Three Big Mistakes Leaders Make When Managing Millennials

by Geoff Colvin

And how to fix them.

Millennials have become the largest demographic in the workplace. But managers of all ages have struggled to find the best way to connect with a wave of twenty- and thirtysomethings who do most of their typing with their thumbs, work wearing earbuds, and claim they can hold meaningful conversations while monitoring five open browser windows. Many leaders have fallen back on stereotypes about the generation (see the previous sentence), only to find that they’re neither true nor useful in managing.

So now what?

It’s time for Managing Millennials 2.0, based on finer distinctions derived from years of experience and current data. Three helpful insights stand out:

 Different Generations Aren’t Different Species.

On many important dimensions, millennials are remarkably like Gen Xers and baby boomers. Contrary to stereotype, in a recent IBM IBM 0.59% survey only 18% of millennials said “managing my work/life balance” is one of their top two career goals, vs. 22% of Gen Xers and 21% of baby boomers. Millennial employees are less likely than Gen Xers to use personal social media accounts for work purposes, says the same research. And millennials’ preferred method of learning new work skills is—brace yourself—face-to-face contact.

Continue reading Three Big Mistakes Leaders Make When Managing Millennials

The Five Trends Shaping the Future of Cities

by Jack Uldrich

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The science fiction writer William Gibson once wrote: “The future is here. It just isn’t evenly distributed.” It’s a powerful insight because it implies that savvy business people, farsighted political leaders and even average citizens can discern the future if only they heed today’s emerging trends. Five current trends, in particular, appear poised to transform the cities of tomorrow.

In February, Amazon introduced “Echo,” a new artificially intelligent platform that allows users to access the Internet using nothing other their voice. That same month Facebook unveiled its new “Chatbot” platform which similarly uses artificial intelligence. The developments are noteworthy because soon schools, businesses and city hall will be able to create artificially intelligent agents that can serve students, customers, and citizens in a variety of accessible, affordable and innovative ways.

Continue reading The Five Trends Shaping the Future of Cities

Microsoft Can Now Talk Better Than Humans And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

by Gene Marks

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Microsoft says its speech recognition is now as good as humans.

Based on a study it did, the software giant put its speech recognition technology up against professional transcriptionists. The result? Humans made more mistakes than the software. (Source: VentureBeat)

Why this is important for your business:

According to the VentureBeat article, Microsoft has called this a milestone in human parity and believes that it will have “broad implications for consumer and business products that can be significantly augmented by speech recognition.” I don’t doubt that.

2 – Facebook announces new features to help small businesses sell more products and services.

The social media leader has released updates so that restaurants can receive orders and service providers can accept appointments directly on their Facebook pages and have them land on Microsoft’s new Bookings app that will soon be included with Office 365. It’s also enhanced its ability to make buying recommendations when users ask a question. (Source: Recode and Microsoft Office Blogs).
Why this is important for your business:

All these enhancements are free and are designed to not only make it easier for your Facebook customers to do business with you, but to receive new business through recommendations, too.

3 – You will soon be able to receive customer texts directly from a Google ad.

Google says that advertisers will soon be able to allow recipients of their ads to send texts with questions directly to the advertiser. (Source: VentureBeat)

Why this is important for your business:

When customers see your ad now and they have a question, they have to go searching for ways to contact you – with many losing interest in the process. Allowing them to quickly text their questions right from the ad will solve that problem and hopefully keep customers buying. Continue reading Microsoft Can Now Talk Better Than Humans And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

Choosing the Right People for your Team

By Coach Jim Johnson

Are you picking the right people for your team?

When deciding on team members, how do you decide who is the best fit?  Is it the best overall talent or are you looking for specific characteristics that will fit best into your current collection of individuals?  Over the years, I have compiled some helpful tips on how to choose your team.  Below are some of my favorite things to focus on when putting together your team of all-stars.  Make sure you comment below on what I missed or tips you use.  Enjoy.

  • Great work ethic. Someone who has the drive to be the best is someone I want on my squad. This person will be able to develop into many different things with your guidance.  Do they have what it takes?  Do they have the intangibles?
  • Being coachable means having the ability to adapt to what is being asked of you.  This shows they are putting the team first and are willing to make sacrifices for the betterment of the group.  Coach-ability is also one of the key factors of a growth mindset.
  • Find people that care. This seems simple, but it is crucial that you are able to find people that will have the same core values as the group.  Do they care about their own success or the success of the team?  They also must have a tremendous amount of care for the other team members.  Are you someone who cares about the group?

Life Tip# 85:  Instead of competing with people, look to complete people

Moving Mountains

by Joe Calloway

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs

I love the words that Steve Jobs chose: “get your thinking clean to make it simple.” That’s no easy task. It’s much easier to have our thinking cluttered by a thousand questions and complications. It’s hard work to get focused and to simplify things. But, as Jobs said, it’s worth it, because when you make things simple, “you can move mountains.”

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Steve Jobs is a good role model for the power of simplicity and focus.

In a business that most would say is, by its very nature, incredibly complicated, Steve Jobs was able to make Apple a dominant force in the marketplace. Bill Gates once said that Jobs’s ability to “focus on a few things that count” was amazing. Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple, has said that Jobs could “cut out the noise” like no one he had ever seen. Jobs had the essential leadership skill of keeping everyone focused on what was most important.”

“Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”
– Pete Seeger

Five Reasons to Take Massive Action: Making Busyness Your Business

by Laura Stack

“Do not wait to strike until the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”—William Buell Sprague, 19th Century American clergyman.

Five Reasons to Take Massive Action: Making Busyness Your Business

One theme I’ve emphasized repeatedly in my writings is that “busy” doesn’t necessarily mean “productive.” Just because you’re staying busy doesn’t mean you’re accomplishing anything important. Checking 30 tiny tasks off your to-do list may not prove nearly as significant (or as profitable) as completing one high-priority project.

To boost your productivity, work hard and constantly on the high-priority tasks that matter the most.  Multilevel marketers are fond of the term “massive action.” I find this a handy synonym for good, productive work, though some observers disparage the term, assuming it refers only to staying busy, rather than staying busy with intent. I see this as an over-simplification based on false assumptions.

The naysayers seem to assume you take massive action without planning ahead. That’s like assuming a traveler will just take off on a long trip without planning the route, putting gas in the car, and checking the oil and tire pressure. While some people really are this spontaneous, smart travelers always take a few moments to prepare before they start driving. Action should take place only after you’ve decided what target to hit and how. You do have to take action, though; sitting around and expecting the universe to reward you for happy thoughts won’t work.

Of course, you still have daily “housekeeping” tasks that must be done, including handling email and attending meetings, especially if you can’t delegate everything else at this point in your career. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take massive action on what’s most important once you get the small tasks out of the way or even in between.

Here are five reasons to take massive action in your work life:

1. To forestall the paralysis of analysis. Despite the old saying, knowledge isn’t power until it’s ignited with action. Sit and think too long, and you’ll never complete anything. Once you decide to do something and have enough ducks in a row, just do it. Handle the details on the fly. Even if they seem a bit sketchy when you begin, you can flesh them out as you go. The final result may not be perfect, but at least it will be done. If necessary, you can fix it later.

Continue reading Five Reasons to Take Massive Action: Making Busyness Your Business

Paralympic Champion Follows Her Dreams With Unstoppable Determination

 

by Don Yaeger

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Mallory Weggemann competes in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images)

One of America’s most inspiring athletes is about to compete for the gold in Rio and once again live up to the words her father would say to her when he tucked her in each night in her childhood. “You’re the best, you can make a difference, you can change the world.”

Of course, the Summer Olympics ended last month but the Paralympics kicked off last week, and American swimmer Mallory Weggemann is set to shine. Yet as remarkable as her abilities in the pool are, what makes Mallory truly special is her incredible story of determination. Her story is a challenge to each of us as we consider the ways that we handle disappointments and setbacks in our own lives.

Mallory was a stand-out varsity swimmer in high school but never set her sights on making a career of it. Instead she always imagined her future would look quite typical: a career, a family, a quiet life in suburbia. But on January 21, 2008, that future was forever changed when she walked into a clinic for a routine procedure… and she never walked out.

Continue reading Paralympic Champion Follows Her Dreams With Unstoppable Determination

Why Augmented Reality Is Much Bigger Than Pokémon Go

by Daniel Burrus

3D City Buildings On Smartphone And Man Hand

The increasing use of virtual reality (VR) is a Hard Trend that will continue to grow, and with the release of several high-profile VR systems, 2016 was supposed to be the year that VR finally went mainstream. However, users around the world queuing up to immerse themselves in a virtual world have yet to materialize. The less fancied augmented reality (AR) consists of using your smartphone camera or smart glasses to overlay virtual elements to the physical world. AR is not immersive and was dismissed by many as just another tool for tech enthusiasts only. For those of you who read my 2016 annual list of 25 Hard Trends shaping the future, augmented reality was listed, and the revolution has now started.

The problem is that widespread adoption of any technology is crucial to its growth. Early adopters typically only represent 10 percent to 15 percent of potential customers. Launching new hardware is good, but having engaging and viral software that brings it to life is even better.

Assuming you already have a high-powered PC, the entry fee for Oculus Rift will set you back $599. In addition, it’s easier for video game developers to create a large-scale video game than to design and develop a more complex virtual reality game that can scale quickly. Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised that VR has yet to hit the mass market. Alternatively, if you mentioned the words augmented reality to anyone outside of the tech industry, they would probably have had no idea what you were talking about. However, in just over a month, the game-changing Pokémon Go has been downloaded by over 100 million users.

Continue reading Why Augmented Reality Is Much Bigger Than Pokémon Go

Do one thing today – get out of your innovation rut!

by Jim Carroll

Innovation is a mindset. Do you have what it takes?

BabyEinstein“Don’t expect them to subscribe to the same old beliefs as to structure and rules, working hours, and corporate culture, or business models. You won’t survive in their future if you don’t take the time to understand what they are doing, talking about, and thinking.”

Here’s a few simple thoughts on how to get out of your innovation rut!

Reward failure, and tone down the “I told-you-so’s”

Too many people think when times are volatile, that it’s not a good time to focus on big ideas. Not true! Consider history: many people stuck their neck out in the 1990’s and tried out new ways of doing business, new technologies, and innovative methods of dealing with markets and customers. Yet many of those efforts collapsed in spectacular fashion due to the dot.com/technology meltdown, and a dangerous sense of complacency set in. Back then, innovators had to hang their head in shame, and the nervous nellies who dared not innovate reigned supreme! Yet those who took risk excelled — they invented Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram…. When times are volatile and fear reigns, that’s the best time to make big bold moves.

Listen up!

We live in a time of unprecedented feedback and communication – and yet few organizations are prepared to listen! Customers are telling you, loudly, what they want. Young people are defining a future that is different from anything we’ve dealt with before. Competitive intelligence capabilities abound. And yet most or- ganizations ignore these signals, or don’t know how to listen – or even where to look. Organizations should reconsider the many effective ways of building effective digital feedback systems, in order that they can stay on top of fast-changing events, rediscover markets, and define opportunity – which will help them understand how and where they need to innovate.

Continue reading Do one thing today – get out of your innovation rut!

Olympic Service with Abundance

by Chip Bell

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The owner answered the phone. “Are you still open?” I asked him incredulously. “Oh no, we close at 6pm. But, I call forward the store phone to my cell in case of a customer
emergency.” I explained my attempt to repair my aging pipe and the part I needed. “Why don’t you meet me at the store,” he said. “I can be there in five minutes.” You know the rest of this story. I still smile when I drive by his store and recall his abundant service.

Abundance is a self-less gesture that changes the calculus of service from miserly subtraction to Midas-like addition. It signals to customers their preeminent importance. It telegraphs a true customer-centric operation. And, it elevates customer loyalty into the stratosphere. Such service is often the subject of stories we share for years, not just through next week.

The sports world was uplifted in the 2016 Rio Olympics 5000 meter heat when Abbey D’Agostino of the USA fell, causing her to trip up Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand, a fellow runner she did not know. D’Agostino could have regained her composure and continued toward the finish line. Instead she worked to help Hamblin to her feet. But, D’Agostino’s injured legs buckled in the attempt and Hamblin returned the favor, helping D’Agosion. Neither runner resumed the race until both could successfully run. Because neither was at fault for the fall, both were allowed to race in the finals. “It is a moment,” said Hamblin, “I will never, ever forget for the rest of my life.” The cheering fans that watched the abundant gesture are not likely to forget it either.

Give to your customers the very best that you have; their best will come back to you. The ROI will not just be in the form of retention, revenue and recognition; it will be a customer that works very hard to take care of your brand. A friend raves about her favorite restaurant. She admits she tides up the lavatory after using their bathroom so the next patron will be impressed. How can you serve with such abundance that your customers work as hard for you as you work for you?