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Cognitive Overload & The Focus Movement

The author describes cognitive overload as "one of the most insidious, productivity-sapping maladies afflicting today's managers."

"Some chief executive clients of Icebreaker had banked up to 70,000--yes, 70,000--unread messages."
. .  .
"Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, says a worker distracted by something like a Web search gone wild or a new text popping up on the phone can take about 25 minutes to return to the task at hand."
. . . 
" At Google, employees take courses that help sharpen attention skills. At smaller companies such as Zumba and Box, the founders have devised their own methods, including putting aside large blocks of time to reflect, far from the madding crowd."
. . .
"Why is focus so important to success? Academics such as Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel say the best way to understand your competition, learn from your employees, chart a long-term strategy, or innovate is to have the mental discipline to home in on what really matters to your business. Only by intensely concentrating can you link new ideas and facts "meaningfully and systematically with knowledge already well established in memory," Kandel writes in his 2006 book In Search of Memory. Simply put, if you have the presence of mind to absorb new data, trends, and events -- and then synthesize them with what you already know -- you will be more likely to formulate the breakthrough idea."
. . .
"In his latest book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, [psychologist Daniel] Goleman explores why people become distracted in the first place. In layman's terms, he explains that the prefrontal cortex of our brain, the outer layer that controls your executive functions--concentrating, planning, and synthesizing--is in a constant tug-of-war with the deeper, more atavistic sector where your impulses arise."
. . . 
"One approach to improve your concentration, says Goleman, is to make yourself aware of the three basic types of focus you apply from time to time: inner, other, and outer. Inner focus is the ability to listen to your deepest self, your "true north." Who are you, what are your values, why are you doing the work you're doing?"
. . .
"Entrepreneurship professor Steve Blank, who teaches at Columbia, Stanford, and Berkeley and has co-founded four Silicon Valley startups, including MIPS Technologies, says Goleman's framework is perfect for entrepreneurs. Blank says leaders who can focus inwardly have a competitive advantage: They can function in turmoil--like great generals who can see through the fog of battle. "When a company is young and growing, it can be chaotic. In the same way, a good general knows a battle never goes according to plan so he needs to have the composure and focus to do triage in real time.""

#TodaysChallenges #Managers #BuildResilience
#leadership #overload 

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Notes from a keynote address by bestselling author Jim Collins

The creativity of great leaders is inspired by data-driven insights.

"Great leadership begins with the right people, and then building a culture that can deal with the shocks of the environment.  And the most important managerial skill is picking the right people and putting them in the right seats.  So what does it take to lead in these times of turmoil? Greatness generally comes not from charisma, but character, choices and consistency over the long term.  So for great leadership, the most important characteristics to have are the humility and will associated with “Level 5” Leadership ambition, in addition to a 3-way combination of:

- Fanatical discipline,
- Empirical creativity,
- Productive paranoia.

One key linkage I made is with the point about emprirical creativity. It's the handmaiden of analytics.  And it seems that great leaders' fondness for analytics means that they make confident decisions and they also ask great questions.  When I think about great leaders, it's the thoughtful curiosity and engagement in the form of the questions they ask that stand out for me.  Think about strong leaders in your organization - what makes them great?"

#Analytics   #BuildResilience   #DecisionMaking   #DriveInnovation   #Managers    #creativity   #leadership   #culture  

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Shifting to a Higher Level of Individual and Organizational Consciousness

Great article by Vlatka Hlupic, Professor, Management Consultant, Author of 'The Management Shift', Keynote speaker, CEO of the Drucker Society London

"For an enterprise to thrive many positive factors have to come together. In recent years the understanding of the dynamics of the thriving, resilient enterprise has become authoritative and substantial. It has been difficult to translate to practice not because the evidence base is questionable -- it is actually very robust -- but because the implications are momentous: nothing less than a fundamental rewriting of the orthodoxies of business. Specifically, we now understand that:

- The organization is not a structure, it's a living community.
Quarterly accounting profits don't accurately track performance; they're a lagging indicator, and can provide misleading information on their own.
 - People are not a static resource, they are a living asset that creates all the other assets.
- Employee engagement is crucial. It doesn't guarantee success, but its absence pretty much guarantees failure.
- Values and culture are important: you can't financially incentivize your way to lasting success.
- Personal leadership coaching cannot be understood as being separate from organizational development: one is ineffective without the other."
. . . 
"As any manager will tell you, you begin with a sound base of good information. Until recently, the bias towards accountancy prevented us from paying sufficient attention to other forms of quantitative data, such as staff turnover; or qualitative data, such as employee engagement and the customer experience. Intelligence on individual leaders' capabilities was often only loosely linked to organizational culture and performance. The in-depth analysis of the Individual Shift and of the Organizational Shift, and the discipline of attending to them simultaneously, helps restore or establish a deep connection between the different elements that are necessary for success, informed by a rich blend of both quantitative and qualitative intelligence on people and the company."
. . . 
"Based on theories of personal development, this approach envisages five levels of personal effectiveness, from Level 1 -- Lifeless or apathetic; to Level 5 -- Limitless and passionate. In-depth interviews and questionnaires can identify the level at which a leader is operating, indicated for example by typical thought patterns, e.g. at Level 1 "I feel demoralized/I cannot win" or by contrast at Level 5 "I inspire people to achieve their unlimited potential.""

#BuildResilience   #Leadership   #Social   #Managers  

Posted by +Daniel Durrant 

Cause Analytics is here to help you navigate through Business Intelligence, understand today's challenges and tomorrow's technologies.

www.CauseAnalytics.com

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Take the Guesswork Out of Talent Decisions With Big Data

Excerpts from Dave Weisbeck, Chief Strategy Officer, Visier

"Supporting and educating managers to make decisions based on data solves only part of the problem in reducing cognitive bias. The first challenge is acquiring the employee data, which often is locked in HR management systems that were never designed for analysis. This is partially because of the way that systems that store employee data have evolved into multiple silos (each function, such as compensation, learning and development, recruiting, and performance management has its own set of transactional data that typically can’t be linked with other systems)."
. . . 
"For most companies, the employee data required for this type of analysis resides not only in the HR management system, but also in many other HR systems, such as recognition, payroll, performance management, and more. Performing this analysis using a standalone, embedded analytics solution (a capability delivered within transactional business applications, such as payroll administration systems) will tell only half the story. Many of these types of solutions cannot link recognition and compensation data, for example."
. . . 
"When a new leadership position opens up, it may be tempting to begin shopping around immediately for new talent outside of the organization. But the first step is to determine who from within the organization would best fill the role: According to a study at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, external hires not only get paid more, but also receive significantly lower marks in performance reviews during their first two years on the job."
. . . 
"In-memory analytics solutions can bring all of these data silos together in one place, enabling business users to address this type of complex and critical people management issue."
. . . 
"With recent advancements in big data technologies, organizations can tap into a unified workforce data ecosystem, uncovering exciting, objective and actionable insights."

#BigData   #HumanResources   #Analytics   #Managers #DecisionMaking   #MasterData  

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Without Big Insight, Big Data Is Useless

The best companies link business actions back to data to discover and test insights, before taking next actions.  +David Pidsley It's all about experimentation and iteration -- agility!

"The report, titled “Digital Insights are the New Currency of Business,” was written by Forrester analysts Ted Schadler and Brian Hopkins. It analyzed the behaviors of dozens of industry incumbents along with hundreds of startups to determine which organizations are taking the most advantage of big data’s potential, and what their secrets are."
. . . 
"The companies successfully putting these ideas into practice typically use small cross-functional teams that combine business domain expertise, data science skills, engineering expertise, and software development know-how to find, test, and implement insights.

"They also employ repeatable processes that integrate data science, collaboration, governance, and agile implementation workflows. Finally, successful companies build digital insights architectures based on existing big data management and business intelligence work."

#Managers   #BigData #Collaboration   #DecisionMaking  

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Why Innovators Hate MBAs

Do MBAs drive business-as-usual rather than innovation? -- +Dan Durrant 

Citation: If you want to be an innovator or an entrepreneur, should you go to business school? At first glance, maybe not: Peter Thiel once said "never ever hire an MBA; they will ruin your company." Meanwhile, Scott Cook, founder and leader of Intuit, recently told me, "When MBAs come to us we have to fundamentally retrain them--nothing they learned will help them succeed at innovation." Perhaps a stronger indictment comes from Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX, Solar City and PayPal, who said, "As much as possible, avoid hiring MBAs. MBA programs don't teach people how to create companies ... our position is that we hire someone in spite of an MBA, not because of one."

While we generally recognize that management training has value, why do leaders of innovative companies offer such harsh criticisms?

I would argue that the fault doesn't lie in the person but in the purpose of management itself. Business schools teach management principles that were developed in the later industrial revolution to solve the large-company management problem--not the innovation problem. As the industrial revolution transformed the economic landscape, replacing small workshops with large companies, the "new giants" created demand for management to make the trains run on time. Business schools followed close behind, with tools to train managers on how to coordinate and control these growing industry titans. However, while these more familiar management practices work well for relatively familiar problems, such as how to optimize activities and coordinate execution, increasing evidence suggests these techniques work poorly for managing the comparative uncertainty of bringing a new idea to market. In other words, business schools have focused on how to capture value from customers, not how to create value.

#DriveInnovation   #Managers  

Cause Analytics is here to help you navigate through Business Intelligence, understand today's challenges and tomorrow's technologies.

www.CauseAnalytics.com

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"Work-force science, in short, is what happens when Big Data meets H.R."

Some great examples in the whole article. 

Citation: These are some of the startling findings of an emerging field called work-force science. It adds a large dose of data analysis, a k a Big Data, to the field of human resource management, which has traditionally relied heavily on gut feel and established practice to guide hiring, promotion and career planning.
. . . 
In the past, studies of worker behavior were typically based on observing a few hundred people at most. Today, studies can include thousands or hundreds of thousands of workers, an exponential leap ahead.

#BigData   #HumanResources   #Managers  

Posted by +Dan Durrant 

Cause Analytics is here to help you navigate through Business Intelligence, understand today's challenges and tomorrow's technologies.

www.CauseAnalytics.com

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Using big data to make better pricing decisions

Citation: It’s hard to overstate the importance of getting pricing right. On average, a 1 percent price increase translates into an 8.7 percent increase in operating profits (assuming no loss of volume, of course). Yet we estimate that up to 30 percent of the thousands of pricing decisions companies make every year fail to deliver the best price. That’s a lot of lost revenue. And it’s particularly troubling considering that the flood of data now available provides companies with an opportunity to make significantly better pricing decisions. For those able to bring order to big data’s complexity, the value is substantial.
. . . 
The key to better pricing is understanding fully the data now at a company’s disposal. It requires not zooming out but zooming in. As Tom O’Brien, group vice president and general manager for marketing and sales at Sasol, said of this approach, “The [sales] teams knew their pricing, they may have known their volumes, but this was something more: extremely granular data, literally from each and every invoice, by product, by customer, by packaging.”
. . .
To get sufficiently granular, companies need to do four things.

Listen to the data. Setting the best prices is not a data challenge (companies generally already sit on a treasure trove of data); it’s an analysis challenge. The best B2C companies know how to interpret and act on the wealth of data they have, but B2B companies tend to manage data rather than use it to drive decisions. / #Analysts   #DecisionMaking  
. . . 
Automate. It’s too expensive and time-consuming to analyze thousands of products manually. Automated systems can identify narrow segments, determine what drives value for each one, and match that with historical transactional data. This allows companies to set prices for clusters of products and segments based on data. Automation also makes it much easier to replicate and tweak analyses so it’s not necessary to start from scratch every time. / #Automation  
. . .
Build skills and confidence. Implementing new prices is as much a communications challenge as an operational one. Successful companies overinvest in thoughtful change programs to help their sales forces understand and embrace new pricing approaches. Companies need to work closely with sales reps to explain the reasons for the price recommendations and how the system works so that they trust the prices enough to sell them to their customers. Equally important is developing a clear set of communications to provide a rationale for the prices in order to highlight value, and then tailoring those arguments to the customer. Intensive negotiation training is also critical for giving sales reps the confidence and tools to make convincing arguments when speaking with clients. / #Sales   #HumanResources  
. . . 
Actively manage performance. To improve performance management, companies need to support the sales force with useful targets. The greatest impact comes from ensuring that the front line has a transparent view of profitability by customer and that the sales and marketing organization has the right analytical skills to recognize and take advantage of the opportunity. The sales force also needs to be empowered to adjust prices itself rather than relying on a centralized team. This requires a degree of creativity in devising a customer-specific price strategy, as well as an entrepreneurial mind-set. Incentives may also need to be changed alongside pricing policies and performance measurements. / #Managers   #Enterpreneurs  

#GrowIncome   #BigData  

Posted by +Dan Durrant w/ +David Pidsley 

Cause Analytics is here to help you navigate through Business Intelligence, understand today's challenges and tomorrow's technologies.

www.CauseAnalytics.com

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Time to bring ‘quantified self’ technology into the workplace
by Gahlord Dewald 

Citation: Many fitness apps, for example, track workouts and other aspects of our lives. That data can be used to make adjustments and improve the quality of workouts.

This technology domain is referred to as "quantified self." When we attempt to gather large data sets about our own behavior, we’re participating in quantified self technology. / aka #Lifelogging  
. . . 
What if an agent participated in a quantified self program? It could let them know what percentage of their time was spent on various activities, such as helping existing clients, communicating directly with potential clients, marketing to potential clients via social media, or whatever categories of activity are important or relevant for the business model.

Tying this data back metrics and business analytics might yield some insights into activity areas that could use more development. / #Analytics  
. . . 
The key to successful quantified self apps and implementations seems to be tied to how intrusive the system is. If it’s like the billable hours sheet, it can be resented as a form of busy work. If it’s used primarily as a form of punishment for not doing activities (with no regard to whether business objectives are being achieved), then it will be resisted.

But if it can be deployed in a way that is honest, and aimed at discovering what is working at an individual level, then somehow it turns into a game — something fun, that can also be used to identify good decisions. / #Managers  #DecisionMaking

Posted by +Dan Durrant 

Cause Analytics is here to help you navigate through Business Intelligence, understand today's challenges and tomorrow's technologies.

www.CauseAnalytics.com

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Operational Resilience through Managing External Dependencies

Citation: These days, organizations are rarely self-contained. Businesses collaborate through partnerships and close links with suppliers and customers. Outsourcing services and business processes, including into Cloud Computing, means that key operations that an organization depends on are often fulfilled outside their control.

The challenge here is how to manage the dependencies your operations have on factors that are outside your control. The goal is to perform your risk management so it optimizes your operational success through being resilient against external dependencies.
. . . 
The Open Group’s Dependency Modeling (O-DM) helps you to plan for success through operational resilience, assured business continuity, and effective new controls and contingencies, enabling you to:

- Cut costs without losing capability
- Make the most of tight budgets
- Build a resilient supply chain
 - Lead programs and projects to success
- Measure, understand and manage risk from outsourcing relationships and supply chains
- Deliver complex event analysis

#SupplyChain   #Managers   #BuildResilience   #SaveMoney   #Partnerships    #Cloud  

Posted by +Dan Durrant 

Cause Analytics is here to help you navigate through Business Intelligence, understand today's challenges and tomorrow's technologies.

www.CauseAnalytics.com
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