Socializing your organization…

We are all connected (Image Dimitri Vervitsios)Social Media is not just for the geeks, techos and the under 30’s. No manager can ignore the increasing power and influence of the social web.  People are connecting, sharing, listening, influencing, growing the relevance of their networks every day.

It is easy to see that as technology advances at such rapid rates, the rules of marketing, customer and employee engagement have changed and must continue to change.

Most managers accept you can’t ignore the social web.  The question really becomes for each of us:  “How can I add value to my organization in determining where and how the social web can be leveraged to deliver solid bottom line outcomes?”

Connecting the social web to organizational value:

Building your brand is largely based on how your brand is perceived by your customers.  You don’t own your brand  – your customers do! Your customers are already choosing to watch, connect, discuss and engage with your brand.   Aden Young of DigitalBuzz noted in his December post “that 67% of people on Twitter follow a brand (that they will purchase), in comparison to only 51% on Facebook. Yet on Facebook 40% of all people follow a brand in comparison to Twitter’s 25%.”

Easy to conclude that the social web should not be seen as an add-on channel, but rather an extension of your business, providing customer information and the means to engage that should integrate into every aspect of your business.

Opportunities include:

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WHAT QUESTIONS CAN AND SHOULD YOU BE ASKING?

Here are just some of the questions you can be asking your organization.

  1. Customer Journey – how is this being captured and managed from possible interest>engagement>purchase>repeat purchase>advocate>evangelist> influencers?
  2. Social CRM – how and where does (& can) the social media insights fit into the broader marketing and customer engagement, sales and support strategy?  Your communications strategy? How is this being integrated and implemented in real-time?
  3. Lead generation strategy – where and what is involved in leveraging the triggers provided within the social web in relation to your known customers and your ideal customer target markets?
  4. Employee Power – How does your digital strategy allow for you to grow, harness and leverage your employees? Your partners? Your franchisees? What is their role in this? How can they be involved in utilizing social media? What guidance and more importantly, permission and encouragement do you need to provide?
  5. E-Commerce – Thinking beyond “bricks and mortar” and your current go-to-market model, where and when will your e-commerce platform sit within this? Where and how do you drive traffic to and from this site?
  6. Retailing – How can you grow your online brand and customer engagement to drive traffic into store?
  7. Business Information – How are you overlaying the insights gained from the social web as it relates to your customers,markets and ideal new customers and markets?
  8. Measuring – How do you measure all the above?  Once you embark on a digital strategy that includes leveraging the social web, how can you be sure you are being successful?  What measures, insights and returns can you gain? How real-time is this?

These are just a few questions to start the ball rolling.   What else do you think should be added to this list?

How can you (the non-geek/non-social web expert) get involved in harnessing the social web and add even more value to your organization?

When One Business Just Isn’t Enough: How to run a portfolio Business

Emma was recently interviewed by Suzi Dafnis of Australian Businesswomen’s Network.  Here she introduces Emma to her network as:

“For many of us, running one business is more than enough. My guest today runs two businesses. Emma Lo Russo is an experienced innovator, organisation leader and marketer. She has brought together her experience gained from leadership positions across a broad spectrum of industries to two businesses.

Digivizer, a business that delivers the digital footprint of the people you know (i.e. your clients) and the people you should know. Digivizer looks at who you should connect to through social media and Validity Coaching, a collective of experienced executive coaches.

Emma joins me to talk about the pros and cons of running a portfolio business, that is, a collection of businesses. We look at:

  • Does running two businesses impact the effectiveness of one or more of the business?
  • How can a split focus help you get better business results?
  • What are the challenges of running more than one business, and how do you overcome them?

Enjoy this interview with Emma Lo Russo.”

http://www.abn.org.au/site/article/Video-When-One-Business-Just-Isnt-Enough-How-to-run-a-portfolio-business-Emma-Lo-Russo-interview

How do people experience you?

I recently made the decision to switch from PC to Mac for my business platform.73434520

Everything about the experience – from walking into the store; interacting with the technology; enjoying the broader synergies with our iPhones and iPads; the ease in which I am able to connect and share content with my family and business colleagues; the stories, sharing and understanding offered by the broader Apple community – has lead me to think about the importance “experience” plays in our decision making.

Every single part of my exposure, interactions, associations – my collective experience with Apple – is always positive, enjoyable and exceeded my expectations.

The relationship between our experiences and our feelings are key drivers to the decisions we make.

Just like a product or company brand’s true value is in the eye of the consumer and how it is perceived in the market place, our personal brand is really valued by the experiences people have with you and the perceptions they then form.

Today, there is much talk about the importance in investing in personal branding.  Spending time to understand and shape what we represent as individuals, how we represent our core values and articulate our unique selling proposition.

Asking people to stop and think of how they may be viewed and the disparity to how they wish to be viewed, can certainly grow self-awareness and can influence behaviours.

How people view, interact, associate, and do business with you, are all opportunities for people to “experience” you.  The experience they have with you is far more important in determining their evaluations of you and the decisions they make that concern you, than anything else.

Considering how meaningful, enjoyable, interactive, and valuable the experience people have of you is as important in the social web as it is in our personal dealings.

When you consider the ease in which we can connect, associate, interact and share on the social web, do you consider what experience people are having of and with you?  Is it consistent with the experience they would have with you and you would hope to deliver in person?

It certainly makes an interesting point for reflection:- what experience are people having when they see, read, or exchange something with you? Or in more simple terms: – How do people experience you online as well as in person?

Be the change you want to see in the world…

"We are all connected" by Erica Marshall of muddyboots.org   I love this quote by Mahatma Gandhi.  And I try to live by this mantra.

Having lead an ASX-listed technology company as President & COO for 5 years, and after working 20 years in leadership positions for a range of corporates and agencies( working full time whilst raising my 3 kids), I took the big scary decision to step out last year and take a more entrepreneurial/self-starting career change.

After taking some time out to contemplate what next (travelling around Australia in a Winnebago with kids and husband), I decided to take my future into my own hands and do a number of things:

1)  Stay focussed on doing what I love and feel passionate about “helping people and businesses grow”, and to

2)  Find a new and different way to leverage my experience by playing to my strengths and passions

I now focus my time on sharing my experience and developing people through coaching, leadership development, workshops, speaking, writing and am now working to help businesses grow through harnessing the power and value of the web.

What drives me is my excitement about the increasing ubiquity of the web, faster processing and download power, interconnectivty and mobility through an ever-increasing range of electronic products and platforms, and how this has opened up the global market. 

The model introduced by Apple with the ipod and itunes was a real paradigm changer for all businesses. Now all companies are looking at how to take advantage of technology and how they can connect, interact, create lock-ins with their customers through more personalised, targeted products, services and support – all delivered through the web.

The web is undeniably becoming more social. Right now, people are meeting, finding, sharing, and connecting with one another through the social web – leaving behind digital footprints that are as unique as they are. As an example, a recent Nielsen study found that 75% of global consumers who go online access Social Networks and Blogs, and that there was a 66% increase in time spent on Social Networks/Blogs compared to last year. 

Australia’s social media audience is estimated at 9.9 million and 40% of online Australians are now interacting with companies via social networking sites, reinforcing notions that Australians are open to engaging with brands and companies online. And this type of penetration is typical of western countries and increasing at a rapid rate in the developing countries.

It is through this changing world and the increasing take up of what has become the social web that I co-founded DIGIVIZER together with my (very smart) partner Clinton Larson to help businesses bring sense to the billions of connections and conversations that are happening on the web each day.  To help them find what matters to them and to help them use it in ways that they can extract value and a return to their bottom line.

And so I now introduce DIGIVIZER to you… 

DIGIVIZER delivers to businesses the digital footprints of people you know and people you would like to know, providing insights into who and what people are saying and about things that matter to you. All presented in meaningful, people-centric, easy-to-understand and easy-to-access sets of data.

When integrated with your customer relationship, sales and marketing platforms and programs, DIGIVIZER gives you a new edge to enable more powerful personalization and targeting through all customer interactions – significantly increasing the return on your marketing and sales investment.

We are in the early stages of growing, balancing client requirements with the development of the base platform.  It is exciting, it is challenging, and it is unlocking some powerful results.

I truly believe this Social CRM is the future for businesses and as a very wise person said, that the personalization of our experience on the web will no doubt be viewed as the characterizing aspect of the current phase in the evolution of the web and the way we will do business.

And so, the journey continues.  And it all starts with making the changes you want to see in the world – starting with yourself and your world, then looking beyond. 

Exciting times for us all ahead!

Compliance vs Engagement

goldfish-taking-actionDoing the basic job required of us, in most cases, is easy to do.  In fact we can often do much of what we do without having to really engage, invest and stretch ourselves. 

We learn from an early age to follow instructions. To have our creative thinking ordered with a set of pre-determined decisions to create structure, harmony and order. 

Certainly it helps to learn the consequences of taking actions that are outside of what is expected of us. However do we consider the dangers to progress if we merely look and teach others to comply?

How often do you hear “I do this because that is what is asked of me.”  Or “I don’t do this, because the rules say not to.”  In business we can often provide more processes, instructions and parameters to reduce risk and error margins, but what happens when it stops people from thinking or taking ownership all together?

In this past week, I saw two separate cases where perfectly intelligent and capable people were discussing a problem within their working environments.  In being challenged as to why they did not see those problems as ones they could solve, the dutiful responses were offered around it not being their job, it wasn’t done that way, there was red tape, a usual way to solve this etc.

In reality, they had become compliant.  Stopped thinking, stopped ownership, stopped engaging with the broader objectives and motivations for their companies and themselves.

It didn’t take long to unlock their thinking and to see alternate ways to own and solve the problems they were facing. 

Unfortunately once I started looking for examples of compliance over engagement elsewhere, I started to see it everywhere – in customer service across multiple businesses, in my children, and in me.  It has made for an interesting point for reflection.

Key to solving passive compliance is engagement ourselves and encouraging engagement in others.  It is not enough to just observe or be present.  Not enough to comply even if it gets you over the line and off the hook.  What is required of us is to really engage with a problem you see and view it as something you can own, influence and drive towards a solution. 

In these cases I refer to this week, by engaging with the problem didn’t mean these clients had to make the problem their own completely and feel the pressure to solve it on their own. 

In both cases it was enough to shift the thinking from it being someone else’s problem to being “our problem” to solve.  And to get them thinking about how they could lead and influence change.  To think about possible options and opportunities.  

Seeing the bigger picture and not being hamstrung by barriers – perceived or real, allows for progress. 

By engaging fully with what you are hoping to achieve and not the process of getting there, promotes critical thinking and creativity. It brings action and results.

Where do you need to switch gears and move from compliance to engagement to really generate progress?

International HR Shared Services Conference 2010 Malaysia

Emma will be chairing and doing the introduction/key note speaker address and facilitation of the closing workshop at the International HR Shared Services 2010 conference.

The International HR Shared Services 2010 conference will be a gathering for corporate HR & Shared Services executives from companies around the world, and specially Asia Pacific, to exchange ideas, develop new partnerships and discuss the latest tools, technologies and strategies being employed in the profession to enhance departmental efficiencies and propel corporate growth. The event will focus on the most current topics in the HR shared services industry including metrics, automation, outsourcing, globalization, compensation & rewards, benefits and an overall focus on the new strategic role of HR shared services.

3 – 4 August 2010, Crowne Plaza Hotel – Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia

 To find out more about the conference visit http://www.fleminggulf.com/cross-industry/asia-pacific/international-hr-shared-services-2010

The Try> Apply> Fly Approach

Man flying over sleepers.  Photo by Lois Greenfield.A key part of mastering something is practice.

As children we understand this concept as we try time and time again to do the perfect cartwheel, learn to ride a bike, catch a ball or master a popular dance move.

As we get older, we recognize and appreciate mastery in others, and will often choose to step aside to allow other experts to show the way.

Although I am a big believer in recognizing and playing to people’s strengths and working to your own, it worries me to see so many adults defer or give up before they have given something new their best shot.  A best shot can mean quality of preparation and at least a solid period of dedication in learning and putting into practice.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Outliers – The Story of Success”, he introduces the 10,000 hour rule. 

The basic premise is that it takes 10,000 hours of dedication to your craft or skill before you are likely to really master or become a “superstar” at it.  He also adds, to be a true Outlier, it probably takes 10,000 hours plus talent and a timing opportunity before you really make it into the Outlier league (those that truly stand apart from the rest of the high achievers).

The more involved I am in successful businesses or with people who have achieved success, the more the pattern for success and mastery of something is evident.  And it is not just spending time (or 10,000 hours) working on something.  It is more their approach.  An approach based on continuous feedback, learning, finessing, trying and applying.

Stories shared by successful people often have the same theme: they tried, they learned, they applied their new skills, they tried again, and applied their learnings, until eventually they mastered what they set out to do. 

Even when they achieved what they first set out to do, they went back to the same cycle of try>apply>fly to reach new heights.

Yes, they experienced fear.  Yes, they experienced failure (often many times), but they all had the approach of continuing to try and not giving up until they succeeded.

Seems like an easy lesson for each of us. 

You need to be happy to continuously Try and Apply to really Fly!

Excuses! Excuses! Excuses!

Is Time linear by Philipp KlingerIs it this time of year? Are people so busy that the topic becomes such a key one to cover and to revisit? 

I ask these questions because I note over the past fortnight there has been a marked increase in the number of articles around time and priority management. It feels like every business and management article or blog is covering this theme. No real new stuff, some very good stuff, but still there are a whole lot of words and opinions around what you need to do, how you need to think, what steps you need to take.

My preference is not to add much to this well covered theme… I have too much else I have prioritized to do first….but I can tell you simply the answer is in the following:

  1. YOU OWN YOUR TIME. 
  2. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGING YOUR TIME.
  3. ONLY YOU CAN KNOW HOW BEST TO MANAGE AND USE YOUR TIME.
  4. DON’T LET OTHERS TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR TIME
  5. WHEN YOU REALIZE YOU ARE OFF-TRACK, REVISIT THESE AFFIRMATIONS.

There is one more thing to remember – you always have a choice – so please, no more time-wasting or excuses. 

Plan for what you want to do and just do it!