What is collaboration, really? Office spaces are structured with open-seating plans designed to foster greater collaboration. Steve Jobs so wanted employees to have to walk past and interact with each other that he envisioned a headquarters for Pixar with one centrally located set of restrooms.

So, is collaboration being physically close to one another? Is it about creating situations that encourage interaction? What about all the organizations that have people sitting side by side in open or semi-open office environments? Are they the reigning kings of collaboration? Since collaboration continues to be such a hot topic of interest, our guess is no. Something other than physical proximity is necessary for collaboration. Remote offices, take heart!

Leveraging our differences

Collaboration at its core is harnessing the differences that each person brings and leveraging the contributions of individuals to create a greater sum. This is the fastest, most efficient way for organizations to accelerate growth. (read more…)

It’s unlikely that you’ll ever have to apologize for a debacle that’s anything like the Affordable Care Act’s glitch-glutted computer-system rollout. But looking at the way President Barack Obama has responded can provide valuable lessons for whenever you might fail to meet the expectations of your boss, your staff, a valued customer or any other party. Here’s how you can lessen the fallout from a fiasco.

  • Deliver the bad news quickly because unless you do resentment will grow and you’ll look like you’re unable to handle the situation. Describe the scope of the problem fully, concisely and without evasive Dilbert-speak. “There’s no sugar-coating it. The website has been too slow. People are getting stuck during the application process,” Obama said.
  • Take personal responsibility. The problem may have had many causes, but excessive attention to them might imply you’re ducking responsibility.
  • Explain your personal feelings about the issue. If you feel angry, say so.
  • (read more…)

If you believe the stats, then most startups are doomed to fail. And depending on who you ask, there are a lot of reasons why most don’t make it. So, what’s the best way for a startup to measure its progress during those pivotal first couple of years?

Simple: customer growth and satisfaction.

To me, what’s always exciting about startups like Instagram for example is how many new customers they’re onboarding and how much users like the platform. And let’s face it, no one can argue with their stats.

So, how many customers is your startup onboarding per quarter? And how much do they like you? If you don’t know, then figure it out. And while you’re at it, consider these points as you develop your own goals to measure corporate success.

Customer growth through advocacy

It goes without saying, but customers that champion your brand are worth their weight in gold. (read more…)

I’ve been a CEO 10 times. I can’t say that I know all the keys to success, but I have a lot of experiences with what CEOs need and more importantly, their greatest fears. For it’s these fears that single out the CEO from other roles in business.

When things are going great, it’s the CEO who is often singled out as the hero. Much in the same way we often spotlight quarterbacks on winning teams as MVPs. When things go awry, the CEO is also the one who gets the blame. It’s the fear of being blamed for failure of their business that motivates and stresses-out most CEOs.

Today’s business is filled with a level of uncertainty that none of our training could have prepared us for. Business from the 50s through the 90s was relatively predicable. If you followed a set of practices in your business you had a high probability of success. (read more…)

The Edelman Trust Barometer is a highly-regarded, reliable survey that assesses the degree of trust and credibility in global organizations and government entities. The 2013 executive summary is now available.

This year’s survey, Edelman Berman‘s 13th annual barometer, shows that trust is taking a beating in our organizations.

Some “highlights” (they’re really lowlights) include only 18% of 26,000 respondents around the globe believe that business leaders tell the truth, regardless of how complex or unpopular it is. Only 19% believe business leaders make ethical and moral decisions; 20% believe business leaders correct issues within industries that are experiencing problems.

Ratings for government leaders is even worse. Only 13% of respondents believe government leaders will tell the truth; 14% believe government leaders make ethical and moral decisions; 15% believe government leaders correct issues within industries that are experiencing problems.

Globally, the two least-trusted businesses are banks and financial institutions, each with only 50% of respondents scoring those businesses as trustworthy. (read more…)