CATCHING THE CONTAGION OF POSITIVE CHANGE

March 6th, 2015

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Change can be powerful and profitable.  To keep your business profitable, you must change things occasionally.  Ignoring the need for change is a big mistake.  Just ask the Swiss watchmakers.  They did not want to change, and digital technology made them obsolete.

I am not one who advocates for change—any change—just to be able to jump on the change bandwagon.  However, I do advocate that positive change should be happening constantly in our businesses and in our personal and professional lives.  When a business or a person ceases to engage in positive change, then by default, only negative change will occur.  Negative change leads to death.

On the other hand, when a business or a person chooses to engage in positive change, many good things will happen.  Positive change creates its own energy and contagion.  Here are just a few things that can happen in your business or in your personal and professional life when you are a positive-change advocate:

More customers are attracted to your business.
Product or service offerings are refined.
The customer experience improves and so too does customer loyalty.
Key processes are streamlined via technology.
Your corporate culture improves.
Public relations is boosted.
Your attitude improves.
You feel better and you look better.
You make smarter choices.
You pursue and achieve noble goals.
Your relationships are enhanced.
You acquire more healthy habits in your life and you abandon unhealthy habits.

Change is a fact of life.  There is no point to resisting it or pretending that it does not exist.  The crucial strategy as much as it is within your power, is to foster exclusively positive change.





FROM PROHIBITION TO EMPOWERMENT

March 5th, 2015

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Change can be powerful and profitable.  To keep your business profitable, you must change things occasionally.  Ignoring the need for change is a big mistake.  Just ask the Swiss watchmakers.  They did not want to change, and digital technology made them obsolete.

You have a natural capacity to identify all the reasons why you should not change.  However, for each one of those prohibitions, you can recognize the empowerment of the opportunity to change.  Once you recognize it, you will embrace it.  Here are the three biggest prohibitions:

Prejudice Against The Change.  Sometimes you are simply prejudiced against any change.  These situations demand deep introspection and self-assessment.  If in fact you determine that your main objection to the change is a prejudiced viewpoint, then you can fix that.  Admitting that you are responding in a prejudicial manner simultaneously opens your mind.  You do not have to be bound to an automatic, prejudicial response.  You can choose to take a fresh look.

The Cost Of The Change.  Change will usually cost you something.  Whether it is company resources, your time, your energy, or any other asset, change always costs something.  You can let the cost talk you out of the change.  These situations demand that you reframe the situation by looking at the potential paybacks of the change.  When you can see that the paybacks are significant, then you will no longer see costs.  Instead, you will see investments.

Personal Fears.  Change always takes you to a new world.  That can be frightening.  You may feel like you are out of your element.  You may feel out of control.  These situations demand that you conquer your fears by looking beyond them to the positive outcomes.  Regardless of how frightening the change may be, the positive outcomes and the potential future opportunities will only materialize if you work through those fears.  Focus on that and you will soon find your fears being replaced by a sense of anticipation and excitement.

These three prohibitions to change can be successfully navigated.  You must engage them directly.  That engagement process will generate empowerment, and it is that empowerment that will lead you to successful change.  You can move from prohibition to empowerment today.





QUESTIONING FOR CHANGE

March 4th, 2015

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Change can be powerful and profitable.  To keep your business profitable, you must change things occasionally.  Ignoring the need for change is a big mistake.  Just ask the Swiss watchmakers.  They did not want to change, and digital technology made them obsolete.  Some questions to ask when considering changes in your business include:

What technological developments will affect my business?
How has my target market changed?
What are my employees telling me?
Which products or services give me the highest profit margin?
Which products or services give me the lowest profit margin?
Am I training my employees efficiently and effectively?
What are my competitors doing and what differentiates my business from them?

Making a change to maintain or improve profitability is not only wise for business.  It is equally wise for personal and professional growth.  Your personal growth and your professional growth correlate with a willingness to change.  Personal and professional growth are impossible without change.  Some questions to ask when considering personal and professional growth include:

How are my relationships?
Do I manifest caring for others?
Is my life balanced?
What spiritual or religious convictions do I embrace?
What are my ethics and morals?
Is now a strategic time to pursue formal education?
How would my boss, peers, subordinates, and customers evaluate me?
Am I growing, plateaued, or declining as a professional?

Whatever you do, don’t ask these questions unless you are willing to change.  Otherwise, you are just wasting your time.





THE WILL AND THE WAY

March 3rd, 2015

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Change can be powerful and profitable.  To keep your business profitable, you must change things occasionally.  Ignoring the need for change is a big mistake.  Just ask the Swiss watchmakers.  They did not want to change, and digital technology made them obsolete.

Making a change to maintain or improve profitability is not only wise for business.  It is equally wise for personal and professional growth.  Nevertheless, one thing can stand in the way.  It is the one thing that you and I meet in the mirror every morning.  Just because we might understand the way to change does not always guarantee that we have the will to change.  You might see the way, but do you have the will?

No one else can induce that will in you.  It can only come from you.  However, I would suggest that it is worthy of your attention.  You will never know what potential successes await you unless you make a decision that you will change.

Joyfully, I have seen many people make smart decisions in their lives and businesses.  The results were very positive.  Tragically, I have seen many people refuse to make those positive decisions.  They could see the way, but they lacked the will.  The results were very negative.

Let’s keep our decisions on the positive side of the ledger.  Those are the ones that will reap the best rewards.





LEARNING FROM WET BABIES

March 2nd, 2015

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Change is an interesting concept.  About the only person who likes change is a wet baby.  The reason is, for the baby, things get better and the baby doesn’t have to do any work.  That isn’t usually the case for the rest of us.

Lots of people have a default position of, “I hate change.”  The reason is that they are not convinced things will get better and they don’t want to do any work.  It is the proverbial case of the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

The problem with that position of course is that anything worthwhile is something that you must work to achieve.  Furthermore, once you forge forward in that work, the devil you don’t know never materializes or at least it turns out to be not as bad as you feared.

To keep your business profitable, you must change things occasionally.  Ignoring the need for change is a big mistake.  Just ask the Swiss watchmakers.  They did not want to change, and digital technology made them obsolete.

Making a change to maintain or improve profitability is not only wise for business.  It is equally wise for personal and professional growth.  Let’s stay profitable.





THE BUSINESS PRECURSOR

February 27th, 2015

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Repeatedly, I am amazed at some of the most simple and timeless principles of succeeding in the real world.  Jim McCann is the chairman and CEO of 1-800-Flowers.com.  Reflecting upon his life experiences, he articulates one of my favorite success principles (Jim McCann “How Did I Get Here?” Bloomberg Businessweek, 2/16/15–2/22/15, p. 72):

Create a relationship, and business will follow.

I am more comfortable doing business with someone once I know that person.  Knowing about the business is one thing, but knowing the person behind the business instantly appeals to the relationship experience.

Business is business, but it is the personal involvement that takes it to a deeper level.  That is what makes the business even more fun and successful.





A NEW LEVEL OF FINGERPRINTING

February 26th, 2015

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Necessity is the mother of invention and the inventing has not stopped yet.  This is certainly the case for a new cybersecurity technology developed by PFP Cybersecurity.  The 12-person startup in Vienna, Virginia, has created an amazingly innovative sensor device that discerns malevolent code changes (Dune Lawrence “Power Fingerprinting” Bloomberg Businessweek, 2/16/15–2/22/15, p. 34):

Placed near a computer system or industrial equipment, PFP sensors analyze energy use patterns and create a so-called power fingerprint, then monitor energy use for changes.  . . . Any failure or new code in the system shifts its fingerprint ever so slightly, and within milliseconds the PFP software sends an alert to security staff.

The device looks for changes that we would not normally even be able to detect.  This reminds me of some of the cybersecurity tools that analyze the user’s typing and keyboard habits as an additional data point in detecting intrusion attempts.  Likewise, the PFP sensor is not an all-encompassing total solution, but it adds an additional layer of protection.

Many others have significant confidence in this new approach.  PFP Cybersecurity has already worked with the National Science Foundation, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the military.  It looks like power fingerprinting brings a new level of power to the cybersecurity war, and these days we can say, not a moment too soon.





LEADERSHIP OVER YOU

February 25th, 2015

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When it comes to leadership, it is common to think of those we lead and those who lead us.  As important as those persons are, I propose an even more important person.  That person is you.

How are you managing self-leadership?  You are the most important person in the crowd because you are the only person over whom you have total control.  Therefore, the question is crucial and vast.

The question is crucial because of the potential effects on your leadership dynamics.  The question is vast because self-leadership encompasses many areas, including these:

Professional growth.

Personal growth.

Skills.

Relationships.

Ethics.

Affiliations.

Health and wellness (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual).

Goals and objectives.

How you handle success.

How you handle failure.

Commitments.

Dedication.

Life’s mission and vision.

It is wonderful to give leadership to others and it is wonderful to receive leadership from others.  Nevertheless, the most important person in leadership is you.  Everyone you touch will rise or fall on the basis of how well you exercise self-leadership.  Remember, no one can lead you best, nor can you lead anyone best, unless you have mastered self-leadership.





SATELLITE SECRETS

February 24th, 2015

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Quick!  How do satellites keep their location information secret without crashing into other satellites?  That is a very good question, and one that many companies and governments are trying to solve.  No one wants any more satellite collisions such as the one in 2009 when US’s Iridium 33 collided with Russia’s Cosmos 2251, destroying both satellites.

Here is the problem:  Satellite stakeholders view location data as proprietary information.  Leaking that data could degrade competitive advantage.  Simultaneously, governments rightfully have concerns over national security.

Currently, the conundrum is being handled by empowering an independent third party, Analytical Graphics, to receive everyone’s satellite location data confidentially.  Analytical Graphics then runs the calculations and alerts relevant parties about possible collisions.  The one downfall to this arrangement is that all parties must unequivocally trust Analytical Graphics.

Recognizing that the current solution will not necessarily hold together, an interesting new approach is being developed.  It involves some pretty sophisticated cryptographic programming, as Brett Hemenway and Bill Welser explain (“Insecure Skies” Scientific American, February 2015, pp. 28–29):

In the 1980s specialists developed algorithms that allowed many people to jointly compute a function on private data without revealing any number of secrets.  In 2010 DARPA tasked teams of cryptographers to apply this technology to develop so-called secure multiparty computation (MPC) protocols for satellite data sharing.  . . . The [MPC] design guarantees that participants can compute a desired output (for example, the probability of collision) but nothing else.  And because the protocol design is public, anyone involved can write their own software client—there would be no need for all parties to trust one another.” (p. 29)

One of the disadvantages to the encrypted process is speed.  Using a secured process can take seconds when a nonsecured process can be performed in milliseconds.  The expectation is that technology’s speed will come to the rescue.

Let’s hope that happens faster rather than slower.  We don’t need any more space debris cluttering the orbital highways or tumbling on our heads.





SUBMARINE SURVIVAL LESSONS

February 23rd, 2015

If you were going on a submarine mission, the one item that you would want to guarantee functioned would be your air system.  Figuring out that you have no oxygen is not something you want to do at 500 feet below the surface.  That would clearly be a life-threatening situation.

Metaphorically, New Delhi is in that submarine.  On the positive side, India is committed to industrial growth but on the negative side, its air-quality strategy has not yet caught up with its industrial-growth strategy.  A recent World Health Organization study determined that New Delhi’s air is the most polluted in the world.

Researchers affiliated with the University of Chicago, Yale, and Harvard have determined that New Delhi residents’ life expectancies are reduced by 3.2 years due to air pollution.  Air-purification systems are becoming increasingly common and are just another indicator of the growing concerns about this dangerous problem, as Gardiner Harris reports:

Some embassies, including Norway’s, have begun telling diplomats with children to reconsider moving to the city, and officials have quietly reported a surge in diplomats choosing to curtail their tours.  Indian companies have begun ordering filtration systems for their office buildings.

Thankfully, India is not just recognizing the problem.  India is starting to move in the important direction of taking action.  Although no overnight solutions exist for this major challenge, at least public awareness is growing rapidly.  Hopefully, the needed changes to counter the issue will occur even more rapidly.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/world/asia/delhi-wakes-up-to-an-air-pollution-problem-it-cannot-ignore.html?_r=0