Rob Sowby

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Many Strategies Fail Because They’re Not Actually Strategies

Many strategy execution processes fail because the firm does not have something worth executing.<p>The strategy consultants come in, do their work, and document the new strategy in a PowerPoint presentation and a weighty report. Town hall meetings are organized, employees are told to change their …

Management

Get Immediate Value from Your New Hire

There are many theories on how to correctly “onboard” someone to an organization or a team. Most focus on how to provide the new hire with the information and skills she needs to succeed. But that can only take her so far. She will need connections and an understanding of the inner workings and …

5 Revealing Questions That Job Seekers Should Ask Their Interviewers | Inc.com

<i>What questions should a job candidate ask the interviewer? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.</i><p><b>Answer by Raad Ahmed, CEO & Founder of LawTrades.com, on Quora:</b><p>There are obvious benefits related …

Employment
Employment
United Airlines

Great Teams Are About Personalities, Not Just Skills

At the start of 2016 Google announced that it had discovered the secret ingredients for the perfect team. After years of analyzing interviews and data from more than 100 teams, it found that the drivers of effective team performance are the group’s average level of emotional intelligence and a high …

Management

5 Mistakes Employees Make When Challenging the Status Quo

It’s time for companies to embrace their rebel talent as a way to foster innovation, employee engagement, and change from within.<p>But what happens when a brave employee decides to challenge organizational conformity and offer new ideas that she sincerely believes would improve operations, before the …

Leadership

How to Write Email with Military Precision

In the military, a poorly formatted email may be the difference between mission accomplished and mission failure. During my active duty service, I learned how to structure emails to maximize a mission’s chances for success. Since returning from duty, I have applied these lessons to emails that I …

Military

How to Give Negative Feedback Over Email

When it comes to delicate interactions — say, giving and receiving feedback — email seems to act like some strange form of kryptonite. How many times have you received a poorly worded critique that sent you into a fit of anger? Or sent someone else some mild feedback only to have the receiver …

Framing

The Explainer: Core Competence

Harvard

We Need a Better Way to Visualize People’s Skills

By 2020, the US economy is expected to create 55 million job openings: 24 million of these will be entirely new positions. And 48 percent of the new jobs, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, will emphasize a mix of hard and soft intellectual skills, like active …

Employment

A Guide to Cold Emailing

Cold emailing is harder than most communication for two reasons. You have no relationship with your audience yet, and you lack non-verbal feedback, so you can’t modify your approach in real time. As a result, most cold emails fail.<p>But they <i>can</i> work well. People have built careers and launched …

Entrepreneurship

Overcome Resistance to Change by Enlisting the Right People

Change initiatives fail when senior leaders don’t see that their organizations are social systems. Organizations are defined by bundles of local relationships, social expectations, and unwritten rules that exist between thousands of people. These people create tribes — collections of like-minded …

Management

The One Unbreakable Rule in Business Writing

In business writing, there’s one rule you just can’t break: It has to be about the reader, not about you.<p>Most people understand this already, at least intellectually. They’re sophisticated buyers of products and services, and they use a similar lens to decide whether to read something: They …

Writing

Bad Writing Is Destroying Your Company’s Productivity

A hidden source of friction is slowing your company down. Your workers are complicit in it. So is your management. And it’s driving everybody nuts.<p>It’s bad business writing.<p>I surveyed 547 businesspeople in the first three months of this year. I looked specifically at people who write at least two …

Management

To Reduce Complexity in Your Company, Start with Pen and Paper

Companies that grow face a predictable problem: over time, the business becomes way too complex for its own good. I see this a lot in companies that have moved heavily into what I call the “exploitation” phase of a competitive advantage, or the phase that comes after the initial launch and …

Management

A Refresher on Marketing Myopia

Every year, a large majority of product launches fail. There’s debate about exactly what percentage—some say it is 75%, others claim it’s closer to 95%. Regardless of which number is right, there is no doubt that a lot of time and energy go into marketing products that will no longer exist in a …

Marketing

Emotional Agility

Sixteen thousand—that’s how many words we speak, on average, each day. So imagine how many unspoken ones course through our minds. Most of them are not facts but evaluations and judgments entwined with emotions—some positive and helpful (<i>I’ve worked hard and I can ace this presentation; This issue</i> …

What Great Office Design Actually Looks Like

Harvard

How to Fake It When You’re Not Feeling Confident

Sometimes you feel like you’re in over your head. Perhaps you got a big promotion or are leading a new, high-profile initiative but you worry that you don’t have the right skills or experience to succeed. Are there strategies you can use to jolt your confidence? How do you “fake it ‘til you make …

Leadership

How to Make Feedback Feel Normal

I’ve spent much of my career teaching people how to have “crucial conversations.” In the work place, most crucial conversations are about feedback – the process of helping others improve by pointing out deficiencies in their behavior or work. I’ve realized lately that a lot of my work could have …

Employment

If You’re Not Helping Employees Learn, You’re Not Doing Your Job

When Frederick Taylor published his pioneering principles of scientific management in 1912, the repetitive and mundane nature of most jobs required employees to think as little as possible. Breaking down each task into basic components and standardizing workers’ behaviors to eliminate choice and …

Employment

7 Things to Say When a Conversation Turns Negative

Every person is at least 75% responsible for how others treat them. Our verbal and nonverbal actions limit or expand the options of others. For example, if someone asks, “How are you?” as he or she walks by, you know better than to turn around and walk with them in order to provide an extensive …

Self-help

What Do Millennials Really Want at Work? The Same Things the Rest of Us Do

<i>Saturday Night Live</i> recently featured a sketch poking fun at Millennials. It opens with a young woman frantically texting on her iPhone, approaching her boss and asking for a promotion. The boss asks how long she’s been with the company. She replies, “Three days.”<p>Everyone gets it. Conventional …

Employee Engagement

8 Ground Rules for Great Meetings

If you want your team to be effective, you need meeting ground rules — and you need agreement about how to use them. Many teams that have ground rules don’t regularly use them. But having rules in place that you consistently enforce can significantly improve how your team solves problems and makes …

Management

What It Takes to Innovate Within Large Corporations

“This stuff makes my skin look like chalk.” That was 13-year-old Balanda Atis’s immediate reaction when she looked at herself in the mirror.<p>Trying on makeup is a rite of passage for many teenage girls, and that made it all the more disappointing for Atis when she applied liquid foundation for the …

Innovation

6 Ways to Disagree with Senior Management

A senior vice president I know was working on a merger and had come up against a roadblock.<p>He pulled the merger implementation team into a room and said: “We’ve analyzed it over and over, but it really isn’t possible to complete this merger in the time frame Walter wants. Now, what do we do?”<p>Walter …

Management

Technology Progresses When Business, Government, and Academia Work Together

By the mid-1980’s, the American semiconductor industry seemed like it was doomed. Although US firms had pioneered and dominated the technology for two decades, they were now getting pummeled by cheaper Japanese imports. Much like cars and electronics, microchips seemed destined to become another …

Innovation

Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work

<b>Editor’s Note:</b> This article sets out a simple, elegant, and ultimately tough-minded way to build profitability in a service business. Originally published in 1994, it offers as much today as it did then and is a perennial best seller.<p><b>♦ UPDATE: Learn about companies that are applying this timeless</b> …

The 5 Secrets Behind Great Charts | Inc.com

How do you know you're using the right chart to make your point?<p>In his recently released book, <i>Good Charts</i>, Scott Berinato, a self-described "dataviz geek" and a senior editor at <i>Harvard Business Review</i>, provides an overview of how visualization tools work. Specifically, he lays out a system for how …

Customer Service