Thursday, August 29, 2013

Are Goals in Reality About Changing Behavior?

(Read in Norwegian)
To reach a goal, do we need to change something? And what is that "something"? Isn't it mostly human behavior? Are goals in reality about changing behavior?

Is it hard to reach a goal? Maybe, maybe not. If hard, then why? Could it be that it's because it demands that we do something we haven't done before? Maybe goals are best summarized with this quote attributed to Albert Einstein:
The definition of insanity is doing the same over and over again and expect different results.
We typically repeat ourselves
Have you ever been the leader of a team and implemented a strategy and a plan? How did it go? Pretty good to begin with? Over time, though... maybe not so good? Maybe these few sad stats might help explain what usually happens:

Failure #1: You present a strategy - only 50% actually understand it
Failure #2: Of those who understand - only 50% know what to do
Failure #3: Of those who know what to do - only 50% actually do it
(Source: Rough numbers provided by FranklinCovey)

...and some of those actually do it don't really care. They just do it because it's their jobb. On top of all this are the 17 pitfalls I've mapped out that causes teams and organizations to fail.

Are goals like art? Well, of course!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why is Openness a Winning Wave?

(read in Norwegian)
Why do we participate in online discussions? What is it that drives us? Research is exploring the booming online evolution. There are many factors, but what are the essential drivers?

Personal Needs
Quite a few indicators seem to suggest that one of the main drivers behind online activity is the need to be heard and/or seen. Is this in line with Maslow's hierarchy of needs?

Organizational Needs
In addition to personal motivation there's the need for an organization to receive feedback from the market. Does this provide visibility and innovative power?

Openness Makes for a Tailwind
What happens when we combine a) our personal need for attention and b) a company's need for visibility and feedback? Could it be a near insatiable need for online collaboration?

Maybe a possible conclusion could be:
"Openness creates winners."

If so, the critical question we probably ought to ask ourselves is this:
"Could we influence smarter through greater openness and get better results?"

Monday, August 19, 2013

Simplicity is the Secret

(Read in Norwegian)
It's hard to keep it simple, but once simple it's hard not to succeed. How does one simplify when most of what we do tends to be complex?

There's an inherent struggle behind every success. What is it? It's to break the code of simplicity. Is simplicity important to success? Maybe Leonardo da Vinci summarized it best when he stated "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"?

Why Catch The Tail Wind of Simple?
Did you ever find that once you were able to simplify something really important but sophisticated, you finally caught the wind in your sails? Many years ago I was heading up a global conference with players from every continent.

More than 30 nations were representend, but we were faced with a huge challenge: "How to communicate the same message to everyone in such a way that it triggered action?"

It was at this time that I discovered the real meaning behind "less is more". For years we had struggled (in reality FAILED) with all to much text, explanations, multimedia, websites and more. But now, instead, we cut it short to less than five words and remained focused on those five words. The result? Action coming our way.

How Do We Get to Simple?
In Norwegian there's a rather famous phrase from REMA1000 that states: "Det enkle er ofte det beste". An idiomatic translation to English might be "Often simple is better". There's a challenge however. Getting to simple isn't easy. Getting to simple is hard (work). In fact, I believe the nack for simplicity is a talent one can develop.

Einstein is often attributed with this quote: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Here are 7 key questions to help you reach the power of simplicity:
  1. Do you really understand a problem whose solution has value to others?
  2. Have you defined the solution in simple terms? (e.g. with less than 5 words)
  3. Do people instantly understand it?
  4. Is it timeless and worth a lifetime of study?
  5. Can you make money repeating it?
  6. Does it resemble art by how everybody sees it differently, but every view adds value and a richer perspective?
  7. Will it spread in and of itself?
Conclusion: Simple Comes When You Are Focused
The 15 years I've helped companies get focused I've always found that "simple" is the result of truly getting focused. The staggering beauty of "simple" is focus. That's why focus remains my focus.

If you haven't reached a simple message, a simple product or simple service you are not focused, and the result is what? Your potential customers are not triggered by what is too complicated and therefore you have to do all the work yourself. Good luck with that!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Will Technology be More Personal in the Future?

Are you like me? ...becoming increasingly fed up with settings?

They say "the devil is in the details". Meaning what? That details are important? That details will kill us? Either way, personalizing technology; where will it take us? Will it take more or less of our time?

When I got my first smart phone, setting it up was a thrill. I spent a lot of time getting it "just right". It's different now! When I got my last Android, I hardly spent an effort tweaking it. Why the change?

Less time personalizing because we don't care?
Maybe it's because we've had our phone crash, and we lost everything. Setting it up again just hurts too much..! Or maybe it's because the phone crashed and we didn't lose anything due to a backup. Is it turning into a quick one-time-adjustment and then we can't be bothered to explore all the options?

Less time personalizing because we don't need to?
Maybe it's because the user interface has become so versatile, that it changes so frequently, that the need for variety has been met? Is the technology turnover ratio so high that the personal touch means less? Or is personalizing stuff too stressfull because we have more devices now than we've ever had before?

Less time personalizing because we don't do it?
Maybe it's because everything is moving to the cloud and settings are part of the app, leaving the details to the app developer? We simply pick the app that organizes our data the way we like it. Maybe personalized stuff has been outsourced to others who make money doing so?

Where do you think this takes us? Will personalizing our every-day technology be increasingly important?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Everything Starts with Customers

Sometimes it's hard to put customers first. Sometimes we think that we first need to get everything else in place before we can take care of customers. I propose that it's usually the other way around.

I remember early in my career, I was asked to turn around a company from some serious problems. My suggested approach was "let's find better clients and sell more". Some of the more inexperienced executives were a little frightened at first, but as the projects came rolling in, everything gradually fell into place. (The moral of the story? It's usually better to divide a bigger cake, than to fight over one tiny piece.)

Customers first! is true in every shape and form. Start your day by talking to clients. Prioritize their needs before your own. When the phone rings, if it's a client, take it. Let go of everything else! If you're in a client meeting, make sure someone else is available to answer your phone.

Coming up is an exciting sales training seminar in Porsgrunn. You may want to attend. Why? Because if you want to fix your current problems, and they may not seem related, better and more business always seems to fix most of what we're struggling with.