How Effective Is Your Corporate Social Media Strategy?

29 10 2013

Where do you fit on the social media continuum?  Many folks have some friends on Facebook (1.1 billion users), an incomplete profile on LinkedIn (240 million users), a bunch of views on Youtube (1 billion unique users/month) and that is about it.  While many folks don’t tweet (555 million users) regularly, ALL of us have purchased a ton of things online.  Fewer of us write checks than ever before and many use our “phone” to transact financial business and get answers to a myriad of questions.  Regardless of where you are personally on social media and how you measure your activity today compared to five years ago, your findings will be not be shocking.  We have all made individual moves forward.  So what about your corporate plan?  What moves has your Eye Cubed organization made or is preparing to make?

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My company, PFP, started our LinkedIn Group “Where Your Credit Union Goes To Grow” in March, 2013 and the group consistently grows each month.  When you search Groups in LinkedIn under “Credit Union”, we are currently ranked #28!  That is a good start to a very robust plan.   Our purpose is to become national thought leaders and value generators for the credit union industry.  We are definitely on the best platform.  Nothing compares to LinkedIn to achieve the goal of B to B networking.

You cannot prove you can swim when you only have your foot in the water!

We have only just begun.  It is fair to say that our initial foray into social media has merely taken us out of the gate and represents a small fraction of our overall strategy.  When you combine our B to B and B to C strategies, we will be managing ten social media pages via five platforms in 2014.  We have a ton of work to do to build our community and provide meaningful value.

This aint no “Field Of Dreams”…. For everyone to come, we have to do more than just “Build it”!

There are three core competencies needed to have a successful social media game plan:

  • Content Acquisition
  • Marketing/ Dissemination
  • Community Acquisition

Most organizations are unwilling to excel at all three consistently over a long period of time.  If one of the above is ignored, the overall initiative will be off balance and will miss the mark.

  • It takes time to provide meaningful content.
  • It requires work to develop original thought.
  • It takes diligence to demonstrate effective distribution.
  • It takes effort to build a growing network.

You need “numbers” to play the numbers game!        

We need to get comfortable with the fact that “small” percentages of our network will see our efforts and a “smaller” percentage will act on it.  The good news is that those numbers are relative and become “big” when our social media community is “big”.  Like any marketing and sales strategy, metrics drive our activity.  As we develop a track record of actions and measurable results, we will improve the top line and bottom line by focusing on the activities that drive our metrics beyond our targets.

We are building an asset, not buying a lottery ticket.  Eye Cubed companies invest the time necessary to build by executing a sound strategy.  While social media is not a new concept to anyone, for most companies, infusing an effective plan into the culture is pure innovation and fits neatly into the Eye Cubed philosophies presented in the prior posts.

Eye-Cubed leaders need:

  • Vision to feel the Inspiration
  • Vision to see the Innovation
  • Vision to execute the Implementation
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How Do You Individually Package Inspiration? (Market To Your Audience)

23 10 2013

Individually Wrapped Inspiration

We have determined that Eye Cubed companies have folks with many different strengths, qualities and talents.  What has to happen to maximize your team’s capabilities is to create and sustain a culture with an open forum where your team members have an opportunity to:

  1.  Think, Speak and Be Heard

Since you’ve hired Eye-Cubed TALENT, you have to be ready to deal with the range of output, ideas and energy that goes along with them.  The output will vary greatly primarily due to the individuals on your team who come with their own personal history coupled with an individualized inspirational trigger-point.  Let us explore how to package the inspiration needed in each case:

Self-Motivated Inspiration.

We have those leaders who self-inspire and need very little outside influence.  Their personal development has been fostered living in households where parents had high expectations for their success.   They were forced to forge their own paths and in so doing they became independent and creative problem solvers.   They will anticipate problems and come up with solutions.   Leaders who are self-motivated need an opportunity to be heard on a solo platform.  To get the most out of their innate ability, they have to feel appreciated and need recognition.  Their inspiration is global.

Group Oriented Inspiration.

Here is where you find your Eye-Cubed team member who manages the highest performing teams.   There is no need for you to individually recognize them as they are satisfied when their team or group succeeds.  They are used to working through family challenges as a team made up of supportive members with common goals.   To get the most out of their inspirational ideas, they require time to meet and work together.   They need a clear expression of the problem and then an opportunity to develop solutions together.   They do not mind allowing other leader to take the spotlight.  They are most satisfied when their team exceeds expectations.  Their inspiration is goal oriented.

Role Model Driven Inspiration. 

Every day many of your team members will be working on their own self-development.  They reach for personal fulfillment based on the success and achievement modeled by others.   These are independent workers who are given a task and run with the ball to the finish line.   They follow their role models and are, in turn, inspired to accomplish individual greatness.   These leaders need strong mentors and a culture where personal growth is encouraged.   At home they were inspired by powerful role models.  Their inspiration comes from personal achievement and is self oriented.

Your task as an Eye-Cubed Leader is to identify the inspirational style of your team members and provide an atmosphere where each of these uniquely packaged styles can thrive.  Allow each one to THINK in their own style.   Provide a forum for them to SPEAK and be respected.  And let them know they have been HEARD by acknowledging their ideas.  The ideal culture will allow the diversity within your company to be your market differentiator and bring you an unstoppable competitive advantage.

In addition to the consistent Inspiration that will drive your corporate initiatives, Inspiration is needed at every strategic inflection point.  At the most critical points in time, your Eye-Cubed team must come up with the most innovative solutions to get things done.   Solving similar problems the same way over and over again causes redundancy and guarantees the same or degrading results.   Henry Ford said it best: “If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for better horses.”  Let your leaders and team members feel the satisfaction,  energy and innovation that grows with Inspiration that permeates throughout your organization.





When You Speak Of INSPIRATION, What Language Do You Use?

15 10 2013

In a recent post, we posed that nothing happens without the determination to TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT when implementing goals.  Prior to setting plans in motion however, the first “I” in the Eye-Cubed formula—INSPIRATION must have been felt.  Let us be sure, before we move forward, that we are speaking the same language when referring to the INSPIRATION needed to thrive in today’s corporate environment.

We do not need a “Yeah! Rah! Rah!” motivational presentation where audiences are left with a positive shot in the arm and a motivational kick in the butt.   The inspiration residing within an Eye Cubed leadership team neither leads folks to walk on fire nor climb over mountains. That is definitely not what I’m talking about.   We need the down’n dirty Eye Cubed INSPIRATION that identifies a need, recognizes a problem or uncovers an awareness of a pivotal situation that gives a person an idea about how to fill a need, solve a problem or choose the right path.

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Let us look at several examples about inspirational breakthroughs that have changed the way we think, shop and ship.

Steven Jobs and Michael Wozniak.  APPLE.   Today we can’t leave home without our phone and calling folks is one of the least popular things to do with it!   Think of the impact “i” life has had on your world in general, both positively and negaitively and specifically on many industries (tv, printed communication, shopping, photography).  Apple’s inspirational revolution required companies to Inspire, Innovate and Implement—or go out of business!

Sam Walton.  WALMART.   Here is discount shopping at the ultimate.  Sam Walton identified a market that was poorly serviced by Catalogue Shopping.  On-sight customers traveled to large city department stores for their “brick and mortar” experiences.  His inspiration brought discount stores to rural America.   His underlying philosophy of honoring the customer and his employees dominated Walmart’s culture and brand.   Now WALMART dominates our cities large and small.

Fred Smith.   FED-EX.  Based on his inspirational desire to bring over-night delivery systems that took advantage of technology, Smith wrote a paper/proposal on the subject while studying at Yale University.   It was quickly disregarded as an innovation lacking viability.  His experience and insight while in the military gave him the inspiration needed to pursue his dream.  Today, “Fed-Ex” is a verb; a word that universally means “overnight delivery”.

My very own company, PFP, took a life insurance distribution method and turned it into a hugely successful marketing process which, by far, spawned the leading provider of voluntary insurance products purchased by credit union members throughout the country.   The insurance industry’s revolution required INSPIRATION at its core when PFP founders identified the problem and came up with a viable solution.  With the goal of expanding critically needed insurance protection within an underserved market, PFP created a unique distribution approach and service model.   Upon reflection, the Eye Cubed INSPIRATIONAL process was clearly exemplified as part of PFP’s history.  It took inspired leadership, innovative products and relentless implementation to ultimately give rise to a great company.

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Eye Cubed companies possess the inspiration needed to evolve and Eye Cubed leaders are inspired to turn challenging opportunities into market dominance.  What factors are facing your business, industry or niche that requires inspiration powerful enough to spur the innovation that must be implemented today?





Take It To The Limit! – A Plan for Successful Implementation

9 10 2013

When a man sat next to me at the bar of an airport restaurant for dinner on October 6th, I did not think much of it.  He looked a bit familiar so I smiled at him and wished him a good day (something I try to do with everyone I connect with).  Within a few minutes, I realized I was sitting next to the legendary “Mr. October” himself, Reggie Jackson, the Hall of Fame New York Yankee!  We spoke for an hour, mostly about life’s challenges and a touch about baseball.  He is a legend who knew more than most how to ….TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT!

Reggie

Now, you might ask:  “What does that have to do with IMPLEMENTATION?”  Actually, it has everything to do with implementation.   As an Eye-Cubed executive initiating any implementation process, you must approach every day like Reggie approached the game of baseball.  You must be determined to succeed, ready for the hard work and committed to…TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT!

We all know that ideas are a dime a dozen.   But we have used the Eye-Cubed strategy detailed in “You Don’t Need A Plumber, You Need A Process” to evaluate our innovative choices and we are confident that we have decided on the BEST innovation to pursue.   Now the work begins.

Design your roadmap using the following steps:

  1.  Determine the resources needed to reach your goal.   These include   human resources, financial capacity and a realistic time line.
  2. Stay focused on the goal and specifically identify the steps needed to stay on track.
  3. Take those steps, one at a time, until your ultimate goal has been achieved.

OK, so we’ve designed a plan in the ‘optimum’ world.   Now let’s get real.   And that means being flexible.  Being flexible does not mean straying from the goal.   Being flexible means that at each of the intersections on the map, choices might have to be made as situations change.   You will have to keep a pulse on the climate and be ready to make personnel changes, dig deeper into your financial resources and even stretch the time frame.    Being willing to evaluate as you drive the project to its successful destination requires a focused Eye-Cubed leader, a leader ready, willing and able to remain confident, evaluate, adjust the course and build upon the strength of the team by the constant example of the willingness to personally….TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT!

Something very interesting is bound to happen if you continue to demonstrate this confident attitude.  You will find that it is contagious and grows in power and density like a snowball rolling down a mountain.  The force of this synergy is unstoppable and in true Eye-Cubed fashion, you will sustain the support and energy needed to lead your team to success.

Stop for a minute now and imagine Reggie Jackson approaching the plate in the World Series with baseball history on the line.  Wait for your pitch and swing for the fences!  Perform as he did and firmly fix yourself to the vision of your goal.  Call upon THE TWO MOST POWERFUL TEAMMATES you can imagine—PATIENCE and POWER.   By combining them with a firm focus you will….

TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT!





The Innovation Safari: Hunt For ‘Big Game’ In Your Company!

18 09 2013

safari hunt

While tracking and hunting “wild game” is not for everyone, hunting down innovative solutions for one’s company is always considered a worthy pursuit.  One would never wander aimlessly around the back-country hoping to bump into one’s prize.  In the same respect, one would never target a random innovation as the next great strategic initiative for one’s company. Take a lesson from the Eye-Cubed hunters in pursuit of corporate greatness and maintain the position as “the hunter” rather than eventually becoming “the hunted.”

The hallways of your company set the path to follow and explore.  As you traverse the dangerous terrain in complete stealth mode, you must make your first strategic decision.  Should you slink through the caverns of operations looking for innovative efficiencies or brave the open plains of sales in search of innovative products or delivery methods?  There is no “wrong” move here since with the assistance of Eye-Cubed strategies, the “prize” awaits you in either environment.

Look closely and listen carefully.  What do you see?  What do you hear?  The opportunities lie camouflaged, lying in wait wherever the bottlenecks find themselves.  You can also focus within the mundane and senseless processes.  It is within those scenarios where the innovation opportunities infest the organization.  You can root them out from multiple sources if you wish.

In addition, when you make your way across the plentiful hunting ground, spend some time forging the many streams that abound.  Each stream (of income) has a flow all of its own.  Like a native tracker who knows the signs of his prey, so too does the hunter who analyzes the streams of income that flow through your company. Is the flow weak? Are the waters deep?  Is the river wide?  And most importantly, are there hidden streams yet uncovered that need excavation? Those new streams must be discovered and included within the Game Preserve. New waters are the lifeblood for current and future nourishment.

Once you’ve spotted the innovation which you desire to pursue, you need a plan so you can sneak up on the prize and launch an attack without spooking the elusive animal.  I suggest spending the time needed to gain the buy-in from the other hunters on your expedition.  It is unlikely that you will be successful seizing your prey on your own.  Together with your team, orchestrate your plan with the precision of a champion.  Remember that implementing the plan is as important as building the plan.  By drawing on the expertise of your team members, you will increase your chances of success.

One of the greatest pieces of advice for all hunters and teams is to avoid the pursuit while maintaining a feeling of desperation.  Give your team ample time to reach your goal and bag your big game.  Be prepared that your initial plan may be incomplete or totally ineffective. In many cases, you will need to revise your initial strategy or go back to the drawing board and devise an entirely new plan.

Think of the Eye-Cubed Innovation Safari like Teddy Roosevelt thought of his hunting prowess when he stated:

“No, I’m not a good shot, but I shoot often.”





How Can You “Build The Vision For Innovation” With Eye-Cubed U?

10 09 2013

Has Apple lost it’s innovative edge? 71%  of respondents to a Bloomberg Global Poll say “YES”

Has Microsoft been dethroned due to Steve Ballmer’s lack of focus on innovation? According to Harvard Business Review, there is no question.

These giants have been scrutinized for falling out of the lead.  It seems as if the prodigal innovative leaders of each company carried the ball that kept them at the top of their game.  Did anyone believe that Bill Gates or Steve Jobs could easily be replaced?  I think not.  While each of us may be a far cry from Bill or Steve, we have an obligation to bring our organizations forward in turbulent times.  We must survive and thrive.

great profile pic

Once you know that you need to be driving your company along the Eye-Cubed Super Highway towards innovation, it is time to take the many lessons of the past and design a plan to get there.

  1. Make sure you have the diversity in leadership personality to lead innovative change.  The value of differing thought processes and skills lead to success.
  2. Perform Corporate Hydrology exercises and deeply analyze your streams of income.  Make them wider, deeper, longer and if possible, find new ones.
  3. Analyze your past and present using Dendochronology tools and determine if your organization has been innovative enough over the years and remains innovative enough today. Add the rings of change to your growing tree and visualize the evolution of each corporate innovation.
  4. Scrutinize your innovations and make sure they benefit the customer. It is all about them and not about us.  Never lose sight of the end-game.  Without the consumer, we are all looking for new jobs.
  5. Develop a consistent plan to innovate every year, especially when times are good.  This prevents you having to “swing for the fences” on the final pitch.
  6. Follow a plan to choose which innovations to pursue by determining which ones to do in the short term, medium term and long term.  Create a process to measure each opportunity.
  7. Make sure your innovators know what to expect as they effectively bring about change.  The road to greatness for innovators is long and hard.  Give them support along the way.
  8. Follow effective plans to gain buy-in among your teams.  Your great idea will die on the vine without senior management support.
  9. Understand that the innovative path from point A to point B is not always straight.  Prepare for twists, turns and huge bumps in the road.
  10. Utilize collaborative techniques to optimize the innovative process.  Bring others in and enhance your idea.

It does not matter what industry you are in, Eye-Cubed companies survive because they evolve.  Peter Drucker, one of the greatest business minds in history aptly puts it “Core competencies are different for every organization..But every organization needs one core competence: innovation”.

It is time to consider engaging Eye-Cubed U as a speaker to facilitate the analysis of your innovative process within your organization or to address the innovative leaders attending your next conference.   Take advantage of the Eye-Cubed-U philosophy.   I look forward to discussing availability for your next corporate event or conference.

David J. Sussman, Esq. CLU

SVP PFP-Schmitt Sussman Enterprises, Inc.

Founder and President, Eye-Cubed-U, LLC

Building the Vision for Inspiration. Innovation. Implementation.

Cell Phone:  203-247-2104:  Email:  dsussman@pfpservices.com





The Nature/Nurture Debate & Developing An Eye-Cubed Leadership Team

4 09 2013

What was your reputation…____________?

  • As a young student?
  • In high school?
  • In your first job?
  • After the 90 days following that big career leap?

What are the reputations of your…____________?

  • Employees?
  • Teams?
  • Departments?
  • Companies?

Do you have a personal reputation filled with the Eye-Cubed qualities of a great leader that inspires others to innovate and implement?  I ask the following follow-up critical question:

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What came first, the reputation or your behavior that supported it?

This issue permeates psychology classrooms and has been debated among the greatest minds.  Have we developed the personalities, which form our reputations, as a result of “nature” (what we were born with and cannot control) or “nurture” (the environment in which we were subjected, exposed and molded).  This concept drives one of the key tenants on how to build an Eye-Cubed team that is inspired to achieve greatness and high performance.  In the Eye-Cubed world around us, we control that which we can and believe we have the ability to influence results by executing a plan.  As a result, I answer the nature/nurture debate as follows:  NURTURE!

“Give the people around you a reputation to uphold.”

When I was a young boy, I was wrought with “confidence” issues.  They manifested themselves in many ways. However, my mother Janice Sussman, refused to allow me to develop a negative self-image.  Her consistent words and actions gave me the confidence to believe in myself.  Over time, I grew to believe the positive stories she told me.  I developed the very image she demanded I have of myself.

In high school, there were two English teachers whose actions, words and behaviors damaged my confidence and belief in myself.  I nearly gave up writing completely as they said, “I have no idea how you ever got out of middle school English.  Your writing is remedial.”  However, there was another teacher, George Stone at The Hotchkiss School, whom I respected and admired.  I listened to him.  He praised my creativity.  He described me as “powerful”, “influential”, “creative” and as a “leader”.  He wrote a letter to my parents describing me this way.  I took those words seriously and focused on following the footsteps of one who had those traits.  I continued to write.

Throughout my business career, I developed the reputation of following in my father, Stanley Sussman’s footsteps as PFP’s innovator.  I took that as a responsibility and honor to maintain while I focused a tremendous amount of time and energy on providing that characteristic to the company.

  • Who can you influence by giving them a reputation to uphold?
  • What qualities will you identify as key?
  • How will you communicate the great news?

You, your Eye-Cubed leaders and their teams possess the qualities needed to excel (Read more about Leadership as the Prerequisite of Inspiration).  Many know it today and need to hear it from you.  Others need to hear it from you so they believe it tomorrow.  By providing a “nurturing” environment, your team will achieve your vision.