Had a great visit to Malaysia last month. The first evening was a Keynote at the Hilton Hotel. You can read about it here:
Watch this video clip and ask yourself, why can't we get along?
Over the first five months of this year we have been asking business leader what are the key principles to remaining in business. Interestingly, the replies were consistent under three headings. The business leaders interviewed said that these were fundamental to ensure that the whole business stayed focused on the right things.
As one CEO expressed it, “At any time a CEO has hundreds of issues that need dealing with. It is important that you know the three to five that are your priority and do not allow yourself to be side tracked from those.”
Communicate, communicate, communicate
At a time when there is a lot going on and people are unsure about what is happening and how it may affect them, it is vital to communicate. The leader needs to be visible because people want to see their leader as well as hear the message. People get a level of comfort from seeing the leader and pick up on the subliminal messages. For example, if the leader seems relaxed, it relaxes them. If the leader seems confident, people feed off that confidence.
Communication needs to be two-way because people more questioning. Listening is important because it creates the dialogue, which in turn engages people. An important part of the communication is the content which must include the strategy or plan of action. Knowing the direction that is being taken makes people feel that there is some leadership taking control of the situation and there is something worth committing to.
“Be visible and communicate frequently”
“Ensure two-way communication”
“Clearly communicate strategies and actions to employees to ensure higher morale”
“Continue to inspire the entire organisation to succeed”
At a time of economic downturn, the customer has a good reason to assess what they spend and where they spend it. Customers actively seek alternatives and so the focus needs to be on providing the best value possible. Anything that creates a connection with the customer and shows that they are getting value for money, is vital.
A company needs to believe in itself and what it offers. Any sign of low confidence will impact the value on offer. The enthusiasm and belief in what the company is providing has a direct link to the value being offered. This is a significant shift in terminology from giving “customer service” to “creating value”.
“Refusing to cut corners on customer service during tough times”
“Create value and make a difference”
“Every employee starting with me as the CEO, must step up and be an advocate of the value we offer”
“Collaborate, be nibble and innovate”
Objectivity and Discipline
Every single person interviewed took a fresh and objective look at their business and what they were doing. They spoke about getting back to core business and being dispassionate about what fitted in the business and what didn’t. Where should time, energy and money be focused? They spoke of stripping out pet projects that were distracting and using up resources better spent else where.
Obviously cost were important, but interestingly, although cash was seen as important, they saw the importance of still spending but spending wisely. “Discipline” was a word used on a number of occasions.
“Offer high value solutions while keeping a steady and disciplined handle on expenses”
“Conduct a dispassionate review of the business”
“Take strong defensive positions, preserve lots of cash and continue investing lots of cash in R&D for the core business”
“Look at our job with fresh eyes”
What about the future?
A notable difference between this and previous recessions is the focus on spending money through the recession on R & D. Many saw the recession as an opportunity to retrain staff and refurbish the business. Money spent in these areas was seen as fundamental to the business being able to perform when the recession is over.
Although some providers of training and development programs have seen a down turn in their business, many have seen a surge as well. The difference seems to be in the ability of these providers to deliver results and not programs.
A recession or economic crisis has an evolutionary effect on business. Businesses emerge differently with new demands and expectations. We do not know for sure what it will be like when it is all over, but we do see certain signs emerging. The key word will be ‘value’ and the key action will be “measure”.
Great article from a really good guy and excellent at networking. Hope you enjoy itYour Life through LinkedIn - by Will Kintish
We start out in life knowing no-one. Shortly most of us get to know members of our family, then we go to primary and high school then for some it’s off to college and university. Along the way we join clubs, teams and associations. We may attend our chosen place of worship which for some could be the pub or the gym! Then we go to work, sometimes in parallel with our education until we end up in our chosen careers.
When I started work all those decades ago the career you chose was meant to be for life, but this doesn’t seem to be the norm nowadays. In a recent keynote speech Reid Hoffman co-founder of Linkedin said,
“Part of the thesis that LinkedIn was founded on is that every individual is now becoming
a small business. What do I mean by that? A typical job lasts two to four years,
so that there is a sequence of jobs.”
So you move from your first job to the next and so on until we finally retire.
The common thread
So where is the common thread with your journey through life? Of course it’s people. People we meet along the way some we stay in touch with but most simply pass through a period of our lives then disappear. Some of them we don’t like and probably don’t want to reconnect with, some we like and some we like and trust and wish we’d stayed in touch.
Your little black book
As the years move on our personal diaries with friends’ names in, our college address book, and our databases get lost thrown away, details deleted. “I wonder what happened to ‘Haggie’ Harris from school or Gemma who I shared a room with at university” we may contemplate in a quieter moment.
Linkedin can reconnect so many of these past associations and rekindle previous relationships, but unlike Facebook, in a professional and business scenario. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with Facebook but I see it applies primarily to the social rather than the business scene. On Facebook we all have friends, on Linkedin we are all professional connections.
Networking and using LinkedIn
We have been networking throughout life’s journey – it is simply the process of building relationships. Having that ‘light bulb moment’ late 2008 I realised I could now collect together all those people I have met through my life to date; well the ones who have signed up for Linkedin, anyway! And as I write 40m + connections are now in the system; not all my personal connections, I might add!
The two networks to focus on are the ones we have built over our lifetime and their networks. How many times do we ask or consider asking our existing clients to recommend us to others having done a great job for them? However happy they are, as soon as we leave their presence they get on with what they’re doing and forget us. But when we’re able to look into their little black book and see some of their contacts we can focus on people who we’d like an introduction to. When people in your network like and trust you they generally will be more than happy to introduce you to their contacts.
What to do with your online network
We go to business events for a myriad of reasons- the key ones being
• To meet new people
• To reinforce existing relationships
• To raise our profile
• To gain new knowledge and information
• To find new employees or find a new position
This is exactly what LinkedIn is there for too.
Investment of your time
When I mention LinkedIn and other similar online social media tools I often get the response, “Oh I haven’t got time for all that; I’m far too busy.” The attraction of Linkedin is when you understand it and use it effectively it really is a pro-active, time saving, profile raising, business development tool. When people say they haven’t got the time I reply ‘You mean you haven’t got the time to go to business events or do any networking?’
When you use Linkedin to best effect it really is the best use of your time. No travel time or hassle, no carbon emissions just pure premium time carrying out proactive business development. Like every aspect of our lives the mantra ‘What you put into it you get out’ equally applies to using Linkedin
The key principles of networking
1. ‘What’s in it for you?’
People who are good at building relationships, i.e. networking tend to have a generous spirit and a giving nature. They share their knowledge and their connections and are likely to be open and receptive to requests for assistance. When you transfer those characteristics to Linkedin you will find it can become your best networking partner. Linkedin has a numerous settings for you to decide what you want others to see and know about you. People who set their setting to ensure I can’t see their network of connections aren’t, by and large people I want to deal with. All my settings are ‘open’ and I know it raises my profile within the global community of LinkedIn.
I am conscious there are people who abhor Facebook, Twitter and other online networking tools. And that’s fine but all I can say is don’t waste your time with LinkedIn- it’s not for you.
To emphasise these principles ensure every time you ask your contact for an introduction, keep reminding them to check your network to see if there is anyone in it they’d like an introduction to.
2. Patience and persistence
When you start to build relationships it takes time; it’s the same when you start using LinkedIn. Unless you’re very lucky it’s going to be some time before you get value from it but stick with it and I feel sure you will get a good return on your investment.
The powerful cocktail
Whilst LinkedIn is no substitute for ‘live’ networking, combining the two creates a very powerful proactive business development mix.
My call to action
Join LinkedIn if you want to
• act and not react in this new business climate
• become highly visible
• approach warm leads and avoid cold calling
• gain more business opportunities at virtually no cost
• become a comfortable, proactive, online business developer
• ensure satisfied clients will introduce you to their contacts in an organised and carefully targeted manner.
• encourage colleagues to create more cross selling opportunities.
• be involved in more modern, up-to-date business development techniques.
The author of this article is Will Kintish, leading UK authority on effective and confident networking both offline and online.
If you’d like Will to speak at your conference or training workshops, call him on +44 161 773 3727.
Visit www.kintish.co.uk and www.linkedintraining.co.uk for further free and valuable information on all aspects of networking.
A recent survey was carried out. The question asked: What business leaders thought was the result of the Economic Meltdown was having on their business?
The reply showed over 60% thought it was an 'Opportunity to Stand out'.
Interesting articlePresident on a leash - How long can Zuma last?
by Ken Owen
As President Jacob Zuma settles into office, one question - rarely articulated but ominous - casts a long shadow over his prospects: how long will he last? One year? Three? Or a full term of five years?
The answer lies in the hands of the ANC bosses who marshalled 2 300 obedient cadres to behead Thabo Mbeki at Polokwane and put Zuma on the throne of the presidency. What they did once before, they can do again. And the fact that nearly two-thirds of the voters ratified their choice of Zuma makes no material difference. His term will end when the party hierarchy decides.
The events at Polokwane disclosed to us that under SA's flawed constitution, power lies not with the electorate, nor in parliament, nor even in the presidency. It lies in the labyrinthine recesses of Luthuli House where the ANC leaders plot and connive, and decide who will be "deployed" to what job, and for how long.
The process is hidden from public view, reducing the entire constitutional paraphernalia of elections, parliamentary debates and traditions, and checks and balances to marginal relevance. The public clash of ideas between government and opposition in an open forum where (if I may resort to one of the noblest phrases of parliamentary democracy) "strangers may be present" is little more than public theatre.
Parliamentarians pontificate, the opposition denounces and cajoles, the media solemnly records public statements and gathers comments, all the while hiding the brutal fact that the real debates take place in secret at Luthuli House. To discover what happens there requires not simply press freedom but something like Kremlinology, a reading of political tea leaves.
What we do know from the Mbeki example is that the presidency, supposedly the mighty executive branch of government, is but the lackey of faceless men and women in the only important centre of power at party headquarters. In the end, the party will decide from day to day, or month to month, whether President Zuma will survive, and for how long.
For full article go to http://www.leader.co.za/article.aspx?s=1&f=1&a=1326