Sunday, April 26, 2009
Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence FriendsAdd Value to Your Work Life,
I'll forever be grateful to whoever steered me in this direction--for I soon found that work was much more fulfilling and fruitful when I cared for those with whom I worked.
According to Tim Sanders, author of Love is the Kller App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends, that makes me a "lovecat." And you can be one too.
That's the thrust of this delightful little book by Sanders, Chief Solutions officer at Yahoo!. Pointing to the great social changes of our time, Sanders sees love as the killer way to add value to our business and personal lives.
Happily for his readers, Sanders sees "business love" in clear, behaviorial terms. No fuzzy-wuzzy, feel-good exhortations here. Sanders gets right down to business: Bizlove, he says, is "the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles with your bizpartners."
And what are those intangibles? I'm glad you asked, my friend:
Our KNOWLEDGE, everything we've learned and everything we continue to learn. Sanders says we learn most from books--and he advocates reading as many as possible. (Amazon must love him!) But it's not just reading. We're encouraged to mark up our books in ways that help us grab their "Big Thoughts" so we can add value to our work and that of others. To Sanders, information is meant to be shared with as many people as possible.
Our NETWORK, our incredible web of relationships, biz and personal. It's not just what we know that adds value to our lives and the lives of others, it's who we know. And, like information, relationships bring value to everyone when they are shared. Sanders boldly advocates being something like a flesh-and-blood "home page" with links to all kinds of value-adding relationships.
Our COMPASSION, the ability to reach out to others with warmth and regard--to go beyond the safety of biz-as-usual interactions.
By sharing these three things with our bizpartners, says Sanders we not only add value to the lives of others but to our own.
What's best about Love is the Killer App? First, it's Sanders' unabashed enthusiasm and energy. His excitement at learning how love can transform biz life is infectious and genuine. The text bubbles with his desire for us to experience its power for ourselves. I found it endearing and sincere when taken in small doses. This is not a book to rush through! It's exercise more for the heart than the head.
Second, Sanders is eminently practical throughout the book. He doesn't leave us with "teddy bear" admonitions to love. Nope--his focus is on application. Here's HOW you share your knowledge, here's HOW you build and share your network, here's HOW you show compassion to others. You'll find yourself nodding in agreement every time--"Yep, I can do that." Or something like that, for Sanders readily admits that, say, the way he "cliffs-and-tags" books may not work for everyone.
In the interest of full-disclosure, I must admit that I was primed for this book because of my own experience and perspective. And Sanders and I have conversed by e-mail a few times. (The guy practices what he preaches!) So this may not be the most objective review you'll find!
If you're interested in more on the subject of love in the bizworld, I can suggest these outstanding books, all available here at Amazon: Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness by Robert Greenleaf (a classic), Leadership Is an Art, movingly written by the legendary Max Depree of Herman Miller and Love and Profit: The Art of Caring Leadership by James Autry.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Saving the World at Work: What Companies and Individuals Can Do to Go Beyond Making a Profit to Making a Difference
"I want to recruit you, and train you, for the Responsibility Revolution. I want to help you feel good about your company and grow more good within it. I want to help you feel more fulfilled by your job, by helping your company to see the value of giving back to the larger world."
Saving the World at Work: What Companies and Individuals Can Do to Go Beyond Making a Profit to Making a Difference (Hardcover)by Tim Sanders (Author)
Why did Tim Sanders write this book? He answers that question in the first chapter: "I want to recruit you, and train you, for the Responsibility Revolution. I want to help you feel good about your company and grow more good within it. I want to help you feel more fulfilled by your job, by helping your company to see the value of giving back to the larger world." This declaration should come as no surprise to those who have read Sanders' previous books, Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends (2002) and then The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life's Dreams (2006). He really does believe that it is possible to link personal goals with business goals while adding value, do so without a great deal of funding, and thereby reduce a company's "social inefficiency." This book is best viewed as an operations manual for "infectious revolutionaries," one in which Sanders explains how to use various "business social" and assessment skills.
Sanders' use of the words "revolution" and "revolutionary" are not hyperbolic. He wants to help achieve what Clayton Christensen characterizes as "movements punctuated with disruptive innovations that either create new markets or reshape existing markets." These movements will change, radically, how companies do business. That is certainly true of Aveda, IBM, Interface, Lush, Medtronic, Patagonia, SAS Institute, Timberland, and Whole Foods. These disruptive movements occur in five phases and Sanders devotes a separate chapter to each: First, a major change of circumstances that dramatically impacts how we think about the business landscape, creating in Phase Two a new set of values prior to the arrival of the innovators in Phase Three; then, "as the new values reach a tipping point of mass popularity, the fourth, and most extreme, phase of a business revolution occurs: disruption."
In Leading the Revolution, Gary Hamel describes it this way: "First, the revolutionaries will take your markets and your customers. Next they'll take your best employees. Finally, they'll take your assets. The barbarians are no longer banging on the gates, they are eating off your best china."
During the final phase, what Sanders calls The New Order, companies develop proficiency in service to new markets, innovators become more sophisticated, and customers become more demanding. "Eventually, surviving companies will satisfy the new market needs and the competition will then turn to who does it best." The process of natural selection continues as new "infectious revolutionaries" appear, disrupting the terms of engagement in what continues to be a Responsibility Revolution.
Of special interest to me is what Sanders has to say about what he calls the "saver soldier," a highly motivated individual who leverages work as a platform to help save the world. She or he is convinced that a business can do well by doing good. Sanders examines various saver soldiers, three of whom (e.g. IBM's Jeff Immelt, Patagonia's Yvon Choinard, and Aveda's Horst Rechelbacher) "have stated that they don't expect to achieve their vision single-handedly; they need foot soldiers to scout, innovate, and execute new ideas." Sanders identifies and examines "The Six Laws of the Saver Soldier" in Chapter 8 that, together, offer an appropriate belief system for newly enlisted "troops." For example, The Law of Abundance (#3) essentially asserts that there is always enough to go around. That is, "doing good" and "doing well" are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, Sanders insists, they are inter-dependent. It would be very difficult (if not impossible) to have one without the other. Companies that are actively engaged in the Responsibility Revolution will probably attract the "best and brightest" people and then retain them. What these companies offer will have greater appeal to customers. Most important of all, these companies will make a difference to their society, indeed to their planet, while gaining and then sustaining "an unshakable edge" over their "laggard competitors." Tim Sanders asks, "If not now, when? If not you, who?"
Meanwhile, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock...
The business of happiness
Fabio Dal Grande is one of the most creative, genial and positive-minded people you could meet, and he has put these qualities to work to make a career.
You can hear the note of passion when Fabio Dal Grande says, “I like to see people happy!”
That, he told me, is the main reason why, after spending four years in the weddings business in Japan, he and his two Japanese partners: a soprano singer and a pianist, decided to go into business for themselves. About a year ago they created the production company called Ascente.
“It’s a really good feeling when we produce a wedding and I can see the faces of the people,” Fabio explains, “I love this job because I work with people. I am making people happy.”
Originally from Italy, Fabio says that he incorporates Italian traditions into Ascente’s wedding productions.
“Music,” he notes with a hint of pride, “was born in Italy!”
In saying that, he reveals another side of his character that finds expression in the newly founded business. Ascente produces musical events. It acts as an agent for about 30 classical musicians and ten bands, providing clients like hotels and restaurants with appropriate music for events they hold. In addition, Ascente produces promotional videos for musical artists. Just last month the company embarked upon its biggest project in the music world so far.
“Sakamoto Kazuya is our main customer. We manage his career,” Fabio gestures with a hand to emphasize his point, “He is our pearl!”
Sakamoto is a violinist who, Fabio tells me, plays a unique, fusion style of music. Ascente has launched a project to promote his work that will include a combination CD and DVD release and a concert tour of Japan.
This diversified venture that Fabio is helping to build is currently based in Wakayama, but it is doing well enough that there are plans to open an office in Osaka next year. And his passions do not end there.
“I became interested in photography then I was eight or nine years old,” he said, “A substitute teacher came to our school and started teaching us with his camera.”
Years later, that interest lead him to a one year stay in England to study photography. That is where he met the Japanese woman who would become his wife. His photographs have appeared in books, magazines, and calendars in countries including Italy, Germany, and Japan. The Wakayama City government recently commissioned an exhibition of his photographic works.
“My pictures show the good in someone that I see from my point of view,” he says.
After his time in England, Fabio returned briefly to Italy, with his wife, and then, in 2001, they came to Japan. He claims he did nothing for the first months he was in the country, which is difficult to imagine looking at what he has accomplished with the rest of his time here. His first work in Japan was teaching Italian. Then he got into the business of weddings. Combining music productions with the bridal business, he says, is not only a way of expressing himself, but of giving something to a wider audience. “I’m in art to stay with the people,” he says, “They are the ones who buy the CDs and come to the concerts, so we want to give something to them.”
In that vein he provides services to the City of Wakayama such as a Santa Claus who walks the street accompanied by violin music, spreading holiday spirit at Christmastime, and an annual, free, classical music concert.
Fabio is a creative man who spends his time and energy turning dreams into reality. The most interesting question about him is not about what he has already been able to do. It is, rather: What will he do next?
Text: Alan Wiren. Photos: Courtesy Fabio Dal Grande
Thursday, April 23, 2009
DefinitionEMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT enriches everyone in the workplace. It is not sucking out more discretionary effort from employees.
Authentic employee engagement must function for the benefit of all: employees, leaders, organizations, and customers.
Employees have higher levels of satisfaction and contribution. Leaders are connected with employees and engaged themselves. The organization is functioning the way it should and customers are receiving the service they deserve.
Ultimately everyone is getting results that matter to them.
When this occurs, employee engagement transforms into a more powerful force --- workplace engagement.
Click the colorful button below to see a conference brochure.
1. Briefly how did you develop the idea of a WIFI model of employee engagement?
My own practical experience of helping organisations better engage with team members in order to deliver excellent customer service, led me to identify that well being, information, fairness and involvement are key to ensuring that employees give off their best. The research that we have conducted at The Stairway Consultancy has shown that these are the key ingredients to engagement, although the degreee to which they are used and how they are applied may vary from company to company.
2. How do you see WELL-BEING fitting into employee engagement?
I define well being as the degree to which employees feel good about the organisation and how motivated they feel to give discretionary effort. This is a factor of how the company is perceived externally such as via efforts the business makes in relation to Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Branding as well as how employees are treated internally in relation to staff welfare such as the use of Family friendly policies, the promotion of equality and diversity, work-life balance, Job design and structure
3. What is the role of INFORMATION in engagement
People want to know where the organisation is going, what it needs to achieve and the part they play in this. Being informed in an appropriate and regular manner is a key element of engagement.
4. How can FAIRNESS be an important part of employee engagement?
Being treated in a fair and consistent manner encourages a climate of openness and respect. Importantly this aspect covers the treatment that individuals receive from their direct line manager as well as the leadership of the organisation. It also covers all aspects of the employee journey from how the individual is recruited and selected through to performance management, reward and recognition.
5. How do we foster INVOLVEMENT in engagement?
Managers can create a sense of ownership in their team members by involving them in decisions affecting their jobs using such methods as empowerment , coaching and providing access to senior management.
Saturday, April 11, 2009