Lundi 1 Septembre 2014
This is a big topic for organizations and this is definitely one of my areas of expertise. Each time I got brought into an organization; it was because it needed to change drastically. Transitions and transformations are very special. When you do this, you can really acknowledge that it is a specialty and not everybody is suited to manage change in organizations.
What does it take from an individual to manage change?
1. Determination: you should be driven your goal. You will have lots of hindrances, lots of frustrations and resistance. You will evolve into a very unstable environment with lots of uncertainties and lots of emotions. You need to carry the vision all along the way for you and for your team. You need to be strong as a rock because around you a lot of people will crumble, will give up and will resist.
2. Positive: during change, the vast majority of the emotions will be negative. Besides the people who are directly involved with the project that is driving the change, everybody outside of the inner circle will carry bad energy. A lot of people will not believe you can make it, others will wish you to fail, others will be supportive and others will just be spectators but not really willing to take the risks associated. You will need to know when to listen and when to get your turtle head on. The buzz around you can destruct you and lead you to make the wrong choices.
3. Risk taker: you must like to take some risk. You know how to balance risks and results. You should know when to push, what to give, what not to give. It is a constant balance on what and when, until you get to your point. A lot of people do not manage to do it because they want to get it all without giving up anything and this is just not possible. You need to be OK with non perfection. You need to understand what it means. It does not mean you have lower standards. It means you know that in order to achieve your highest standard, you will have to go through different phases; the first one being far from your perfection; but this is just one step, you can see beyond.
4. Fast: you need to move and know how to make decisions. A lot of failures are due to people who are not making hard choices. It is about not losing the momentum and moving one step at the time. People will not always like the choices and will certainly tend to emphasize the negative but you need to be OK with this. Think that without those choices, the organization would not be where it is at this time. I have seen lots of organizations willing the change but never making it because they were not moving and not ready to make the decisions and be OK with the risks associated.
5. Expertise: you need to know what you are talking about in many areas as people need to be able to trust you. You do not follow a leader who drives change who does not know what he is talking about, who has not done it before and who does not convey confidence. I had been sometimes accused of being too positive. I believe it is because I know what I am doing and because I have gone through this already. As we say fear comes from unknown. When you know it, you are not as much afraid. You know your way through it and you just apply your technique one step at the time.
What does it mean to an organization to go through a transformation?
1. Trust: trust the leaders who are designated to make it happen because they know what they are doing as they have done this before. Support them and provide them the tools to be successful. The leaders need to be unified. Anytime there was not a unity on the subject, there has been failure. Put the right person in charge as otherwise you will just not reach the goal you have.
2. Start: you need to start with something and be OK with the results. You need to know that it will not be perfect right away and will come with a price. You need to be ready to pay the price that will be associated.
3. Forget the past: you need to be ready to say goodbye to your past. The leader will know what to carry from the past but lots of processes, technologies, skill sets, and structure will change with the new organization. You cannot just sit on what worked for you in the past and believe that it will be possible to stay with it forever.
4. Be patient: do not judge too fast. Take the time to measure the benefits and do not believe that all the issues are coming from the change project. The issues arising might come from an old process that did not get change to accommodate the change. You have to attack the issues from all areas and not judge prematurely.
What are the main obstacles you will face in front of change? People! This is the main obstacle. You will spend a lot of your time just managing people and their emotions. The people will go though many steps and you will have to help them go through. It is emotionally challenging for them but you have to let them express themselves during this time. No matter how open you are and listen, they will always have criticism and easily forget where they are coming from. You will have to manage your team, the team of your partners (because you cannot succeed by yourself) and the management as everybody will be going through the same emotions, doubts and frustrations during the period. No matter which organization I had been brought in to manage change, there were challenges. The challenges were all in the same area, to different degrees, but always similar. Change is first about people management and then about process. There is before, during and after. You need to prepare the field and the people, you have to make them run and then you have to get them comfortable with what just happened and understand clearly that this is just the beginning and not the end. They fist not believe in it, then they will see that ‘’Oh my god, this is actually happening’’ so they will start to panic and then it will be there and they will have to adjust.
Vendredi 29 Août 2014
There is the mid-year review, the end-year review but in my team this is more an HR process. Giving feedback should not be only once or twice a year, it should be constantly. Your weekly one on one should be the opportunity to give feedback and to receive feedback. If the person is doing great, it is going to build her self confidence and make her feel good on a sustaining basis. If the person does less good, she will be able to readjust faster and also she will be able to not get this big dump at once. The lack of performance will be a temporary situation, understood and on which manager and employee work on together.
I have seen lots of bad ways managers are giving feedback:
I remember one of my best managers who told me that one of his best managers taught him that we should always focus on what people are good at. It is easier to improve what you are good at than what you are not good at.
I apply the following rules with my people:
In many organizations, the time of the reviews is always a bigger deal than it should be just because employees are afraid (because not prepared) or managers do not know how to do it best. It should not be a surprise for anybody. If you are doing the things right, it should just be a summary of what they already know and everybody should go through this process very peacefully.
Jeudi 28 Août 2014
This is an article written by Jeff Haden. I am putting this article as such, as this is the kind of article I could have been writing myself and which is just so much aligned with my believes.
I remember all of my bosses. Some were bad. Most were good. But only one was, in the best possible way, truly memorable.
Unforgettable bosses possess qualities that may not show up on paper but always show up where it matters most -- in the minds and even hearts of the people they lead.
Here are some of the qualities of truly unforgettable bosses:
1. They believe the unbelievable.
Most people try to achieve the achievable; that’s why most goals and targets are incremental rather than inconceivable.
Memorable bosses expect more -- from themselves and from others. Then they show you how to get there. And they bring you along for what turns out to be an unbelievable ride.
2. They see opportunity in instability and uncertainty.
Unexpected problems, unforeseen roadblocks, major crises... most bosses take down the sails, batten the hatches, and hope to wait out the storm. A few see a crisis as an opportunity. They know it’s extremely difficult to make major changes, even necessary ones, when things are going relatively smoothly. They know reorganizing an entire sales team is accepted more easily when a major customer goes under. They know creating new sales channels is a lot easier when a major competitor enters the market. They know reorganizing manufacturing operations is a lot easier when the flow of supplies and components gets disrupted.
Memorable bosses see instability and uncertainty not as a barrier but as an enabler. They reorganize, reshape, and re-engineer to reassure, motivate, and inspire -- and in the process make the organization much stronger.
3. They wear their emotions on their sleeves.
Good bosses are professional. Memorable bosses are highly professional and yet also openly human. They show sincere excitement when things go well. They show sincere appreciation for hard work and extra effort. They show sincere disappointment -- not in others, but in themselves. They celebrate, they empathize, they worry. Sometimes they even get frustrated or angry. In short, they’re human. And, unlike many bosses, they act as if they know it. Professionalism is admirable. Professionalism -- with a healthy blend of humanity -- is inspiring.
4. They protect others from the bus.
Terrible bosses throw their employees under the bus. Good bosses never throw their employees under the bus. Memorable bosses see the bus coming and pull their employees out of the way often without the employee knowing until much, much later... if ever, because memorable bosses never try to take credit. And if they can't, they take the hit. (And later speak privately to the employee in question).
5. They’ve been there, done that... and still do that.
Dues aren't paid, past tense. Dues get paid each and every day. The true measure of value is the tangible contribution we make on a daily basis. That’s why no matter what they may have accomplished in the past, memorable bosses are never too good to roll up their sleeves, get dirty, and do the “grunt” work. No job is ever too menial, no task ever too unskilled or boring. Memorable bosses never feel entitled, which means no one feels entitled to anything but the fruits of their labor.
6. They lead by permission, not authority.
Every boss has a title. That title gives them the right to direct others, to make decisions, to organize and instruct and discipline.
Memorable bosses lead because their employees want them to lead. Their employees are motivated and inspired by the person, not the title. Through their words and actions they cause employees feel they work with, not for, a boss. Many bosses don’t even recognize there’s a difference... but memorable bosses do.
7. They embrace a larger purpose.
A good boss works to achieve company goals. A memorable boss also works to achieve company goals -- and achieves more than other bosses -- but also works to serve a larger purpose: to advance the careers of employees, to rescue struggling employees, to instill a sense of pride and self-worth in others. They aren’t just remembered for nuts and bolts achievements but for helping others on a personal and individual level. Memorable bosses embrace a larger purpose, because they know business is always personal.
8. They take real, not fake risks.
Many bosses, like many people, try to stand out in some superficial way. Maybe through their clothes, their interests, or a public display of support for a popular initiative. They do stand out but they stand out for reasons of sizzle, not steak. Memorable bosses stand out because they are willing to take an unpopular stand, take an unpopular step, accept the discomfort of ignoring the status quo, and risk sailing uncharted waters. They take real risks not for the sake of risk but for the sake of the reward they believe possible. And by their example they inspire others to take risks in order to achieve what they believe is possible.
In short, memorable bosses inspire others to achieve their dreams: by words, by actions, and most importantly, by example. Thank you Jeff Haden for this great article.
Dimanche 30 Mars 2014
Fad? We now can say it was not! What did this revolution bring to our life? How did we change? How different are we today?
Things got settled now and social has blended into our lives. There is no such thing as social anymore, there are just habits.
After the rail revolution, we just changed our way of traveling and it got integrated; we stopped talking about trains as something special.
As I was mentioning 10 years ago, social will blend into the list of functionalities websites will require. It was the case for Search functionalities years ago, it is definitely now the case for social functionalities. User generated content is just part of who we are. We are used to read reviews, articles created by users, look at people’s pictures, click on share buttons, login with our Facebook. We are just used to it, without asking more.
10 years ago we were talking about creators, curators and consumers. Where the vast majority of people were consumers, the trend has change. The number of creators has indeed increased but not to the largest extend. I believe that the number of curators is the segment that increased the most. While people used to be consumers, they are now consumers and curators. They curate all the time and they share. This segment has grown proportionally much more than the other segments.
Who are we? Human social…but now we are truly digital social. People are addicted, they cannot imagine living without social. They spent hours on Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat and Pinterest…and…
Would you imagine not having trains or planes today? I would not imagine not having social. My friends from there are just here with me. We read the same articles, we talk about our kids, we keep each other informed. I sometimes have more contacts with my friends online, who I have not seen with years, than others than can be closer. It is a revolution and it is how our interactions are now formed.
Homesickness and distance are not perceived the same way because, even when people are away, they are close. I can see my kid takes skype as soon as he wants to talk to his grand-parents. My family in informed on everything we do on Facebook, they see pictures of my kid growing and we have sometimes the feeling that they are not that far after all.
When I research about a school or about a program for my kid, I do not look for the corporate information; I look for what others have to say, I want to understand their experience. People are looking for others opinion more often. We can more about others and because others have tools to express themselves, it can reach more people.
Social has just become who we are. It changed our interactions, it changed our communication channels, it changed our habits, it changed our society. For 10 years, I am looking at what will be the next big thing that will fascinate me as much as social did when it started. I am not a kid of the age of the rail or the plain, I am not a kid of the age of the internet, I am a kid of the age of social. I was old enough to understand and to see it growing and changing who we are. Being the witness of a revolution is always a privilege. I am looking forward the next revolution...
Samedi 29 Mars 2014
Trivia apps are super trendy. Everybody loves trivia, everybody plays trivia. Buzzfeed is the king in Facebook. Everybody shares the last quiz of the day about what country you are , what city you are, what star you are, what old person would you be, …It is easy, it takes few seconds and it is fun. We share with our friends and we react to the results they get. Most of the time, it means absolutely nothing and has no reflection on your personality at all, but…it is fun.
My latest discovery is Quizup, which is much smarter, covers a lot of subjects and what I like the most is that you play against others. You have to beat them, the faster you answer, the more points you get. You can launch a challenge, you can keep playing the same person and you can play against your friends (note: for those who received an invite from me…no surprise). The subjects are varied. You can play countries of the world, web culture, mathematics, colors, logos, science, music…whatever you are interested in, you can find it there. This app is very addictive. If you like competition, you will like it. There is also this music when you play that reinforces the challenge atmosphere. You get a question with a text and image and you have 4 answers to pick from. Pick your answer, see how fast you are, how many points you score and win badges! 6 rounds only and a bonus round, which make each game super fast so that you do not have time to get bored; on the contrary...,you ask for more.
These quizzes are very popular on phones. People like competition but they do not want to get too much invested. They play easily for few seconds and get out with a nice feeling of learning something. Next to the long strategy games that requires time investment and a bigger screen; quizzes can be played on the go in couple of minutes; ideal when you wait for a bus, when you are at the doctor office or at a kid’s game. It is seamless and completely integrated into your life.
TV shows, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and, name it, started back in 1938 and are still part of people’s lives. Now that digital is everywhere, it is very normal that people are still addicted but simply play on different devices. Quizzes are the number one game being played.
Your turn to play now! Name the 3 tops quiz apps in number of users…
Jeudi 20 Mars 2014
Last year, 2 big IPO were to watch and participate LinkedIn, and Facebook, where you would have made +100% of your investment.
This year, there are few IPO I am watching in the US that are certainly going to be great deals and shake the Internet market:
Note: Foursquare is still in the air and not ready for 2014, but things might change.
Mercredi 19 Mars 2014
We know how sensitive personal data subject is lately. It has been a hot topic at SXSW, where Snowden appeared to be the hero of a new era. How much do we want to be public? How much data are going to change our relationships?
I discovered the Life360 app that enables you to know where your family and friends are at any time. I can track when my husband leaves the house, when he returns, when my kid is done with his basketball practice and spy any of their movements. Of course, said like this, it might appear scary as there is no longer an ounce of privacy for anybody. Private investigators are out of job as I can now do the job myself. How much does my husband want me to know each of his movements…I can say he does not.
Now, let’s look at the other angle of the question, which is certainly why such applications have great success. In our crazy world, where schedules are tight, where nobody has any time, not even to give a phone call when we are late because we are tight in a meeting, the app can help. It can also help increase security with children and see when they leave school, when their bus took them, and when they arrived. It also tells us if they are leaving the house in your absence or if they are going to places where they are not authorized. As people are more and more scared and where security is less and less a given, this can help.
I am sure, some people might do a funny face when they look at these apps; the same way they did a funny face when Facebook launched. ‘’What is the point of telling the world about what you are doing…can we keep our privacy?’’ Now they might say ‘’What is the point of knowing everything about your family?’’…things will change. People safety and safety of data in the digital world are very important topics that people have not finished to debate.
Mardi 18 Mars 2014
There is NO failure, there are only lessons! I personally never use such term with my teams. I never talk about failure while I talk about success. I tend to focus on the positive and always show them the right side of the story. We learn, we need to keep learning and not being successful all the time is part of this learning. If you try something new, you might miss the first time, you will learn and them you will succeed. When giving feedback and coaching people, I want them to focus on what makes them strong. It is easier to develop and expand their positive sides than fixing their weaknesses. I take what people are good at and help them be aware of the other side in a way that it will not occult their good side. Nobody can be perfect and nobody can fail constantly. If this is the case, it means, that they are not learning and if they are not learning it is because they are not interested or because their ego is too big.
Failure is just part of the game. You play, you win, you play you lose. If you never try to get outside of your comfort zone, you will never lose but you will also never win. I have much more respect for people who tried and failed rather than those who never tried and can never report a failure. I was reading that some companies are looking for talents who failed many times. The reasons:
I am not afraid of failure even if I do not like it. I will not trigger it but I will not prevent myself from trying something big because I risk to fail. I am not afraid by risk, this is where the fun is coming. No risk, no challenge and therefore no reward. I am disappointed by our society that sometimes does not give a good credit to failure. When hiring, I have seen some companies having rules where they do not hire somebody who failed or somebody who got fired. I disagree as you might have failed in one context, have learned from it and bring a wealth of success to your next company. I have had people like this and they have been some of the best in my organizations. We need to look beyond, we need to look differently, we need to open our minds, we need to challenge, we need to push the limits, we need to put people on the edge and see how they react, we need to lead people by giving them the confidence that they can try and that it is OK to take the risk. You will see at the end your people grow and become some of the best, if they do not freeze.
People are afraid of what they do not know. People are afraid because they look at the big picture instead of taking one step at the time and making progress every day. If you look at the mountain you have to climb, then you might get demotivated but if you look at your feet and make all it takes to move them one at the time, then you will make it to the top. Failure is just a concept and has in reality no real mean. Also failure is subjective as it can mean different things to people, depending on people’s values, criteria and how high they put the bar. In my world there is no such thing as failure, there are only lessons.
Lundi 17 Mars 2014
When we talk about eCommerce, we sometimes do not realize how many functions it covers at the same time. As I wrote prior, eCommerce is an expertise and requires a lot of skills in many different areas from the executive who is leading the charge.
Dimanche 16 Mars 2014
I remember being on a conference with lots of retailers and they were saying that personalization was very profitable in general. Personalization is when you can put your name on the T-shirt, the initials on the embroidered on the towel, the logo of the school on the sweater, a personal message on the box of a pen…
Customers want to differentiate; they do not want the same as everybody. They are versatile and want to come up with personal things all the time that will put them in a position of influencer in the community. They love novelty and they love when people say ‘’this is great, I love your shoes…’’, they captured attention and shined for a small instant that made them so special.
I discovered this extreme of personalization for shoes. Onesole enables you to pick your sole (among a large selection) and then to pick the tops (among an even larger selection), making the shoes different every day and adjustable to any mood or to any outfit. The principle is really innovative and same as you were able to change the frames of your glasses, now you can change the top of your shoes.
However, in order to get this innovation, you will have to pay a cozy price as the combination of one sole and one top will make the price of the shoe at +$100. Such shoes, not interchangeable, can be bought for far less. Well, being fashion has a price and this is the one it costs to get these interchangeable shoes.
Samedi 15 Mars 2014
Customers are not loyal to brands; employees are not loyal to companies, companies are not loyal to employees…why is there no longer loyalty?
Loyalty implies multiple principles in order to exist:
Vendredi 7 Mars 2014
As I was watching House of Cards, Kevin Spacey said about a person that she was more interested in Money than Power. Very interesting to me and it made me think further. Let’s look at people who got successful in business. Once they reach a certain level, what they are looking for is to increase their power and this is why they invest in newspapers, they start to lobby or they work or support a certain government/candidate. Why? Is money just not enough?
If we are looking at human roots, we are animals who need to apply our power on others. There are always been leaders and followers. There are always been a need for the people to follow somebody. Power is part of our genes, while money is not. Look at kids! Some are dominants and others subordinates. Power comes first! In Social Media, we are talking about influencers. Influencers set the tone, show the way, embrace new technologies and have some power via their knowledge. People do not become CEOs because of money, they become CEO because it is a way for them to change the world. Their power, defined by their position, will allow them to achieve goals and make the changes they want.
Very often money and power go together and some would argue that money is power. Certainly to some extend. However, ask to the vast majority of people and after a certain level of wealth, they will say they are looking for power. Once their primary needs are fulfilled (in reference to the Maslow's hierarchy of needs, then power is on the list.
Dimanche 23 Février 2014
As always when some situations in the society become more radical, the opposite will arise to provide some balance. In our society, where everything is baked, processed, refined, to the point where we do not even know what it is made of, the opposite, is a complete return to mother earth food.
You might have seen the documentary Super Size Me showing how processed food, offered at some famous restaurant, can be toxic to our body. I suggest you also watch this horrifying movie about animal food, to never eat meat any more.
As opposed to this trend where junk food has become the norm in our plates, there are more and more vegetarians and vegan people. Their manta, let’s eat what mother earth gives us in its natural way. Of course, some may object the fact that even vegetables today are not as good as they are grown with chemical products and are waiting long in the chain before getting to our bellies. However, the revolution is here and some are making big time of this.
Whole Foods is king in the market of organic and is a go to place for all of us being interested in the quality of what we are eating. Some new comers in the market, still find their place like Mrs Greens that is in the same spirit, with some product differences. As this trend might have been minor few years ago and more spread within the running community, it has now extended much further. There are more and more people around me who are vegetarian and vegan that anytime. People are tired about what we consume and are looking for a better life. Kids can find courses about the Ecosystem on Khan Academy and are interested in what happens to our Earth.
As we have the wave to go to more and more process food, we also have the one that opposed to it by going even more and more to raw food. People want to grow their own produce; they want to eat organic products because they do not trust anymore the industry. I read that by 2025, the number of cancers is going to double and one of the 2 causes is food. When you read this, it makes you think…
Samedi 4 Janvier 2014
Alors que je regardais le comportement des candidats de The Next Great Baker l’autre jour, je me suis rendue compte qu’il ne s’agissait de rien de plus que la version moderne des Arènes de Rome. Les gladiateurs se battent et le publique décide de leur vie ou de leur mort en fonction de leur prestation.
En matière d’anthropologie, c’est édifiant, on n’a rien inventé de nouveau. L’humain reproduit les mêmes comportements encore et encore. Des centaines d’années à part, dans un autre contexte, avec des outils plus modernes mais en essence toujours dans le même esprit. Comme je mentionnais il y a quelques temps que les réseaux sociaux n’étaient rien de différents que la reproduction des communautés physiques, les programmes de reality show ne sont rien d’autre que les jeux de la Rome antique.
Il s’agit de mise a mort. Le peuple vote pour qui vit et qui meurt chaque semaine. Parfois le peuple est clément, parfois il est sans pitié. Les participants sont sans morale, ils trahissent, font des alliances, parlent dans le dos des uns et des autres et jettent leurs adversaires aux lions à la première occasion.
Le peuple ne se tarit pas de regarder ces émissions : pour la cuisine, pour la pâtisserie, pour la chanson,…différents contextes mais mêmes attitudes.
Que faisons-nous de mieux ces derniers temps ? Les jeux avaient été inventés pour divertir le peuple et lui faire oublier qu’il mourrait de faim. Et maintenant ? Face à des conflits politiques, des difficultés économiques et un avenir pas toujours clair, le peuple a aussi besoin de ce divertissement : La télé réalité. C’est l’exutoire psychologique de l’homme moderne. Il passe ses frustrations au travers de la télé réalité. Le film The Hunger Games est la représentation à l’extrême de ce que la télé réalité peut devenir. Elle galvanise les peuples et est un moyen de pouvoir et de contrôle des individus dirigeants. La Rome antique…n’est pas si loin en fin de compte.
Vendredi 23 Août 2013
Vendredi 23 Août 2013
Mercredi 3 Juillet 2013
Jeudi 13 Juin 2013
Vendredi 10 Mai 2013
When you have a researcher background you cannot be happy only watching or hearing about stuff, you want to experiment by yourself and drive your own conclusions. I had been following the program on TV showing these extreme couponers, impressive! Yes but in reality what does that mean? For 2 months I did the experience. I gathered all coupons I received in my mail box, I bought the Sunday newspapers (per 2 or 3), I signed up to coupons.com to print the coupons, I went on some brand websites to retrieve their coupons. I looked at the store circulars and matched the store offer with the coupons very carefully. I prepared my list in advance marking the original price, the sale price and the coupons reductions.
I bought couple of times combining both coupons and store offers and yes you can do some significant savings. I did some 57% savings and even once got to the store and paid nothing. Like in the program, I could get stuff for free too.
Now, let’s tell the story from behind the scene:
It does work, it is exciting but it is also limited and I do not believe a family can live with this only (unless they have access to coupons that did not come into my radar) as we are not eating toothpaste and shampoo. This was a great fun experience. My kid also loved participating. I keep looking at the coupons as there might always be some opportunity for some products I might be more interested in.
Also I did discover this extraordinary behavior that coupons are for sale! On eBay you can buy/sell all sorts of coupons. This was the most impressive part for me that free coupons can be traded and that there are buyers for these. The customer is ready to pay to make savings and this is a very interesting marketing concept.
It also made me understand that Mr and Mrs America are not about high end brands but about price first. In the case of the extreme couponers, they have no loyalty to the brand, they go for the product that offers the best price. They want the price mainly. If they can get the brand for a very cheap price, they want it and this is one of the component of eBay’ success. Most of the very successful items are branded items at extremely discounted price. All the private sales sites, Fab, LivingSocial do work well because they do give the perception to customers that they offer better prices than retail prices and that for this price they will get high end brands. People feel happy because they saved money even if the product is old, used and more expensive than another product at the end of the day. The brand perception brings the trust, the price brings the trigger and rules the world and this is the new consumption behavior.
Un livre, Un jour
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