Adaptability: An Important Asset to Your Career Goals

by Tony Alessandra

5680704092_0a5a33623a_z

Adaptability is your willingness and ability to behave in ways that are not necessarily characteristic of your style in order to deal effectively with the requirements of a situation or relationship. Adaptable people make the choice to go beyond their own comfort zones so others feel more comfortable.

With adaptability, you are able to treat people the way they want to be treated. You practice adaptability every time you slow down with another person who does not feel as comfortable moving as fast as you do. You also practice adaptability when you take time to listen to a personal story from another person, rather than getting right down to the task at hand.

Adaptability is important because people are different and need to be treated differently. You develop open and honest relationships with others by being tactful, reasonable and understanding.

Do you have a story to share about what you have had to do to show adaptability in your work area? Let me know in a comment what has happened to you! Let’s share and help each other.

*This blog originally appeared on AssessmentBusinessCenter.com.

Hear more from Tony in his Business Matters interview for C-Suite Radio.


Tony_Alessandra-559410-editedTony Alessandra is the CEO of Assessment Business Center, a company that offers online 360º assessments, and a founding partner in the Platinum Rule Group, a company which has successfully combined cutting-edge technology and proven psychology to give salespeople the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with hundreds of clients and prospects. Tony is also prolific author with 27 books translated into more than 50 foreign language editions. Dr. Alessandra was inducted into the NSA Speakers Hall of Fame in 1985. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAlessandra.

Jeff Lowe, VP Marketing, Smart Technologies, ‘Charged With Murder of The Flip Chart’

Dov Baron, host of Full Monty Leadership Radio, interviewed Jeff Lowe, VP of Marketing at SMART Technologies during the C-Suite Network Conference in Marina del Rey about his company’s innovative new product, SMART kapp.

How many meetings have you left thinking; “what was the point of that?” What about; “What the heck was that meeting about, anyway?” Because by the time you got back to your desk most of the content of the meeting was a blur.

Maybe you’ve been in this situation: You are joining the meeting virtually and the speaker is writing on the flip chart but you can’t possibly make out what was written. Frustration builds and despite your best efforts you mind wanders and another meeting goes down the brain drain.

Enter Jeff Lowe and www.SmartKapp.com with the simplest most powerful tech we have all be waiting for.

Watch the Full Interview at Podomatic

Cloudwords CMO Heidi Lorenzen Talks About Global Marketing

Kurt Shaver, founder of The Sales Foundry, interviews Heidi Lorenzen, CMO of Cloudwords, at the C-Suite Network Conference in Marina del Rey. They discuss global the sophisticated workflow systems, global brand consistency and “translation memory” the business provides.

Last month I attended the C-Suite Network conference in LA. The C-Suite Network was created in partnership with Thomas White, CEO of C-Suite Network, Karl Post, Co-founder, and Jeffrey Hayzlett, Chairman of C-Suite Network and C-Suite TV host. One of the executives I spoke with was Heidi Lorenzen, CMO of Cloudwords. Cloudwords is the first cloud-based technology built to help companies automate, manage and analyze their content localization process. Its clients include long-standing household names like American Airlines and Honeywell as well as newer, fast-growth companies like Groupon and Shazam.

Heidi is responsible for accelerating the growth, visibility and value of Cloudwords through high-impact marketing. She counts 25 years of global marketing experience including more than a decade working overseas in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Germany, and Singapore. Prior to joining Cloudwords, Lorenzen held global marketing leadership roles at technology trailblazers Polycom, Interwoven, Autonomy, and GlobalEnglish, among others.

Read More at The Sales Foundry

Making Good on the Social Intranet Promise

by Emily Constantini

14528331725_4889c6c831_z

Remember the promise of the intranet? It was supposed to be the place where you could go to connect with colleagues, find documents, collaborate on projects and get work done.

And then reality sank in.

What we were actually given was a set of static brochure sites where we could successfully find something three-out-of-five times when we needed to, and eventually we just ended up emailing the relevant person or department rep after a fruitless search. No real work was getting done; collaboration didn’t improve, and our email inboxes got out of control.

What happened to this so-called Promised Land?

Looking at the way my young daughters interact with their friends, their idea of collaboration is much different than I remember at that age. Back then, my idea of collaboration was to call my friend and ask what answer he got for No. 4 on his homework assignment. My daughters are collaborating on PowerPoint presentations online and dividing up work among five to 15 of their classmates. This process sounds a lot like what many companies have been trying to achieve with an intranet. In case you didn’t do the math, let me do it for you: My kids are the ones you want to hire. Facilitating this type of workflow with collaborative technology is becoming table stakes for attracting the best talent. Who are you missing out on because you haven’t anted up?

I believe that the social intranet has begun the process of making good on its original promise. But before everyone starts to celebrate in the streets, there are a few things to consider before bringing a social intranet into your company. The hardest part of introducing a social intranet is the change management that revolves around introducing a new tool to your colleagues. There are a variety of ways to do this, but a combination of both wide and deep use cases works best from the installs I have either implemented or witnessed.

A wide use case would involve HR, IT or any other department that touches most of the enterprise. These use cases will try to capture a little ROI multiple times. A wide use case is also a good way to introduce your company to the new intranet. I guarantee that if you post the company holiday schedule on your new social intranet, people will come check out the new portal and hopefully stay for the other riveting content you have posted. This also involves moving from a broadcast type of corporate communication to a subscription type. Now, the information is available anytime the user wants it.

The other side of the coin is the deep use case. This involves engaging a business unit to move their process, hopefully one that might be duplicated within other business units, into the new platform. This new way of using a social intranet can model the benefits for some business units and bring hope for the future to others.

Deep use cases really bring the notion of moving work into the social intranet as a viable option instead of presenting it as “just another place I have to log in to.” Integrations with other systems, such as SharePoint as a powerful backend content management system, or Box as an extension to external users, continue to build on the notation that users really can get all of their information from one portal.

Some common stumbling blocks or hurdles we see when people roll out new social intranets are manual log-ins (no one wants to remember another password), lack of relevant content and ghost towns (fun to visit once but no reason to come back), and architecture that just duplicates the org chart. The way to defeat these obstacles are enabling single sign-on, ensuring relevant and new content is posted in groups and architecting around use cases — not the org chart.

The modern portal or social intranet also allows for integrations with other systems in the enterprise ecosystem. If I don’t work in HR, why do I have to go into the HR web app every day? Just to clock in and out? That doesn’t make sense when I can probably do that in a smartphone app if I look hard enough.

Through smart integrations, the social intranet can become the focal point of where we can actually find all the things we need to do our job. The rule should be that unless a majority of an employee’s daily work needs to be done in a specific application, they shouldn’t have to log into that application every day. Sadly, this is the exception as opposed to the rule. With Jive’s ability to integrate APIs into new Tiles within Places, there isn’t an excuse not to find these efficiencies within your enterprise. Add the ability to use Jive Anywhere to bring relevant content from any web site or web app into your team’s group, and the promise of the social intranet gets a little closer to fulfillment.


emilyconstantiniEmily Constantini brings more than 13 years experience in sales, territory management, large account management and business development to the JCS Consulting team as vice president of sales, Western region. Prior to joining JCS, Emily served as a regional director for Vistage International, an exclusive membership organization focused on helping senior business executives become better leaders, solve their business problems, and achieve better results. Her role was to select C-suite individuals to participate in local private advisory boards. Previously, Emily worked in the financial services industry, focused on business development in both financial systems and financial products distribution. She has consulted with small, medium and large financial institutions on wealth management platform installations. Connect with Emily on LinkedIn.

Stop Being Safe

by Randy Gage

You see a competitor has a strong market share, so you decide to just cede the space to them. No one’s ever done it before, so you decide it’s better not to attempt it. You launch your cutting edge, innovative product but market it with boring, conventional advertising because that seems “normal.”

You build a cookie-cutter website because all the other companies in your industry do it that way. You think about rescuing a puppy or kitten from the shelter but decide against it because in 10 or 15 years it will die, and you’ll be so sad. WTF!  Is that really how you want to run your business? Is that how you really want to live?

I wrote Risky Is the New Safe because I knew that for most people and companies, the biggest obstacle they face is thinking it is safe to play it safe. Nothing could be further from the truth. The rules have changed, and playing things safe is actually the riskiest thing you can do today.

Please. Stop playing it safe, and take a risk — because that’s where the breakthroughs live.  Please. Stop living safe and start really living.

Do something bold, daring and adventurous today!

Hear more from Randy in his Business Matters interview for C-Suite Radio.


randypic Randy Gage is the author of nine books, including the New York Times bestseller, “Risky Is the New Safe.” He has spoken to more than 2 million people across more than 50 countries. In 2013, Randy was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame. He was born in Wisconsin on April 6, 1959. Like Randy on Facebook, connect on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @Randy_Gage.

Mediocrity or Greatness? That is the Question.

C-Suite Network CEO Thomas White shares the three keys to unlocking greatness in your company, which include having a clear vision, translating your vision into an exceptional customer experience and committing to a daily practice of learning.

Recently, I interviewed Randy Gage for an episode of Business Matters on C-Suite Radio. One of our topics was: What makes great companies? At the heart of great companies are great people. So, is it that simple? Just hire the best people and have the best company? Nope. I wish it was, but it isn’t.

Before I talk about three basic qualities of great companies, let’s look at the current business landscape. We are in a time of the greatest mediocrity in business – ever. In our zeal to increase productivity and efficiency, we have employed refined processes and technology to power every aspect of business. From the phone trees most companies have that infuriate EVERY CUSTOMER, to a highly structured but ineffective development process, to objectifying our customers and prospects as numbers rather than humans. Every place we touch people, we have accepted the belief that people are like machines. We can predict their behavior and use an automated process to have great relationships with them.

Read more at Entrepreneur

Conversational Blind Spots at Work

by Judith Glaser

2945312054_071ea3d562_z

Twenty-eight years ago I began my first experiment in what I call conversational intelligence. I was hired by Union Carbide to work with 17 high-powered sales executives in danger of losing a bid for a key contract. My job was to figure out how they could raise their game and beat the other seven competitors.

For more than two weeks, I had them role play potential conversations with “customers,” and I charted what they said. The patterns were clear: The executives used “telling statements” 85 percent of the time, leaving a paltry 15 percent for questions. What’s more, almost all the questions they asked were actually statements in disguise. They were talking and talking, trying to bring their counterparts around to their point of view, all the time thinking that they were still conducting good, productive conversations.

Having spent thousands of hours observing executives in similar, real-world situations — from prospecting to performance reviews, business development to innovation — I can tell you this is a common problem. People often think they’re talking to each other when they’re really talking past each other. They carry on monologues, not dialogues.

There is a biological explanation for this: when we express ourselves, our bodies release a higher level of reward hormones, and we feel great. The more we talk, the better we feel. Our bodies start to crave that high, and we become blind to the conversational dynamics. While we’re being rewarded, the people we’re talking to might consciously or subconsciously feel cut off, invisible, unimportant, minimized and rejected, which releases the same neurochemicals as physical pain.

Feeling that rejection sends them into a “fight, flight” response, releasing cortisol, which floods the system and shuts down the prefrontal cortex, or executive brain, letting the amygdala, or lower brain, take over. To compound conversational challenges, the brain disconnects about every 12 to 18 seconds to evaluate and process, which means we’re often paying as much attention to our own thoughts as we are to other people’s words.

These are natural impulses, but we have to learn to master them. Clear, two-way, empathetic, non-judgmental communication is critical for the high functioning of any business. It’s how deals get done, projects get run and profits get earned. That’s why I now spend my time teaching people — just like those executives at Union Carbide — how to become more intelligent about conversations.

Recognize your blind spots.

Stop

  • Assuming that others see what you see, feel what you feel and think what you think, since that’s rarely the case.
  • Failing to recognize that emotions, such as fear and distrust, change how you and others interpret and talk about reality.
  • Thinking you understand and remember what others say, when you really only remember what you think about what they’ve said.
  • Underestimating your own propensity to have conversational blind spots.

Start

  • Paying attention to and minimizing the time you “own” the conversational space.
  • Sharing that space by asking open-ended discovery questions, to which you don’t know the answers, so you stay curious (i.e., What influenced your thinking?).
  • Listening non-judgmentally to the answers.
  • Asking follow-up questions.

Through coaching, the Union Carbide sales team began to notice when they were making assumptions, interpreting incorrectly and jumping to conclusions. They started asking discovery questions and paying close attention to their customers’ answers, which expanded their frame of reference and gave them new insights into needs and opportunities. In so doing, the executives presented themselves as conversationally intelligent partners, not sales people. They won the contract.


Judith GlaserJudith E. Glaser is the CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and the Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is the author of the best selling book, “Conversational Intelligence” (Bibliomotion, 2013), an Organizational Anthropologist and a consultant to Fortune 500 companies.Visit her at creatingwe.com; conversationalintelligence.com or contact her at jeglaser@creatingwe.com. Follow Judith on Twitter @CreatingWE.

Reversing the Path of Stagnation: What Are You Waiting For?

by Bob Domenz

3344142642_c4d3bfa042_z

Most mid-market organizations are very vulnerable to stagnation because they operate in industries that rarely change. Often they recognize it too late, which decreases their chances of successfully reversing their course. First, they must recognize the 7 telltale signs their company is on the path to stagnation.

By understanding the two scenarios of change — proactive and reactive — leaders can be better equipped to take the first steps of change and, preferably, choose to be proactive.

All companies are at risk of stagnation — and almost every company has, or will, become so at one time or another. It’s a sneaky thing. Stagnation is like a slow-growing toxic mold. It eventually takes over your company, stifling culture, development and progress, and hindering the organization’s ability to grow.

Getting off the path to stagnation requires making a deliberate change within the organization, especially to be able to break from the grip of status quo. Fundamentally, this happens in one of two ways: Proactive and Reactive.

The Proactive Scenario
In this scenario, the organization recognizes it is on a path to stagnation and proactively “self-inflicts” change before there’s any permanent damage to the business, the culture or the brand. A proactive approach is optimal to the situation. It allows time to develop organizational buy-in, and action is taken well before things become critical, providing the longest track for successful course correction.

While a preferable approach, being proactive does comes with its own set of challenges. Often, a concrete “burning platform” doesn’t exist yet. Pain points, such as rapid declines in revenue, or budget cuts and layoffs haven’t occurred yet either, making it difficult to align management and rally employees against the need for change.

Timing and tone is important. It can be counterproductive for leadership to try to implement change plans too early, or come across as alarmists. Employees might ask: Why is leadership rocking the boat?

The Reactive Scenario
In this scenario, the organization has typically been (knowingly or unknowingly) at some level of stagnation for some time, yet it doesn’t recognize the need to change until a trigger-event forces the company to reactively attempt to reverse course.

Examples of triggers are numerous. Some take the form of a single major event, such as the loss of a major customer or an aggressive new competitor. Triggers also come as a series of small event, with one eventually becoming “the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Examples include the terrible sales forecast that comes after several consecutive quarters of sales decline; or a key employee who leaves at the end of a wave of employee departures; or a distributor who’s been slowly displacing you with another manufacturer finally notifies you that you’re no longer their preferred brand. And so on.

In reactive scenarios, reversing the path requires a different set of strategies in order to avoid dire outcomes, and time becomes a critical success factor. More often than not, urgent action is required, the runway is short and there’s minimal room for errors. In these situations it may not be necessary for leadership to invest as much time in communicating and building support for the need to change. The “burning platform” is already visible and known to the organization. There is tangible pain or threat.

Instead, leadership needs to rapidly craft a change plan, begin communicating it and stress, or amplify, the specific actions the business (and individuals within the organization) must take in order to reverse the path and achieve a successful outcome.

We have met the enemy… and he is us.
Reversing the path of stagnation in any scenario is inherently difficult. Programs that attempt to shift organizational culture and capability frequently fail, in large part due to the “rejection culture” that pervades stagnant organizations.

Anna Catalano, former group vice president of marketing at British Petroleum explains, “Within any stagnant company an army of anti-bodies (i.e., attitudes, behaviors, policies, etc.) have grown around it in order to protect it from anything that seeks to change the status quo. Invaders are thrown out very quickly because there is an interest in protecting the body.”

The key to success lies in the ability to disrupt these anti-bodies and introduce a new set. This takes perseverance and an unlimited supply of enthusiasm. Understanding the specific nuances of proactive and reactive situations, and employing the accompanying ideas, can help you get back on the path to growth.

Ask yourself: what’re we waiting for? Ideally, you’ll become proactive once you answer the question.


bobdomenzBob Domenz is founder and CEO of Avenue, a Chicago-based marketing strategy and activation firm that partners with B2B leaders to transform their businesses and brands, and launch new products. He can be reached at bdomenz@avenue-inc.com

Tania Yuki, CEO of Shareablee, Discusses Social Analytics at the C-Suite Conference

Kurt Shaver, founder of The Sales Foundry, interviews Tania Yuki at the C-Suite Network Conference Nov. 16-18, 2014 in Marina del Rey, California. Tania shares her company’s three-step process to gaining social insights.

I attended the recent C-Suite Network Conference in LA. It’s an event created and hosted by Jeffrey Hayzlett, Chairman of C-Suite Network and C-Suite TV host.

One of the executives I spoke with was Tania Yuki, Founder and CEO of Shareablee. I was intrigued to learn about Tania and how her company’s application measures a brand’s impact on the social web. Tania described it this way, “Shareablee empowers brands with actionable social engagement intelligence.”

Shareablee clients include major brand marketers like Universal Music, major publishers like Time Inc., as well as major advertising agencies.

Read More at The Sales Foundry

The Art & Science of Cross Cultural Communications

Dov Baron, host of Full Monty Leadership Radio, interviewed Heidi Lorenzen, CMO at the Bay Area tech company CloudWords, during the C-Suite Network Conference in Marina del Rey. 

Heidi shares her own story, her travels and studies that lead her to become not only the Chief Marketing Officer for CloudWords Inc, but also a leading expert in understanding the need to be a chief Moderating officer in a social media world.

Heidi is a fascinating empowered business person with some brilliant insights for all of us… no matter the size of our business.

Watch the Full Interview at Podomatic