Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Top 3 Business Problems – Technology

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

From acquisitions to project management, agility is everything in tech. Yet, too often, a company’s ability to innovate is constrained by drawn-out hiring processes, competition for top talent, and rapidly evolving markets.

Business Talent Group’s on-demand technology consultants combine deep industry experience with expertise in domains like pricing, sales ops, and customer insights. They can help technology teams assess new opportunities, fill critical knowledge gaps, and mobilize for large-scale transformations and integrations.

Here are a few examples.

Innovation Best Practices

innovation best practices

To meet ambitious growth objectives, strategy executives at a global technology giant had concluded that the company needed to go beyond its core business and develop new engines for growth. At the same time, they understood that competitors were also aggressively searching for their next billion-dollar businesses. Given the team’s extensive investments in growth beyond the core, they decided to benchmark their approach against competitor approaches and get a better view of innovation best practices.

Business Talent Group put together an expert four-person team. It was led by one of the nation’s top innovation experts—formerly a Senior Partner at Innosight, the boutique consultancy founded by Clay Christensen—and supported by experienced growth specialists and analysts. Relying on extensive prior experience and a range of academic and industry sources, the team analyzed how other tech companies approach adjacent growth markets. Then, the consultants worked to synthesize relevant patterns, evaluate successes and failures, and quantify the contribution of various types of new ventures in that overall growth.

Our consultants organized their findings around the most common pain points that emerged from the work—for example, the difficulty of reconciling innovation best practices with existing corporate goals and attitudes—and presented to senior stakeholders in a tightly structured workshop. Then, they moved on to the second phase of the project: helping the client evaluate which adjacent opportunities were most closely aligned with current strategies.

Tracking Competitive Intel

tracking competitive intel

The strategy team at an F500 tech giant was growing overwhelmed by the increasingly complex task of keeping tabs on relevant developments in the competitive landscape. Looking for a cost-effective, targeted way to help executives across the company get the information they needed, they turned to Business Talent Group.

Business Talent Group delivered an independent technology product specialist who could help the team monitor industry sources, summarize important findings and developments, and track activities on key competitors. He also worked with the team to synthesize his findings into easy-to-understand presentation slides that analyzed competitive trends and compared and contrasted competitors’ approaches. Finally, he provided on-demand support on the more detailed competitor update reports that the team developed for senior stakeholders.

Expertise in a New Market

new market expert

The head of strategy at a F100 tech giant saw an opportunity to take a core product into new areas within the 3D printing market. Before finalizing plans, however, she wanted to get a more detailed understanding of the dynamics of two new markets. Who were the key players and what were their go-to-market strategies? How did distribution channels function and what role did various participants play? What were typical channel margins? And were there any potential alliances they could forge to maximize their chances of success?

Business Talent Group connected the client with two independent business development executives who had both worked extensively in the target market. Over the course of a two-day workshop, they helped the client understand the competitive landscape, refine value propositions and market positioning, and hone plans.

Behind the Buzzword: Human Cloud

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

These days, it seems like everything is moving to the cloud—even people, if the hottest trend in HR and labor services procurement is any indication.

So what’s the deal with the so-called human cloud?

Find out everything you need to know about the hottest topic on the block in this edition of Behind the Buzzword.

What is the human cloud?

No, no-one’s moving to an actual cloud.

But some of us—or at least, our employment profiles—are being stored and accessed in virtual ones. The technological cloud houses everything from our software to our data and delivers it on demand. The human cloud houses information about on-demand workers, and lets employers tap into the fast-growing gig economy to find and use workers on projects that range from redesigning your website to re-evaluating your product portfolio.

Who’s in the human cloud?

The gig economy workers that are “housed” in the human cloud range from taxi drivers to carpenters, musicians to management consultants. Some work part time to earn additional income, while others do it full time, lured by the prospect of gaining more control over how and when they work.

The high end of this segment is filled with consultants and experts on everything from digital marketing to market access. It’s also the fastest-growing, according to MBO Partners.

How does it work?

There are a number of different ways for employers to take advantage of the human cloud. The first, and most direct, are online platforms like Upwork, which let you browse and engage freelance workers on an as-needed basis. According to research firm Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), 4 percent of Fortune 1000 companies used online platforms to hire contingent labor in 2014. By 2015, that figure rose to 11 percent, with another 5 percent considering adopting the tools within the next two years.

Other human cloud vendors bring on-demand talent directly to companies with a stronger service model. They may focus on different types of skills—Toptal, for instance, connects companies with freelance IT talent, whereas Business Talent Group delivers freelance management consultants.

And some firms are building their own custom clouds with specific needs and goals in mind. Pfizer, for example, launched a program in 2008 to enable employees to outsource low-level tasks and focus on core knowledge work. In 2014, GE launched a program called GeniusLink to crowdsource engineering and manufacturing challenges. More recently, P&G built its custom OnDemand Talent Marketplace to aggregate preferred talent partners and streamline employees’ access to them.

What’s the best way to get started?

At Business Talent Group, we believe there are many reasons for companies to tap the human cloud—and the high-end freelance business consultants we work with. Chief among them: capturing scarce talent, moving more nimbly, and positioning your company for growth in fast-changing markets

According to Randstadt Sourceright’s Q4 2017 Talent Trends report, a growing number of big companies agree with us. 61% of employers plan to replace up to 30% of their permanent positions with freelancers, gig workers, and independent consultants. And what’s the biggest driver behind the shift? The difficulty of finding the top talent that can help them stay competitive.

If your company is interested in exploring the human cloud, start by asking these questions:

  • What skills does your company need fast access to? On-demand talent skills range from high to low end and specialized to general. Work can be done remotely or on-site.
  • What’s the easiest way for your employees access the cloud? Some employees prefer to search on their own, while others find it easier to work a dedicated service professional who can help them find the best option.
  • How will you measure ROI? Are you trying to save money in a certain category? Is there another way to calculate value?

NPR Takes a Closer Look at Freelance Work

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

In January, NPR took a look at the rise of freelance work. Inspired by a Marist Poll about the American labor force, the series tackled everything from topline trends to the experiences of individual workers in industries as diverse as trucking, emergency medicine, and management consulting.

The freelance workforce is growing: according to NPR, one in five American workers depend on contract work for their primary income. Within a decade, that number is expected to rise to one in two, or 50% of the workforce.

The good news: many freelance workers chose to work that way, and even some of the people who started freelancing when they couldn’t find a permanent job say they’ve since fallen in love with the flexibility. It’s beguiling to be your own boss.

Unfortunately, many freelancers struggle with inconsistent schedules, paychecks that fluctuate from month to month, and a lack of health and retirement benefits. 40% of contract workers with a full-time job say they do something else for pay. Over 50% receive no benefits.

The freelance management consultants that Business Talent Group works with are accomplished enough—and fortunate—to command a premium in the market. This gives them a cushion that not everyone has in the freelance world. Yet they, too, are frustrated by the difficulty of finding portable benefits that support them as they move from project to project.

According to NPR, New York’s Black Car Fund offers one potential solution. Launched in 2000 and funded by a 2.5 percent consumer surcharge on each ride, it provides workers’ compensation benefits for contract drivers who are injured on the job. Now, politicians nationwide are looking to the program for inspiration as they think about how to address the issue on a national scale.

The bottom line, as NPR points out, is that employment is no longer a one-size-fits-all solution. As workers continue to look for ways to tailor it to their own needs, the social safety net will have to shift to support the new landscape.

Curious what type of projects our freelance management consultants tackle for the F1000? Read case studies of their best work in financial services, digital health, life science, and more.

Project Implementation Best Practices: Choosing a Project Leader

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Why is project implementation so challenging? According to an IBM survey of 1,500 change management executives, people issues are among the biggest barriers to success. In particular:

  • 58% of executives struggled to change mindsets and attitudes
  • 49% were stymied by corporate culture
  • 32% cited a lack of senior management support

But wait, change management is done by people to help people. So what’s the problem?

Change Leadership

One crucial—and grossly underappreciated—best practice to keep in mind is the people leading the change.

When new strategies are being implemented, companies usually turn to high performers to lead the initiative. However, that may not mean they’re getting the best people for the job. To successfully implement major transformations, companies need to find leaders who aren’t just well-versed in change management methodologies, but who also have a high EQ (i.e., Emotional Intelligence).

Why? To win the minds and hearts of people whose daily routine is about to be disrupted, Change Managers must be keenly aware of all potential impacts of the change. If they come from other areas of the company, they may have little understanding of the project’s goals and nothing directly at stake. And if the people who are affected by the change aren’t on board with new strategy, they’re more likely to slow, complicate, or even counteract it.

Here are three additional things to keep in mind when choosing a change manager:

1. Emotional intelligence is more important than administrative competence.

To be successful, your change manager needs to help your employees understand stakeholders’ positions, how their views affect the project, and how to demonstrate the WIFM (what’s in it for me). That’s why it’s important to look for leaders who have a high EQ. Tools and methodologies are important—as are administrative skills. But EQ is what’s required to guide new thinking and behaviors and bring your project to a successful close.

2. Communication should be constant.

By now, nearly everyone has heard the Silicon Valley mantra about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. But Change Managers and Project Leaders still tend to wait until everything is in place to communicate with the rest of the organization. Their intentions are good: to make sure all communications are direct, focused, and reliable.

But waiting till things are perfect to communicate usually means that there’s no communication at all. While management waits for perfection, the associates will be swapping information that has not been verified—which means it’s most likely not true. That, in turn, gives the Change Manager the additional burden of dispelling all the myths. Questions from employees like “Did you know about this?” or “Why didn’t you tell us earlier?” can undermine relationships and derail plans.

It’s always good to communicate—even if it’s just to say that there is no concrete information. Communicating isn’t just a way of sharing information. It also lets people know that you understand their concerns and anxieties and appreciate their interests.

3. It’s not a part-time engagement.

Successful change management requires a full-time commitment from someone whose only goal is to successfully effect your business transformation. There are, of course, prescribed methodologies. But the real, sustained change happens when the Change Manager sends an email to an associate who she recognizes is struggling with the new way of doing business. Or when she passes by a desk and has a casual conversation about unrelated matters, which added to a sense of trust. It’s the sympathetic ear, and understanding nod of the head away from formal meetings that allows the Change Manager to win the minds and hearts of others, which in turn translates into helping associates ease into their new role.

Transforming your business is never easy. In fact, according to IBM, only 40% of business transformations meet schedule, budget, and quality goals. By helping your employees navigate the change—making sure that everyone understands why they are being asked to change and how the change experience will help them personally as well as professionally—effective Change Managers can help you overcome those odds, and become one of the best-in-class organizations that are ten times more effective at change management.

Business Talent Group Included in Talent Tech Labs’ Ecosystem

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Over the past few years, it’s become clear that traditional workforce models—expensive consulting firms and full-time hires on the one hand, and less skilled contingent workers on the other—aren’t enough to help big companies be as agile as they need to.

Fortunately, an ecosystem of start-ups and technologies has emerged to support new ways of working. Referred to by different labels, these solutions let companies source and structure work in innovative ways to gain access to more specific skills and expertise at greater speed and, frequently, lower cost.

Business Talent Group is pleased to be on one of the best maps to this nascent space: the Talent Tech Labs Talent Acquisition Technology Ecosystem. Why? Because it means we’re considered innovative and influential in the talent acquisition tech space. TTL tracks more than 1500 companies and has committed to highlighting the most innovative and influential technologies.

Business Talent Group, meanwhile, offers on-demand access to thousands of the world’s best freelance consultants, who work on mission-critical initiatives that range from planning to performance improvement, innovation to business intelligence. Here’s what makes us unique in the Temporary Labor Marketplace segment:

  • Careful curation: Our dedicated talent team deeply screens thousands of candidates to fill our network with top professionals.
  • Expert vetting: Our in-house consultants painstakingly scope the work and assess talent options for a perfect fit.
  • Rapid deployment: Within days, we can provide you independent consultants with the skills and experience you need.
  • Support for success: We’ll stay involved at every step to ensure a successful outcome and complete satisfaction.

37% of the F100 trust BTG for on-demand talent. From ecommerce to supply chain, big data to market expansion, call BTG when you need innovative thinking, in-demand skills, or sheer capacity. Simply share your need, select your talent, and get the work done.

How Procurement Can Drive New Business Growth

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

According to Ardent Partners, 71% of executives cite agility one of as their top business challenges, and 64% say it’s a struggle to find, engage, and source the right talent across the enterprise.

All of this carries big implications for Procurement and HR leaders when it comes to sourcing, managing and consuming work—especially the services provided by knowledge workers. Standard models of workforce engagement remain antiquated and inflexible, limiting companies’ ability to respond to new opportunities.

Fortunately, new models are emerging that allow organizations to break free from their legacy processes and tap a new source of innovation for the enterprise: highly-skilled freelance knowledge workers. Executives benefit from on-demand support on cutting-edge initiatives, while independent talent are able to work on the projects at which they excel. What’s more, bringing on additional resources this way is cost—and time—effective for executives and the companies they work for.

So what’s the best way to get started? Download our new guide, Drive Business Growth With New Workforce Models, to find out.

Co-authored with Andrew Karpie, Research Director of Services and Labor Procurement at Spend Matters, it’s packed with strategies for success.

You’ll learn:

  • How and why companies are winning with new workforce models
  • Why Procurement and HR should champion workforce innovations
  • How to gain support from leadership for adopting new talent models

Advancing beyond current institutionalized human capital models won’t be easy. But it will be necessary to ensure that businesses can leverage high-value, mission-critical talent.

Procurement and HR leaders have an unparalleled view across the needs of the enterprise. They have deep expertise about strategic sourcing, contracting and process design. If they can manage the dynamic process of internal and external stakeholder interaction, collaboration and learning—where organizational authority matters less than contributions and sharing of skills and expertise—they can help the company ensure quality, transparency, accountability and more.

2017: The Year The Gig Economy Took Center Stage

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

At Business Talent Group, we’ve long been bullish about the high-end gig economy. In particular, we’re excited by its massive potential for keeping companies more nimble and competitive—and for giving knowledge workers more control over when and how they exercise their talents.

In 2017, it became clear we weren’t the only ones.

In fact, according to Randstadt Sourceright’s Q4 2017 Talent Trends report, 61% of employers plan to replace up to 30% of their permanent positions with freelancers, gig workers, and independent consultants to become more agile and flexible in the changing economy. The biggest driver behind the shift? The difficulty of finding the top talent that can help them stay competitive. In fact, 75% of respondents indicated that scarcity and competition for talent are impacting their business most this year.

“But with greater workforce flexibility and access to an expanded candidate pool that includes contingent talent, organizations can get ahead of scarcity issues,” the Randstadt report concludes.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

What’s more, according to Randstadt, an integrated talent model that includes both permanent and contingent talent can reduce overall recruitment costs by 10-12%.

2017’s top gig economy numbers

As we embark on a new year, here are some of the most interesting and revealing numbers about the gig economy.

ManpowerGroup’s #GigResponsibly: The Rise of NextGen Work reports that:

  • 94% of workers are open to non-traditional work arrangements
  • For 81% of respondents, non-traditional work arrangements are a choice, rather than a necessity
  • 87% of workers would consider NextGen Work
  • Countries with a higher proportion of younger workers are more inclined to do NextGen Work, in particular younger Millennials (ages 18–24)
  • 95% of younger Millennials are open to working this way
  • Boomers are bucking the trend too: 80% of over-50s say they are open to NextGen Work

Ardent Partners’ State of Contingent Workforce Management 2018 reports that:

  • 40% of today’s total global workforce is comprised of non-employee talent, including independent contractors, freelancers, professional services, and temp workers
  • 73% of companies are using new methods of addressing work, including tapping into a growing “total talent” pool of skills and expertise
  • 63% of contingent workforce managers want to enhance overall talent engagement strategies, and 71% cite agility as their top business challenge

A gig by any other name

In an interview with Deloitte’s CEO Cathy Engelbert and John Hagel, co-chairman for Deloitte’s Center for the Edge, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman commented: “If you have a challenge that’s posed to you, why in the world would you limit yourself simply to the talent within your own company? Because the odds of it being the best in this world are really pretty low.”

Just be careful what you call it: according to UpWork’s 2017 Freelancing in America report, approximately 5x more of respondents preferred the term “Freelance Economy” to “Gig Economy.”

Marketing to Millennials? Three Things You Need To Get Right.

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

If you’re trying to reach today’s most lucrative market—millennials—you probably already know you need to bring it with your digital media, leveraging social channels for branding and performance marketing in order to address the complete consumer journey.

To be successful in your efforts, you’ll also need to nail your messaging and creative. There’s been a culture shift among millennials that focuses on acceptance, inclusion, and positivity. The “mean girls” and bullies aren’t gone, but the zeitgeist has shifted away from them, and savvy retailers have noticed.

While Unilever’s Dove brand was a pioneer in capitalizing on this shift a decade ago, their approach hasn’t changed and needs refreshment. Victoria’s Secret completely missed the boat. American Eagle, on the other hand, has gotten it right and is being rewarded. Here’s where they’ve executed well and where others can learn.

1. Don’t serve an “acceptance” message with a side of guilt.

Dove was among the first to feature what I’ll refer to as “universal acceptance” messaging in their marketing. But their messages were rooted in guilt and negativity. The popular YT video from 2013 that went viral focused on women who didn’t realize they were pretty. “You are more beautiful than you think,” it proclaimed. The assumption, of course, is that most women don’t already realize that. Today, Dove’s website features an entire section on the supposedly little-known problem area of armpits. As if women needed something else to be self-conscious about.

Victoria’s Secret, meanwhile, dug in its heels on a different approach, with marketing that could be called aspirational if it weren’t so unattainable. Quarterly focus groups with core consumer segments and semi-annual quant studies should have revealed changing attitudes—to say nothing of financial media analyses—but perhaps being the category leader blinded them to a certain extent. In 2017, the company reported that sales were down 11% from the previous year.

American Eagle found the gap in all of this messaging. Their marketing of universal acceptance has room to grow (I think featuring disabled models would be a great next step), but so far they have showcased a variety of body types, said goodbye to airbrushing, and featured minority models. What’s more, they created a brand that’s unabashed and unapologetic without anger or defiance.

2. Embrace the au naturel look.

Millennials embrace the fact that we all come in different shapes and sizes. They don’t want to hide these differences, and they expect the same from the brands they buy. What does that mean for lingerie? It means no more of what Victoria’s Secret has owned for the last nearly 2 decades—the push-up bra and uncomfortable underwear.

American Eagle seized this opportunity with Aerie, which peddles bralettes galore and a variety of underwear styles to suit different tastes. Their frequent promos have been effective in getting millennials hooked. Lingerie is a category where when a consumer finds something that works, they are less likely to switch brands. After struggling to find its own niche in the world of bralettes, Victoria’s Secret is now retrenching its focus on the structured bras for which it is known.

3. Go beyond tokenism.

It’s not enough to include a few minority models at the edge of the frame and think you’ve nailed diversity (Tommy Hilfiger, I’m looking at you). Instead, feature minority models in the same way as other models, that is, as real people who are as worthy of being front and center as others. American Eagle does this well, featuring models of various backgrounds without making it feel forced.

What’s more, American Eagle models defy stereotypes and appear to be of multiple ethnicities. There’s more to do here (disabled models, again would be a nice addition). But it’s a step in the right direction and beyond what many retailers are doing today.

Millennials are hungry for authentic voices and honest perspectives. Show them you get it, then invite them to join the conversation.

What Makes The 3C’s of Change Management So Important?

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

There are no shortcuts for driving sustained, meaningful change across an enterprise. There are, however, plenty of frameworks. As change management has matured as a discipline, a number of methodologies have arisen to help executives transform processes and achieve business objectives. Kenichi Ohmae’s 3C’s Model—which focuses on customer, capability, and culture—is one of the best known. Other 3C’s models focus on factors like context, content, and course of action and commitment, capabilities, and control.

These models are very helpful for building strategies for change. Based on my experience, however, the following 3C’s are more useful for predicting whether or not a given change management initiative will succeed—and are thus critical to understand and secure in advance of a major transition.

1. C-suite sponsorship

C-suite executives not only establish links between strategic goals and project goals, they also bring the funding and resources necessary to achieve desired outcomes. What’s more, accountability suffers without active, visible, and continuous sponsorship throughout the entire project. Unless there is strong sponsorship at the executive level, projects are nearly always doomed to failure before they even begin.

In the Prosci ADKAR model, the sponsor creates Awareness (the first “A” in ADKAR) and Reinforces the change through early and often communication. High-level sponsorship also fosters Desire across the enterprise, which is why it was one of the first things I discussed with the executive sponsor of a recent change management project I led at a Fortune 500 insurance company. The goal of the transformation was to establish a new solution-oriented resource model within the company’s reporting and analytics organization without disrupting current operations and external customer support.

As the project and change management lead, I advised my sponsor to engage with his team early and communicate with stakeholders effectively. I partnered with my sponsor to create and manage the communication plan, which enabled him to make sure everyone understood that they had his support—and to communicate to various stakeholders at the right time with the right level of information. I also developed a multi-year roadmap which allowed us to set clear priorities, track progress, and above all, communicate a “lookahead” schedule which indicated that this project was not just going to be a “flash in the plan.”

2. Change champions

Because my project was an enterprise-wide transformation project, and because I could not be everywhere all at once, I knew I needed help from people who could be my eyes and ears out in the field. These change agents helped me and the sponsor devise, own, and champion the roadmap at all levels of the organization. They also improved the communication plan with more detailed ideas on how to best engage different stakeholder groups. Some of my change agents were managers who had the authority to align performance targets and rewards with participation in change-related activities; others volunteered to be the first “super users” of the new solution model and helped provide a line of sight from project goals to day-to-day work.

Both types of these change champions facilitated the Desire for change by enabling a communication/feedback loop (which assists with promoting key change messages) and obtaining continuous feedback to optimize the messages (to better resonate with the end-user community and to reduce assistance). They also helped with general orientation training as well as hands-on coaching. Above all, change champions can help manage the risk associated with executing such a significant project and realize positive and sustainable change.

3. Continuous communication

Communications plans are critical to realizing both organizational and individual change. But instead of developing a lifeless communication plan that’s filled with sweeping generalizations, you’ll need to take a bottoms-up approach to individually and incrementally moving the needle. The most important question to answer in all change-related communications is “What’s In It For Me?” (or WIIFM).

In the F500 Insurance change project I described earlier, I developed scripts to build and sustain the business case for change. I choreographed a cadence of repetitive communication from myself, the sponsor, and my network of change champions, while encouraging impromptu, in-person communications, as well. I worked with managers to ensure that everyone knew how they fit into the roadmap, how they could best make an impact, and how they should close the loop with their teams by rewarding outstanding performance at both group and individual levels. Recognition typically correlates to increasing the Desire to change (as well as for those around the rewardee) as well as Reinforcement to make the change stick.

It’s common for transition leaders and sponsors to encounter resistance to the changes they are driving. Mastering these 3C’s is critical to addressing and even avoiding these challenges.

2 Things To Do NOW To Make Next Year Even Better

Friday, December 1st, 2017

If you’re one of the many companies whose fiscal year ends December 31, you’ve probably got a lot on your mind. Budgets. Project deadlines. Pushing for your quarterly and annual targets.

Oh yeah, and the holidays.

You’d have to be crazy to want to add more to your to-do list… but what if there were a few tasks that could make your life easier next year? That would jumpstart your strategic planning process and set you up for a more calm, confident, and successful 2018?

Here are 2 impactful things you can do.

1. Start gathering strategic insights.

At many companies, strategic planning starts in mid-to-late spring. And chances are, you’ll wish you had more time to gather research to support your business case. Sure, you could scramble and pull something together at the last minute—but that’s a painful process, and one that doesn’t always yield the best plan.

But now is a perfect time to start researching the priorities that are on your shortlist for next year. What data will you need to validate your thinking and build a home-run strategy? What research will give your organization confidence to go forward in April or May?

Here are some key questions to help you figure out what research to pursue:

  • Are you achieving all your goals this year? Do you know exactly how well you are performing against your targets—and why? Could you make course corrections aided by market research and analysis, and build confidence that 2018 will be an even stronger year?
  • Thinking about launching a new product or service? Are you confident in your value prop and in the concept you’re developing? Do you have everything you’ll need to make your business case?
  • Wondering where to focus going forward? During strategic planning, there are often too many ideas and not enough resources. Wouldn’t it be great to evaluate that list now, prioritize, and give yourself a few months to gain alignment around the initiatives that are truly the best?

2. Start implementing your 2018 strategy.

By now, your 2018 budget is probably set. Want to see results by the end of 2018? Don’t wait till January to start implementing—do it now.

Things take time to implement. If you don’t get that process going until the start of next year, you won’t start executing until April—and that’s if you’re fast. In fact, you might be halfway through the year before you start to see business results, and you won’t know if you’ll meet your targets until the 3rd or 4th quarter.

Start now by implementing…

  • Ownership of strategic initiatives. Assign teams now with the right skills and bandwidth to own success of your strategic initiatives.
  • Goals, milestones & metrics. Define monthly what success means for each of your initiatives—and how you’ll measure it throughout the year.
  • Organizational strategy alignment. Every function has its own specific goals. However, most strategies are cross-functional, and mis-aligned priorities are one of the top causes of missed deadlines. Rally cross-functional teams around these strategic goals and metrics.

Are you thinking “Yes. But can’t this wait?” Just consider Jack Welch‘s storied advice about competitive advantage:

“We have only two sources of competitive advantage: the ability to learn more about our customers faster than the competition, and the ability to turn that learning into action faster than the competition.”

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