Tuesday, March 17, 2009

CAUTION: Cause Marketing can be hazardous to your health.

“Cause marketing” is the term being used today to describe all manner of crosspromotional efforts betweenfor-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations. More than 1 of every 4 retailers are promoting charities at some level — and the Web seems to be speeding that growth.

Research shows 64% say they for cause marketinghave purchased from a brand because it supported a cause they believe in. A 2001 survey suggested that 81% would choose one brandover another if a cause wereinvolved, assuming price andquality were similar.

If you have done due diligence,and your stakeholdersunderstand and believe in thecause, great! But sales people—with noble titles in the nonprofit world like corporate outreach or community development officer — have their own agendas which may not coincide with your best interests.

Never ever assume your customers share the values to which you are hitching your corporate wagon just because the nonprofit makes that claim.

Sources: FutureNow; Synapse Associates

Rope-a-dope & sting like a bee.

To effectively deal with uncertainty, organizations need to have the two main characteristics of professional boxers: agility and the power of absorption.

Organizational agility is the ability to dentify and capitalize on opportunities faster than the competition, providing the firm with a competitive advantage.

Organizations with operational agility can identify opportunities to improve processes, which will generate cost reductions and quality improvements. Asset or portfolio agility allows firms to quickly reallocate resources such as cash and talent to more attractive units. Strategic agility is management's ability to seize gamechanging opportunities that can quickly create a great deal of

Taking advantage of these opportunities may require entering a new market aggressively or taking a chance on a new technology that competitors have not yet embraced. Firms also need to absorb damage and wait for golden opportunities to come along; to do this, they need to have the adequate size, diversity, and cash reserves available.

One example of adapting to this environment is GE. They are breaking into a number of independent units that can make decisions quickly despite high levels of absorption.

So if you want to be a business champion, train like Ali: to take a punch and still sting like a bee.

Source: Harvard Business Review (02/09)
Vol. 87, No. 2, P. 78;

Hired on experience, fired on personality

In a study of 500 managers on 3 continents, Egon Zehnder International found that unsuccessful managers, each with exceptional IQ's and experience, lacked emotional intelligence. (Sometimes referred to as emotional strength.)

Psychologist and researcher Daniel Goleman, discovered that emotional intelligence skills account for an astounding 90 percent of the success of senior leaders. A growing consensus on professional leadership shows that people who rise to the top of their field from finance to law, to medicine or other aren’t just good at their jobs. They’re affable, resilient and optimistic.

In other words, traditional cognitive intelligence, or IQ, may not be enough. It also takes 'emotional intelligence' or EQ: the ability to restrain negative feelings such as anger and self-doubt, and instead focus on positive ones such as confidence and congeniality.

In his 1995 book, Goleman organizes emotional intelligence into four Domains: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. Debate remains on the definition of EQ but such studies add new metrics to the old mantra of executive recruiters: "Hired on experience, and fired on personality."

Whereas IQ is relatively fixed, emotional intelligence (or strength) can be learned. So how do you increase workplace EQ? The best way is to work with a professional qualified to teach EQ skills.

But what’s the payoff?
Not only is job performance enhanced but higher EQ can improve relationships in every area of life. With the costs of turnover ( 150% of payroll) and workplace conflicts, that's a terrific ROI.

Sources: ASTD, APA, and
Pierce Management Development