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The Best of November 2013

Geplaatst op nov 8, 2013 in News

Managing Yourself

Emotional Agility

Susan David and Christina Congleton

All healthy human beings have an inner stream of thoughts and feelings that include criticism, doubt, and fear: “I’m a fake.” “He’s a jerk.” “It was the same in my last job.” This is natural. But suppressing these kinds of thoughts causes as much trouble as succumbing to them. Here the authors offer up a simple, and practical, alternative to taming the beast within, adapted from University of Nevada psychologist Seven Hayes’ Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. First, recognize your patterns. (“I think quite a few people are jerks, don’t I?”). Label your thoughts when they arise. (That’s the difference between thinking “He’s a jerk” and realizing, “I’m thinking that he’s a jerk”). Accept your thoughts for what they are. (“When I think people are jerks, I’m worried that something important is at stake.”). Then act, but according to your values. (“Am I the kind of person that criticizes when something important is at stake, or do I pitch in?”). But don’t just take their word for it — try the process out for yourself, with the accompanying emotional agility exercise.




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Dismantling the Sales Machine

Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, and Nicholas Toman

“Wanted: experienced sales professionals looking to maximize earning potential in a fast-paced, competitive sales organization.” This is a description of the salesperson of the past—the one who follows a carefully honed sales process designed to close the highest volume of sales before the quarter ends from people already ready to buy. But nowadays if you wait until customers have all the information they need to buy, the only way you’re going to get their business is to compete on price. Far more lucrative are the sales organizations that create demand, rather than just respond to it. Salespeople in these companies demonstrate creative solutions to needs customers don’t already know they have, sometimes with funds they don’t yet realize they might access.This is good news for creative thinkers—but bad news for most sales reps today. In their extensive research, the authors found only 17% of existing sales employees score high on the skills needed for this new kind of selling.




How I Did It

Rakuten’s CEO on Humanizing E-Commerce

Hiroshi Mikitani

His parents were aghast when he left his prestigious job at the Industrial Bank of Japan to start up a new-fangled website in 1997. Today, Rakuten is the world’s third-largest marketplace for e-commerce (behind Amazon and eBay) with nearly 10,000 employees. It sells $15 billion worth of goods in 13 countries by bringing scale to the personalized experience of boutique shopping. By giving vendors a chance to tell their stories in their own way, Rakuten has shown it’s possible to create richer relationships with vendors than some people have with their friends—and sell the most unlikely things. Who ever thought you could sell fresh eggs online for more than they cost in the local market?




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Strategy: The Uniqueness Challenge

Todd Zenger

The more time it takes financial analysts to evaluate your company’s strategy (either because it’s unique or because it spans several industries), the more likely it is that they won’t bother. And if they don’t understand your strategy, they won’t value your firm as highly. That’s what the author found when he and colleagues at Olin Business School examined all 7,630 companies publicly traded in U.S. capital markets between 1985 and 2007. Sometimes, they just come right out and admit it, as PaineWebber did in confronting Monsanto’s strategy to gain R&D synergies by constructing a portfolio of businesses spanning the chemicals, biotech, and agribusiness sectors. Because it was so hard for analysts with differing expertise to even schedule a time to meet, PaineWebber actually suggested that the only way Monsanto would get a proper valuation is if it unbundled itself. So what’s a creative company to do? Zenger argues that companies seeking a fairer hearing have only two options—make their strategic information more accessible or find investors who will take the long view. Monsanto’s experience would suggest those investors might be well rewarded: After a series of complex strategic moves, and 11 years after being judged by analysts as essentially worthless, Monsanto’s market cap reached $57.5 billion.




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