Mark GreenMark GreenNovember 9, 2018
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5min271

In business, the adage “It starts at the top” can prompt an uncomfortable question: “Can the boss finish what he or she started?”

Many CEOs and entrepreneurs wrestle with this challenge, with both short and long-term implications. Meanwhile, a disconnect develops between the CEO’s initial big-picture vision for the company and its seemingly sporadic execution toward those goals.

The Global Leadership Forecast 2018 highlights issues of greatest concern to CEOs;  among them is a lack of alignment among senior leaders. The last problem any CEO  wants is an inability to get everyone on the same page, aligned and executing their strategy.

I’ve witnessed CEOs struggle with this question: ‘”Why is it so difficult to execute what I already know I should be doing”. They and their teams generally know what to do and how to get it done. But they avoid the decisions and actions they know could advance their success.

All roads lead back to obstacles within your mind. New behaviours leading to execution require new ways of thinking.

Here are five ways for CEOs to change behaviours that obstruct them from leading their company efficiently and effectively:

If/when, then

A study on influencing behaviour by German researchers found that formulating an “if/when, then” plan – stating a specific time to accomplish a task – provided a cue to provoke the desired response. I’ve worked with many CEOs who were not classically trained in accounting and finance and are overwhelmed by numbers. Such fears drove them to avoid financial information and reports. Making an if/when, then statement compels them to change the behaviour.

Relate and repeat

To change, one needs to believe that change is possible. Cultivate relationships with those who can help you see that the change you desire is attainable. Then repeat by testing out the new behaviour or thought pattern and seeking feedback.

Know when to say no

As the company leader, being a giver is important – but not to the point where sacrifice damages your own performance. Credible research shows that high-performing givers knew when to say no. Track your yes-to-no ratio. It’s the only way to protect your time, energy, and focus as a leader.

Forget perfectionism

Perfectionism is a waste of time and energy for a CEO. The 80/20 Rule – also known as the Pareto principle, first articulated by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto – holds that roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. The 80/20 Rule also applies to perfectionism – the majority of the value in any endeavour comes from a small amount of the overall effort. Perfectionism frequently limits our progress and fuels our fears. If you can keep the 80/20 Rule in mind, you can reduce your fears and accomplish more.

Hold yourself accountable

One way CEOs and entrepreneurs can judge their performance is by asking themselves self-assessment questions daily. You need accountability strategies that require you to evaluate your progress and focus on the importance of your goals. Often, the best way to modify a behaviour is just to jump in. Seek out examples of the behaviours you want to employ, embrace some discomfort, and emulate them until they begin to feel natural.


Clare GabaClare GabaJune 13, 2018
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3min938

If you are starting out with a new business venture, or even if you are well-established, then before you begin to look into digital marketing you must ask yourself the question: ‘Who are we?’

This is a question that should be asked before you do anything really; it seems relatively straightforward, yet you would not believe the multitude of people who cannot answer simple questions about who they are and what their company does.

So, before you start to put plans in place, ask yourself these questions:

1) Who is our customer?

If you think your audience is young professionals, your marketing department thinks it could be children, and your COO reckons an older audience is better suited, you have a bit of a problem!

2) What is our challenge or opportunity?

Where is the gap in the market? What is your USP (unique selling point)? Where do you position yourselves? Where are you making a breakthrough where others haven’t?

3) What is the main customer benefit of our product or service?

It’s all well and good designing furniture that you deem to be of a high quality (justifying a higher price point), but why is it such high quality? Have you looked at your competitors? What benefit does your furniture offer over theirs? Look? Feel? The brand behind it? The comfort? The list goes on.

For example, with my marketing startup, weflourish, I pride myself on being new to the marketing consultancy ‘game’, but with over 10 years’ in-house experience under my belt across multiple industries.

4) What do our customers say about us?

Surveys, focus groups, testimonials…in other words: feedback, feedback, feedback!

You may think your staff understand your company best, and they often do, but don’t forget to find out how the public sees your product or service, as they will give you a valuable unbiased point of view, one that you really need to succeed.

5) Can we visualise the Customer Experience?

If you can’t envisage the user journey, how can you expect the actual customer to have an easy, fluid experience in purchasing your product?

Simply put, if you or your colleagues stumble upon any of these questions, or answer them differently to each other (I advise conducting this activity as a team task), then a larger discussion is needed amongst the team in order to get yourself on the same page internally, before you go further afield.

Please send thoughts at clare@weflourish.biz. Clare Gaba will be judging at the 2018 UK Digital Experience Awards.


David TaylorDavid TaylorJune 8, 2018
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5min1010

Like every other area of technology, social media continues to evolve on an almost permanent basis. In a post-GDPR and post Cambridge Analytica world, where algorithms completely govern what users see online and uber-influencers control the purchasing decisions of millions, the time has come to construct a proper strategy to engage fully with both your customers and your staff.

Years ago, in a pre-digital age, a marketing or PR team would manage a company’s brand profile. While word of mouth was important amongst customers, none of them had the platforms to communicate positive or negative messages very far. Nor in fact could their staff.

In today’s predominantly digital world, any organisation’s brand is a complex jigsaw made up of potential contributions from the sales and marketing team, suppliers, customers and of course employees. Together they then make up your overall digital footprint.

So how can you harness the power of these stakeholders or at the very least, minimise the risk of them damaging your brand?

The first step is to have a proper digital business plan for your company. This is not a marketing, sales, PR, or social media plan but one which looks at almost all areas of your business including HR, recruitment, internal communications, IT, and even governance. You’re planning for a future in a predominantly digital world, so you need to adjust how you run your company.

This plan also needs to look at your staff and customer needs today and five, ten15, years into the future. Plus, you must put together really comprehensive, proactive social media guidelines for both your staff and even your suppliers.

Closely linked to having a proper business plan is a thorough examination of your company’s corporate culture. Are you inspiring real creative energy, are you looking to innovate your offering, do you have a leadership team who ‘get’ social media, do you encourage your staff to come up with new ideas and do you really listen to what your customers are saying?

Content has always been king, and never more so than in a multi-channel, multimedia world which requires huge volumes of articles, images, videos and now filters, emojis and games.

The trick is to understand where to source the content. Fortunately, there are four different sources: 1) internally, 2) externally, 3) your customers with User Generated Content, and 4) your own staff with Employee Generated Content. Together, they should ensure you always have interesting and engaging content to fill not only your digital channels but also your traditional and internal ones too.

Content is nothing without community. As many staff as possible within companies now need to be at least willing to be proactive on social media – whether they are customer-facing or not. This is where you need to harness the power of your internal brand ambassadors.

The more you can get your staff and your customers to engage with the content you are creating, the higher your brand visibility will be on almost all the channels. Of course, this can then be amplified by using targeted advertising on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn to reach the widest possible audiences.

The final piece of the strategy is to harness the data to build your business for the future. Monitor the conversations, the trends, the engagement with your posts, track the performance of your website, your insights. Also, in this post GDPR world, make sure your CRM system is constantly updated and you’re looking to migrate away from email lists to more proactive social data.

While none of this is simple and does require a major shift in the way that businesses need to be run, the good news is that it doesn’t necessarily require a large budget. It’s about being digitally-adaptive so your company can thrive today and well into the future.

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMarch 9, 2018
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2min647

Worldwide professional services firm FDM Group has been announced as the latest official partner for the 2018 UK Employee Experience Awards, which will take place this spring.

Hosted by Awards International in London’s Park Plaza Hotel on May 17, the daytime gala event will celebrate and reward exceptional organisations and individuals at the forefront of promoting and inspiring Employee Experience (EX) across the UK.

FDM Group is the latest business to join the awards as official partners, alongside Benefex, Cranfield School of Management, Customer Experience Magazine, and event sponsors Barnardo’s.

The cutting-edge company enjoys hugely successful relationships with global clients, and has UK offices in London, Leeds, Brighton, and Glasgow while their international outposts include New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Andy Brown is FDM Group’s Chief Commercial Officer, and he said the company is “delighted” to have joined the 2018 Employee Experience Awards at a time when the concept of EX is becoming ever-more crucial to the running a business.

“Understanding how we create strong, positive emotional connections with our employees so they are motivated and inspired is crucial for the benefit of their wellbeing and that of the overall organisation and this is where Employee Experience plays a part,” he said.

“These awards provide an opportunity for us all to share best practice in employee experience and encourage others to do the best they can for their people”

Neil Skehel, the CEO of Awards International, said:

“It is a pleasure to have a partnership with an internationally recognised firm like FDM Group. Their influence and involvement with the 2018 awards will help us reach our goal of making this year’s event the most successful to date.”


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamNovember 23, 2017
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2min261

It seems clear that the great British public will now very rarely be bothered to write or call companies when something is wrong.

Instead we are likely to simply moan or let rip on social media before stopping to use a brand or service, probably without telling the company – a trend that has spawned the growth in social media monitoring.

That’s just one of the main findings from the annual ‘Customers in Britain’ survey earlier this year, which records that ‘traditional’ complaint behaviour now runs at less than half the volume recorded a decade ago.

Until about 2010 the survey regularly recorded that about half of all adults made three or more complaints per year to any brand or organisation – and it’s these higher volume complainers who in particular have gone elsewhere: no doubt social media is now their main channel.

Perhaps less surprising is that the highest proportions of classic ‘direct to the brand’ complaints behaviour is generated from more traditional rural areas, the older age bands and more upscale social groups.

In terms of sector, we have seen for many years that the highest volumes of complaints are received by the supermarkets, banks and utility suppliers. However, whilst retailers generally do well at turning adversity to their advantage, with no-quibble refunds or exchanges, utilities struggle to get the same high scores for complaint handling and satisfaction, whilst the lowest scores for complaint resolution go to Central and local Government services.

‘Customers in Britain’ is an annual survey available to purchase, with a free overview also available from Firebrand Insight.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamAugust 9, 2017
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6min234

More power to the display.

Much of the recent talk surrounding the iPhone 8 has focussed on its hardware. Now, courtesy of a new leak, we can go back to speculating its design. The latest image — via the web’s resident handset leaker Evan Blass — indicates Apple’s next flagship will be mostly screen, and very little bezel.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

 The render shows the new iPhone within a neon yellow case, much like the Urban Armor Gear shell for the iPhone 7. Unlike the exclusive leaksEngadget obtained in May, the latest image is just of the front of the phone. It suggests the top of the phone will have a notch for the dual camera sensors and central earpiece — the rest of the front will be taken up by the phone’s display.

As usual, it’s best to greet this latest render with a dash of skepticism. For starters, the date on the iPhone is March, which indicates it could be a few months old.

If it does turn out to be accurate, however, that means Apple is following the screen-dominated designs spearheaded by SamsungLG, and the Essential Phone. Blass also pointed out the similarities with Android co-founder Andy Rubin’s device, going so far as to say he preferred the look of the Essential Phone.

Rubin’s former company, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be following the pack. The latest leaks of Google’s upcoming Pixel phone suggest it won’t cut down on its top and bottom bezels.

The new image should get fans talking as they anticipate the next iPhone’s release. Your feelings will likely betray which camp you reside in: pro-, or anti-bezel.

Written by: Saqib Shah

Source: Engadget

Interesting Links:


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamAugust 3, 2017
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7min330

Effective use of technology is critical to the success of any business. Whether in production, sales or administration, technology helps businesses to run more smoothly. It also enables employees to leverage their time and ability, to make more informed decisions, and to implement strategies more quickly. 

This is especially true in the world of Human Resources, where the building of capable teams contributes mightily to the overall success of a company. To improve workplace productivity, make sure that you are making the most of the technology in the field of HR in each of the following ways.

1. Network and stay aware of talent available in the marketplace

Social and professional networking sites make it easier today than ever before to identify prospective candidates for positions within your company. Using sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram effectively, you can conduct thorough research into a prospective hire, check their CV, and get an idea of their personal character. If a highly-talented individual leaves their firm or starts looking for new opportunities, you can find out quickly and move to bring them on board. 

2. Measure aptitude and attitude in potential hires

During the interview process, you can use technology to test a candidate’s ability to perform various functions necessary to their prospective role. You can also use personality assessments to determine where and how they should be placed within the company or various teams. Using tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, you can get results that are more quantitative rather than subjective, so the information gleaned can be used objectively.

3. Track the productivity of various teams before and after the addition of new members

The implementation of proper technology within your firm will allow HR professionals to measure and track the productivity of the company as a whole, as well as various departments or teams across time. This way, they can see where capabilities may be lacking or new talent may be especially effective in boosting productivity. They can also compare the productivity of different teams within the business, given the personality and aptitude metrics associated with the members of each team. Many personnel and productivity management programs – designed specifically for HR professionals – report that the first upticks that they find after implementation of their solutions are in areas related to customer service. Where employees were more prone to slacking, they’re now motivated to stay on task and address customer issues that arise.

4. Measure the impact of certain traits on productivity of various teams

In HR, it’s easy to understand how certain personalities or skill sets may complement each other. It’s also commonly acknowledged that certain types of people will have more difficulty working together. As technology is implemented to measure the competence and personalities of new and existing employees, HR professionals can then watch over time to see how productivity is impacted by the addition or elimination of employees with certain traits. This will generate a store of knowledge, allowing those resource professionals to specifically seek or avoid specific traits in their future hiring. They will also be better able to rearrange existing company resources to optimise productivity without adding more employees.

5. Tie it all to budget

For a company owner or manager, this is perhaps most significant advantage offered by technology to the HR process. By effectively using technology, HR professionals can objectively measure the true cost of productivity. They can start with the cost of each employee, and begin to break down the relative cost of aptitude and attitude in each case. Going further, HR staff can measure the cost of teams given their relative output, in the same way manufacturing firms are able to determine the precise cost of each unit of output. These professionals can go on to determine which employees or teams are pulling their weight, where talent may give a boost to productivity, and whether it’s likely worth the expense. They can also determine whether rearranging company resources will be financially worthwhile. This ability to tie everything together and see how productivity affects the bottom line – and what changes will translate to better profits – is the ideal goal for Human Resources.

Human Resources is all about building effective, efficient teams to maximise company productivity. Professionals aim to leverage the skills and personalities of each individual team member, to make a whole company better than the sum of its individual parts. By utilising the right technology in the right ways, HR professionals can generate the most output from the resources available in the marketplace, ensuring that a company runs smoothly and efficiently.

The ability to improve productivity will lead to a satisfying workplace for your employees and expanded profits for company owners.

Written by: Una Lawlor

Source: HR Trend Institute

Interesting Links:


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamJuly 25, 2017
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4min317

LONDON — Clients of Barclays could have to pay as much as £350,000 ($455,000) for the bank’s highest level of equity analysis once new rules banning the free sharing of research come into force under MiFID II.

According to a report from Bloomberg on Friday last week, which cites an internal Barclays document, the bank is planning three levels of service — bronze, silver, and gold — with the gold package costing as much as $455,000 (£349,000).

For that, clients will get “unlimited reports, field trips and ‘occasional’ one-on-one meetings with analysts and corporate executives,” Bloomberg’s report notes.

At the other end of the spectrum, clients wanting the most basic access will have to fork out $30,000 (£23,000) to gain permission to read the reports.

The prices are not believed to be final, and there are likely to be “bespoke” packages available, which will be considerably more expensive. Prices from Barclays are the first emerge from a major investment bank on the equity side.

For a long time, banks have generally offered their clients free access to analysis and research as part of their overall package of service. However, that must stop from January 2018 when new MiFID rules come into force.

The rules surrounding payments for analyst research are designed to create greater separation between the money paid for trading commissions and investment research and to force greater transparency on investment banks.

A recent report from consultancy giant McKinsey argued that investors could end up spending around $1 billion (£770 million) less under the new rules, choosing to be pickier about which banks and analysts to buy research from, generally choosing only those with the best records.

“McKinsey’s view is that there will be an end only to equity research as we know it,” the report’s summary notes.

“In five years’ time, sell-side equity research will likely still play a crucial role in the fundamental investment processes of the buy side, but most firms’ research functions will be smaller and more focused, governed by a strategic appreciation of the buy side’s need to produce alpha.”

Written by: Will Martin

Source: Business Insider

Interesting Links:


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamJuly 24, 2017
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10min898
  • Government statistics put unemployment in Britain at just 4.5% — a record low not seen since the 1970s.
  • But the real rate of unemployment is four times that.
  • We walk you through the evidence that shows why official unemployment numbers are so misleading.

LONDON — Unemployment in Britain is now just 4.5%. There are only 1.49 million unemployed people in the UK, versus 32 million people with jobs.

This is almost unheard of. The last time unemployment was this low was in December 1973, when the UK set an unrepeated record of just 3.4% unemployment.

The problem with this record is that the statistical definition of “unemployment” relies on a fiction that economists tell themselves about the nature of work. As the rate gets lower and lower, it tests that lie. Because — as anyone who has studied basic economics knows — the official definition of “unemployment” disguises the true rate of unemployment. In reality, about 21.5% of all workers are without jobs, or 8.83 million people, according to the ONS.

That’s more than four times the official number.

Here is how it works. First the official numbers from the ONS, showing unemployment at 4.5%:

ONS
ONS

For decades, economists have agreed on an artificial definition of what “unemployment” means. Their argument is that because there is always someone who is taking time off, or has given up looking for work, or works at home to look after their family, that those people don’t count as part of the workforce. In addition, the unemployment rate can never truly hit zero, because even when people change jobs they tend to take a break of a few weeks between them. Very few people quit on Friday and start at a new place on Monday. In the UK and the US,technical “full employment” has, as a rule of thumb, been historically placed at an unemployment rate of somewhere between 5% and 6%. When unemployment gets that low it generally means that anyone who wants a job can have one.

Importantly, it also means that wages start to rise. It becomes more difficult for crappy employers to keep their workers when those workers know they can move to nicer jobs. And workers can demand more money from a new employer when they move, or demand more money from their current employer for not moving.

The UK right now should be a golden age for workers — low inflation and low unemployment. Now is the time to get a job. Now is the time to ask for a raise. It doesn’t get better than this. Wage rises ought to be eating into corporate profits as bosses give up their margins to retain workers, and capital is transferred from companies to workers’ pockets. Trebles all round!

Of course, that isn’t happening.

Wages in the private sector have not started to rise. Public sector wage rises are capped at 1%. There has been a little uptick in new hire rates, but the overall trend is flat. This is part of the proof that shows real unemployment can’t be just 4.5%:

weekly wages starting salaries
Pantheon Macroeconomics

More importantly, wages are not keeping pace with inflation. Here (below) is wage growth after inflation has been taken out. Workers’ real incomes are actually in decline, which is weird because “full unemployment” ought to be spurring wages upward. Overall inflation ought to be driven by wage inflation. Yet wage inflation isn’t happening:

unemployment wages
Pantheon Macroeconomics

So what’s going on?

Why does Britain have no wage inflation, if the labour market is so tight?

The answer is unemployment is not really that low. In reality, about 21.5% of British workers are either officially unemployed, inactive, or employed part-time even though they really want full-time work. (The ONS has a chapter on that here.) Some of those people — parents with newborns, university students — may not want jobs right now, but they will want jobs soon. Even when you take those out of the equation, the true rate of people without jobs who want them looks like this, according to analyst Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Economics:

slack labour unemployment
Pantheon Macroeconomics

Note especially that the rump of “inactive” workers — the black bars — has stayed roughly the same for two straight decades.

The situation is worse from the perspective of men. The percentage of inactive male workers has tripled in the last 40 years, as more and more women are drawn into the workforce to replace them:

economic inactivity unemployment
ONS

That last chart explains a LOT about politics in the UK right now.

On paper, Britain is supposed to be doing well — growing economy, low unemployment. So why did Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party get so many votes at the last election? (Answer: People still feel poor, their wages are not rising, and 1 in 7 workers is out of work.) Why did a majority of people vote for Brexit? (Answer: the economy for men is basically still in recession, and men don’t like losing their economic power, so this was a good way of “taking back control.”) And why are so many people trapped in the “gig economy,” making minimum wage? (Answer: Because the true underlying rate of unemployment means companies can still find new workers even in a time of “full employment.”)

So yes, it’s great that we have “low unemployment” in Britain.

But it would be better if economists (and the business media) were a bit more upfront about how our definition of “unemployment” actually masks the real rate of worklessness, which is quadruple the official rate.

Written by: 

Source: Business Insider

Interesting Links:


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 7, 2017
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3min278

Since its launch 7 years ago, the UK Customer Experience Awards has become one of the most important customer experience events in the world.

It was no surprise that this year’s ceremony, which took place on the 23rd September, would be nothing short of amazing, with over 150 companies competing in more than 30 categories, and nearly 800 attendees, who left feeling inspired by the stories, experiences and achievements of their peers.

What made the occasion for us was the fact that Findel Education (our parent brand) won in the category of “Business Change.”

The fact that an awards programme as significant as the UK Customer Experience Awards recognised our passion is priceless.

Our team is dedicated to helping our customers achieve results, having made our seamless ordering process as simple as possible and committing to providing our customers with a helpful and hassle free shopping experience.

We have been supplying resources for over 100 years, not only do our customers get an experienced team to support them, they also get a name they can trust and a service they can rely on. Our professional state-of-the-art distribution centre ensures our customers receive what they want, exactly when they need it.

It felt amazing to know that the panel of judges saw what we were doing and recognised us nationally for it. It brought a new sense of purpose, motivation and inspiration to our team, and encourages us to keep improving now and in the future.

We like to think, that at Findel we approach any challenge without fear and welcome feedback with open arms from our customers or from other sources. We appreciated the feedback we received from the judges, which we got in the report following the awards.

We remain inspired to continue evolving our services and committed to providing the best in class customer experience!

Entering these awards has been a blessing and we left with more than we ever imagined, and for this, we are grateful to team at Awards International and the UK Customer Experience Awards.

Finally, we would just like to congratulate all the finalists and winners. We know they share our enthusiasm and we hope we will see them again. We are looking forward entering next year and shouting about what we have done since and who knows, we may even win again!




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