You’ve likely heard of trademarks, “words that distinguish one organization from the rest in its niche,” the author says, but you may not have known seven facts about them. Besides the fun fact that trademarks have their roots in the Roman empire, the other six have some bearing for entrepreneurs and businesses looking into establishing their own: you can trademark more than words, such as designs; you cannot trademark descriptive phrases; forming a business entity is not the same as acquiring a trademark; trademarks are distinct from copyrights and patents; your trademark application could be rejected; and finally, trademarks are national rights, which is important if you intend to take your business international.
In his new book “Great Leaders Have No Rules”, the author (Kevin Kruse) cites Netflix for its success over the past 20 years. What is its secret to maintaining a fiercely loyal customer base? It “avoids rules like the plague”, the author of this article says. He discusses the company’s 2009 release of its (“now famous”) culture deck, where leaders gave a nod to the traditional logic about the need for rules and the short-term benefits they bring, but “it goes on to show how over time, a culture that is obsessed with rules and processes drives out high-performing employees.” Rather, Netflix leaders try to inspire and empower employees to “become the best version of themselves” by getting rid of micromanaging rules that stifle innovation in favor of guidelines so they make good decisions.
What do employees really want, and why do so many leave their managers? The author says it can be narrowed down to this one sentence: “They seek a meaningful experience at work and a supportive, collaborative environment that appeals to their sense of purpose and human emotions.” Citing Gallup’s latest “State of the American Workplace” report, he discusses its findings about the “five core needs at the heart of every employee”, from the manager-employee relationship and the employee’s role to the workspace environment and the employee’s well-being.
In this highly analytical article about performance metrics, the author argues against what he calls “metric fixation.” He details the key components of metric fixation and the underlying “belief that it is possible – and desirable – to replace professional judgment (acquired through personal experience and talent) with numerical indicators of comparative performance based upon standardized data (metrics); and that the best way to motivate people within these organizations is by attaching rewards and penalties to their measured performance.”
He contends that metric fixation invites a sort of gaming and a variety of more subtle negative consequences, such as employees’ goal displacement and short-term thinking, as well as transactional costs.
Innovation is the key to the long-term success of your business, “yet every business and every entrepreneur I know struggles with this challenge, focused on hiring the right people and implementing the right process”, the author says. He continues, “in my experience the key seems to be more a discipline of innovative thinking from everyone, driven from the top.”
He then cites the book, “Innovation Thinking Methods for the Modern Entrepreneur,” which offers “dozens of ideas and examples to illustrate how this discipline can work, and the power it brings to any organization”, and discusses 10 key lessons from it, from utilizing first principles thinking to picking an impossible target and getting mad about it.
As the business landscape is changing rapidly, “companies are recognizing the urgency of being nimble and dynamically adapting to new environments,” the author says. However, many are missing the mark. She continues, “today’s business environment calls for a different approach to work management.” She then discusses three strategies for doing so at length: conduct a tool audit; adopt a centralized work management system; and lastly, measure collaborative analytics.
Just when you think that productivity software is all figured out, you find that app creators have designed more clever ways to get things done. Some are new apps while others are major improvements to the classics. Here, Fast Company shares “some of the most essential productivity apps” they’ve found lately for computers, tablets, phones, “and even your smartwatch.” They are organized under six categories: time savers; email enhancers; concentration boosters; image improvers; audiovisual upgrades; and lastly, extra motivation.
If you’re figuring out where your business is going to grow, there are crucial, mostly non-monetary resources to consider. In this article, the author discusses five vital things to consider when you’re looking at where to locate your business: talent pool; networking potential; proximity to higher learning institutions; existing ecosystem; and finally, real estate costs.
It is predicted that by next year, customer service and experience will trump price as the essential differentiator among brands. The author cites sources indicating that currently, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a superior customer experience, and will spend 13 to 18% more for excellent customer service.
To take full advantage of this trend, she discusses five customer service rules to set for your business: never make your problems the customer’s problems; seek reviews and encourage open dialogue; respond promptly with empathy to customer comments and complaints; map the customer service journey and establish a voice-of-the-customer program; and lastly, reward customers for staying loyal.