As a coach and professional development provider, I often find myself having some variation of the following conversation with an organization’s chief executive, HR director or program coordinator.

“Please make sure,” they say, “to include lots of practical examples for everyone in the room when you speak.” They explain their request as follows. “Oftentimes when we bring someone in to present a workshop we get blowback, particularly from the old-timers. They’ve told us that other presenters’ content was too theoretical. They also say that the examples may have been useful to others in the room, but it did not address their specific needs.”

As a former teacher and principal, I know exactly what that person is talking about. So often, I would sit through a workshop and wonder about its applicability to me and my classroom. Many others around me would do similarly, and often find other more useful things to do, such as grade papers. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How “in touch” with the front lines are your leaders?

  • Very — they understand the front line very well: 13%
  • Kind of — they generally know what’s going on with the front line: 36%
  • Not very — they are mostly in the dark about the front line: 35%
  • Not at all — they have no idea what’s going on with the front line: 16%

Get Out of Your Office. How can you run a business if you don’t know how it’s running? Sitting in your office all the time and managing your organization without ever seeing how things are working on the front line is akin to driving your car by remote control from your laptop. Get out there. You might learn something. (read more…)

51N+EB2SAPLThis post is adapted from “High-Impact Human Capital Strategy: Addressing the 12 Major Challenges Today’s Organizations Face,” (AMACOM, August 2015) by Jack Phillips and Patti Phillips of the ROI Institute.

If you enjoyed this article, join SmartBrief’s e-mail list for our daily newsletter on HR, recruiting and retention.

It is one thing to sell products and services to a global market base when the need is there and the consumers want the product, but it is another thing entirely to employ a foreign workforce to make that happen in each country. From the very first time that a company has employees in another country, it faces many issues. There are 10 very important challenges that are faced by most multinational companies:

  1. Compliance with labor laws. Every company finds a challenge in working with laws, regulations, and rules in another country. These vary dramatically from one country to another, and companies often need the help of good advisers to unravel and comply with the different rules and policies.
  2. (read more…)

“I know the people on the phone can’t see this, but …”

By the third time our meeting facilitator offered the same apology, I began to suspect we were doing something stupid, or at least ineffective. But most likely stupid.

I’d been through this before, of course, on both ends of a telecom. We all have. Dialing in remotely to a meeting where wall charts and whiteboards are used but not broadcast can be an exquisitely frustrating experience. The people in the main room can see what’s going on. They can post sticky notes on the wall and move them around. But the remote “participants” — and I use that word loosely — can only listen and imagine. Except for when the audio is bad or the speaker turns away from the microphone, in which case they can do less than that.

There are plenty of tools and technologies designed to improve interactions among geographically dispersed teams, and some of them are quite good. (read more…)

This post is sponsored by PayPal.

Bank loans and venture capital continue to be popular funding sources, but they do not work for every entrepreneur. Some startups are turning to crowdfunding as an alternative to traditional loans and a means to get their businesses off the ground.

But simply creating a cool new product or service is not enough to attract contributors through online crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. A successful crowdfunding campaign requires extensive, thoughtful planning and focused marketing to attract and engage supporters, combined with hours of intense, hands-on work.

Just ask Helmut Wyzisk III and Jeff Becker, co-founders of Earhoox, which sells soft, silicone attachments that hold earbuds firmly in place. The company started in 2012 and raised almost $10,000 in a month-long Indiegogo campaign.

“Looking at the landscape of crowdfunding now, and knowing what we now know, I think we could do 10 or 20 or 30 times what we did in that crowdfunding campaign,” Wyzisk said. (read more…)