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Aerospace - Aviation Articles

IFEC Profit Margins Wireless Connectivity for Airlines

IFEC profit margins for business jets and commercial airlines is of  vital importance.  In the not too distant past, airlines depended on essentially the same technology for IFEC, aka In-Flight Entertainment Connectivity, as in most any movie theater.

A film was shot directly onto a screen using a projector, and customers could listen to the film via proprietary headsets or listen through in-cabin speakers.  For many passengers, this was not an ideal situation.

This has changed and changed drastically in a very positive way for all parties involved.  The main reason for going to this new system is the same as any reason a business makes changes – to increase IFEC profit margins and satisfy shareholders.  It all comes down to weight on the plane.  Weight is a major issue on flights.  Some airlines have removed the seat back screens from their airlines, cutting weight by 1,200 lbs.  A lighter plane means less fuel; less fuel means a better profit.

People have not seemed to mind this change for IFEC.  The main reason is the advent of newer and newer technologies as gone are the bulky, heavy laptops of old (remember that weight issue) requiring lots of storage space.  Touchpads, smartphones, and the like have changed computing in a way like Bill Gates did with Windows 3.1.  Research already points to handheld devices reaching over 2 billion this year based on previous information from 2014.

Weight is Equal to IFEC Profit Margins

 

This is a welcome change for airlines, where again, weight is equal to profits.  IFEC has certainly gone through its own growing pains from silent films to bulky 8mm, grainy machines to DVD’s and projectors.  Along the way, passengers have been kept happy, entertained, and not as concerned about long delays, waits and unforeseen circumstances that kept a plane grounded for an indeterminate amount of time.

IFEC profit marginsJump forward several years, and now we have streaming video, movies and more coming in over wireless and data from cellular providers.  For the airline industry, this is an absolute goldmine in IFEC profit margins.  

Gone will be the days of the same film showing for all passengers, young and old.  Finding a movie suitable to keep all passengers entertained for a flight can be virtually impossible.

Instead, passengers will be able to use personal devices to log into the plane’s on-board wi-fi system.  

Watching personal devices for Netflix, Hulu and YouTube is obviously a preferred method of IFEC over a single, one-size-must-fit-all movie.

 

 

Power of Choice will Increase IFEC Profit Margins

 

A customer, or in this case a passenger, who has some degree of choice in a situation is likely to be much happier and willing to accept certain situations and possible additional fees for the trade-off of continued in-flight entertainment.  Families traveling with young children certainly understand the value and power of a portable DVD or gaming system to entertain, and adults benefit just as much when left in a similar situation.  In other words, on a plane, everyone is a child wanting to know, “Are we there yet?”

On-Board Servers

 

The early Internet was certainly filled with its share of mistakes, drops and vicious lag that kept most everyone more annoyed than anything.  Companies who provided Internet needed vast storage often kept at temperatures where a jacket or coat would be necessary due to the enormous amounts of heat generated by the systems.  Today is a completely different story.  Adding a server and the wiring for a completely wireless system in an airplane is almost no different from wiring a new business and networking computers and printers.  The chief difference is the use of the Internet for pleasure over business, but one can realistically expect business to be happening as well during flights with free Internet as essential for IFEC profit margins.

Advertising Revenues

 

While many would like to think of the wireless as free, nothing is free.  Passengers interested in using the on-board wireless may have to listen to the occasional commercial interruption or pause during their movies or videos, but it is a small price to pay for the absolute convenience this offers.  Consider this: many of the YouTube channels that are run by commercial entities often preview their own videos with a brief commercial often about their own product.  An airline would do quite well with this content marketing strategy, particularly when they have a captive audience of sorts.

Future of IFEC Profit Margins

 

There is and will be plenty of room to grow from this point with IFEC profit margins.   Commercial lines still must balance their customer needs and wants with shareholder expectations and desires.  Wireless connectivity and IFEC on an airplane, however, is quickly advancing like the ideal window seat.

 

Categories
Articles Leadership - Ethics

Fundamental Leadership Training Key to your Company’s Success

Successful businesses are identified by their fundamental leadership training as they go hand in hand. Such executive managers are individuals who have been properly vetted, trained, and placed in positions where they can thrive. But getting there requires following a carefully crafted plan to ensure each leader’s success. By adhering to fundamental leadership training, companies can avoid mistakes and the consequences of the same. Appoint a mentor. Assign each new leadership a mentor, preferably a seasoned senior executive who can offer moral support, answer questions, and discuss solutions to problems.

Monitor and provide feedback. An initial key in fundamental leadership training is that every new leadership hire enters a learning curve and works toward a goal of becoming an independent leader.  Your company must outline concrete steps to help each individual reach expected goals or thresholds along the way. Monitor the new senior management hire’s progress and provide feedback as needed. Take corrective action when necessary.

Supply supplemental training courses. Courses including elevating decision making, best leadership ethics, problem-solving methodology, entrepreneurial leadership, and customer experience are just a few options available.    Review executive evaluation procedures.

Good Onboarding is Fundamental Leadership Training

 

 

fundamental-leadership-training-for-successWhile HR policies work for most employees, the executive evaluation process is unique in that it measures the impact on the company’s essential point.  Many companies make the fatal mistake of using a one-size-fits-all onboarding process driven by Human Resources which is really nothing more than an abridged orientation.

Onboarding must be customized for each new leadership hire.  Articulate management systems. Besides understanding HR policies, equip new leaders with the tools necessary to conduct performance reviews, and manage discipline issues. Understand work styles. No two leaders are alike, with unique personalities and work styles evident.

Make allowance for differences, while also helping trainees identify their strengths and weaknesses. Use this information to form management teams where different levels of managers complement each other. Solve problems before they spiral out of control. Conflict is a human element, although most people do not acknowledge it, choosing to avoid the same. Fundamental leadership training includes conflict resolution strategies in place and enable all senior managers to take their problems to the top.

Ensuring Success with Fundamental Leadership Training

 

 

A carefully implemented and executed management training program is your business’ assurance that the people you appoint are the best ones suited for the position. Anything less and employee morale, customer satisfaction, and business profitability will suffer, leading to high turnover costs and potential harm to your enterprise.

 

 

Categories
Articles Candidate Resources

Interview Thank You Letter Email or Snail Mail?

In this day of hyper electronic communication interview thank you letter by email can often be overlooked and deleted.  t’s easy for recruiters and Hiring Managers to get lost in the maze. While I have nothing against emails, texts, tweets, etc., etc. I tend to sometimes forget the advantage of personal touch of an interview thank you letter sent via snail mail, right to the interviewers door. Email lacks personality and effort.

It seems to me that the personal touch of snail mail is becoming the way of the dinosaur. But don’t discount the impact that a hand written interview thank-you letter can have on or influence a situation like an interview.

Interview Thank You Letter via Snail Mail Works

 

 

I know a Human Resource Manager with a renewable energy power provider who had set up an interview with three qualified people for a VP level position in her company. All three people interviewed with the CEO of the company.  All three did very well.It was going to be a tough decision for the CEO. Two of the candidates sent very appropriate emails to the CEO thanking him for his time and stating their intentions to want to join the company.Those emails were sent the day after the interviews. The third candidate went home and wrote a hand written interview thank you letter on professional looking stationary and sent it out snail mail that day. It also arrived the next day.

Snail Mail Kept Longer than Email for Interview Thank You Letter

 

 

job-Interview-Thank-You-LetterWell, as it happened, this CEO was very impressed by the actual hand written letter and was a big believer in the snail mail personal touch. Funny thing is the HR Manager told me she thought it was “old school” and out of touch.

How wrong she was. Suffice to say the third candidate got the offer and accepted the position.

Moral of the story for candidates and recruiters: don’t be so involved in the age of electronic communication as to forget that people still connect with you on a personal level.

This “personal touch” using snail mail tells someone about your customer relationships and your service delivery philosophy, especially in the interview thank-you letter.

 

Categories
Articles Talent Acquisition - Assessments

Candidate Assessments Often Fail Team and Role Fit

Corporate recruiters and staffing firms utilize various forms of screening interviews and candidate assessments but fail to measure role fit and team fit to help determine who makes the shortlist for for the Hiring Manager to consider.  For executive recruiters it’s a combination of interview notes, references, details about accomplishments, and the recruiter’s gut feeling that these are the candidates to consider. Corporate recruiters and large staffing firms often add some type of DISC based behavioral test or aptitudes testing to help in their candidate assessments.

Candidate Assessments Fail on Team Fit

In the end the Hiring Manager thinks they are getting the best candidates available according to the recruiter’s gut feeling, the interview committee’s thoughts on a relatively short interview, and one or more candidate assessments (according to their HR, corporate recruiting/talent acquisition group, or external recruiter). But all too often failing to make sure the candidates being considered fit the role and are a team fit that will be a positive impact on team dynamics. What ends up happening is that a “C player”, a body that shows up and can perform the tasks but adds no real value, is hired.

Time after time I hear from VPs that within 6 months, a year or two AFTER a new hire that that “x” employee is okay, but he/she wishes the employee had the insight and ability to make better decisions, develop effective cost savings, or improve deliverables.  This puts an added burden on the rest of the team that employee is working within, as well as the VP or manager who must figure out a way to make up for that employee’s lack of added value.

Team Dynamics are Improved with Proper Candidate Assessments

Hindsight shows that the candidate assessments are resulting in a shortlist delivered to the Hiring Manager prior to the face-to-face interviews and hire failed to address whether that candidate would be a “natural fit” for the team and what about that candidate would bring “real value” to making the overall team better.  The most common, and mistakenly, the worst determining factor, is based primarily on whether the candidate has the skills, experience, and track record of past accomplishments to do the job.

This is a rote exercise where the recruiter matches up the responsibilities of the role with past work history and matches requirements with skills on a resume. The Hiring Manager and his/her interview team then “guess” if the candidate’s personality and communications style will tell them id he/she is a team fit.  Yes that is a guess as those latter parts are determined by a few or a committee whose members spent at the most a few hours in a prefabricated interview process face-to-face with the candidate.

Tragically, these candidate assessments and screening processes result in recruiters delivering the “C player” and occasionally a “B player” or the company hiring someone who will reveal they lack in key interpersonal areas or were the wrong team fit.  What the recruiter should have done is take the objectives, aka the end game of the role into consideration. Responsibilities on a job description rarely give more than a very brief sentence or two about the objectives.

The recruiter should get with the Hiring Manager to discuss the short-term and long-term objectives of the role apart from the responsibilities. The second factor is whether the potential candidate is a cultural and team fit.  This is where the recruiter fails most often as companies are too eager to use a corporate public image profile of their culture they would either like the public, their employees, or customers to believe in or that they desire to attain.But the truth is EACH DEPARTMENT is unique.

Candidate-AssessmentsOne needs to consider the team profile the candidate will be working within to then analyze if a candidate is a team fit.  This means taking into consideration that team’s natural and adaptive communications styles, values and motivations, and decision making traits in order to identify a Team Profile.

Since we are not all born and raised in the same place, geographical culture, education, religion, and family dynamics of individuals play a big part in this – especially in the relational side of how one views his/her self and views others.

Many vendors provide different forms of scientific, or skills-based, or psychometric, or behavioral testing and candidate assessments software.  Most are one-size fits all in their approach and fail to take the skills, interview notes, and other aspects into consideration.

And without FIRST developing an ACCURATE Team Profile, you cannot know whether that candidate will be a “natural fit” as these tests and assessments are too one-sided. Sadly, this leads to often hiring the wrong person.

The third factor is the relevant accomplishments. Again this all too often is another rote exercise where recruiters miss the boat. Just because candidate “x” has this and that accomplishment for a direct competitor does NOT mean they will have similar success in a new role.  You have to look at the team fit, company culture, team profile, and customer base dynamics he/she was working for in order to verify the accomplishments are really relevant to THIS new role.

Categories
Articles Internet of Things

Blockchain Technology Securing IoT Infrastructure

The growth of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) paradigm begs the question if blockchain technology securing IoT infrastructure properly or not?  Currently propelled by an unprecedented increase in the number of internet-connected devices. Even though the Cisco’s 2011 projection about 50 billion devices in 2020 is not ending up being very accurate, more recent estimates by Gartner and IHS confirm the tremendous growth of the number of IoT devices.

Blockchain Technology Securing IoT infrastructure

 

 

The need to support billions of devices in the years to come is inevitably pushing IoT technologies to their limits. Despite significant progress in blockchain technology, the specification and implementation of IoT technologies for identification, discovery, data exchange, analytics and security, the future scale of IoT infrastructure and services is creating new challenges and ask for new paradigms.

As a prominent example, IoT security is usually based on centralized models, which are centered round dedicated clusters or clouds that undertake to provide authentication, authorization and encryption services for IoT transactions. Such centralized models are nowadays providing satisfactory protection against adversaries and security threats.

Nevertheless, their scalability towards handling millions of IoT nodes and billions of transactions between them can be questioned, given also recent IoT-related security attacks which have manifested the vulnerabilities of existing infrastructures and illustrated the scale of the potential damage.

In particular, back in October 2016, a large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack took place, which affected prominent Internet sites such as Twitter, Amazon, Spotify, Netflix and Reddit. The attack exploited vulnerabilities in IoT devices in order to target the infrastructures of dyn.com, a global infrastructure and operations provider, which serves major Internet Sites.

The incident is indicative of the need for new IoT security paradigms, which are less susceptible to attacks by distributed devices and more resilient in terms of the authentication and authorization of devices. In quest for novel, decentralized security paradigms, the IoT community is increasingly paying attention to blockchain technology, which provides an infinitely scalable distributed ledger for logging peer to peer transactions between distrusted computing nodes and devices.

Most of the people that are aware of the paradigm to blockchain technology securing IoT perceive it as the main building block underpinning cryptocurrencies such as the well-known BitCoin. Indeed, the main characteristic of Bitcoin transactions is that they are not authenticated by a Trusted Third Party (TTP), as is the case with conventional banking transactions.

In the case of the BitCoin, there is no central entity keeping track of the ledger of interactions between the different parties as a means of ensuring the validity of the transactions between them. Instead, any transaction occurring between two parties (e.g., A paying 1 Bitcoin to B) is kept in a distributed ledger, which is maintained by all participants of the BitCoin network and which is empowered by blockchain technology. Among the merits of this distributed ledger approach is that it is very scalable and more robust when compared to traditional centralized infrastructure.

This is due to the fact that the validation of transactions is computationally distributed across multiple nodes, as well as due to the fact that the validation requires the consensus (“majority vote”) of the whole network of communicating parties, instead of relying on a centralized entity. In this way, it is practically impossible for an adversary to attack the network, since this would require attacking the majority of nodes instead of one or a few parties.

Can-blockchain-technology-secure-IoT-data-and-devices

The scalability and resilience properties of the blockchain approach have given rise to its applications in other areas such as electronic voting or IoT transactions. The principle remains the same:

Transactions are logged in the distributed ledger and validated based on the majority of nodes, even though in the case of voting and other transactions Bitcoin units are replaced by votes or credits.

This results in a trustful and resilient infrastructure, which does not have a single point of failure.

Based on the above principle, blockchain is deployed as an element of IoT infrastructures and services, which signifies a shift from a centralized brokerage model, to a fully distributed mesh network that ensures security, reliability and trustworthiness. Blockchain technology securing IoT infrastructure facilitates devices to authenticate themselves as part of their peer-to-peer interactions, while at the same time increasing the resilience of their interactions against malicious adversaries. Moreover, this can be done in a scalable way, which scales up to the billions of devices and trillions of interactions that will be happening in the coming years.

Cases IoT Blockchain Technology Securing IoT

 

 

The development of secure mesh IoT networks based on blockchain technology is no longer a theoretical concept. During the last couple of years several companies (including high-tech startups) have been using blockchain technology in order to offer novel IoT products and services. The most prominent implementations concern the area of supply chain management. For example, modum.io is applying blockchain in the pharmaceuticals supply chain, as means of ensuring drug safety.

The company’s service uses the blockchain technology in order to log all transactions of a drug’s lifecycle, starting from its manufacturing to its actual use by a health professional or patient. Recently, the retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has announced a food products track and trace pilot based on blockchain technology. The pilot will document all the steps associated with tracking and tracing of pork, from the farm where the food is grown, to the supermarket floor where it is shipped. This pilot is a first of a kind effort to validate the merits of the blockchain outside the scope of the financial services industry.

Beyond supply chain implementations, novel products are expected to emerge in the areas of connected vehicles, white appliances and more. Several of the applications are expected to benefit from blockchain’s ability to facilitate the implementation of monetization schemes for the interaction between devices. In particular, as part of blockchain implementations, sensors and other IoT devices can be granted micropayments in exchange of their data.

The concept has already been implemented by company tilepay, which enables trading of data produced by IoT devices in a secure on-line marketplace. At the same time, cloud-based infrastructures enabling developers to create novel blockchain applications are emerging. As prominent example Microsoft is providing a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) infrastructure as part of its Azure suite.

Overall, blockchain technology is a promising paradigm for securing the future IoT infrastructures. Early implementations are only scratching the surface of blockchain’s potential. We expect to see more and more innovative products in the next few years.

In this direction, several challenges need also to be addressed, such as the customization of consensus (i.e. “majority-voting”) models for IoT transactions, as well as efficient ways for carrying out the computationally intensive process of transaction verification. Solutions to these challenges will certainly boost the rapid uptake of this technology in the IoT technology landscape.

 

Categories
Articles Digital Transformation

Customer Loyalty Improving Engagement and Support

  • For every customer complaint, there are 26 other customers who have remained silent. 9 out of 10 unsatisfied customers would not willingly do business with your organization again.

~ Source: Lee Resource Inc.

 

  • 19 out of 20 satisfied customers who get their issue resolved will return and tell on average 5 people about their experience.

~ Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC

 

Whether you are a CEO, an Account Exec, or an independent consultant and whether your business is pizza, financial services, earthmovers, or volunteer services, you want to avoid the first two above. On the positive side, you hope your business falls into the category of the third bullet where you can grow & improve your customer loyalty.

What these three key business stats have in common is that they measure customer behavior, specifically the behavior of returning – whether it is to buy again or just give you feedback. Returning customers are loyal customers, people who have an emotional and relational investment in you because of how they have been treated, whether they are individual buyers or they represent their companies.

Think of your customer.

  • Do you serve an “external” customer, one who purchases your company’s products and services? Then, you might be in Sales, Account Management, Customer Service, or Field Service.
  • Or do you serve an “internal” customer, one who (by choice or not) receives your work product or service. In this scenario, you might never interact with an external customer, but you still have an impact on the eventual result.
  •  You might be in HR, Talent Acquisition, IT, Engineering, Logistics, Office Management or a similar internal function.

 

What Is Customer Loyalty and Why Is It So Important?

 

  • Whoever your customers are, are they delighted with you?
  • Are they so thrilled with your products and services, that they will do business with you when your prices are a little higher than the competition?
  • Will they forgive you one or two small mistakes and still return?
  • Have your customers become your best “sales” people because they rave about their experiences with your businesses?
  • Will internal customers always come back to you or will they outsource your service?
  • And if they cannot outsource, do they rate your services as a loyal, returning customer would?

Loyal internal customers will help you improve because they are relational and maybe fiscally invested in you and your operation. All business organizations hope their customers keep coming back, and loyal customers are the best foundation for a sustainable future. As a culture of customer loyalty takes hold throughout your organization:

  • Engagement improves,
  • Innovation flourishes,
  • Teamwork grows,
  • And, everyone becomes focused on how his or her results affect the eventual loyal customer.

Adopting customer loyalty as a management, company-wide objective to be continuously improved is critical to the success of business in our socially networked and increasingly competitive service environment.

Points of Connection

 

Your external or internal customers’ points of connection most directly impact customer loyalty. A point of connection is any interaction a customer has with one of your employees or one of your business processes. Points of connection define the customer loyalty from the inside out and determine how a customer rates the service received and ultimately how the business is referred or criticized. As the graphic explains, these 6 points of connection are applicable and important for serving both external and internal customers. Imagine for a minute you crafted a scorecard, which could be used by your team to measure customer loyalty in terms of these 6 criteria (you could customize as appropriate). On a performance scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best), your customer can paint a picture of how he/she feels about doing business with you:

  • How are we at listening to you, discovering your plans, uncovering your needs, and staying current about your business?
  • Do you feel like you and your needs are important to me and my department or company?
  • If there are differences of opinion or misunderstandings, do we address them professionally, openly, and without delay?
  • Do you feel confident that we are being 100% honest and truthful about our proposals and solutions?
  • Do we do what we say we are going to do?
  • Do you feel everyone you deal with on our team is being authentic?

Evaluating these points of connection, and the opinions your customer expresses about them, are valid for both external and internal customers. But how many businesses evaluate the customer loyalty awareness and contributions of their internal departments?

From the Inside Out – Relational Sustainability

 

Customer-Loyalty-workshop-300x194The business strategy of “sustainability” has been part of C-Level vocabulary for many years and it can mean different things to a CEO and his/her executive team depending on the business they are in. Manufacturing companies need to be mindful of environmental waste regulations.

Companies in service industries such as insurance and finance focus on energy consumption of their buildings and the recycling efforts of their paper. Businesses of all types and size have Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

But how many of them have Relational Sustainability initiatives to ensure their key relationships remain strong and are long-lasting? There may not be an official worldwide watchdog agency tracking your company’s carbon foot print and its relational sustainability in the same report, but any business which depends on loyal customers to sustain its growth, and strives to have engaged employees which treat each other as internal customers, will want to sustain its focus on the “five relational building blocks to amazing customer results” as shown below.

Consider a Customer Loyalty Relational Sustainability Workshop

 

This is designed to raise the level of customer loyalty focus and skills across all parts of your business:

  • Consists of 5 weekly workshop sessions, 4 hours each.
  • Is practical, interactive, and customized for your business.
  • Builds a world-class customer loyalty culture by improving internal relationships using the Points of Connection.
  • Focuses on 5 key building blocks, you, your customer(s), your relationship with your customer(s), how to best use your team to support your customer(s), and being goal and results-oriented.
  • Delivers to each attendee a detailed, individualized Customer Relationship Business Plan.

Customer Loyalty Summary

 

  • Returning customers are loyal customers and customer loyalty has replaced customer satisfaction as a more important key performance indicator because loyalty helps a business survive market challenges that mere satisfaction cannot do.
  • Not only do employees who serve external customers need to understand customer loyalty strategies; employees working in internal and support functions can make significant contributions to the company culture of customer loyalty.
  • An executive commitment to a company strategy of customer loyalty will improve employee engagement, innovation, and buy-in that the business is serious about investing in a sustainable future.
  • A company’s or department’s customer loyalty can be measured by its Points of Connection performance.
  • Training internal employees in the skills that improve customer relationships will improve performance in the Points of Connection. This is what is meant by improving customer loyalty from the inside out.

 

Categories
Articles Talent Acquisition - Assessments

Poor Executive Performance What to Do and How to Avoid It

Dealing with a poor executive performance can be frustrating. It can be complex and time consuming to make sure you get the right result – an improvement in their performance, or failing that, them being managed out of the organisation in a fair and legal way.It is likely you will meet with a poor executive performance from senior management at least twice; the first time to tell them how their performance is ineffective and set targets for improvement, and the second to review their progress and decide about their future.

In practice, you may have several other steps to follow, but the conversations will follow the same pattern, and if you master that pattern, you will find it easier to deal with any conversation about performance effectively.  And what is the pattern? You prepare. You talk. You listen. You consider. You decide. You communicate your decision. In basic terms, it is as simple as that.

Prepare

 

Preparation involves making sure you know the Board of Directors policy and what authority they or you must make decisions; you know where the poor executive performance falls short (and you have specific examples), you’ve planned how you want the meeting to go, you’ve given the executive appropriate notice and information in accordance with policy, and you’ve identified a suitable time and venue.

Talk

 

Next, you talk. You may have a predetermined structure to follow or perhaps an agenda you have drawn up, in either case, you need to explain the reason for the meeting and what you want to achieve – to discuss the performance issues and what needs to be done about them. Then you give them the evidence of their performance shortfalls.

Listen

 

Now you give the executive the opportunity to talk and you need to listen. The quickest way to make sure someone doesn’t engage with you is to make them think you’re ignoring what they say. And the only way you are going to get an improvement in performance is if they are working harder, better, or differently. You need their participation. That said, if they refuse to make the effort, then you can still act. It’s not about handing over control. It’s about managing the situation.

It may be that there are some issues that you’re not aware of. They may not have been properly mentored to carry out that objective or task. They may have to rely on a third party which is causing the problems. They may have a health problem that impacts on their ability. There can be as many reasons as there are staff.

They may also get emotional. You might face anger or distress. You can never tell how someone will react until you’re in that situation. Don’t let this side-track you. If they become too emotional to carry on, take a break, but always make sure you get back to the matter at hand.  As a rule, having evidence of poor executive performance issues makes it easier to deal with any emotional reactions since it is harder to ignore facts. It also helps you deal with those who might use an emotional reaction as a tactic to delay the discussion.

Consider

 

This leads neatly on to considering the information you now have. No effective Board member makes a business decision without having the relevant facts or without weighing the options. Performance management is as much a business decision as any other issue you will face. Compensation is not the biggest budgetary outgoing, as in reality poor executive performance can cause a damaging ripple or delay in carrying out the business strategy or impact your market share or customer confidence and that can cost not only millions over the course of two or three years. Dealing with poor executive performance issues is a key opportunity to ensure you get the best return on that investment.

Decide What to do about Poor Executive Performance

 

Now you have the decision to make. You’ll know from your preparation which options are open to you: it may be a verbal or written warning, it may be dismissal. Whatever it is, ensuring that you have been fair and followed policy will mean your decision is more likely to stand if the executive decides to challenge it. It would be unfortunate to end up fighting a legal battle and losing, just for the sake of following the process properly.

Communicate

 

Once you have made your decision, you need to communicate it in the most appropriate way. Face-to-face is usually best, with written confirmation including an action plan. This should be given to him/her as quickly as possible to both capitalise on the momentum from your discussion and to reinforce its importance. There should also be clear demarcation between responsibilities, especially since the executive is the only one who can improve their performance.

And how do you know if you get it right? The executive goes away knowing what they should do, how they must do it, when they need to do it by, they have no illusions about the part they must play, they know the support they can expect from you the most senior management and the Board of Directors, and they understand the consequences of not meeting their targets.

And finally, it can be uncomfortable for any CXO or Board member having to have these discussions with one of their executives, but if you do it in a fair, reasonable, and supportive way, you can be their biggest ally, even if, in the end, it doesn’t work out.

How to Avoid Poor Executive Performance

 

 

Studies from Leadership IQ, SHRM, and many others have revealed repeatedly that the most failure by executives is lack of interpersonal skills.  But really it goes much deeper than that.  The executive may have outstanding KPIs and accomplishments throughout their career, but in this instance, seems to be failing.  It is not always the individual’s fault as changes to the most senior executive staff or ownership of the company can also be a key reason for poor executive performance.

One of the first things we do at NextGen Global Executive Search is to use scientifically based psychometric surveys of the team an executive role will be working with. Depending on the level of the role, this could include Board members, CXOs, SVP, internal customers, and in the case of a vital role in sales or support, we include key external customers.

The resulting data is compiled from these 5 to 8 surveys into a Composite Team Analysis. It tells us the values and motivations, relational communications style, decision making and management traits of the team.This in turn gives our staff a good idea of the target candidate profile from a team fit perspective. The easy part, as any good retained executive search consultant will tell you, is finding a good role fit takes a lot of hard work and documented proof to insure you have the right shortlist.

Poor-executive-performance-issues-300x225Even on difficult searches – I’ve had several of “finding the needled in the haystack” where there were a very limited number of individuals who could meet/exceed the role objectives, it’s still the easier part of a search.

Before proceeding with cold calling and networking, we develop a Search Strategy that details what we are looking for in role fit, team fit, measurable past KPIS, relevance and depth of industry relationships, investor relationships, market cap, market share, turnaround where appropriate, etc. After all, the entire reason for retaining an executive search consultant is because you want the “A players” brought forth, the 14% of the entire workforce that produces 8 to 10 times more than B players.

With CXO and SVP roles, you cannot afford to miss. Same goes for key functional leaders, so that’s not limited to the most senior executives.Now let’s get back to how you can potentially avoid poor executive performance and IMPROVE it. If your retention rate starts to go down, market share or customer support is dropping, revenues are declining, or poor morale seems to be increasing, the worst thing you can do is panic or make staffing decisions based solely on those metrics.

Before doing so, entertain the low cost involved with scientifically based Team Alignment and Individual Team Performance.  We’ve done this for several clients – big and small – and what we have found is that some individuals are simply on the wrong team or that the teams themselves were simply improperly aligned to succeed.  It goes back to team fit. Each department in any organization has different teams and those teams are made up of individuals.  Having too many similar strengths and weaknesses means a team cannot learn and produce effectively.

The counterbalance of any team is having an effective leader, a coach, a technical or sales mentor, an interpersonal skills expert, a geek, etc. – if properly aligned these seemingly different individuals have the right balance of identified strengths and weaknesses that those traits can be effective through action plans.   In a very short time, realignment and proper positioning of teams can increase production dramatically.  How many of you have ever used this method?

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Articles Wireless - Telecom

Zero Rating for Broadband and Mobile Operators

A report on zero rating by the Federal Communications Commission just a week and a half before the inauguration of Donald Trump said that zero rating for broadband and mobile network operators violates net neutrality rules. “Zero-rated” applications do not count toward data caps or usage allowance imposed by internet service providers. Forbes staff writer Parmy Olson called the report “too little too late”.

Zero rating has come under fire from many quarters. “While network capacity could become a problem if zero-rated offerings truly take off,” writes Colin Gibbs in a review of 2016 for Fierce Wireless, “the biggest challenge to the model has been claims that it’s a threat to net neutrality rules.”  Last year, Verizon began offering zero rated video streaming though NFL Mobile app.

 

Keeping the Net Neutral

 

The idea of net neutrality is that everything on the internet should be treated openly and fairly. Net neutrality prohibits blocking of sites by ISPs. It prohibits throttling:  ISPs should not slow down or speed up content for different services. It calls for increased transparency and prohibits paid prioritization of traffic. Before the recent FCC report, sponsored data plans – plans with zero rating – were to be judged by the agency on a case-by-case basis.  NextGen’s wireless practice has 22+ years working in these types of telecom market movements and standards.

 

Zero Rating for Broadband and Mobile Network Services

 

 

Facebook offers free internet access to underdeveloped countries with curated content. According to Internet.org, “Free Basics by Facebook provides people with access to basic websites for free – like news, job postings, health and education information, and communication tools like Facebook.” The motto of the service is “Connecting the World”.

A number of mobile network providers have taken up the practice. The first to try zero rating was T-Online with their Music Freedom offering in 2014. They followed that up with a video service called Binge On. Verizon came up with their own mobile video service called Go90. Perhaps the most aggressive has been AT&T’s partnership with DirecTV.  Virgin Mobile 4G Plans Now Allow Free Zero Rated Data Use on Twitter.

zero-rating-for-ISPs-and-mobile-networks

Presenting the case against zero rating for broadband and mobile network operators services, the young Mike Egan stated articulately in a YouTube video: “Zero rating isn’t about giving online services or online creators a chance. It’s about mobile carriers finding a loophole so that they can keep you even more locked into what easily becomes their new media ecosystem.”

He says that “certain services are privileged over others” and that it is one of the best ways to “kill a free and open internet”.

Egan and others like him are upset, and he talks in terms of “the oppressor” versus “the oppressed”.   The Federalist Society takes a different view. In their YouTube video about zero rating, they compare it to getting free samples of ice cream. “This is a way to increase the adoption of the internet,” the spokeswoman says. “All that zero rating is doing is helping to increase the competition and expanding the user choice.”

 

The Less Regulated Road Ahead

 

The “too little too late” remark of the Forbes staffer is all about the new political realities in America. Despite the recent pronouncement again zero rating by the FCC, chances are the practice will continue unabated. President Trump has vowed to cut government regulations by 75%, and the new FCC chairman Ajit Pai will likely tamp down any opposition to zero rating for ISPs and mobile network operators.

A blog post from CCS Insight says, “Mr. Pai had opposed government intervention in the telecommunications market and has been an open critic of an FCC report disapproving of zero-rating data, also known as toll-free data….” The blogger goes on to say that there will certainly be a rise in the number of toll-free data offers.

 

Conclusion on Zero Rating for Broadband and Mobile Services

 

Many are concerned about the potential loss of internet freedom with zero rating. As Egan put it, “It’s a war for the future of our media landscape.” How that war plays out when deregulation sets in remains to be seen. Neutrality is a hard thing to maintain.     What are your ideas on zero rating?  Does your network provider bundle any of these services? How do you think it will affect the future of the internet? Please add your comments below.

 

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Articles Talent Acquisition - Assessments

New Hire Onboarding Process Increases Productivity

The new hire onboarding process, for so many companies, is crammed into orientation or fails.  New hire onboarding increases productivity when used correctly.  Unfortunately the main causes for onboarding failure are two-fold.  One is Human Resources tries to use a “one-size-fits-all” approach.  Secondly, it involves too much valuable time of executives to follow the onboarding plan.

The executive recruiter found the “A Player you need.  Your expectations are that the new leader or key staff person you just hired will make an impact sooner rather than later.  You’ve made an investment in strategy, compensation, and a recruitment fee.  Now is the time to utilize a CUSTOMIZED new hire onboarding process to increase the potential of gaining a Return on your Investment.

If you had engaged an executive search firm to recruit for a key position at any level, the recruiter should provide a custom employee onboarding set of tools based on the role and team dynamics. Doing so results in the new hire meeting performance objectives sooner and being retained longer.  A best practices employee onboarding process will help you accomplish all of the above when designed and facilitated as a customized, one-on-one version.

The Type of New Hire Onboarding Process that Works

In order to design, document, and deliver a viable, easy to utilize new hire onboarding process that works requires a few hours each month for both the new hire and manager he/she reports to.  The guidelines should consist of a psychometric based team profile, the new hire’s role fit and team fit analysis, a personal action plan for the new employee, a mentoring / coaching guideline, and a measurement tool.

Many companies spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars with so-called Human Resources or People Management firms or psychology-based firms that in the end produce a one-size-fits-all model based on a corporate profile / corporate culture.  They are very time consuming so rarely are they carried out for new employees to fruition. To make matters worse, often it is handed over to HR, who is not part of the individual team the person was hired for and their focus is on orientation and “corporate culture” assimilation rather than how the new hire assimilates into the team he/she will be working within.

Facilitated correctly, the plan should smoothly and quickly assimilate the new employee into the team culture, not just the company culture.  By capturing profile data about the new hire, his/her direct reports, and the organization, a plan is developed for maximizing understanding, positive communications, and relational communications effectiveness.

An effective new hire onboarding process ensures the new executive  or employee  knows exactly what the senior team expects and receives specific feedback early, helping him/her to establish effective influential networks, social, community, and professional, internal and external relational communications and conflict resolution skills.  The end result is higher retention because the phased activities lead to deeper engagement, innovation, and job fulfillment levels.

How About Costing You ZERO for a Custom New Hire Onboarding Process?

NextGen Executive search charges NOTHING to deliver a custom new hire onboarding process with each new hire we place.  Our placements average 3.5 years still on the job retention rate.  The employee onboarding new hire process will provide a good initial experience for a new hire and lay a strong foundation upon which to build loyalty, inspiration, innovation, and high performance.

Looking to fill a key executive position in your company? Contact us today for a free retained search consultation or download our award winning recruitment process.

 

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Articles Cyber Security

Mobile BYOD Security IT Best Practices

Mobile BYOD security is always an issue for IT and security.  Going online increasingly means going mobile. “There’s an app for that” is the truth these days. Unfortunately, mobile device security brings the same set of concerns that full computer and cloud systems are battling – threats, hacking, and ransomware.

The biggest security threat to mobile devices that is not found in desktops or servers is that very mobility. In mid-2015, 2.1 million Americans reported their mobile phones lost or stolen according to Consumer Reports.  That’s a drop. Add tablets and the count is higher, but still less than what it has been. CR doesn’t try to say why the number of missing devices is down.

Mobile BYOD Security in the Work Environment

The ability to wipe data or lock down a smartphone was considered high end security. Apple led the pack in that kind of security, but even the vaunted iPhone was hacked. It’s probably easier than you think. “More than 86% of Apple iPhones in the world are apparently still vulnerable to a security flaw that allows a hacker to completely take over the device with just a text message, according to data from mobile and web analytics firm MixPanel,” said a report at Business Insider.

It does not matter if your work environment is BYOD or company-supplied. Once the mobile device is gone, expect it to be hacked.  Think a remote wipe of the mobile device is going to protect your information? It won’t. A quick google on “recover lost data from smartphone” turned up plenty of companies selling information-recovery software.

YouTube also has plenty of videos teaching people how to recover files from a smartphone. While these tutorials are aimed at helping someone find and restore “lost” photos or text messages, there’s not a real difference between a picture of someone’s kids at the park and a file with a client’s payment information. Data is data.

Some of these ideas are worth adding to your company’s mobile BYOD security policies.

  1. Lock it. Set a strong passcode or password on company-supplied devices. The more numbers used, the better. Get the IT staff to set passwords or codes. A lot of employees, if allowed to do it themselves, will choose something simple or something personal like a birthday for numbers or children’s names for passwords. For BYOD either limit access to sensitive information or have IT set strong codes for access to those files.
  2. Auto erase after failed unlocks. Restoring deleted data is cheaper than covering losses from a hack.
  3. No public charging stations. Viruses and malware at public charging stations have been around for years. CNBC said the problem is getting worse.  “Here is how it works: The cybercriminal needs to hide an HDMI [high-definition multimedia interface] splitter and recorder in the charging station. Most smartphones are now HDMI-enabled so you can share images from the phone onto a TV. Once plugged in, the station uses the built-in HDMI to record everything done on the smartphone without the user’s knowledge.”

None of these are guaranteed to stop a dedicated hacker when it comes to mobile device security.   But they will frustrate someone who stole the phone or tablet and hoped for an easy score. They can also create enough of a delay for you to lock out the device from your system and alert any customers whose information may be compromised.

Enable Stronger Mobile BYOD Security

The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) says mobile hacks are steadily climbing. The report lists things to do to protect mobile devices.  CERT’s best security ideas are:

 

  • Don’t put sensitive information on mobile devices. May not be practical, but this is the best mobile BYOD security policy.
  • Limit the type and number of apps allowed on a mobile device. For a BYOD, this could be problematic. If you are in a BYOD environment, have the employee sign an agreement allowing the IT department to lock company information and restrict access to it.
  • Step up the basic access to the phone with longer pass codes and more complicated passwords.
  • Disable Bluetooth, infrared and Wi-Fi.

Mobile-BYOD-SecurityMobile may not be part of your company’s business model right now, but it is coming.  If you already have it, what are you doing to make things secure? What’s in your company’s written mobile device policy?  How do you enforce it? How do you monitor the devices, especially if you are BYOD?

Having issues with recruiting cyber security experts with deep experience in wireless protocols, mobile networks, mobile security apps and BYOd security?  Click below to ask NextGen how we can solve recruitment issues and deliver the right candidates for hire.