To Build Great Companies, a Talented and Dedicated Team Is Crucial to Success

Leaders and teams need to build a trusting relationship driven by appreciation instead of abasement.

If you are a leader, it is important to give your team the necessary space to develop and expand their own abilities. And also make sure to offer your team the right work environment that allows them to take responsibility.

If you are a team member, it is equally important to recognize this freedom as an appreciation for yourself and your competencies. Instead of just doing a job, ask yourself, “Am I doing meaningful work and how can I contribute to the mission, purpose and strategic goals of my company?”

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Above all, this requires a clear commitment from both sides. The core is to build a trusting relationship based on mutual appreciation.

When leaders and teams respect these principles, the way is clear for building a great business together that will delight everyone.

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Interview: Growth Strategies Amidst Digital Disruption

The investment in digital skills, technologies and enabling accelerators will ensure that businesses are more competitive and productive

How does an organization strike the balance between “business-as-usual” and disruptive new initiatives?

There are no easy answers, especially for legacy businesses with well-established customer bases. Yet going digital-first need not be painful.

In the expert talk with the Silicon Valley Innovation Center, I shed light on the best practices companies need to adopt to manage innovation and capture future growth opportunities.

How CEOs and executives grow and scale the company’s business in the digital world
Image: Silicon Valley Innovation Center

Webinar: Digital growth, but how?

In the upcoming webinar for CEOs and executives, I share digital strategies and best practices that help you successfully manage sustainable change and capture new growth opportunities.

Register here for the webinar

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Business Growth: How to Boost Employee Engagement

Engaged employees do meaningful work and have a clear understanding of how they contribute to the mission of the company

Hubstaff, a US-based software company that provides staff monitoring through time tracking software, asked me…

How would you recommend an organization use employee engagement to improve business growth?

First things first: Employee engagement is not a one-way street. It’s based on building a trusting relationship between employees and the companies they work for. That’s why the same applies to both sides: appreciation instead of abasement. Eye level instead of authority.

Companies that successfully implement employee engagement give their employees enough space to develop their skills. But they also make sure to offer them the right position that allows them to take responsibility. Engaged employees do meaningful work and have a clear understanding of how they contribute to the mission, purpose and strategic goals of the company. And motivated employees are productive employees.

However, this assumes that companies have devised clear strategies in their corporate goals for attracting and retaining talent/employees. As with all important corporate strategies, a high level of employee engagement and commitment cannot be implemented overnight. In that sense, most companies still have a long way to go. Nonetheless, it’s worthwhile to follow this path consistently.

Cultivate a productivity mindset

Corporations who think that this problem is simply solved by rebuilding the cafeteria and setting up a football table is certainly on the wrong track. Employee engagement is much more complex than that. Simply put, it requires a fundamental change in leadership, workplace and corporate culture.

It’s not unusual for companies to try and figure out first where to start and what to do.

Anonymous employee surveys are a great way to get things started at this point. Of course, these surveys should be very specific to this subject and go beyond whether an employee is satisfied or not. For example, potential questions could be: “To what extent has your current project contributed to the company’s overall success?” or “How many times have you received recognition for your work this week?”

Find more expert opinions on the Hubstaff blog.

Read the full post

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GDPR: Finally, Some Peace for Sales and Marketing. Or Not?

Sales and marketing will continue to change drastically

The GDPR reporting over the last few weeks reminded me a little bit of the movie “2012” by Roland Emmerich.

Thank God …

… Europe “survived” May 25, 2018. And the rest of the world seems to have gotten off lightly 😉

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now in force. In recent weeks, this topic has tied up large resources in many companies. Across all departments.

As a business angel and investor in high-tech startups, but also as a digital adviser in companies from traditional sectors, I was able to experience live what that means in concrete terms.

I would like to share my insights on the challenges in sales and marketing in this article to raise awareness of the implementation tasks for the forthcoming ePrivacy Regulation.

First, let me say that the companies, their employees and most of the partners, such as lawyers, consultants and agencies, have done a stellar job. This is especially remarkable considering the fact that “digital business” certainly isn’t part of the core business for some companies like, for example, mechanical and plant engineering or companies in the oil and gas industry.

However, the behavior of individual partners of the organizations certainly gave me a few more gray hairs during the implementation process.

First of all, some lawyers could certainly (and really should) give much better advice on their “key issue of data protection”. On the other hand, some consultants and agencies could have demonstrated (and also have to) much more clearly how sales and marketing processes will continue to change in the future (long-term perspective).

Because the bottom line is mainly about two key aspects:

  1. Protection of personal data
  2. Expanding digital value creation in sales and marketing

The latter also includes the new framework conditions of the GDPR.

Unfortunately, my experience in the individual cases mentioned above is that both the quality of the process and the result were unsatisfactory.

This can be illustrated by looking at three challenges:

  • In terms of content, the main focus of many lawyers was the revision of the privacy policy. In individual cases, however, this was based on sample texts instead of the actual facts and procedures of data processing in the respective company. I have no other explanation for the sometimes “very thinly” formulated paragraphs (e.g. just 5 lines regarding the use of Salesforce as a global CRM system). And all that without considering all other necessary topics and issues that go beyond a privacy statement.
  • From a technical perspective, most of the consultants and agencies were busy converting sites to be GDPR compliant. Among other things, the focus was on implementation of SSL security certificates, adaptation of forms (keyword: data economy), as well as optimization of the handling of cookies and their various characteristics. My spot checks after May 25 showed that, while 9 out of 10 corporate websites have a cookie notification, 4 out of 10 continue to generate tracking cookies, even if the visitor has NOT EXPLICITLY AGREED TO them.
  • Of course, in terms of time, everyone involved, internally and externally, was under enormous pressure to meet deadlines until May 25. That’s completely understandable, especially when it comes to the implementation of such a comprehensive topic like the GDPR. For me, however, it is an absolute “no-go” that deadlines for projects with this significance were not met by individual partners on MULTIPLE occasions. Especially since all information and briefings were available on time. In the worst case, the preparation of a comprehensive privacy policy was simply “left alone for 4 weeks” without feedback.

(Note: All of the above challenges have been resolved to date.)

So, what is the conclusion of my findings?

One thing is clear:

The point is certainly NOT to blame individual attorneys, agencies or consultants for being categorically “incompetent” in terms of GDPR implementation. There’s no reason for that at all. This is highlighted by the many positive counterexamples – people and teams who tackle these tasks with passion, transparency and team spirit.

Instead, I would prefer to raise awareness among the companies and partners of how important (and ultimately crucial for success) proper teamwork is for such a complex topic as the GDPR. Every participant has unique skills and strengths. The key is to bundle them in the interest of creating value.

In addition, companies are well advised not to consider the tasks related to the GDPR completed as of May 25, 2018. Quite the contrary! The topic will continue to affect us over the coming months, especially in light of the upcoming ePrivacy regulation.

Sales and marketing will continue to change drastically. I will shed more light on what that means for the value creation in one of my next articles.

P.S.: Personal consent to data processing assumed 😉

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