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Bashar Nejdawi doesn’t even pause when asked for an example of talent in action at North American Mobility, a division of Ingram Micro Inc., formerly known as BrightPoint Inc., a global leader in life cycle services for mobile devices — smartphones, tablets and accessories. To him, a key differentiator for an organization is not how it operates when everything is running smoothly, but how it performs when things aren’t. “That’s the true test of an organization,” Nejdawi says. “How you deal with it tells a lot about you as a team and also as individuals. That is where you see…
Rewind to 1964, the summer The Beatles invaded America —the world has never been the same.Fifty years later, Trends International of Indianapolis is hoping to help recreate those old memories — and new ones — by producing licensed posters, stationery and other items showing the record-setting band, marking the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania in the U.S.For Vice President of Licensing Jeff Loeser, handling a product featuring one of the most popular brands isn’t unusual.“We are used to dealing with similar types of artists, bands and brands, so we know the steps that we have to go through to get the…
As a Cleveland Browns fan, I watch the Super Bowl for two reasons — to root against the Ravens or the Steelers and to watch the commercials. Since the first part didn’t work out during Super Bowl XLVII, I focused on the second and discovered something disturbing — most Super Bowl advertisers act as if smartphones and tablets don’t exist.Take Mercedes-Benz for example. Last February, they spent an estimated $3.8 million to run a 30-second commercial in which the company advertised its new CLA coupe. In the ad, Willem Dafoe plays the devil in the midst of a negotiation with…
You’ve probably learned the hard way not to communicate anything emotional in email because the medium tends to be tone deaf. No doubt you’ve also learned to overlook misspellings and shortened words in texts and tweets. We’re certainly connecting more ways and more often. But are we connecting any better? It’s hard to say. The challenge of effective communication is to trim the time between the exchange and the realization that the communication got through or wasn’t understood. In business, the sooner we know we’re not connecting, the sooner we can fix it. Actual conversations are still the best way…
As we head into peak 2014 planning season, numerous digital marketing priorities will emerge. However, there is one that is quickly becoming the most important, as customers continue to drive a transformation across business. The amount of personalization possible is endless, and companies need to change traditional marketing practices to optimize the digital marketing opportunity. Consider the following: The Direct Marketing Association in 2011 reported that for every dollar a marketer invests in email, the return on investment is approximately $40. Both sides now Social media provides an additional avenue to collect and analyze customer data to build comprehensive customer…
When Scott Moorehead became the CEO of The Cellular Connection in 2008, he thought culture was just what people knew about art. “If you had culture, then you drank your coffee with your pinkie in the air,” he says. “I didn't know anything about culture. I didn't know what it meant. I didn't know if it was important or not.” But after being in the driver’s seat for a short time, and networking with some other companies, he realized that a company culture was a crucial matter. “Now I believe that no matter what your company sells, what it does,…
Allison Barber isn’t surprised that there are more ways to communicate in business today than ever before, but the top complaint on workforce surveys is a lack of communication. “If you look at employee surveys across every sector, every business — even nonprofits — the top complaint about the organization is a lack of communication,” she says. “But let’s review how much we are communicating. We have never had more communication in business than we have today, be it from social media, newsletters, e-newsletters, intranets and websites.” So what’s the problem? “There is a major disconnect, and I think it…
The last thing you should worry about when a disaster hits is your company’s disaster recovery plan — you should have a solid DR plan, proven effective and designed to move immediately into motion if and when needed. That way, you can bring operations back to normal as soon as possible. And, as a board member, understanding the organization’s plans is paramount to your role. Here are five questions every board member should ask their CIO or IT director to ensure the organization can continue operations in the event of a disaster. 1. What is the economic risk if core…
Tell me if this sounds familiar. Your marketing team has a great idea for a website, video, mobile app or other piece of groundbreaking — dare I say, potentially viral — content. You love the idea, green light it, and a lot of people spend a lot of time and money getting it just right. The team gathers to celebrate the launch and watch the sales, leads, clicks and social sharing roll in. Only that doesn’t happen because your team made an all too common assumption — namely, that if you build it, they will come. Unfortunately, today’s marketing environment…
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 09:44

Steps to help your product stand out from the crowd

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In an emerging, oversaturated IT market, differentiation is key to survival. For instance, it is estimated there are nearly 1,000 electronic health record options available in the U.S. In order for a software company to prosper in a competitive market, it must include these areas: It should have an innovative product offering that’s affordable and easy to adopt, it must maintain a high level of customer satisfaction and it must be willing to revisit what will likely be an evolving mission statement. Design for stability It is not enough to tout having a great product; you must consistently deliver on…
It really bothers Jennifer Rosenberg, president of Acorn Distributors Inc., when she doesn’t make it around to each department every day to say hello and acknowledge all 110 employees. “It’s something I try very hard to do because I want to see the distribution center employees, and that’s just as important as walking back to the purchasing department or the accounting department,” she says. She admits that it anguishes her when she’s running late or is swamped with meetings and can’t make her daily rounds. “At the end of the day when I am walking out, it’s always the first…
For some 70 to 80 percent of our waking hours, we are involved in some form of communication. Of that, just 40 percent is spent listening. And from my experience, that’s a pretty generous statistic. I think that equation should be reversed. Recommit to listening. Listening is a big part of being a leader. Here’s how to start: Minimize distractions (internal and external). Turn off your cell phone and close your email. Get up from your desk and move to a conference table. For a quicker exchange, just stand up. Show support with your body language. Lean forward and face…
Would you rather own a McDonald’s or an independent burger stand? At Bob’s burgers, who’s responsible for worrying about attracting customers? Who unlocks the doors? Who cooks? The answer to all of these questions is Bob, the owner, because he is focused on working in the business and in turn is becoming enslaved to it. OK, now where is the McDonald’s owner? The McDonald’s owner is on a beach somewhere relaxing while his business makes money for him or traveling between the 10 stores he owns being the leader that he is. The fact that McDonald’s can serve billions of…
You will never get it all done! My first job out of grad school was managing one product line, no people and a “to do” list that was a mile long. I remember breaking down to my dad one night, who at that time was a bank executive who managed multiple divisions, hundreds of people and a lot more responsibility than I could ever comprehend. I was beyond frustrated working 70+ hour workweeks yet I couldn’t manage to get everything done, and my to-do list kept growing! That’s when Dad gave me some of the best advice that I have…
Would you rather own a McDonald’s or an independent burger stand? At Bob’s burgers, who’s responsible for worrying about attracting customers? Who unlocks the doors? Who cooks? The answer to all of these questions is Bob, the owner, because he is focused on working in the business and in turn is becoming enslaved to it. OK, now where is the McDonald’s owner? The McDonald’s owner is on a beach somewhere relaxing while his business makes money for him, or he’s traveling between the 10 stores he owns being the leader that he is. The fact that McDonald’s can serve billions…
Shortly after he began with First Financial Bank some nine years ago, Claude Davis felt so strongly about building brand awareness that each year he and his team engaged a study to measure the awareness of the bank in each of the states where it operates. The year-to-year report showed the progress — and the momentum the bank was achieving. “We did a lot of work,” says Davis, who is CEO, president and chairman of the bank. “It has been about constant marketing, constant awareness building and the consistency and the look and feel of the brand.” The payoff has…
Angie Hicks is pleased to note that new categories get created all the time on the eponymous website Angie’s List, where consumers go to find reliable and recommended local service professionals in fields from home improvement to health care. In fact, she lists one category that is particularly representative. “There are categories today where services didn't even used to exist,” she says. “My favorite is the pooper-scooper industry — someone to come and clean up after your dog. There was no such thing in 1995 when Angie’s List was launched.” But that is only the tip of the iceberg that’s…
“Save your breath.” My mother used to say this to me when I was desperately trying to explain my way out of a situation. In her view, the more I tried to explain, the more worked up I got, the less she was interested in my argument because she knew it was flimsy. I believe the same philosophy holds true in business — and in relationships too, for that matter. Maurice Saatchi, cofounder of the famed New York ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi used to say, “If you can’t reduce your argument to a few crisp words and phrases, there’s…
You will never get it all done! My first job out of grad school was managing one product line, no people and a “to do” list that was a mile long. I remember breaking down to my dad one night, who at that time was a bank executive who managed multiple divisions, hundreds of people and a lot more responsibility than I could ever comprehend. I was beyond frustrated working 70+ hour work weeks yet I couldn’t manage to get everything done, and my to-do list kept growing! That’s when Dad gave me some of the best advice that I…
Sunday, 30 June 2013 20:00

Entrepreneurs change the world

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Recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious business award programs, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards celebrate gravity-defying innovators who build and run great companies. This June, we gather here and in 24 other cities across the U.S. to honor all of our regional finalists and welcome the award recipients from the class of 2013 into our Hall of Fame.Entrepreneurs change the world and make it a better place to work and live. We honor them for their fortitude and resilience, and we celebrate their ability to forge new markets, navigate uncharted territory and fuel economic…
When we start off working as youngsters, most of us don’t have the common sense to move beyond our juvenile selves to assume more mature character traits appropriate for the workplace. We also typically land in jobs where our potentially outrageous behavior can cause the least amount of damage — in my case, this included mating freshly-grilled burgers with appropriate-sized buns for the steamer storage bin at Burger King. Later, our mismatched personalities of “future business mogul” and “party animal” duel it out in college during classes, internships and more responsible employment. Then we madly scramble to figure out who…
 If there is one thing that doesn’t change much in good times or bad times, it’s alcohol consumption. Phil Terry knows that fact pretty well.“Demographically over the years you can see that it’s pretty consistent,” says Terry, CEO of Monarch Beverage Co. Inc. “The economy affects it some, but it’s not like new car sales or home sales where a slight turn in the economy can have a devastating effect on demand. Our demand is pretty consistent; good times don’t spike and bad times don’t depress it that much.”So why would Monarch, a beverage seller who does $275 million in…
Friday, 31 May 2013 20:00

Finding character and cultural fit

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It is always difficult to find the right employees, not only people with technical skills but with other traits that will ensure long-term success for your organization. Finding the right culture “fit” in terms of character and personality traits begins with the creation of the job requirements, preliminary candidate screening and the interview process. Preparation is critical before the interview to develop a series of questions designed to reveal the key traits desired of an employee. At Clark-Reliance, our first hiring objective is to find candidates with superior technical qualifications and skills necessary to perform the tasks of a particular…
Ron Fauquher has told it to his team a number of times, and the obvious sarcasm with a touch of humor always makes its point.“I don’t think anybody gets up in the morning and says, ‘Whoopee! I get to go do crappy work today!’ he says.“I think they want to do good work. They want to serve their customers, and they want to provide the innovation necessary to succeed,” says Fauquher, co-founder and CEO of Ontario Systems LLC, a developer of debt collection business software.While Ontario is in the software business, the reality of the situation is that the company…
If you’re among the companies that start your fiscal year on July 1, it may be time to do some thinking and planning. But no matter when you start your business year, here are some points to consider. The beginning of another business year is at hand. No matter what your business faced or how your organization pulled through, now’s a great time to provide your team with a well-deserved “pat on the back” and a thoughtful review. First, give thanks: Consider a half-day retreat. Begin with a celebration or recognition lunch. Find something positive you can recognize in each…
Procrastination eats up a ton of energy — in worry, negativity, angst and efficiency, not to mention wasting time itself.When you think about the basic allotment of time you and I have each day, I can’t think of a more precious thing to waste.It’s been said that when you eliminate procrastination forever, you become a “master of your time.” But how to end that thing we all do — especially when we are up against a difficult project or deadline?Time to reinvent yourself.Begin by retooling yourself. Start with time management, and divide your day into “small bites.” Schedule and organize…
Bob Duncan was taken aback a little when he went to a meeting last year as the new Indianapolis International Airport executive director.There were only three people at the meeting. It was the employee engagement committee.“I said, ‘What’s going on? Where are the rest of them?’”It turned out the committee hadn’t been maintained that well. The group needed new leadership and was ready for a revival.When Duncan along with the HR director breathed new life into the committee, it was re-energized into a much more interactive and robust employee group.“So that’s worked really, really well in the last year,” he…
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