence that there are real issues… Consideration for dealing with strategic drift:

  • Incremental Change: Series of small, incremental changes to strategy enable the business to remain in touch with the external environment…
  • Rate of change: External environment is accelerating and small, incremental changes in strategy are not enough to remain in touch. The business is losing its competitive advantage…
  • Management indecision: Significant ‘gap’ emerges between what a market expects and what the organization is actually delivering. Management must recognize when a gap exists, but most often management is unable to agree on the proper strategy forward…
  • Transformation Change or Death: Moment of truth, few options remain– management must then recognize that a simple fix won’t work and a more radical transformation change in needed to save the organization. But for some organizations realization comes too late…

In the article Strategic Drift and Business by Mandy Brooks writes: We live in a business age where change is undeniably a matter of course… It’s all too tempting to do things as they have always been done, but if you simply follow the same rituals out of habit, there is a danger of the dreaded– strategic drift… Some changes in the market place are gradual and aren’t immediately obvious, while others are clear blatant warnings that internal strategy needs to be refocused to accommodate them…

Organizations must face-up to change– an imperative to the future of the organization. Management must recognize a need to constantly re-evaluate strategy, in order to respond to turbulent, unstable market cycles… Management must also ask the difficult questions, e.g.: Is the  current– ‘business as usual rituals’ still relevant, appropriate for today’s changing business environment ? Or, is the organization in danger of slowly but surely on the road to doom?

In the article Strategic Drift Is It Always Bad? by mj writes: Strategic drifts is a result of– weak planning, poor goal setting, ineffective performance… It’s a general mis-fit between an organization’s vision and the strategy that is used to support it… The term strategy drift was first defined by Charles Handy in 1989, and he defined it as a gradual change in strategy, i.e.; a drift that is often very subtly and not noticeable until it’s too late…  Strategic drift is when something in the organization must change, either; vision, or strategy, or both. According to Vincent van Gogh; do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model…

In the article How to Avoid Strategic Drift by Mike Conforme writes: The essence of the strategic planning process can be distilled into three common elements: (1) A thorough understanding of the current position– Where are we now? (2) A clear vision of the desired future– Where do we need to go? (3) A structured plan to get from (1) to (2)– How do we get there? The result of this process is the definition and selection of a perceived relevant and creative strategic plan, which takes the organization in the desired direction while achieving the most appropriate balance of risk and reward…

However despite all the planning, the chosen strategy may not always be the most prudent course of action… Of course, executing the agreed-on strategic plan is very importance, but management must also be cognizant of the constantly shifting environment in which they operate… and to ignore changes, runs risk of serious consequences…

It’s interesting to note that many management thinkers have proposed theories about this strategic change phenomena, e.g.: According to Peter Drucker; existing strategic models are ineffective as change barrels down on organizations making all models redundant within no time… According to Alvin Toffler; changes are akin to the future arriving even before one can prepare for it… According to Gary Hamel; the concept of ‘strategic decay’ explains how the value of each strategy decays over time irrespective of how brilliant the strategy was in the first place…

The key aspect about strategic change is that it’s difficult to predict and control. Hence, the optimal way to deal with it is to expect the unexpected and be ready for anything… Hence, unless organizations embrace change, they are likely to be fossilized… and unless they are prepared to deal with– sudden, unpredictable, discontinuous, radical change, they are likely to go the way of the dinosaurs… The concept of the strategic drift occurs without notice and by the time it’s noticed, it’s too late…

The impact of this all-too-common phenomenon is catastrophic, and it’s important to understand it… An unidentified and/or uncorrected strategic drift is result of being out-of-touch with reality. It’s a strategic gap; and if not corrected it’s a road-to-doom… So the existing strategy for– Where do we need to go? must change… but many a naive leader continues to persists with it– oblivious to shifts in competitiveness…

Mastering Negotiation is Critical in This Turbulent Business Climate: Most Managers Simply Don’t Know How to Negotiate…

Mastering the art (or some say science) of negotiation is absolutely critical in daily business activities… yet many leaders and managers lack this crucial skill… According to Mary Ellen Tribby; studies show that business people (and others) who do not know how to negotiate are 60% less successful than those who do. A recent survey suggests that most business people (in fact, most people in general) don’t particularly– understand, or value, or exercise good negotiation skills…

According  to Abby Hardoon; there is a negotiation skills gap, in fact, most people simply don’t know how to negotiate… Of course, there is no magic formula for the best way to negotiate and no shortage of expert opinions– as a quick scan of bookstore’s shelves will reveal– some of which is valuable but much is simply not practical... But, a consensus seems to suggest that the most critical steps in negotiations are; actively listen, build sense of trust, be negotiation ready, and all other steps follow… 

In the article Enhancing Negotiator Power by Dr. Robin L. Pinkley writes: A key determinant of all negotiations is negotiator power. Power is defined as– value that each party brings to the table over the value of each party’s alternative’ to the deal (often called BATNA or Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement). Given the profound impact that power has on every negotiation, you would be wise to proactively enhance your power ‘before’ you negotiate, e.g.:

  • Increase– other party’s perception of ‘your value(research what they care about and how they can get it from you)…
  • Decrease– other party’s perception of ‘their value’ (communicate what they’ve overvalued or don’t have that you need and why what you’re justified in asking for it)…
  • Increase– other party’s perception of ‘your BATNA’ (prepare viable alternatives and share them strategically)…
  • Decrease– other party’s perception of ‘their BATNA’ (bring value that others don’t have and differentiate yourself)…

In the article Effective Negotiation by Bisk writes: Negotiation is a process (not an event)– it’s give-and-take’ between parties (each with its aim, need, viewpoint…) seeking to discover common ground and reach an agreement to settle a matter of mutual concern or resolve a conflict… Negotiating is a skill that few people can afford to forego– it’s critical in all phases of business and human interaction… According to Carolyn Williams; a few tips to improve proficiency:

  • Learn to Flinch: The flinch is one of the oldest negotiation tactics but one of the least used… A flinch is a visible reaction to an offer or price during face-to-face negotiations. The objective of this tactic is to make the other person(s) feel uncomfortable about the offer they presented… Most often the other person will respond in one of two ways; a) they become very uncomfortable and begin to try to rationalize their price… b) they will offer an immediate concession…
  • Have Confidence: Regardless of how badly you may need a certain outcome from the negotiations, never let the other party think that you are desperate; doing so puts you in a weaker position and gives them greater leverage over the situation…
  • Come Prepared: Before you go into any negotiation, make sure you have considered all variables which might arise… Should unexpected issues come up, end the negotiations and educate yourself on the new matter before rejoining the process…
  • Build Buffer: Never begin with final offer. Give yourself sufficient ‘cushion’ between what you are asking for and what you actually want. This will enable you to make compromises without giving up anything important… also demonstrates to the other party that you are flexible…
  • Know Limits: Decide beforehand what your absolute minimum outcome is, and do not be afraid to leave the negotiations if you cannot get it…
  • Stay Cool: If negotiations become argumentative, walk away and ‘take-five’ to reassess your situation. If the other party is not willing to come to an acceptable compromise, consider whether it’s more beneficial to continue, or simply end the negotiations…

In the article Great Negotiators Think With Heads, Not Hearts by Victoria Pynchon writes: Negotiation need ‘hard heads’, rather than ‘soft hearts’… Zero-sum or win-lose negotiating is all about getting your ‘fair share’ of a fixed pie… Ideally negotiations are a mutual benefit/interest-based process that require the parties to: (1) learn about and attempt to satisfy each negotiating partners’ needs and desires… (2) collaborate in an effort to find ways to satisfy each others  needs and desires in novel and creative ways… But that’s simply not how the whole competition negotiating paradigm operates…

We live on razor’s edge between sympathy and fairness– between adversarial-ism and collaboration, between head and heart… As a conflict resolution guru said; effective negotiators need cynical minds and hopeful hearts… Only when you are able to achieve the balance between ‘head’ and ‘heart’ are you able to serve yourself and the larger common good at the same time…

Negotiation often requires creativity to ask the right clarifying questions and figure out what is truly of value to other parties… It may not be what you think until you ask… According to Chris Voss: the idea is to really listen to what the other-side is saying and feed it back to them… It’s kind of a discovery process for both-sides– you are trying to discover what’s important to them, and how that compares to the things that are important to you…

However, negotiation  has a certain gamification associated with the process, e.g.;  while you are making your argument the other-side is not listening to you, but thinking about their own argument– they’ve got a voice in their head that’s talking to them… And while the other-side is making their argument you are thinking about your argument– it’s the voice in your head that’s talking to you… So it’s very much like dealing with each others schizophrenia… In reality, most negotiating is dysfunctional; where each-side is talking ‘pass’ each-other rather than listening and talking ‘to’ each-other…