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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

3 Performance Killers Leaders Should Watch for and Stop

Performance killers are a reality, but it is up to an organization's leadership to be on the watch for such behaviour.  In fact, it is essential for managers to be trained to spot and address this destructive behaviour in order to build high-performance teams.  And herein lies the difference between teams and departments.  In teams you don't have this behaviour.  In departments that are experiencing challenging times and/or people competing to avoid downsizing, this behaviour is rampant.

As someone who has managed teams for close to 20 years, a former colleague reached out to me recently get some advice on some behaviours he was seeing in his own department.  With that in mind, I offered him the following description of what I was trained to lookout for as a manager.

Here are three performance killers that managers need to address and end:


1.  Cliques or Power Coalitions

     Coalitions frequently in group settings.  In this case, a few people align themselves with the leader and withhold praise or positive feedback outside the clique.  In fact, giving praise to other members of team is intentionally withheld and may even go as far as to persuade the leader that the other parties are not performing. 
Image courtesy of www.oldrightie.com -

2.  Enforced Silos

Silos can occur in conjunction with cliques or independently of another action.  In these situations, people involved are focused on self-promotion and their careers rather than the overall good of the department and ultimately the team.  Individuals involved in these actions will ensure that information is withheld from others. Marginalization of other departmental members usually occurs.  

3.  Alienators

   In this case, Alienators work quietly at first dropping hints to the leader that other people are not doing their jobs and/or not performing as well as should be expected.  Alienators are very skilled at creating the perception that he or she is concerned about the “team’s” reputation and ultimately the leader’s reputation.  Through continued conversations, the discussions escalate to the point where the leader believes that the Alienator has his or her best interests at heart.

    Managers should be on the lookout for these behaviours, particularly during troubled times. And when he or she sees this occurring, the manager must take the bull by the horns. Staff members can't address this.  The situation for those individuals will only worsen.  Managers need to look closely at the members of their department and ask questions like:  who is always finding fault with members other than their small clique?  Who uses pass aggressive techniques to slide in negative comments?  

The only way to stop this destructive behaviour is to set the stage that team members support one another and make each member in the department look good both within the department and outside the department.  That is a true sign of team participation.  While this is not easy for many mangers, good managers make it a practice to not accept anything less, even from people with whom they have befriended in the reporting structure.

These are only three destructive behaviours that can occur.  What would you add to this list?






Monday, August 19, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Danny Brown & Sam Fiorella's Influence Marketing

I love that I get the chance to meet really smart, interesting and inspiring people and in the process read great books and do book reviews. Danny Brown is one of those people. Sam, hopefully we get to connect soon too! As I get ready to do my PhD on Digital Influence, I was pumped to read Danny's and Sam's book: Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage, and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. After all it is a bout Influence!


Both Danny and Sam are well known for their marketing prowess and have really developed the conversation around influence. When done well, we don't even realize that tactics of influence are being executed on us. As expected, this is a well written book chalk full of information.


From the Book's synopsis:



"Today, you face a brutally tough, maddeningly elusive new competitor: the “wisdom of crowds.” Social media gives consumers 24x7 access to the attitudes and recommendations of their most engaged peers. These are the views that shape buying decisions. These are the views you must shape and use.Influence Marketing won’t just help you identify and enlist key influencers: it will help you manage the influence paths that lead consumers to buy. By sharing empirical evidence of hard-won lessons from pioneering influence marketers, Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella provide a blueprint that moves influence marketing beyond simple brand awareness and into sales acquisition and customer life time value measurement. They integrate new tools and techniques into a complete methodology for generating more and better leads—and converting them faster, at higher margins.

• Put the customer—not the influencer—at the center, and plan influence marketing accordingly
• Recognize where each prospect stands in the purchase life cycle right now
• Clarify how your consumers move from brand preference to purchase
• Identify key micro-influencers who impact decisions at every stage
• Gain indispensable insights into the context of online relationships
• Recognize situational factors that derail social media brand recommendations
• Understand social influence scoring models and overcome their limitations
• Re-engineer and predict influence paths to generate measurable action
• Master the “4 Ms” of influence marketing: make, manage, monitor, measure
• Transform influence marketing from a “nice-to-have” exercise into a powerful strategy

Additional online resources can be found at www.influencemarketingbook.com"


Now, My Review:

This is one of the most comprehensive books on Influence Marketing that I have come across. From defining what Influencers are to understanding the emotion and logic that drives Influence to role of social media to exploring the shift of power from the brand to consumer and more, Danny and Sam have this exciting topic covered. They even go one step further and offer case studies to reinforce and support their topics.


What stood out for me most? Well, it was really the discussions around Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS). This section of the book, like the entire book, was well thought out and got me thinking a lot about how to better measure Influence and the need to incorporate different measures than what have been discussed. This will be an area that I explore much deeper thanks to the authors.


Finally, another part of the book that I particularly liked and will draw upon to support initiatives is the definition of Influencers. As Influencer Marketing becomes more and more the topic du jour, helping people understand who is an Influencer and who is an Advocate, for example will really make a difference in developing ones strategy and tactics to use in an integrated marketing plan, that includes Influence Marketing.


So, you are looking to get an A-Z understanding of Influencer Marketing, I would get this book.