Posts Tagged ‘ communication ’

100 days without (b)logging

Today is the end of a 100 day experiment. An experiment to blog through Twitter-powered micr0-bursts rather than full length tomes through WordPress. Tell you what. Twitter is great to bring focus to your message. When you have only 140 characters, you cut out the fluff and focus on what really matters. Our next-gen workers and leaders are more likely going to be comfortable with such instant transfer of insights, ideas, and information.

However, I did miss the artistic canvas to fully explore the treasures of ideation and express it in a form that did merit to the journey. As a poet, I admit, I missed the ability to pen sentences and see them come alive in the form of a new surprise.

I even tried a Twitter experiment to crowd-source leadership insights to put together an e-book. Had more people writing in seeking clarification, than engaging. One even debated that Twitter was so over-rated and he missed the good old telephone as a medium of communication. I’ll let you judge that one.

So, as I end this 100 day experiment, I begin the next phase of inspiration and expression. Where I will focus on the intersection of strategy and technology, my area of expertise and passion.

Because,

When Strategy and Technology Collide, Markets Happen!

As I begin wrapping up my Kellogg Executive MBA program (where I focused on strategy and marketing), I find myself passionate about this intersection. Whether you are a startup or a Fortune 100 organization, technology has an ability to

– Create new business models and opportunities, whilst

– Continuing to optimize and accelerate business outcomes.

So, join me as I continue to un-Twitter on this intersection … with a key eye on strategy, organization and execution.

Obviously,

sai@obviousideas.com

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whole foods + whole lot of social-media mess

what a week it must have been for whole foods ceo john mackay and his crisis-pr team!    just a week after a major scientific report that there is really no material health difference between organic and non-organic produce. 

1.  john mckay writes a wall street journal oped on the united states healthcare debate

2.  w.r.to his customers, he picks the ‘wrong side’ of the debate … with a conservative-piece despite serving a largely liberal-customer base

3.  blogosphere and twittersphere explodes in rage .. with some stating that they will not shop at whole foods because of the ‘social darwinism and elitism’ reflected in john mackay’s piece

4.  traditional media picks up the story

5.  www.wholeboycott.com is formed

6.  welcome to traditional media meeting social media in the age of the empowered customer with a keyboard @ hand …

3 obvious ideas:

a. personal ceo opinion”, really?: ironically there is no such thing as a ‘personal opinion’ for public cxo’s in an age where social media promises to enable personal expression! et tu, social media?

b. understand your customer before you communicate … because social media is the voice of many, not just marketing: you dont need to have a ph.d. in anthropology to know your customer-base, its major likes and dislikes.  if you are in a fishbowl (as they say about ceo’s), communication is hard to begin with.  your every move is being followed, interpreted and amplified.  social media just made it harder.  most companies and ‘social media experts’ belabor about why it is important for companies to market themselves through social media… conveniently forgetting that the power of social media is tilted towards the voice of many … i.e., the customers and quick-to-convert ‘former customers’!

c. b2c brands can become fragile faster than you can say “oh tweet!”:  b2c brands are built on perception.  brands take time and money to build.  like humpty-dumpty that sat on a wall and took a great fall, brands can fall quickly with the nudge of social-media ire.  and despite all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, it might not be possible to put humpty-dumpty together again.  just ask any 2 year old.  

sai at obviousideas dot com

social networking … will the pendulum swing back?

in a world where everybody seems to have something to say in the hope that everyone else is following … we are beginning to see some curbs come into play.

the pentagon reviewed social networking on computers and we see that the marines have banned social networking sites.  that is pretty reasonable given the security risks involved in publishing any-to-any information over open networks.

one person has even gone far enough to suggest that social networking is outright dangerous!

the transient nature of instant-contact and combined with the permanence of communication-records, makes for an interesting environment where folks tend to share things that they might never otherwise consider sharing.  add to that the relative comfort afforded by keyboards that seem to ‘de-personalize emotions’, you’ve got a flood of expression out on in public domain that might otherwise not escape the privacy of ones cranial confines.

makes me wonder whether the pendulum which has swung to the extreme of total openness will begin to swing back … after all, just how much of our time pie can be continue to give up to the social networking slice?  what do you think?

3 obvious ideas:

a. why: consider why you are connecting and communicating through social networking sites.  if its ‘because its the cool thing to do’, you are probably sending the wrong kinds of messages.  it helps to have a pretty solid reason to be out there.  while this might appear to go against the very grain of social networking, let us not forget that social networking on the internet is still about human-to-human contact and you dont want to be out there blabbering from a soapbox like the guys you find at trafalgar square declaring that the ‘end of the world is here’.  (i guess you could say they know ‘why’ they are there)

b. what: consider what the core essence of your message is.  whether you are posting pictures of your weekend party or random musings from the beach, dont lose sight of what the core message is.  communicating for the sake of communicating just adds more noise to the channel and makes for an overall sub-optimal experience … over the long term.

c. whom: its pretty obvious to consider whom you are trying to reach out to.  deeply divisive and polarising topics tend to attract undue interest and intense online debate.  dont forget that the ‘whom’ in this case can be pretty much anyone out there.  so dont get into an online debate or argument with a total stranger … regardless of how passionate you are about the topic.  its just not worth it.

sai@obviousideas.com

a flu by any other name … and lessons in communication

what a week it has been.  ‘swine flu’ got officially renamed as A/’H1N1′ after reports that the pork industry was being unfairly affected by mistaken association. 

here is what i dont get.  every year when hurricane season comes around the US, anyone with a common angl0-saxon first name is at risk of being associated with a potentially destructive hurricane.  which industry group is out there to protect the atlantic coast arthurs, berthas, dollys from 2002, the noels, olgas, pablos and wendys from 2007?  or, the pacific facing johns, pauls and rosas from 2006?  and there is the (in)famous katrina.

last that i checked katrina did not have anything to do with the death and destruction wrought by nature.  however, the cdc itself has noted that the swine flu is ‘a respiratory disease of pigs’ … check this out

no one seems to know what has caused a pocrine disease to jump to homo sapiens, but wont it be prudent to educate the world’s population on the linkage with pigs … and somehow minimize contact?  ‘swine flu’ is a lot easier than “A/H1N1” … to convey to billions the linkage between pigs and the flu.  millions could be less literate + more vulnerable to communicable diseases due to poorer living conditions.  what better way to minimize and mitigate the risk than saying it as it is?!

none less than the cdc says “Most commonly, these cases occur in persons with direct exposure to pigs (e.g. children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry).” (source: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/key_facts.htm)

3 obviousideas

1. communication intent: let us keep in mind the primary intent behind any communication and ensure that we are aligned with that interest.  for instance, if there is a chance that reducing direct contact with pigs can reduce the risk of contracting and spreading this disease, they say it as it is! 

2. clarity and conveyability: these are critical elements to ensure that the message reaches the audience and elicits the kind of response sought.  A/H1N1 surely fails the test of clarity and conveyability.  add ‘influenza’ as a prefix and your audience becomes even smaller. 

3. collateral damage: any communication carries the risk of collateral damage of unintended consequences.  question is, would you rather suffer collateral damage or core damage?  let us recognize collateral damage and minimize it, but not over-react to the point of changing the message itself and losing communication intent, clarity and conveyability.  if the katrinas of the world can live with a sad and deadly association, i am sure the world community of pigs will be ok.

sai@obviousideas.com

golf gone wild … the john daly experiment

what an interesting collision of color.  to put it mildly. 

check out: http://sports.yahoo.com/golf/blog/devil_ball_golf/post/John-Daly-s-horrifying-new-golf-pants-are-visibl?urn=golf,159883

you will note that i put the complete URL in there sans editorial commentary on the choice of words therein.  notice the ‘h’ word?

i could not but help imagine a parallel with organization transformation + communication.  often when leading change, we struggle to find new ways to connect and communicate with our target audience.  we look for ways to make a difference, stand out amongst the crowd … and be remembered.

what better way than to put on a pair of golf pants that look different?  seriously.

3 obviousideas

1. creative compulsion: if no color can be too loud on the golf course … no message can be too creative for the workforce.  look for a particularly distinct way for your message to stand out.  break the habit and do something different … so people notice. 

2. comfortable confidence: notice the cool confident smile that daly carries with him.  in fact when you make a creative impact, it is imperative to look more confident than you normally appear.  you cannot fake creativity, you might as well live it up!

3. make your message meaningful: of course, all flash and no stash is useless.  make sure that creativity + confidence are catalysts to deliver a deeper message.  make it synchronize with the enablers.  however, do have a message.  do have a message.  have a message.   a message.  message.

sai@obviousideas.com

make every employee a network node … to message + market

what a quarter at kellogg!  prof. brian uzzi wrapped up his course on leadership & organizations with a fantastic simulation game that showed the power of establishing a tipping point when it comes to selling ideas and seeking support using a network.  the finals was thought-provoking.  the cribsheet for the final synthesized the core take-aways from a fascinating class. 

which prompted me to think about the chasm between the promise of tapping into social networks and the reality of hitting up against organization structures.  establishing and refining organization structures can tend to make people speak more fluently with each other within corporate walls … but what about the whole wide world? 

3 obviousideas

a. lets start connecting + communicating across corporate functions by focusing on common organization goals.

b. lets continue finding ways to make every employee in an organization a de-facto marketing force … that can connect his/her company with his/her network

c. lets get more creative in terms of how we enable each and every employee in an organization message + market the organization. 

imagine the multiple tipping points possible when organizations are able to tap into global networks and mini-networks … sharing their message and listening to the world-at-large.  we would blur the lines between the organization and the individual, making for richer and more direct dialog.

the world is speaking, in bits and bytes, are we ready to listen?

sai@obviousideas.com

whitehouse.gov + social media

by any yardstick, whitehouse.gov and recovery.gov are examples of powerfuly pithy communication with targeted messages … combining text, video, charts, polls and interactive graphs.  but reports today indicate that the whitehouse staff are frustrated with the inability to incorporate more cutting edge features.

the the current sites are rich and informative. for a less web-savvy team they might even merit a much deserved a+. 

i am curious to see how the obama tech team will continue to innovate online … i dare say, we are on the cusp of another major technology revolution … this time in the area of e-government.

any guesses on where we might be headed?

sai at obviousideas dot com