Texting is teaching bad grammar

By Jeri Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International

Takeaways: Spelling and grammar are important. Computers and texting have changed how we communicate. We’re raising a generation of people who don’t spell or use proper sentence construction and think it’s OK.

IBM Selectric typewriterRemember the IBM Selectric or the portable typewriter? Those of us who remember typewriters learned to add two spaces after every period and to hit the return key at the end of a line to prevent the typewriter from running off the right side of the page. Remember that? Or are you among the generation who is saying “what’s a typewriter?” The personal computer with its ability to wrap text onto the next line changed all that. It also changed the need to add two spaces after the period. In fact, that is now considered “old school” and incorrect, but I still see this issue cropping up.

Other punctuation errors I see all the time are highlighted in this article on the Kaye/Bassman blog (www.kbic.com), “17 Punctuation Mistakes That Can Make You Look Really Bad.”

It’s not that I’m perfect, but in my early days I was a journalist; and then I worked at a newspaper where the written word and how it’s used is a critical form of communication. I was always a good speller and learned to proofread so errors just jump out at me.

While I love technology and all the functionality it brings, I’m bothered by the new culture I see around me. Smart phone apps and texting are creating an entire generation that has not learned the art of communication – either face-to-face or in writing. They gather together and instead of talking with one another, they text. And they’re sitting side-by-side!

Texting is a great tool. It’s a way to quickly let someone know where you are or to communicate an important or friendly message. Because it’s usually done on a phone, it lends itself to shortcuts. Consequently, an entire new alphabet has emerged for texting. But you don’t use this language in business communication…not if you want to be understood by your peers and your superiors. Yet, some of these texting words show up in papers, memos and emails and on discussion forums.

When do you use she and I or me and her?

I hear this misused all the time, especially on television. Surely the writers know the construction is wrong. You don’t say “me” went to the store. It’s “I” went to the store. Yet somehow the TV writers think it’s fine to say “me and him” or even “him and me” went to the store, when clearly it’s not proper usage. This is one of my pet peeves because television is teaching incorrect grammar.

When do you use “its” versus “it’s”, for example, or “theirs” versus “there’s”? One of the secrets I learned in high school is to convert the abbreviation to “it is”. If it still makes sense in the sentence, then the correct form is “it’s”. “Its” is possessive as in “The cat played with its toy.” You wouldn’t say “The cat played with it is toy.” On the other hand, “It’s cold outside” can also be converted to “It is cold outside” and still make sense.

Theirs and there’s are more difficult is grammar and spelling are not your forté. Theirs is plural possessive as in “the toy is theirs.” “There’s” can be converted to “there is” and if the sentence still makes sense when you say “there is”, then you can also use the conjunction “there’s” as in the Beatles song, “There’s a place”.

Texting has taught us to write in incomplete sentences in the interest of keeping our thumbs from getting too worn out from typing. I even find myself doing this sometimes when responding to emails. Short, to the point, and without the proper sentence construction. It’s okay in some circumstances, but when over-used, it can make you look uneducated.

Then there are the run-on sentences with no punctuation. I see this in many discussion forums. No capitalization no commas or periods you can’t tell where one sentence ends and the other begins and then the thoughts change completely mid-stream which makes it even harder to follow. Did you like that example?

The reality is we have about three seconds to capture someone’s attention. If you make the person work too hard to understand you, they’ll just move on to another website or blog.

Punctuation and spelling matter!

Learn the rules of proper punctuation and spell check your work. MS Word makes it easy. The software even provides a Thesaurus for alternate word choices. Anything underlined in red is considered misspelled or unknown (not in the MS Word dictionary). Anything underlined in green is considered a grammatical error which can be corrected when you run the spell check option under the Review tab. There are plenty of free spelling and grammar checking tools, and many software and browser platforms have them built in. Just remember to use them.

The key is to not sound stuffy and old school. Write the way people speak. But write in short sentences using words that anyone with an 8th grade education would understand. That’s the rule of thumb most journalists use. Only if you’re writing for a specialized industry association journal or publication would you use jargon, industry abbreviations and terminology.

Just keep your audience in mind when you write, and spell-check your work.

Millennials Driving New Management Styles

By Jeri Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International

Takeaways: Millennials are driving new trends in management and productive work space. Companies are downsizing into open space environments and flexible work schedules enabling staff to work from anywhere at any time in collaborative, bee hive types of space.

Much has been written lately about the trends in management style and office space. This is being driven by the new young turks, the Millennials, who are moving into management positions.

For them, the old management styles of top-down leadership or management by objectives just don’t ring true. Instead, they want to get to know their team members, become friends, and learn what motivates them. This is an entirely new style of leadership that requires active listening and asking questions.

The result is a model called, Holacracy, where clear communications, incentives and accountability are key components to keeping staff motivated and engaged. See the article, How Medium is Building a New Kind of Company, which was published in firstround.com. Rather than a hierarchy of workers, the organization is built around a hierarchy of work that needs to be achieved.

Unlike their predecessors, the Millennial generation is all about collaboration, not building “turf kingdoms”. Consequently, many don’t have private offices, but prefer to be out in the main room at a desk with their teams. In fact, many teams are fluid, forming and re-forming around projects rather than departments. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t even have an office. He and other senior execs sit with everyone else, although they do have private conference rooms assigned for their use when needed.

So what are the implications?

Traditional office spaces are being converted into open spaces where everyone has a desk with or without any dividers. Some have half cubicles separating the desks; others place people side by side and across from one another. While the workers like this kind of environment because it’s more casual and family-like, research is showing that productivity has declined due to distractions and noise. In order to concentrate, workers check out time in private offices or conference rooms and use sound-cancelling headphones.

Open offices - Miamishared.com. See this photo gallery of office space designs from Miamishared.com

Open offices – Miamishared.com See this photo gallery of office space designs from Miamishared.com

The result is that many companies are reducing their office space requirements. Open areas require fewer build outs and less square footage. Additionally, companies have moved to flexible work programs allowing staff to work from anywhere at any time. So they may rent desks at open space places called “bee hives” for use when their workers need to go into an office to work vs. working from home or elsewhere. These shared work spaces appeal to the ever mobile Millennials and to start-ups, giving them access to other professionals with whom to network.

In her article in Forbes, Open Spaces are Here to Stay. Now How Do We Get Any Work Done?,  Barbara T Armstrong cites the many implications these trends are having on furniture design, as well as workplace design specialists. Time will tell how successful these new environments are for engendering productivity.

Innovation Comes from Collective Creativity

By Jeri Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International

Takeaways: Innovation is about unleashing the creativity at the bottom to encourage truly innovative ideas and solutions. Rethink leadership roles as those of connectors, social architects and aggregators of ideas. Act your way to the future rather than plan.

Linda Hill, Management Professor at Harvard Business School, shared a TED Talk based on her book, Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation. Over nearly 10 years she and three colleagues observed innovative leaders up close in several countries to determine what it is that made their companies innovative. The bottom line, she said, is that we need to unlearn what we’ve been taught about leadership.

 Invert the organizational pyramid

Innovative leadership is not about creating a vision and getting your staff to implement it. It is about managing collective creativity, amplifying conflict and discourse without unleashing chaos. You have to turn the organizational structure on its head and unleash the creative genius from the bottom up.

Innovation, said Hill, is about creating a space for three capabilities:
Creative abrasion
Creative agility
Creative resolution

Creative abrasion is about having heated, constructive arguments to create a portfolio of ideas. People learn how to actively listen and also how to strongly advocate for their position. Innovation rarely occurs unless you have both diversity and conflict.

Creative agility is about continuously testing and refining your portfolio of ideas. Instead of creating a strategic plan and implementing it, you “act your way to the future” through discovery-driven learning. This includes design thinking where the focus is on running a series of experiments, not a series of pilots. Test and refine. Test and refine.

Creative resolution is decision-making that combines opposable ideas to reconfigure in new combinations that produce useful solutions. It is patient, inclusive decision-making that allows for “both/and” solutions to arise, not just “either/or”.

Innovative organizations like Google and Pixar allow talented people to play out their passions by having multiple experiments running in tandem. Teams form and re-form as needed and everyone has access to the leaders at the top.

“Leadership is the secret sauce”, she says. Leading innovation is about creating the space where people are willing and able to do the hard work of innovative problem-solving. It’s about building a sense of community – a world to which people want to belong – and building those three capabilities described above.

What can we do to make sure all the small voices, the disrupters in the organization, are heard?

As Google has done under Bill Gate, you nurture the bottom up. Be the social architect that encourages discourse, differing viewpoints and multiple ideas, no matter how far-fetched. Bestow credit in as broadly as possible. Pixar, for example, includes the list of babies born during a film’s production in the credits at the end of each film.

Bill Gates encourages people to co-create with him while preventing them from degenerating into chaos. His role, according to Hill, is to be the human glue, a connector, an aggregator of viewpoints.

As innovative leaders we need to redefine our leadership role – not by title, but by function: role model, coach, nurturer. We need to hire people who argue with us, not those who agree with our viewpoints.

Instead of providing all the answers or solutions, leaders must “see the young sparks at the bottom as the source of innovation. Transfer the growth to the bottom. Unleash the power of the many by releasing the stronghold of the few,” says Hill.

If only the multi-state bank and the newspaper I worked for earlier in my career had done this. I recall my first month of training at the bank. I was sent out to a branch office to study how it operated and produce a report. One of my suggestions was to increase the salary of the tellers since they were the first line of contact with the customers and they frequently were responsible for million dollar cash drawers. Yet they received the lowest salaries and had no voice in the way the branch should work with customers.

At the newspaper, I frequently offered ideas which were squashed because that “wasn’t the way we do things around here”, or they jeopardized the power of the few. Never mind that the old ways weren’t working any more. I tried to implement innovative leadership techniques among my own small staff, but that was hard to do when no other departments, let alone other managers in my department, were doing anything similar.

What a breath of fresh air to hear Linda Hill talk about how really innovative companies turn the pyramid on its head! Give your staff at the bottom the opportunity to rethink their jobs, to offer solutions to everyday problems they face, and as Hill says, “create the space where everyone’s slices of genius can be unleashed and turned into collective genius”.

Watch the TED Talk. Buy her book. Change your thinking about leadership.

Trends for Managing Change in 2015

By Eric Denniston, Managing Director, Denner Group International

Takeaways: Review of ten trends for managing change in a practical context. Think more clearly about the impact of the trends. Consider if any external help can improve your performance. Refocus on the speed of change and the need for greater agility in adapting to changes.

While conducting a quarterly scan on trends for the next two to three years I came across a brief SlideShare presentation by Dennis McCafferty in CIO Insight, titled Ten Execution Trends for 2015, which you can view by clicking here. The overriding theme in the trends he mentions is that while planning is always extremely important, flexibility and agility in executing your plans is becoming much more important in order to overcome the challenges of doing business. This piece focuses on the IT issues of organizations but the trends mentioned affect managing all aspects of all organizations. These are the trends:

  • Real-time planning is mission-critical
  • Leading indicators take on greater prominence
  • Project management tackles enterprisewide tasks
  • Cultural difference foster collaboration
  • IT takes a seat at the “Influencers” table
  • Agility dominates
  • The “Organizational Surfer” rules the day
  • Everyone’s a designer
  • Value trumps all
  • Just do it

We see greater importance given to future trends over research on past trends. We see the increasing need for a holistic approach to how projects and initiatives are planned and executed. We are reminded of the value of embracing cultural differences in fostering collaboration. IT now wields greater influence overall on the organization. The increased speed of change in general is driving us to delegate the execution of projects more thereby increasing agility, and as a by-product, provide Millennials with a more attractive work environment.

We also see a return to the concept of “roving staff”, which I experienced in banking in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, now called “Organizational Surfers”. This was also common in large organizations with a group of employees who would “sub” for line staff, such as tellers, on vacation or sick leave, but are now found at all levels in the organization. There is also a notable increase in cross-functional collaboration and training in design thinking to extract great ideas from everyone possible in the firm regardless of whether those ideas pertain to their work or department.

Creating value for the customer is now job #1 over cost containment and problem solving. The final comment of the piece is titled “Just Do It!” It points out the danger in over-thinking things to the detriment of simply getting them done, thereby “staying ahead of change”.

Do your executives and team leaders have the skill sets to make the proper adjustments on the fly? Have you identified the leading indicators that will help you focus on future trends? Are your projects managed in a silo or are they directed with an enterprise-wide view? What initiatives are you implementing if there are multiple cultures in your business or you have an international presence?

At what level of your organization does your head of IT sit? For that matter, ask the same question about HR, Design, R&D, Safety and Security. Are your leaders capable of managing and even accelerating change with agility, and how are you including your younger staff members in the process? Are you creating a cadre of line staff, managers and executives that can support different functions either executing initiatives or performing training and coaching?

Is your organization capable of extracting creativity from folks other than those whose job is to design products and services? How are you gauging, measuring or tracking your leaders’ contribution to creating value for your customers and your stockholders?

Each of the 10 trends mentioned in the SlideShare piece broadly addresses issues that are clearly compelling to nearly every organization. Which one or ones compel you to make them a priority and how will you gather support in skill development and coaching to accelerate the effectiveness of implementing your initiatives?

I invite you contact me if you wish to explore how we might be able to assist you.

Change is difficult

By Jeri Denniston, Denner Group International November 12,2014

A World Gone SocialI’m reading A World Gone Social by Ted Coiné and Michael Babbit, and it grabs you in the first few pages. Right at the start the authors give several examples of how social media is creating a sea change in how companies operate. It has caused major challenges for many companies, including two well-known companies, Abercrombie & Fitch and Barilla (known for their pasta). Both situations were the result of comments by the CEOs which before social media would have gone largely unnoticed by most people.

The A&F CEO candidly commented in a 2006 interview that “In every school there are the cool kids and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids…..we go after the cool kids.” By 2013, the company had experienced seven consecutive quarters of declining sales and declining stock value, and angry consumers were buying used A&F clothing and donating it to the homeless in support of a hashtag campaign, #FitchtheHomeless. This year, the CEO was asked to step down and the company is looking for a buyer.

On the other extreme, the generosity of a New Hampshire Panera restaurant manager has resulted in a 34 percent increase in same store sales, more than 800,000 likes on their Facebook page, and nearly 35,000 comments. This, because of a Facebook post by the mother of Brandon Cook, who contacted the Panera  manager to see if he could buy a bowl of clam chowder for his grandmother who was dying of cancer.

Here is the Facebook post Brandon’s mother shared on Panera’s Facebook page copied from the book, A World Gone Social:

My grandmother is passing soon with cancer. I visited her the other day and she was telling me about how she really wanted soup, but not hospital soup because she said it tasted “awful”; she went on about how she really would like some clam chowder from Panera. Unfortunately, Panera only sells clam chowder on Friday. I called the manager, Sue, and told them the situation. I wasn’t looking for anything special just a bowl of clam chowder. Without hesitation she said absolutely she would maker her some clam chowder. When I went to pick it up they wound up giving me a box of cookies as well. It’s not that big of a deal to most, but to my grandma it meant a lot. I really want to thank Sue and the rest of the staff from Panera in Nashua, NH just for making my grandmother happy.  Thank you so much!

It makes you all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it? All because the Panera manager did something nice that was not part of store policy or on the menu for that day and it was shared on Facebook.

Social media has had and continues to have major impacts on how people communicate. The consumer now has the power and the voice, thanks to social media. It brings in the human side of business and enables the average consumer to influence their peers and talk directly to executives. without the traditional political barriers of old.

This change is difficult for CEOs and executives who are stuck in the days of how we always did it before.  Top-down command and control is not longer effective nor efficient.  Thanks to our digital world, knowledge (and the power that goes with it) is available to anyone willing to do a Google search – it is no longer limited to the few at the top of the corporation. According to Coiné who participated in one of the World Strategy Week panels last week, companies that fail to embrace social will be gone in three years. The old ways just don’t work anymore and resisting the change is just stubborn arrogance, something that was beautifully displayed off the Irish coast in 1998. Many of us have heard this story before, but it’s worth repeating:

Irish: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south, to avoid a collision
British: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision.
Irish: Negative. Divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.
British: This is the captain of a British navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Irish: Negative. I say again, you will have to divert YOUR course.
British: This is the aircraft carrier HMS Britannia! We are the second largest ship in the British Atlantic fleet.  We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers, and numerous support vessels. I demand that you change your course 15 degrees north. I say again, that is 15 degrees north, or countermeasures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship and her crew.
Irish: We are a lighthouse. Your call.

 

The Future of Strategic Management

Staying in touch with developments in Strategic Management inevitably requires reading books, articles, blogs and viewing videos delivered by fellow practitioners of this discipline. Perhaps the greatest value in doing this is the constant reminder that the way to seek improvement in managing strategy is by implementing change, and in fact, accelerating change – and it keeps us sharp. It keeps us thinking. And it keeps us innovating.

Rick SmithTwo recent articles bring up topics related to improving strategy that address some fundamental issues we should keep in mind. One is titled Is Strategy Dead? 7 Reasons the Answer is Yes, by Rick Smith (Forbes.com, 9/22/2014).

SusanSmithThe other is Why I Think Change Management is Broken, by Susan Smith (susan.smith.live, 9/29/2014).

The first article cites the compressed time frames in which strategies must be created, planned, implemented and evaluated. It offers these seven reasons with supporting descriptions for the premise that strategy is dead:
1.    Incrementalism has been disrupted by disruption.
2.    Innovation is occurring with high variance outcomes.
3.    The past is no longer a good predictor of the future.
4.    Competitive lines have dissolved completely.
5.    Information has gone from scarcity to abundancy. (I will add indigestion.)
6.    It is very difficult to forecast option values.
7.    Large scale execution is trumped by rapid transactional learning.

The article concludes by stating: “The language of Strategy may be alive and well within the musings of corporate planners and external consultants. Unfortunately, the marketplace is no longer paying attention.”

Some interesting comments on the LinkedIn Group – Strategic Management Forum-Global by Tim MacDonald about this article say: “They want different outcomes. But not a different system.” And: “One challenge for Strategy is to come to grips with the letting go.”

Certainly, when we plan anything, we are creating change and therefore presumably preparing to let go of something. Aren’t we? So we must know that embracing the change and following through with it is the key. Doing so with the clarity of purpose when applying Systems Thinking, supports us in the adjustments that we must make to our strategies along the way.

So, what is your take on this? Is strategy really dead, or is our approach to strategy in need of some applied change management?

The second article also addresses the constantly increasing pace of change and the pressure on strategy and strategic plans to adapt to a “new normal”. Evidently there is a McKinsey survey that “demonstrates that 30% of Change Programs are still ineffective spanning a decade-long assessment”.

This article goes on to elegantly articulate the value of Systems Thinking as “providing the ‘final’ answer to a more effective framework to manage change regardless of its complexity or velocity, embedding it into our daily routines for profitable and sustainable results.” Susan reminds us we simply cannot “opt out” of the set of natural laws that make up Systems Thinking.

She adds that most people have not heard of Systems Thinking because they have not been introduced to it by its proper name. I would add those people have neither been given a clear definition, nor some good and simple examples of it. Once they have learned the definition, they almost always become avid students and practitioners of Systems Thinking, embracing its simplicity.

Susan continues with a conversation about the importance of using all of the Systems Thinking building blocks and not taking short cuts by only adopting one or two a-la-carte style. When you try these short cuts, your Change Program will most likely fail.

So, do you think Change Management is Broken? If so, what will you do to help fix it?

I offer you this bonus topic prompted by a post from Paul Barnett  where he asks the question: “…could this, and should this, happen to the teaching of Strategic Management?  I would argue that it could, and should.” His question in turn is prompted by the Financial Times article published on 9/22/14 titled, Universities to Revamp Economics Courses by Clare Jones.

In a nutshell, university students worldwide recently complained bitterly that economics, as it is taught today, is completely disconnected from reality and today’s economic issues. This has caused universities around the world to collectively begin to adjust their curricula to address this matter.

I find it fascinating how today’s technology can unite a group of seemingly unconnected stakeholders to create massive global change. One would think that continuously applying Systems Thinking to this singular course of education could have caused this change to be more organic and timely, and that it could certainly help in implementing the coming changes.

So, in terms of educating our future Strategic Planners and Managers, I find these threads of thought to be compelling, in particular about Systems Thinking:

If teaching economics at the university level needs some major change, what about strategic planning and strategic management? Should we be exploring what we need to change to address the “new normal”?

And what about addressing not just what is taught, but also teaching how to learn? My greatest takeaway from the years I spent in classrooms all the way through university, is that in addition to learning facts, figures and how to do things, I was also learning how to learn. Recognizing this made my graduate work so much richer.

What can we practitioners of strategic planning and management do to ensure future practitioners are being guided toward the most effective application of their craft and successful careers? Toward continuing to innovate and change how things are done in the world of strategy?

I would start with a good foundation in Systems Thinking. Illustrating how it can become a habit and just as importantly, how to distinguish it and complement it with tactical or analytic thinking. We know that Systems Thinking is not the exclusive solution to strategy and solving problems, we know that it is inclusive of other types of thinking because it is holistic in its process.

If you would like to further explore the topics of ttrategic thinking, strategic management and managing change, please contact me at eric[at]dennergroup.com.

Using consumer trends to stimulate innovation

By Jeri Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International   April 2014

Takeaways: innovation comes from many sources. Analyzing consumer trends and even trends in other industries can stimulate new ideas and hone creative thinking skills.

Innovative thinking comes from many sources – following trends and using some creative questioning to analyze them is one way to hone creative thinking skills and create new innovations.

Trendwatching.com has developed an interesting Trend Canvas to help you focus your thinking around a specific consumer trend and develop a potential innovation for your business. They even provide an example of how to take a trend, such as Pretail, and work your way around the Trend Canvas to develop some innovative ideas.

In a two-step process, you first Analyze a specific trend and then you Apply the potential by answering a few questions:

Analyze:
1. Which deep basic consumer needs & desires does this trend address?
2. Why is this trend emerging now? What’s changing in the world around you?
3. What new consumer needs, wants and expectations are created by the changes identified above?
4. How are other businesses applying this trend?

Apply:
1. How and where might you apply this trend to your business?
2. Which (new) customer groups could you apply this trend to? What would you have to change?

This process results in New Innovations that you can further develop, assign some metrics and costs to, and begin to implement. Try it in your business to see what new ideas you discover.  Then let us know how this works for you!

Mindfulness – a way to conquer fear and self-doubt

By Jeri Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International   March 19, 2014

Takeaways: Mindfulness is a method for being aware of the constant chatter in your brain so you can begin to turn off the negative thinking and substitute more positive thoughts.

An excellent article in the Wall Street Journal called Conquering Fear that discusses three types of cognitive-behavioral therapy, including a relatively new movement among psychologists and psychiatrists called “mindfulness.”

In the article, Steven C. Hayes, professor of psychology at the University of Nevada-Reno, captures the problem succinctly: “Most people are struggling with difficult thoughts and feelings. But the show we put on for others says ‘I’ve got it handled.’ In reality, however, there’s a big difference between what’s on the outside and what’s on the inside.”

Left unresolved, this gap between self-image and reality can be self-reinforcing, meaning it can widen over time. Then, crises like death in the family, divorce, or job loss can act like triggers that lead to severe anxiety, panic, or depression.

Mindfulness, with which I actually have personal experience, emphasizes paying attention to the present moment and becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings without judging them. By facing your fears and self-doubt in this manner, you can see how overblown they are with respect to reality and, over time, they lose their emotional power.

Mindfulness requires commitment, time, and most of all, isolation from all the distractions that keep us from getting even a little beneath the surface of our conscious minds. We have to focus on our thoughts to be aware of what is going on inside our heads at any given time. And be patient with ourselves when we continue to think negative thoughts instead of positive ones. Just being aware of the negative thought is a step toward getting rid of it permanently, and makes it possible to change that thought by focusing on a more positive version.

For example, instead of chastising yourself for not working out every day, give yourself credit for the little bit of exercise you do during the day…even if it’s just 15 minutes of stretching or a short walk. Then focus on the benefits that come from working out more often until you find yourself incorporating more exercise into your daily routine. In the process, you’ll reduce the amount of critical chatter in your head and begin applauding yourself for the positive accomplishments.

According to Marsha Linehan, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, “What happens in mindfulness over the long haul is that you finally accept that you’ve seen this soap opera before and you can turn off the TV.”

Google Glass is the New Fashion Trend

Jeri Denniston, Denner Group International  January 29, 2014

Takeaways: Google Glass eyeglass frames trending towards fashion statement, making wearing glasses a popular trend for personal expression. Wearable connectivity is the future.

Google’s latest innovation, Google Glass, may have unintended consequences. I foresee mainstream people adopting glasses as a fashion statement and for personal expression, not for need.

How Isabelle Olsson made Google Glass Beautiful

Isabelle Olsson shows off one of the designs

Isabelle Olsson’s latest designs released earlier in January have changed the look of Google Glass to timeless, fashionable frames. No longer will Google Glass adopters look like something out of a science fiction movie. Now with the purchase of the Google frames for $225, you can look powerful or hip or trendy, depending on your mood.

According to the article in Fast Company by Rebecca Greenfield, Olsson’s team of designers intend to have them available for any optometrist or frame reseller to easily fit as they would any other lenses. Google Glass frames can be fitted for prescription lenses, making them usable for anyone.

We should all invest in eyeglass frame manufacturing and Google Glass stock. With this trend towards wearable internet products, society is moving towards 24/7 connectivity everywhere. This is not a fad that will go the way of the Pet Rock. It’s a trend of the future.

Watch this video to see how you might make your own fashion statement.

WD-40 Tribal Culture Creates Lasting Change

By Jeri Denniston, Denner Group International   January 28, 2014

Takeaways: How WD-40 created a tribal culture that focuses on SMART goals, living the company values, and sharing knowledge and expertise.

Book Review
Helping People Win at Work
by GaRry Ridge and Ken Blanchard,
2009 Polvera Publishing and Garry Ridge

Buy-Helping People Win at WorkThis book is a partnership between Blanchard and Ridge about leadership and management. It looks at business as a partnership between managers and staff to ensure everyone in the organization is doing their best to strive, learn, and be the best they can, all while living and acting the company’s core values. How a company gets there is the story Ridge tells of the processes he implemented at WD-40 around the philosophy of “Don’t Mark My Paper; Help Me Get an A”. The book is divided into four parts.

In Part One, Ridge describes the fundamentals of the performance review system he implemented at WD-40, which is organized around Planning and Execution and Review and Learning. Planning involves setting SMART goals and executing them according to company values. SMART stands for Specific, Motivational, Attainable, Relevant, and Trackable.

In Part Two, Ridge describes the culture changes that had to occur before the performance review system could be revamped. A big part of that was to ask his people to view themselves as members of a Tribe rather than a Team. Tribal members share their knowledge and folklore with younger, newer members. That’s an important value at WD-40.

In Part Three, Ridge shares his viewpoints on leadership and motivating people and how those developed. In this area he describes his expectations of others and what they can expect of him. Servant leadership is a big part of his personal value system.

In Part Four, Blanchard shares the 12 “Simple Truths” he and his colleagues have learned over the years that are crucial to helping people succeed at their work. These include day-to-day coaching, reprimanding with candor, building trust, and accentuating the positive rather than the negative in both coaching and performance reviews.

The book is filled with great nuggets of wisdom and includes samples of the WD-40 Goal Review Form and how it is used. The company’s success is a testament to how well this system works. Headquartered in San Diego, they employ just under 400 people, market their products in 188 countries, and recorded sales of $368.5 million in fiscal year 2013. WD-40 projects to generate $383 million to $398 million for fiscal year 2014. Learn more about their values and culture here.
Buy the book.