Gamification: Thinking Beyond Badges to Drive Long-Term Success

by Emily Constantini


Gamification has recently become a popular topic within enterprise collaboration platforms — so much so that I think my spell check now accepts the word as valid. As with many other social technologies, gamification first gained adoption in the consumer world with apps like Foursquare, so it isn’t a novel concept. But applying it in a business setting is still fairly new to most people. The key difference is that there’s more to gamification in a business setting than badges and points — it can actually be used to solve critical business problems, such as employee engagement.

As Rajat Paharia points out in his new book “Loyalty 3.0,” 70 percent of people who go to work every day aren’t engaged in their jobs, which costs the U.S. economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity. Done right, gamification offers a unique and effective way to mitigate this problem by giving employees a way to gain recognition for their contributions as they work.
Recognition is the root of gamification. People want to be recognized for their contributions; in fact, they feel they deserve to be recognized. As an informal poll, I asked some of my friends, all under age 40, what would make them happier about their workplace. Although “more money” was the response that would make them happier personally, “more recognition” was the response that made them happier at work.

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Real Leadership

by Randy Gage


A non-profit organization I’m a member of recently launched a new initiative. They faced some initial resistance and immediately crumpled like a cheap suit. I guess they thought the changes they were rolling out would receive instant, unanimous and reassuring approval from the entire membership. But that’s not how it works in the real world…

You can’t do anything meaningful without scaring some and offending others. In fact, if you’re not facing any criticism — even attracting a few haters — you can be sure you’re not doing something amazing. Leadership isn’t putting out popular proposals to universal acclaim; it is being a critical thinker, creating a vision for the future, thinking long-term and doing the right thing, even when it is not popular. Leaders lead.

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How the Hair Club for Men can Teach a Lesson to Silicon Valley

by Jory Des Jardins

by Mike Mozart

by Mike Mozart

I have a well-worn — if not, overused — joke I like to make about being a co-founder at BlogHer: “I’m like the that guy from the Hair Club for Men: I’m not just the President; I’m a customer…”

I use this dated joke, though, to send a very real message about the importance of understanding your customer. If possible, it helps to be your customer, just as my co-founders and I were bloggers before founding a company that served, initially, other bloggers.

All that said, I don’t share the convictions of the writer of this piece, who heavily criticizes the lack of women employees at the red-hot social platform Pinterest, despite the very high percentage of female users who flock to it. It’s not that I don’t believe they could benefit from more female talent — they could. But given that most social tools have user bases that are majority women (women who use those tools much more actively than male users) the dearth of female leadership at Pinterest simply illustrates a systemic issue in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, where such digital sausage is made.

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Five Roadblocks to Increased Profitability

by Robert Steinberg and Erik Dove


Following a prolonged recession, business owners are now looking to increase profitability for a number of different reasons, including selling shortly, refinancing, increasing dividends and salaries or obtaining additional capital. The cost-cutting solutions to increased profitability have probably been implemented. However, for many companies, there is still a fast path to improved profitability through identifying key roadblocks. These roadblocks can be summed up in five words: Owners, managers and employees don’t know, see, hear, trust or care.

Change 1:  Setting Up the Systems to Know
On a weekly or even a monthly basis, do you know where your company is and what got you there? We can state categorically in every troubled company the answer is invariably “NO.” The managers cannot tell you in real time what is happening in the business or why it is happening.

The key to “knowing” is improving how you handle the information already in your system — information on cash flow, revenue by customer or product, margin by product or revenue stream and A/R, A/P and inventory levels. The critical information in your system just needs to be filtered to company decision-makers so time and energy is focused on correcting problems as they arise.

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Is Your Company in a “Bad Mood”? 11 Signs Your Company’s Mood Has Soured—and What to Do About It

C-Suite Network co-founder Jeffrey Hayzlett provided the forward for Barefoot Wine founders and New York Times Bestselling authors Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey’s new book. In “The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People,” Jeffrey writes that a company can be in a “bad mood” when employees believing their best days are behind them, not ahead of them.

When your whole company is in a bad mood, employees don’t feel that they have a stake in its future—and that’s a problem. Here, Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey explain how to turn a bad mood around by helping your employees develop an entrepreneurial spirit.

Is your company in a bad mood? The signs aren’t always overt. People aren’t biting each other’s heads off or glaring sullenly across the conference table. (That’s home, not work!) Instead, it feels like everyone is just…coasting. Rather than digging for solutions, they make a cursory effort and then lay the problem at your feet. They’re not cage-rattlers and idea-sharers; they’re “yes men” and passive compliers. And if you could be the proverbial fly on the wall (instead of the boss in the hall), you suspect you’d hear far more bitching and blaming than the faked enthusiasm you usually hear.

That’s bad mood in workplace parlance. And Michael Houlihan says your apathetic clock-punchers are the creations of a culture that’s set up to squelch their inner entrepreneur.

Read the full article at Exchange Magazine


Hiring for Attitude

by Karolynn St-Pierre


Recent studies have found nearly half of newly hired employees fail within their first 18 months at a job. Contrary to what you might expect, technical skills are not the main reason new hires fail; instead, poor interpersonal skills dominate the list. These are weaknesses many of their managers admit were missed during the interview process. About a quarter of new hires fail because they cannot accept feedback, while others  are unable to understand and manage emotions. Nearly a third of new hires fail because they aren’t motivated to excel or because they have the wrong temperament for the job.

The failure rate for new hires is distressing, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. The vast majority of managers reported that, in hindsight, they picked up subtle clues during the interview process that these employees might be headed for trouble. During the interviews, they were too focused on other issues, too pressed for time or lacked confidence in their interviewing abilities. The typical interview process concentrates on ensuring that new hires are technically competent. But do technical skills really matter if the employee isn’t willing to improve, alienates their coworkers, lacks drive or has the wrong personality for the job?

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Maintaining an Entrepreneurial Spirit in the C-Suite

C-Suite Network co-founder Jeffrey Hayzlett offers five essential tips for maintaining the spirit of an entrepreneur in the C-Suite. He says the best C-Suite leaders, like Richard Branson or Elon Musk, never stop looking at opportunities through their entrepreneurial glasses. 

Adapt, change, or die. No one knows this statement to be true more than the executive teams in the c-suite. They know that when companies stop adapting or changing – they die.

That’s why c-suite executives are always pushing the envelope. They know that if they lose that drive, the hurry-up feeling, the company they have been tasked to lead will lose that feeling too.

It’s why c-suite leaders must always keep an entrepreneurial mindset when it comes to business, and instill that entrepreneurial spirit company wide. My friends Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, founders of the iconic Barefoot Wine brand, wrote a book on their experiences starting a brand from their laundry room called The Barefoot Spirit. They talk about the challenges and opportunities they faced as they built Barefoot Wine and how they capitalized on every one of them through entrepreneurship. They share how every employee, from front-line to CEO, needs to come at every situation with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Read the full article at Huffington Post


Win the Enterprise, Win the Consumer

DocuSign CFO Mike Dinsdale discusses how it became the standard for digital transaction management on MYOB, premiering on C-Suite TV Oct. 21. His interview with Jeffrey Hayzlett was filmed at the premier C-Suite Network Conference in Dallas.

The fifth episode of MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) features DocuSign’s Chief Financial Officer, Mike Dinsdale, talking with host Jeffrey Hayzlett about DocuSign’s period of hypergrowth and how DocuSign is leading the charge in the digital transaction management landscape.

With over $100 million in their coffers and over 1,000 employees, DocuSign is one of the fastest growing companies in Silicon Valley. The company is always looking for ways to innovate, expand and accelerate its business and one sure way of doing that is by adopting and believing in the philosophy that winning the enterprise also means winning the customer. Consumers demand a secure system they can trust and DocuSign believes they have the tools in place to continue generating such a high consumer confidence. By 2020, it is predicted that Digital Transaction Management (DTM) will become a $30 billion industry.

Read the full press release at MarketWired

C-Suite TV’s Jeffrey Hayzlett Helps Define the Culture of Success at JiveWorld 2014

Jeffrey Hayzlett hits the stage at Jive Software’s JiveWorld 2014 event, along with a top-tier panel of experts, to define the culture of success. He follows with a keynote to addresses what every business leader must face: getting ready, getting going, and creating and sustaining momentum.

Primetime TV host and Contributing Editor for Bloomberg Television, Jeffrey Hayzlett, joins an expert panel on Tuesday, October 21 at JiveWorld 2014 in Las Vegas, hosted by the Jive Software, the leading provider of modern communication and collaboration solutions for business.

In addressing the topic “Defining the Culture of Success,” Hayzlett will be joined by Elisa Steele, EVP Marketing and Products — Jive Software; Mark Bonchek, Founder and Chief Catalyst — thinkORBIT; and Azure Antoinette, CEO, Commissioned Poet and Author — Millennial Advocate.

The expert panel starts at 4:20PM MT at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

“This is a tremendous top-tier business panel, and am excited to unleash our expertise in how today’s leaders can define and create cultures that are unique and authentic,” Hayzlett said. “I’ve ran (and sold) hundreds of business and understand the importance culture plays in motivating employees to be at their best.”

Read the full press release at MarketWired

Conversational Intelligence at Work

by Judith Glaser


What if you could create an organization where change and transformation were exhilarating and natural? Where people were devoted, engaged and accountable to act as leaders rather than blind followers? Where people worked with each other to differentiate their brand and capture the hearts, minds and souls of customers?

At the Creating We Institute, we have spent the past 15 years studying how leaders are making the shift from top-down, control-driven styles of leadership to collaborative and engaging styles that activate growth in employees and attracts customers to partner for mutual success. What we’ve learned over the past decade and a half of research is profound. Some approaches lead to dramatic and exciting changes with long-lasting results, while others lead to short-term change without long-term impact. While many companies are now investing incredible time and resources into leadership and talent development programs — hoping to reap the benefits of a healthy, engaged and inspired workforce — our research has identified the key and vital characteristics for sustainable success.

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