Teams need specifics when it comes to quantitative goals such as setting a monthly target for sales contacts and conversions instead of just an overall revenue goal, writes Mike Figliuolo. Measuring the qualitative health of a company is equally important, if sometimes more indirectly measured, he writes.
When Dennis Miller took over a medical center in need of change, he soon learned that, without intentional listening, all the changes he wanted to make would only scare employees without getting their input. "The simple act of listening to employees across your organization will give you a ground-up view of everything that is happening in your organization," he writes.
Retailers are experimenting with automation, as seen with Walmart using robots to restock and JD.com's plans to open convenience stores without employees, but it's unlikely every retailer will someday be a vending machine without floor personnel, writes Barry Levine. Customer service is the hallmark of higher-end brands, and the human component may be irreplaceable, he writes.
Productivity is less of a concern for writer Austin Kleon than knowing what to do with a good idea. "Really, the best way I know to see something through is to get yourself a calendar, put an X in the day's box after you do your work, and don't break the chain," he writes.
Matthew Gonnering, CEO of software company Widen, encourages other leaders to follow an ethics-driven business philosophy. "Isn't it comforting to think that whatever you are doing right now is leading you towards awareness of your purpose?" he says.
Marketing teams at automakers spend many months trying to name a new vehicle in a way that captures the product's essence and connects with buyers, writes Stephen Williams. While many automakers get creative with their names, others such as BMW and Audi stick with letter-and-number combinations.
Collaboration suffers when teams have conflicting goals, even if they all know and agree on the main goal, so leaders must clearly define how each department's role and priorities should align with each new initiative, writes David Dye. If you don't, you'll get each department doing what it's been goaled against but not necessarily working in sync with each other.
Suggestions that the Federal Reserve consider a new approach to monetary policy, with an increase in the inflation target to 4% accompanied by an influx of money, keep economists busy but are unsuitable in the real world, Robert Samuelson writes. An overambitious program that promises to reinvent the economy for the better is more likely to make things worse, he concludes.
The US tax law puts the economy on an unsustainable fiscal path and endangers stability, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said. "In the long run, ignoring the budget math risks driving up longer-term interest rates, crowding out private-sector investment and diminishing the country's creditworthiness," he said.
When we talk of vision, we should mean an active, ongoing effort to keep people connected to what matters most about our work, writes Julie Winkle Giulioni. "Painting a vivid picture of the future -- and painting individuals into that picture -- creates a powerful target in people's minds," she writes.
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