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.

Last week, we asked: How effectively does your organization choose the best decision-making style for a given decision?

  • Very effectively — we’re deliberate about choosing the right style: 5.78%
  • Effectively — we choose the right style most of the time: 32.13%
  • Not very effectively — we gravitate toward one style irrespective of the decision being made: 43.32%
  • What’s a decision-making style?: 18.77%

Different decisions require different styles. Organizations tend to gravitate toward a single decision making style. Whether it’s autocratic, consensus-based, participatory, or democratic, organizations find a style that’s comfortable as a default. The problem is that many times it’s exactly the wrong style for a given decision. The better you understand the 4 decision making styles, the more effectively you can apply them to make better and faster decisions. (read more…)

There are many reasons why executives decide to pivot their companies, but the biggest one is by listening to customers and responding to their needs (faster than the competitor).

In 2007, our customers expressed the need to better govern information across controlled and uncontrolled environments. This wasn’t an area we had previously specialized in, so when we heard this recurring theme from multiple customers, we knew it was time for a change and focus on a new market with a new product. As a trusted partner of our customers, one of our top priorities is making sure we deliver value to them.

There are three main pillars to making a pivot work — Vision, Product, Commercial. Each must have a strong leader who knows how to transform an organization and balance customers, competitors and analysts.

  1. Vision: Someone needs to be tasked with owning the vision. Many times, this is the CTO or CSO.
  2. (read more…)

These days you can’t go a week without hearing about the virtues of flexible schedules. They greatly reduce absenteeism and environmental impact, and spur faster company growth.

As the workforce becomes more and more mobile, the 9-to-5 grind is becoming less and less attractive. But for every company that gets lauded for instituting a four-day work week or allowing employees to make their own schedules, there are hundreds of “in-between” companies that hear the benefits loud and clear, but are unable to affect a major policy change for various reasons.

Working 9 to 5

Case in point: We send thousands of products to our customers each month (the core of our business), and we are beholden to the 9-5 expectancy of shipping providers. Could we institute a four-day work week for our office workers? It would mean re-examining how we do business on a fundamental level, and not just with shipping — the majority of our customers work 9 to 5, Monday through Friday as well, and we end up basing project-management expectations, customer service schedules and team meetings on their availability. (read more…)

Everyone knows Superman’s great weakness: Kryptonite. It’s the one thing that’s guaranteed to suck away his strength and destroy his power. As public speakers, we all face a similar weakness that can bring us down and destroy our confidence or credibility. That weakness is doubt.

Superman did his research and developed strategies to overcome his weakness. Luckily, we don’t need to wear a lead-lined suit on stage, but as speakers we too can use proven antidotes to conquer our doubts and let our superpowers emerge.

These are the three types of doubt that can take the wind out of your sails as a presenter:

  • Self-doubt
  • Doubting your message
  • Doubting your audience

Each of these forms of kryptonite can destroy the effectiveness of your presentation, so it pays to take advantage of these potent antidotes to vanquish your doubts.

Doubting yourself

Self-doubt is perhaps the most perilous form of kryptonite for a speaker. (read more…)

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

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Q. What is the most important thing to include in your employee manual and why?

yec_Brittany Hodak1. Clearly explained confidentiality rules

Since startups often deal with sensitive information, it’s critical that every new hire be very clear on confidentiality policies and how they apply in real-world settings, including family. Sometimes information leaks can be malicious, but it’s much more likely that someone’s mom or roommate will inadvertently share something on Facebook (out of excitement) that she didn’t realize was confidential. — Brittany Hodak, ZinePak

yec_Kelly azevedo 22. Videos

Most people are visual learners, so while you could fill your employee manual with long checklists and written content, video will convey much faster. (read more…)