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«  February 2011  »
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If you’ve ever been part of a technology roll-out that fizzled, you know how expensive and frustrating it can be. You have carefully chosen a vendor, made a big splashy announcement, (maybe) made training available to people and… nothing. The bad news is that can be costly and annoying. What you need to know is that it’s perfectly natural.

What you’re seeing in action  is something called "The Hype Cycle”and knowing what it is will help you counteract it and get more ROI on your technology investment. The term was coined in the mid-1990s  by Gartner  ( or The Gartner Group as they were then known). Basically, it shows how people react to a new technology.

There are 5 stages to this cycle:

  1. The Technology Trigger: someone invents a cool tool like the iPad, or IT finally quits mucking around with the bid process and announces they’ve chosen a new web presentation platform.
  2. The Peak of Inflated Expectations: This is based on perfectly good math and overly optimistic expectations. "We have 200 managers, if they all do 2 webmeetings a week we’ll make our money back in no time and look at everything we’ll save on travel”. The problem is that not all your managers will immediately jump on that bandwagon, which leads to…
  3. The Trough of Disillusionment: This sounds like something out of Pilgrim’s Progress but it basically is the cold splash of reality in your face when you realize only a fraction of people will immediately adopt a new tool. At this point, you have to work like a dog to get to…
  4. The Slope of Enlightenment: This is how long it takes your people to ramp up to using a tool at some level of effectiveness. If they move fast, it’s a quick climb, if they aren’t motivated to use the technology, it can be a long, painful, gradual slope to…
  5. The Plateau of Productivity: Which is where whoever is going to use the tool is using it. Sometimes it’s almost universal (like email) and sometimes it’s far below expectations (SharePoint anyone?).

Where money is recouped or lost forever is in a) how steep the Slope of Enlightenment is and b) how high the Plateau of Productivity is. So how do you get over the initial disappointment and get where you need to go faster?

Most companies make two mistakes when rolling out technology: they have unrealistic expectations of how quickly people will grab onto a technology and they try to roll it out to everyone at the same time. Both will deepen the trough of disappointment and increase the length of time it takes to reach productivity.

Here’s how to overcome this perfectly natural obstacle to success:

Start Small– choose a pilot group of users, demonstrate success and let the rest of your team build on success. You want to choose people for this group who are willing to use technology, are respected by their peers and will immediately show positive results from using the tool. This will increase positive buzz and help others be more willing to try your new gizmo. Think about your Peaks and Troughs… the lower the peak the shallower the trough and the faster the climb to utilization.

... Read more »

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 660 | Added by: kc | Date: 2011-02-21 | Comments (0)

The list of goals entrepreneurs have is usually long and perpetually growing. We might have plans to start a marketing project, invest in a new hire, or redesign our website. With so much happening at once, sharpening our leadership skills often falls to the bottom of the list. Yet it’s imperative to begin thinking about how you can take yourself and your company to the next level.

Scott Eblin, a leadership coach and author of Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success, writes about the behaviors leaders need to abandon and ones they should adopt. I spoke to him about his best leadership tips for entrepreneurs. Edited interview excerpts follow.

Q: What are the most common habits entrepreneurs should break?

Eblin: The lowest-rated behavior in our research on leaders is the skill of pacing oneself by building in regular breaks from work. That can be a particular challenge for small-business owners who are trying to do it all. The entrepreneurial mind-set is often that of the ‘go to’ person. You’ve gotten where you are because you get stuff done. You’re the closer. It’s all too easy to get sucked into that mind-set and lose your perspective.

Q. What behaviors can business owners adopt to get to the next level?

A. An important question that all leaders need to ask themselves on a regular basis is ‘What is it that only I can do?’ That question is not about being indispensible. Rather, it’s about thoughtfully considering the highest and best uses of your time and attention. Where is the value really added? Assess the things that only you can do, and find help for the rest.

Q. What’s the best way for entrepreneurs to learn new skills?

A. I’m a big fan of peer coaching. I encourage all of my clients to find one or more peers with whom they can connect on a regular basis. You can learn from each other’s experiences and provide some space for each other to get up on the balcony and think out loud.

Q. What’s a good strategy for making changes?

A. Don’t try to change too many things at once. Focus on the vital few and work on making those habits you can build on. Aristotle said, ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.’ Who am I to argue with Aristotle? I think that’s great advice.”

Q. What’s the one thing everyone needs to do to be a better leader?

A. Ask for feedback from your team, peers and clients. Then, look for the one or two most important things that would make the biggest difference in your overall effectiveness. Identify one or two action steps that are in the sweet spot between ‘easy to do’ and ‘likely to make a difference.’ From that point on, follow the advice on the back of the shampoo bottle. Rinse and repeat.

... Read more »

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 632 | Added by: kc | Date: 2011-02-21 | Comments (0)

Making a decision is one of the most powerful acts for inspiring confidence in leaders and managers. Yet many bosses are squeamish about it.

Some decide not to decide, while others simply procrastinate. Either way, it’s typically a cop-out — and doesn’t exactly encourage inspiration in the ranks.

To avoid pining over what to do and what to skip, it can help to learn how to make better decisions. You’ll be viewed as a better leader and get better results overall. Here are five tips for making quicker, more calculated decisions:

1. Stop seeking perfection. Many great leaders would prefer a project or report be delivered only 80% complete a few hours early than 100% complete five minutes late. Moral of the story: Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Instead of seeking the impossible, efficient decision makers tend to leap without all the answers and trust that they’ll be able to build their wings on the way down.

2. Be independent. Good decision makers are "collaboratively independent.” They tend to surround themselves with the best and brightest and ask pointed questions. For instance, in a discussion with subject-matter experts, they don’t ask: "What should I do?” Rather, their query is: "What’s your thinking on this?” Waiting for committees or an expansive chain of command to make decisions could take longer. Get your information from credible sources and then act, swiftly.

3. Turn your brain off. Insight comes when you least expect it. Similar to suddenly remembering the name of an actor that you think you’d just plumb forgotten. The same happens when you’re trying to make a decision. By simply turning your mind off for a while or even switching to a different dilemma, you’ll give your brain the opportunity to scan its data bank for information that is already stored and waiting to be retrieved.

4. Don’t problem solve, decide. A decision can solve a problem, but not every problem can be solved by making a decision. Instead, decision making often relies more on intuition than analysis. Deciding between vendors, for instance, requires examining historical data, references and prices. But the tipping point often rests with your gut. Which feels like the right choice?

5. Admit your mistakes. If your feelings steered you wrong, correct the error and fess up. Even making the wrong decision will garner more respect and loyalty when you admit you’ve made a mistake and resolve it than if you are habitually indecisive.

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 621 | Added by: kc | Date: 2011-02-21 | Comments (0)

Category: VIDEOS | Views: 700 | Added by: kc | Date: 2011-02-21 | Comments (0)