What is the president's role?

The single biggest issue I have with the current administration is the practice of blaming. How can we do better if we're so busy pointing fingers instead of trying to understand what the other side wants? Comedy writers are not paid to be role models. Presidents are. 

Houston Chronicle: How do we learn to hate? 2018-Dec-13 by Mikki Hebl

No one is born with hate. It is a learned process, and it is easily taught, but we know it has a deep connection with fear. We hate someone because we are afraid they will harm us or our loved ones. We hate someone because they perform deeds that offend our beliefs. But Ben's experience shows us that hate must be actively resisted and that our leaders must lead by example. 

Here's what Lyndon Johnson said when Tommy Smothers was making fun of him in 1968:

It is part of the price of leadership of this great and free nation to be the target of clever satirists. You have given the gift of laughter to our people. May we never grow so somber or self-important that we fail to appreciate the humor in our lives. 

And here is how Trump responds to SNL satire:

A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live. It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion?

 


Microsoft analyzes relationships among successful sales people and business customers

Microsoft now has benchmarks for their salespeople on how big their network of connections should be and how much time they should be collaborating with their customers. And their salespeople are relying on the LinkedIn Sales Navigator product to build their networks. We don't know these numbers, which probably would vary across companies and industries, but we know what to watch!

Using their own Workplace Analytics software, Microsoft analyzed their own "complex sales organization of 20,000-plus salespeople covering large enterprises to small business customer segments, and spanning 100 countries."

Harvard Business Review Blog: A Look into Microsoft's Data-Driven Approach to Improving Sales, 2018-Dec-17 by Sanaz Namdar and Ryan Fuller

One of the first things we learned is that salespeople with larger, more inclusive networks tended to have better outcomes. This is consistent with a number of other similar studies. Based on this finding, we initiated a program to coach our sales teams to focus on efficiently building and growing their internal and external networks. By looking at network size relative to tenure within the company, we were further able to establish that it typically takes roughly 12 months for most people to build these networks.... 

On average, teams engaged with twice the number of customer contacts in our higher growth accounts, and collaborated double the amount of time with these customers as compared to lower growth accounts.... Deeper analysis showed that investing more time and energy into partnering with some of these lower growth accounts could improve them. As a result, we adjusted our sales coverage models to enable more face time with these previously underserved customers.... 

We found that customer satisfaction is directly correlated with customer collaboration time (email and meetings) across all Microsoft roles and teams engaging with customers, including product engineering and marketing teams.... 

As part of our ongoing organizational efforts to better understand our customers, one of our teams built a machine learning model that uses more than 100 features to predict customer satisfaction. We worked closely with this team to add the behavioral data about collaboration we gathered into the model. After our analysis, we discovered that collaboration became the top feature in predicting customer satisfaction, and helped increase the accuracy of the model from 78% to 93%.

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To thrive with customer loyalty, know and communicate your contribution

A great product or service is no longer enough. Your company has to be respectable in order to sustain customer loyalty. Buyers expect your company to stand up for its values over and above making a profit. In the article linked below, Darren Evans suggests that your leadership has to answer the question: "our brand exists to ...." If your brand doesn't have a specific plan to make the world a better place, then why should I be loyal? 

The Engine Room: Five reasons why purpose will matter more in 2019, 2018-Dec-12 by Darren Evans  (via The Wise Marketer)

Research findings published in October highlighted that two-thirds of global consumers now buy on belief – a staggering statistic up 13 points on the previous year. The takeaway point from the 2018 Earned Brand study, if I had to cite only one, is that what a brand stands for now matters more than ever. People will choose – or switch to – a brand that matches their personal values and has a positive societal impact. They want to feel something.

Marketers reading this stat for the first time may presume the trend is being influenced by the millennial generation, but interestingly, belief-driven buyers now dominate every demographic, irrespective of age or income. Almost as many consumers aged 35-to-54 are said to buy on belief as 18-to-34-year-olds, for instance. 

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How to start a conversation in the LinkedIn newsfeed

Here's an excellent way to re-energize your LinkedIn posts. FIRST, you have to think about which people you want to converse with!

Managing Editor: Why It’s Worth Rethinking Your LinkedIn Strategy, 2018-Dec-6 by Mary Ellen Slayter

“Tagging is very powerful when done right, but you see people that do it in a skeezy way. You'll see people that post something and then they tag 30 people for no reason. And that's the wrong way to do it.”

What’s the right way? Jake offers an example: “There's this trend in technology called ‘no code.’ When I heard about it I didn't even know this existed. And so I wrote about it and tagged a bunch of my technical friends to get their insights and feedback on it. That led to a ton of conversation and dialogue in the comments.” It worked because he was genuinely interested in the concept and invited others he thought would be interested to have a conversation about it.

Our instinct is often to focus on ourselves — sharing our content, publishing our ideas and consuming other people’s content. But LinkedIn is more helpful if you resist this impulse. Invite people to be part of a conversation, and participate in other people's conversations. Amplify other voices.

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Christof Spieler explains how to complain about public transit (and be justified)

Vox is calling this a 'very opinionated' view of U.S. public transit from Houstonian Christof Spieler, but I think it's more... a practical, systematic, evidence-based, and YES irritable view of what matters in U.S. public transit!

Vox: The best and worst cities in America for public transportation, according to an urban planner, 2018-Dec-7 by Christof Spieler

...complaining is kind of part of our relationship with transportation. I have yet run into a city where people have no complaints about their transit system. And, in fact, sometimes the places where you hear the most complaints are the best systems because the fact that people are complaining about it is a sign that it actually matters to them. [In] places that only have very small, low-frequency bus networks, people don’t tend to complain much about transit since they don’t think about using it.

Some of the most [frequent] complaints about transit are Chicago, Boston, and New York, and it’s partially because those systems actually serve a lot of people.

I would also say, in the United States compared to the rest of the world, we’re not doing very well. If you look at even cities like New York or Boston or Chicago, those are huge international cities, the absolute center of the US economy, and we’re underinvesting in transit pretty dramatically. In New York, we’re talking about a major lift just to keep the subway as it is operating. When you look at cities like London or Paris, they are actually building major new lines on top of their existing network. The most ambitious plans in New York pale in comparison to what its competitors around the world are doing.

So I think when people are complaining about transit, in many cases, they are right. In many cases, the resources aren’t there. And it’s not just money. It’s also things like being willing to say, “This is a really busy bus route down a congested street; we will give it its own lane.” Being okay with saying there will be no parking on this street or there will be one less lane of cars because actually, the buses carry more people than anything on this street. And very few cities are actually willing to make decisions like that. So I think people’s complaining about transit in many ways is accurate.

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Loyalty expert Jackie Huba hired by Houston startup Rally

On the QViews website, you can scroll down to my recommended books and see Creating Customer Evangelists by Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell. Jackie Huba has gone onto to build an amazing consulting practice that teaches businesses how to make customers feel special. 

Rally is a recovery and rehydration drink created in Houston. It's been growing for a couple of years and is now available at HEB, Spec's and other regional outlets. 

Congratulations to Rally and Jackie... I know you'll do well together! 

BusinessWire: Beverage Company “Rally” Hires Sales and Marketing Talent to Connect With Customers, Fuel Growth, and Expand Into New Markets, 2018-Dec-3 

Rally is designed to help athletes -- including football players, runners, cyclers, CrossFit enthusiasts and more -- achieve their top physical performance and aid in quick recovery.... Rally is available select HEB, Spec’s, and local retailers in Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

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McKinsey finds that good design is a corporate goal as important as revenue and profit

  1. Design performance is a measurable goal like revenue and profit, and top management should treat it as such. 
  2. The customer experience at every touchpoint is all part of the same product/service design. 
  3. Employees achieve design excellence by working on cross-functional teams. 
  4. Commitment to constant testing, measuring and revising is crucial. 

McKinsey Quarterly: The Business Value of Design, 2018-October, by Benedict Sheppard, Hugo Sarrazin, Garen Kouyoumjian, and Fabricio Dore

The diversity among companies achieving top-quartile MDI performance shows that design excellence is within the grasp of every business, whether product, service, or digitally oriented. Through interviews and our experience working with companies to transform their strength in design, we’ve also discovered that one of the most powerful first steps is to select an important upcoming product or service and make a commitment to using it as a pilot for getting the four elements right. This approach showed far better financial results than trying to improve design as a theme across the whole company—for example, conducting trials of cross-functional work in isolation from real products or services.

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