Tag Archives: leadership

ReadyTalk Webinar Named Market ‘Leader’ in New Report

In the fourth quarter of 2017 ReadyTalk Webinar was named a ‘market leader’ by InFlow Analysis, a technological consulting group. This insightful report entitled, The InFlow Analysis Market Compass for Webinar Providers, 2017: Shifting to Conversational Experiences, highlights industry trends that reflect the demands of various buyer types and use cases. Given the competitive business of technology, SMB and enterprise customers are challenged with purchasing decisions between disruptors, niche providers, and legacy webinar vendors.

After scoring all webinar services providers, the InFlow report created this list of takeaways meant to help buyers choose the webinar service most suited for their needs:

 

  • When making webinar procurement decisions, business planners have to map critical capabilities to the right use cases to avoid the pitfalls of focusing too much on features.
  • Knowing your target audience will help guide technology decisions, especially around scale and bandwidth needs. Also, focus on conversational experiences with your audience.
  • While webinar decisions tend to be departmental and team based mostly, take care to ensure broader integration with business applications such as marketing automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.
  • Reporting and analytics is a critical component and will provide useful data that can guide engagement activities after the webinar event. AI and machine learning are becoming integral parts of this phase for accurate insights.
  • Plan carefully for webinars and understand beforehand requirements for professional services and live support during larger and more critical events.

 

Within the leadership category, ReadyTalk was also mentioned for its excellence in branding and marketing functionality:

“There are customized branding capabilities, recording, integrated audio and integration into business applications and platforms, such as Salesforce, Marketo and a majority of CRM and marketing automation platforms respectively. Integration into critical business applications and processes speaks to support for pre, during and post webinar management, which covers the entire webinar workflow. For marketing professionals, the ReadyTalk webinar service provides event promotion tools for social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The service includes broadcast video webcasts and simulive events, which allows producers to replay recorded webinars with live Q&A and interactivity. Webinar planners and producers also get post-webinar reporting capabilities.”

Click below for the full report by InFlow Analysis! Cheers and happy hosting on your next event.

4 Ways to Improve Communication Today

What’s the #1 issue that causes business failure? Miscommunication. That includes lack of communication, not providing enough or accurate information or just not understanding. It’s also costly. In fact, estimates are that miscommunication costs $37 billion every year. Ouch.

improve communicationWhether this is due to select individuals or a businesswide breakdown in communication, companies don’t have to settle for less when it comes to speaking with and engaging their employees.

After all, a Holmes Report study found that companies with excellent communication strategies experience 47 percent higher returns for shareholders, less employee turnover and more satisfied workers overall. So how can you improve communication at your company?

1. Restructure your hierarchy

Far too often, the main problem regarding poor communication at companies is select individuals who are bottlenecks. That means they don’t pass on important information. If you can, restructure or dismantle your current management hierarchy with leaders who value good communication and actively share information.

2. Lead by example

If you want your team to communicate better, change needs to begin from the top down. Lead by example if you want to create lasting change at your organization. Show your employees what is expected of them by consistently giving feedback, asking for it in return and keeping lines of communication open at all times.

3. Empower your people

Are there consequences for sharing bad news? Maybe that’s why there are communication gaps around the office. And really … would you rather not know bad news or know it and be able to do something? The consequences for not understanding bad news could be catastrophic for your business.

4. Have a communication strategy

So your company has poor communication. Do something about it! Funnel resources, effort and time into reinventing your company’s communication strategy. Your internal communications team, for larger companies, or HR department for smaller ones might be a good place to start. While it might be a challenging transformation process at first, the results will be incredibly rewarding.

A strategy includes having tools available to enable — not hinder — communication. The tools you choose should depend on your culture and what your people need as well as thinking through an array of tools.

Need more tips?

We have a plethora of resources available from general ideas about when to use email and meetings to active listening.

The Big “P” – Purpose at Work

Do you ever wonder what motivates people? American psychologist Abraham Maslow sought to answer this very question throughout his life’s work. Though he greatly contributed to the study of psychology, he was best known for his hierarchy of needs, which is represented in a five stage pyramid divided into basic, psychological and growth needs.

The top tier of Maslow’s hierarchy is self-actualization, which is the need to achieve one’s fullest potential and feel like you are making a difference. In essence, those who are enlightened can then help others down the hierarchy to achieve their fullest potential — like by doing more charitable work.

And emotional intelligence is not the same as enlightenment, although one could argue enlightened people are emotionally intelligent. People who’ve found purpose flourish — thrive in ways they can help others.

But this sense of purpose is not only essential in daily life, but is a critical component to creating a meaningful, happy workplace.

Why is having a purpose at work important?

Maybe in the early 1900s it was okay to drudge to work to collect a pay check. But that’s not what most workers want. They want to feel happy. They want to do work they find meaningful. And they want to do work they really love doing.

After all, when you’re doing work you love doing, it’s no longer — really — work.

What does this mean for companies – it improves business

Happiness = engagement

A recent Deloitte survey found that 73% of employees who identify as working for a purpose-driven organization report that they are engaged in the office. This number starkly contrasts the 23 percent of engaged employees who say that they do not work for a purpose-driven company.

Better productivity

A sense of purpose improves workHappier employees are 12% more productive. And if employees are doing purposeful work and work they love doing, the quality will be better and there’ll be fewer accidents, too. They’re even more likely to mentor other employees, helping leadership in your organization.

Employee retention

Also it helps employee retention. Employees who are challenged and engaged are less likely to leave. That decreases turnover costs, which run — according to SHRM — about half of an employees’ salary just in finding a replacement. That’s added on to the cost of actually getting the new employee — paying him.

Better customer service

Best of all, happy employees make for happy customers. If employees are achieving more and doing their best work, customers will notice.

As mentioned above, if employees are enlightened, they’ll be more willing to help customers (and other employees) to be enlightened as well.

How can you foster this need?

Integrating purpose at your business must begin at the ground up. Re-evaluate your mission statement, determining whether or not your company’s goals truly match up with its organizational structure, rewards system, market approach and more. If not or if you believe your mission is lacking, you may need to completely pivot and change directions.

Once you finalize your new mission statement, make sure that your employees’ personal goals are in sync with your organization’s. Understand what really drives them and why they chose to work at your particular company. Then, channel this energy into how your organization operates and rewards its high-performing staff. Meanwhile, create a positive atmosphere, where managers provide meaningful feedback and one-on-one sessions to keep everyone on the same page and motivated to do their work well.

Ways to engage employees

Leadership 2.0: Holacracy and Other Org Structures

What is a holacracy? While it might sound like a name for a future dystopian society, it’s actually more widely spoken about – and accepted – than you think. In its most basic definition, a holacracy is an egalitarian leadership style. Instead of following a strict, hierarchical organizational structure, companies such as the online retailer Zappos or the online publishing platform Medium are doing away with traditional managerial roles and titles and replacing them with a self-governed, self-organized company distribution of power.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh explained that whenever the size of a city doubles, the amount of productivity and innovation per resident increases by 15 percent, yet whenever companies grow larger, these levels go down.

leadership“So we’re trying to figure out how to structure Zappos more like a city, and less like a bureaucratic corporation. In a city, people and businesses are self-organizing,” Hsieh said. “We’re trying to do the same thing by switching from a normal hierarchical structure to a system called holacracy, which enables employees to act more like entrepreneurs and self-direct their work instead of reporting to a manager who tells them what to do.”

While radical, this “flattened organizational” approach does not completely do away with structure, it just dramatically redefines it. Information is generally openly accessible and major decisions are made in company meetings, not just behind closed doors. Essentially, most voices have weight in this specific organizational style.

Does it work?

Numerous studies do show that certain companies with flat organizational structures do tend to outperform their hierarchical peers. However, a Harvard Business Review article pointed out that this leadership structure works best when the company-wide focus is on improving innovation, everyone shares a committed purpose and the environment is evolving rapidly.

While many smaller organizations have found success with their holacracy, recent rises in Zappos​’s turnover rate may prove otherwise. Following the transition to a holacracy, Hsieh offered a buyout for any employee who does not want to continue under the new organizational structure.

As a result, the retailer lost an estimated one-third of their employee base, including many of its senior members. Meanwhile, it fell off Fortune’s ranking for the 100 Best Companies to Work after being a long-standing member for seven years. Zappos​’s turnover rate for 2015 was at 30 percent, which is 10 percentage points above its typical yearly attrition rate, according to The Atlantic.

What about other less drastic organizational styles?

You don’t have to completely abandon your company’s hierarchy to achieve an innovative flow of information. Sometimes, companies such as Starbucks or Southwest Airlines, leverage existing hierarchies and structures to enable their employees to make region or location specific decisions that meet their unique needs.

To focus on its global needs, Starbucks implemented a three-region organizational structure in 2011, which includes: China and Asia Pacific, the Americas, and Europe, Middle East, Russia and Africa. Within the U.S., there are further divisions, including the northwest, the west, southeast and northeast.

Each region has its own senior vice president to provide area-specific support each location encounters. Therefore, while each Starbucks manager has to adhere to their superiors, they actually report to two: their corporate head and their geographic VP. This way, their unique voice isn’t lost in a vast corporate sea.

While the holacracy leadership 2.0 structure may work for certain companies, it might not be the right choice for all. Consider the various benefits and shortcomings to many types of organizational approaches to discover precisely what option might be right for your business.

Help Your Leaders and Why it Matters

Last November, ReadyTalk started a new program – LeaderReady. ReadyTalk has always had programs to help managers, but this is the first time a program has focused on employees not specifically in leadership roles.

Why build a leadership program?

Pawn with shadow of the king , strength and power concept , 3d render

Leadership isn’t one of those talents many are born with. And yet, there are tricks and information to help people build those necessary skills. More

than that, it’s important companies develop their people — individual contributors or managers.

Sure it takes leadership to be a manager, but individual contributors can be leaders too. They could lead teams or projects where they need people to help them.

“[At ReadyTalk] we thought about all the resources available to managers and realized there was a gap in the development of individual contributors and high potentials,” said Caryn Auger, organizational development manager in HR at ReadyTalk. High potentials are people who could be managers one day, earmarked by their supervisors as high performers.

This isn’t the only way leaders are helped — ReadyTalk has a mentor program that pairs high performers with executives and leaders. They also have a series of training opportunities available for managers, to hone people management skills.

Mind the gap and fill it.

After meeting with a consulting firm, the LeaderReady team drew up a concrete plan that spanned 9 months. Four main installments structure the course, the latter three of which feature direct involvement from ReadyTalk’s leadership, and participants are given smaller interval experiences between them.

1. You
The first installment focuses on each employee personally. They receive a 360-review, where their direct reports, peers, and managers provide feedback on strengths and opportunities. Not only do participants learn strengths and opportunities, they can clarify their personal brand.

2. Team
Participants explore how they influence others in the workplace without necessarily having a position of authority. As Caryn said, “You don’t have to be a manager to have influence.” That means improving collaboration and communication with fierce conversation techniques, and building a cohesive team organically.

3. Business acumen
This is a big one. In LeaderReady’s early developmental phase, Caryn asked leadership what would make the program a success in their eyes. The response came loud and clear, “We want them to have a better understanding of the business.” Knowing that, this became the only two-day installment in the program. The first day is partially overseen by two company leaders, guiding the participants through the ins and outs of ReadyTalk’s business and talking strategy. The second puts participants through a business simulation where they have to make quick decisions to save a struggling company.

4. Strive
The fourth is something like graduation, but since the program still hasn’t finished, we can’t spill the beans. All the participants know for now is that they’re in for full-day course of learning … with the athletes at the Olympic Training Center.

So … did the leadership program work?

“You know, it’s been interesting,” Caryn says. “As we get closer to the graduation ceremony and I’m trying to personalize a message for each participant, I know I can see a lot of change. A few of them have been promoted, but that wasn’t really our objective. We didn’t need or necessarily want them all to be managers, it was more about helping our individual leaders who are so valuable to the business.”

It’s hard to place any definite metrics on the success of the program when its first round still hasn’t finished. No doubt, ReadyTalk will refine the program and work to determine skills achieved.

But did they learn enough to justify an entire program? “No question — they were challenged. Oh, they had some learning,” Caryn said as she laughed.