Friday, June 11, 2010

The Age Curve

In business, one thing is certain: What worked 15 years ago won’t work today, and what works today will at some point in the future fall flat.

Every 20 years or so a new generation is born, bound together by common wants, needs, motives, and events. As each generation ages, we all recognize that its members become ripe for consuming a changing array of products and services.

But what most organizations fail to consider is that today’s demand cannot be projected from yesterday’s successes, because the one unchangeable and most dominant determinant of consumer demand is the size of the generation that is ripe for a given product or service.

This groundbreaking book lets you in on the best ways to position your business to roll with changing population of ripe consumers – including how to succeed despite the looming challenges posed by the relatively small Generation X, and leverage the explosive opportunities afforded by massive young Generation Y.

With its simple yet profound insights, The Age Curve will forever change the way you look at your business, and how you perceive the generational impact on the entire commercial landscape. It will help you forecast far into the future with an unprecedented clarity and accuracy and propel your business to entirely predictable long-term success.

This book will enable you to reassess your entire organization – from product development to marketing to hiring and retention – through the lens of shifting demographics, the single most powerful force impacting business and society.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Make a Difference

In this broader sense, making a difference is a work in progress. Contributions, once recognized, become the building blocks for other contributions. You can help the process along with three strategic moves:

1. Engage strategic needs. With a multitude of pressing problems, it is easy to let the big picture slip from view. Yet by keeping organizational goals in focus, you can identify important opportunities and even reframe current ways of thinking about those goals.

2. Fill unmet needs. The rearview mirror is not a good place to look for unmet needs. People often struggle with problems that they do not even know they have and that do not show up in reports or budgets. What synergies can you promote, what future demands can you anticipate?

3. Make value visible. Value is created for an organization when strategic problems are engaged or unmet needs filled. As a new leader engages strategic problems or fills unmet needs, the value of that contribution must be made clear. And that value needs to be conveyed in a language that others understand, at a time when they can appreciate it, and in a way that fits who you are.

Have you created a personal plan to make your value visible? Here are some steps to take:

Make a list of people in the organization who should know about what you have accomplished.

Outline points that should be emphasized.

  • Think about how to translate those contributions into a currency your audience will recognize and honor.
  • Consider how you will be the most comfortable in communicating your accomplishments, the accomplishments of your group. Talk to trusted colleagues about what methods work for them.
  • Seed your visibility efforts by starting with your own networks within the organization.
  • Take timing into account. When is the moment right for each phase in your visibility campaign?
  • Develop measures to assess how well your visibility plan is working.
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Friday, April 30, 2010

Baked In

Brands must build a new relationship with their customers and the culture they participate in. The old rule was: Create safe, ordinary products and combine them with mass marketing.

The new rule is: Create truly innovative products and build the marketing right into them. Today, the product is at the center of the conversation. It’s within the product itself that a brand has the most leverage with customers.

For many companies, it’s high time to realize that collaboration is at the heart of this new paradigm. While collaboration with customers is key, the ability to collaborate internally is even more important.

So where should companies start? They must take their brands back to their foundations, and realize that the message isn’t separate from the product, but that the product is the message.

This book gives companies a step-by-step guide on how to adapt and succeed in this brave new world. It shows how marketing can and must reinvent itself in the 21st century, using the tools at hand both from digital technology and networked media.

Would like to know more lessons from the book "Baked In?" You may access the book summary on

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

What is Emotional Intelligence?

What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence refers to our ability to inform our decisions with an understanding of our own and others’ emotions in order to act productively. It is one type of intelligence amongst many others. It means the ability to manage our own emotions (intrapersonal intelligence) and the ability to interact well with others (interpersonal intelligence).

Emotions act as warning signals when there is trouble ahead, motivate us to overcome adversity, and enable us to make good decisions.

The key skills that go with emotional intelligence include:

Self-awareness. With this, you understand your own emotions and recognize them as they occur. Your emotional responses guide you in different situations. You recognize your limitations and make the most of your strengths.

Self-confidence. Based in a realistic awareness of their limitations, confident people know when to trust in their own decisions and when to defer to others. Making the most of their strengths, confident people continually engage in new challenges that expand personal potential.

Self-regulation. This ability enables you to stay focused on your goals and delay gratification until they are accomplished. You recover from setbacks quickly and see goals through to the end. Destructive emotional responses are put aside in favor of ones more likely to achieve the goal. You motivate yourself by staying in touch with your most important aspirations.

Motivation. This ability enables you to inspire others by focusing on their needs, preferences, values, goals, and personal strengths.

Empathy. With empathy, you attune to the needs, values, wishes and perspectives of others. You sense others’ feelings and thoughts by actively placing yourself in their position.

Social acumen. Reading situations quickly and well, both verbally and non-verbally, enables you to adapt to the intentions of those with whom you have a relationship. Your sensitivity to group dynamics enables you to identify who in the group is most influential and to align with the cultural style of others.

Persuasiveness. Emotionally intelligent people are adept at reading the intentions and wishes of others and creating mutually satisfactory outcomes. They develop the habit of win/win thinking and look for ways in which personal goals can be aligned with those of others.

Conflict management. With this ability you anticipate conflict before it occurs and divert attention to more productive courses of action. If conflict develops, you resolve it by focusing the attention of the parties involved on actions that are in their best interests.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First In, Last Out

Would the people who work for you follow you into a burning building?

The Fire Department of the City of New York is one of the most effective organization in the world. And the foundation of that success is an extraordinary code of leadership: “first in, last out.” The senior officer on the team is always the first on into a burning building and the last one to leave. His people know that he’s at their side, sharing the danger – not barking orders from the rear. There’s no tolerance for buck-passing or finger-pointing.

John Salka, a twenty-five year veteran of the FDNY who rose from rookie to battalion chief, known firsthand the power of “first in, last out” leadership. Salka’s gripping stories come straight from the front lines and the toughest fires. Now he has compiled the best leadership strategies of the FDNY into a practical, battle-tested guide for leaders in any field.

This book distills the principles of FDNY leadership into a compelling, practical and highly readable guide that every leader and manager will want to read and reread. For more resources on leadership for your organization, please visit

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Types of Trust

Blind trust. This is personality driven. Although there is more work to be done on this, some general observations can be made about blind trust:

• People who deal more in principles than in facts may be more likely to trust first and ask questions later.
• People who are driven to achieve and create may be more likely to jump into a situation blindly.
• People who are caring for and always thinking of others may be more likely to blindly trust.

Skeptical trust. Though skepticism may seem negative to some, these people are often proven right in that they choose carefully who to trust, and they know why they chose that person, company, product, or service over another. They may be clearer about what they expect and need and will explore the likelihood of the promises made actually being met. The general observations about this type of trust include the following:

• People who deal in facts and seek clarity may want everything to stack up before they trust someone or something.
• People who need to experience things for themselves and to have proof may be skeptical until they are satisfied that a situation is OK.
• People who need to know the bottom line – What does this mean for me? – could appear to be skeptical about trusting you until you can show them that such trust is well placed.

Situational trust. What happens is that we believe we can trust someone, or something, and then we try to stretch the trust out across other situations.

When we do this we
• May not consider what it is we expect in the new situation;
• May not think about what our specific needs are in the new situation; or
• May not find out if they are able to promise or commit to delivering on the expectation and needs.

Referred trust. We have all seen and participated in referred trust, but do you know why? Because it works! Simple examples of referred trust are when we ask someone, “Do you know a great restaurant east of the city?” or “Do you know anyone who might be interested in my products?” and they pass on those details and the endorsement is highly valued because of the trusted source. is a business book summaries service. Every week, it sends out to subscribers a 9- to 12-page summary of a best-selling business book chosen from among the hundreds of books printed out in the United States. For more information on corporate subscriptions, please go to

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Challenge of Managing in a Toxic Environment

Management challenges don’t come any bigger than this. It’s not just your business or industry that is in a downturn; the entire global economic system has been wounded. The liquidity crisis that erupted in September 2008 with the collapse of a few U.S. investment banks spread to businesses and consumers everywhere with a speed that left people as stunned as the victims of an automobile accident.

By November virtually every major developed country in the world was either in recession or suffering from a wrenching slowdown in growth. Other countries whose economies are still growing also have felt the effects.

Even India’s enviable 7 percent GDP growth rate is down considerably from its previous levels of around 9 percent, driving home the irrefutable point that the world is connected as never before, sometimes in unpredictable ways.

The financial tsunami was a long time in the making, and its consequences inevitably will be with us for a long time. How long depends on how smart the various players around the world in government, finance, and business are in rebuilding the system.

Credit is the oil of the economic engine, and credit ultimately is a creation of confidence. Until all players are confident about the intentions and strength of the others, there can only be stagnation.

The economic peace of the past generation is over. We’re in a war for survival, beset by fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

As on any battlefield, conditions demand a seriously different kind of leadership from that which is appropriate in peace-time. Leaders must be prepared to make strategic, structural, financial, and operational changes – many of them drastic – in a hurry and with information that is best incomplete.

Bewildered CEOs and directors were saying things such as “Things are going over a cliff in no time” and “No one has ever seen such a vortex before.” The most pessimistic foresaw a catastrophe on the order of the Great Depression.

Some said it would take one year for the global economy to normalize; others said it could take up to three. However, leaders who already had begun reshaping their businesses to carry on through whatever hard times lie ahead.

They are making changes now to emerge in better shape than ever, ready for the growth that ultimately will come. Some are pouncing on the opportunity to move faster than their peers and serve customers in different ways.

These are the companies that will be among the game changers in the next expansion.

We will not know when we have turned the corner, and we cannot envision the shape and scope of the world that will emerge. What we can be sure of is that this is a time of tumultuous change, and with change come both danger and opportunity.

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