Of Networking, Cyprus and Choosing Where To Work

Every now and then, we take a different approach on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz. This week we will be doing “Bring Your Own Headline”. This freestyle conversation could cover any number of posts or stories online this week. To participate

  • Find an interesting post or article and save the link
  • Think of an interesting discussion question to tweet out
  • Either DM me your idea or simply tweet it out in the beginning of the chat
  • Be sure to share the link and your discussion question

But, in case we need a conversation starter, here are three stories I came across Continue reading

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What Does Our Body Language Say To Us About Our Power

We have all heard how nonverbal communication gives as much or more information about what a person is saying verbally. Nonverbal communication provides context and nuances. And…we have heard about how many people limit or stifle their performance due to self-talk and negative beliefs about themselves. The obvious jump is to look at what we might be sending out as a message but what if we took a look at how we send ourselves a message?

Sheryl Sandberg’s message to “lean in” is more than how we present ourselves to others

Think of people with whom you work, network and serve. What postures have you seen them exhibit and how do you respond? By making yourself bigger or smaller, you also send a message to yourself about the level of power you possess.

Granted, Sheryl Sandberg’s message is predominantly for women and it seems her message to “lean in” contains two thoughts. The first thought is that leaning in implies that you are using your bodily strength to push something forward. The second thought is that leaning in moves you closer to the person you are communicating with and building rapport. By putting yourself into action, you send a message to yourself about your efficacy and sense of personal power.

Biological component

Beyond the psychological component of what messages we send ourselves, we can also alter our biochemistry. Amy Cuddy, professor and researcher at Harvard Business School,  in her TED talk, talks about how our body language shapes our identity. Men and women who adopt power poses raised their testosterone levels and reduced their cortisol levels.  Basically, raised testosterone levels are expressed with increased levels of confidence (We touched on this in another KaizenBiz discussion). Lowered cortisol levels are expressed with lowered stress levels. Another thing to keep in mind is that both testosterone and cortisol are sensitive to social cues and triggers. That is why you can feel deflated, literally, when someone harshly criticizes you.

Do our bodies change our minds?

Amy Cuddy talks about a research study she conducted with Dana Carney, assistant professor at University of California – Berkley Haas School of Business in which they had a group use power poses and another group not use power poses before going into an interview. The interview evaluators did not know which group used the power poses but favorably rated them higher than the group who did not use the power poses. In the mind-body connection world, yogis recommend certain positions because they change how one feels and perceives the world and themselves.

Move like a rockstar or a mouse

So, it seems that we could go in a mind→body→mind process (also known as “fake it ’til you make it”) as we communicate with ourselves about how powerful we feel in any given situation. Whether you are watching Mick Jagger, Bono, Paul Meany or the latest up-and-comer on Eurovision, you notice when they are connected with the audience and expressing their personal power. While rockstar-level hubris might not work so well in the workplace, their sense of confidence and capability comes from an open stance. We may even understand that we could be overpowering and put ourselves into a closed stance.

Body language as storyteller

There are stories we tell ourselves in our heads that show up in our body language and reinforce our self-belief, positively or negatively. Sandberg’s concept of “lean in” invites us to examine our body language. Leaning in may be another power pose to cultivate. The way you sit, stand and move tells you about your power.

What does our body language say to us about our own power?

How do you interpret “lean in” and how it affects our own body language and sense of power?

What value does re-programming some of our hardwired responses bring to our perception of dominance?

Are there different power poses for women than men? If so, what are they?

When does “fake it ’til you make it” become belief and reality?

When would you use the poses to power up or power down?

About the author:  Elli St.George Godfrey, founder of Ability Success Growth and small business coach/trainer, is the host of KaizenBiz. I’m passionate about business becoming a more human-centered place so I host this chat to connect business ideas and develop people.This passion shows up in my work with my clients. Whether you are expanding in your own backyard or into another country, Ability Success Growth guides established small business owners to unlock the CEO within during times of transition and growth.

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Adapting Strategy to Circumstance

Strategic planning is a crucial exercise for any business. It is a guide for what the company intends to accomplish over a long period of time. There is often a recognition of what is special or an advantage that is possessed by that particular organization.

How static is strategy?

It is tempting to simply write a nice document that contains high minded and audacious goals. In the current business environment, there is a lot of talk about the need to be innovative, disruptive and customer-centric. Yet, the strategic plan does contains how the business will be both stable and ever-changing. Add in how quickly technology is changing and being adopted, this may be a moment when the creators of a strategic plan have to consider adapting to circumstances in real-time rather than at a once-a-year strategic planning session.

When it is not working

If you have followed US business news over the past year, you probably have run across the saga of JC Penney. JC Penney is a department store that has been struggling for some time. They brought on Ron Johnson, formerly the Senior Vice President of Retail Operations for Apple, in 2011 and he set forth a different concept for shoppers. Rather than offering sales and coupons, JC Penney’s lowered their prices so customers could shop any day of the week and save money. They changed the marketing to be more colorful and fresh to attract a younger shopping demographic. They have also included shops within the stores (e.g. Sephora) featuring specific designers and more trendy fashions as well as pop up stores and such.

It isn’t working all that well. US shoppers are accustomed to shopping slaes, even when it means early or late hours, special days or using a coupon. JC Penney’s customers have complained and sales have dropped.

Do you adapt or stay the course?

While you could analyze what is specifically wrong with JC Penney’s strategy, a more interesting question is about adaptation or continuing with the strategic plan. There is the possibility that the strategic plan is not in tune with the current marketplace and using outmoded thinking. Another possibility is that the plan is unfocused so it doesn’t really provide a clear direction. Finally, the strategic plan may be fine but the tactics and execution are mismatched with how customers interact with the company’s products and/or services.

Ken Favaro asks in his post, How Leaders Mistake Execution For Strategy, 5 questions:

1. What business should you be in?

2. How do you add value to your business?

3. Who are the target customers for your business?

4. What are your value propositions for your target customers?

5. What capabilities are essential to adding value to your businesses and differentiating their value propositions?

Necessary vs unnecessary adaptation

In JC Penney’s case, there may be flawed thinking in the strategic plan. But it also may be flawed implementation. Decision-makers are tasked with managing the balance of innovation, disruptive technologies and competitors and customer-centric trends when designing the strategic plan. The challenge lies in knowing when to adapt to circumstances.

How do you differentiate between strategy and execution?

Given the turbulence and rapid changes in technology, how relevant is it to create a 5 year strategic plan?

What happens to the focus of a strategic plan if you are adapting it to current circumstances?

How do the results of business goals influence the use of a strategic plan?

What’s the next new thing in strategy?

About the author:  Elli St.George Godfrey, founder of Ability Success Growth and small business coach/trainer, is the host of KaizenBiz. I’m passionate about business becoming a more human-centered place so I host this chat to connect business ideas and develop people.This passion shows up in my work with my clients. Whether you are expanding in your own backyard or into another country, Ability Success Growth guides established small business owners to unlock the CEO within during times of transition and growth.

 

 

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Can a Global Mindset Position a Small Business for Growth?

Melissa Lamson, global mindset, small business growthThis is guest post is by Melissa Lamson,President of Lamson Consulting Please join us on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz, this Friday, March 8th at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT as we focus on Can a Global  Mindset Position a Small Business For Growth?

Global business facts

  • Qatar is the fastest growing global economy
  • Brazil has the most Twitter and Facebook users in the world
  • Last year, China’s GDP surpassed Japan’s

Developing global mindset is key for doing business successfully

Ernst & Young came out with a study last year that said the number one priority for leaders of multinational companies is to hire talent with a global mindset. A Global Mindset, as presented by Mansour Javidan’s research at The Global Mindset Institute at Thunderbird University, is:

  • Intellectual Capital Knowledge of business operations in other countries
  • Psychological Capital – The will to get to know or work with other cultures
  • Social Capital – The ability to negotiate and influence across cultures Continue reading
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