Change is Hard: Embrace it

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. ~Arnold Bennett

Change is hard. We all know that. Changing anything in an organization can seem like a daunting task; changing the culture of an organization can seem like an impossibility. Fear not. Others have done it and so can you. This week #TChat guest, Tim Kuppler, co-founder of The Culture Advantage and, shared his experience on the subject.

Changing an organization’s culture is one of the most difficult leadership challenges according to Steve Denning, author of The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace. Why is it so hard? Because an organization’s culture is made up of an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes and assumptions. Changing the culture requires a combination of organization tools for changing minds.

A successful shift in organizational culture begins with leadership tools, including a vision or story of the future. It includes cementing the change in place with management tools, such as role definitions, measurement and control systems, and it requires the pure power tools of coercion and punishments as a last resort, when all else fails.

Consultant Brad Power advises, “If You’re Going to Change Your Culture, Do It Quickly.” Power describes the way Trane, an $8 billion subsidiary of Ingersoll Rand, changed their culture quickly by using a combination of a culture survey and an employee engagement survey. The results of their assessment are used to help determine if they have created their desired culture which includes three essential elements:

  • Vision: where the organization wants to go together
  • Mission: what they do together
  • Guiding behavioral principles: how they expect all associates to behave

By Implementing these changes, Trane North America grew year-over-year operating income by over 20 percent, without any new products or services and very limited market growth.

How does one lead change? Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter cites the following six success factors that are the keys to positive change.

  • Show up
  • Speak up
  • Look up
  • Team up
  • Never give up
  • Lift others up


This post first appeared on TalentCulture


Employee Engagement: Is There a Strategic Advantage?

According to a recent Gallup study, worldwide, only 13% of employees are engaged at work. In a 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace, about one in eight workers — roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied — are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.

Companies that understand the value of employee engagement know that motivating high performance and aligning talent with business strategy requires getting to the heart of what matters to employees. Employee engagement is largely about social connections happening in organizations and aligning work experiences with employees’ cultural needs.

How do the best places to work succeed at employee engagement?

  • They understand what employees are thinking.
  • They create an intentional culture.
  • They demonstrate appreciation for contributions big and small.
  • They commit to open, honest communication.
  • They support career path development.
  • They engage in social interactions outside work.
  • They know how to communicate the organization’s stories.

Rob Markey, coauthor of the book, The Ultimate Question 2.0: How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World, believes he knows the Four Secrets to Employee Engagement.

Direct supervisors who set their teams up for success, observe them in action, ask for feedback, identify the root causes of employee concerns, and then follow through with meaningful improvements have happier, more engaged employees.

Bain & Company and Netsurvey analyzed responses from 200,000 employees across 40 companies in 60 countries and found that organizations that invest heavily in creating a culture of employee engagement have the following characteristics:

  • Line supervisors, not HR, lead the charge. It’s difficult for employees to be truly engaged if they don’t like or trust their bosses. Senior leaders must give supervisors the responsibility and authority to earn the enthusiasm, energy, and creativity that signal deep employee engagement.
  • Supervisors learn how to hold candid dialogues with teams.
  • They also do regular “pulse checks.” Short, frequent, and anonymous online surveys (as opposed to a long annual survey) give supervisors a better understanding of team dynamics and a sense of how the team believes customers’ experiences can be improved. What matters most, however, is not the metrics but the resulting dialogue.
  • Teams rally ‘round the customer. Companies that regularly earn high employee engagement tap that knowledge by asking employees how the company can earn more of their customers’ business and build the ranks of customer promoters. And they don’t just ask; they also listen hard to the answers, take action, and let their employees know about it.

This post first appeared on TalentCulture –

Using #Gamification to Engage Employees

What do we mean by employee engagement?

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals. When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort.

Engaged Employees lead to…

  • higher service, quality, and productivity, which leads to…
  • higher customer satisfaction, which leads to…
  • increased sales (repeat business and referrals), which leads to…
  • higher levels of profit, which leads to…
  • higher shareholder returns (i.e., stock price)

Many organizations have created employee engagement strategies that include gamification. Why Gamification? When done correctly, gamification can inspire, motivate and help team members collaborate more effectively and more organically overtime.

Salesforce’s JP Rangaswami – Engage Employees and Drive Innovation with Gamification

Loyalty 3.0: Big Data and Gamification (GSummit SF 2013)

How Can We Use Big Data?

target If you haven’t already read, “Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification,” you should!

Cluster Analysis – a classification technique that partitions a diverse set of objects into smaller groups so that objects in the same cluster are more similar to each other than to objects in other clusters.

A/B Testing – a technique in which a control group (A) is compared with a test group (B) to determine what treatments (changes) will improve a given objective (typically referred to as the conversion rate.) Conversion can be any success condition. Multivariate testing is a variation of A/B Testing that lets a business run several A/B tests at the same time.

Crowdsourcing – outsourcing work to a distributed group of people who aren’t known ahead of time.

Predictive Modeling – refers to a set of mathematical model-techniques created to best predict an outcome. It goes farther than clustering by trying to predict what a group might do under certain circumstances based on current and historical facts and data.

Sentiment Analysis – applies natural-language processing and other analytic techniques to large quantities of source text material to identify and extract subjective information.

Stream Processing – the continuous and real-time analysis of data streams from a variety of sources.

Outlier detection and similarity search – outliers are deviations from the norm. Outliers can help identify problems, lend insight to your product-design process, and expose bad behavior.

Cohort Analysis – by dividing users into cohorts, businesses can compare the relative value of each cohort. Example – source – where did they come from or date of acquisition – when did they join

How are Businesses Using Big Data?

Microsegmentation – big data takes existing data that can be collected and inferred about a consumer and then supplements it with online browsing behavior, shopping patterns, social-networking activity, mobile access, and more data based on actual user behavior to create microsegments.

Targeted advertising and cross-selling – microsegmentation enables businesses to craft the perfect cross-sell/upsell offer to close or expand a sale in real time.

In-store behavior analysis – real-time navigation analysis can provide insight into customer behavior.

Real-time pricing optimization – retailers can change their prices dynamically to reflect demand.

Social-media monitoring – social customer relationship management (SCRM).

Recommendation Engines – predict things that customers might be interested in.

How are YOU using Big Data in your organization?

Intrapreneurs: Creating Value INSIDE the Organization

influenceAccording to David Armano, executive VP, Global Innovation & Integration at Edelman, an intrapreneur is someone who has an entrepreneurial streak in his or her DNA, but chooses to align his or her talents with a large organization in place of creating his or her own.

Smart organizations will seek out individuals who like to invent, innovate and want to be on the front lines of change. These individuals can work independently but even more important can work seamlessly as part of an integrated team structure and also effectively embrace and embody the culture of the intrapreneur’s host organization. Intrapreneurs are most successful when management/leadership empowers and supports them and in turn the intrapreneurs represent the best interests of their organizations while earning the respect of corporate peers.

Intrapreneurs, are becoming increasingly important in a global society that continues to evolve and advance with technology faster than ever. More firms are implementing intrepreneurial projects within departments to test and launch new products, services and systems. Intrapreneurs are in charge of a project within a firm where they are given autonomy to work on a project with freedom and resources, taking ownership of the success and failure of an endeavor. Implementing the changes you propose as an intrapreneur is a sales process. This role is challenging in that you have to have enough support from senior management to buy into your ideas and concepts.