Category Archives: Business

The Reason of Troublemaker Kids Make Great Entrepreneurs

The psychologists who came up with this theory examined a Swedish study that followed approximately 1,000 children from one Swedish town over a 40-year period. What they found was that the children who ended up being entrepreneurs as adults were often the ones who got into trouble as kids.

“We analyzed this data regarding the entrepreneurship the participants were showing later on in their professional careers. We wanted to know what kind of social behavior they showed,” Martin Obschonka from the Center for Applied Developmental Science at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Sweden said. What they found was that those entrepreneurs were more likely to show anti-social tendencies in adolescence. They also noted a higher rate of criminal offenses (but mostly misdemeanors)among those who ended up becoming entrepreneurs.

Researchers said the data showed more frequent disregard of parental orders, more frequent cheating at school, more incidents of truancy, and  more regular drug consumption and shoplifting, the researchers report. These results were particularly applicable to male participants.

The good news is that, over time, these future business owners seem to have shed their wayward ways.

By the time the participants reached adulthood, the entrepreneurial set was no more likely to exhibit anti-social behaviors than those who went on to other occupations.

Obschonka said it is not entirely surprising that entrepreneurs showed a tendency toward risk-taking as youth. The same character traits that drive people to be innovative and take risks as entrepreneurs, may have its roots in adolescent rule-breaking behavior.

“The data suggest that a rebellious adolescent behavior against socially accepted standards and an early questioning of boundaries doesn’t necessarily lead to criminal and anti-social careers,” Obschonka said. “It can rather be the basis for a productive and socially acceptable entrepreneurship.”

Obschonka conducted the research with Swedish colleagues from the University of Stockholm.

The Next Generation of Workers

workplace_wellness_ideasThe next generation of employees is getting ready to enter the workforce and they have a much different outlook on what they want out of their careers than those who have come before them, new research finds.

The study from the job search site Monster revealed that soon-to-be professionals from Generation Z, those born between 1994 and 2010, are more driven by money and ambition than those who are already working. Specifically, 70 percent of those surveyed from Gen Z said their top work motivator is money, compared with just 63 percent of employees from all other generations.

Being able to work in a job they are passionate about is another motivator. The study found that 46 percent of those from Generation Z, specifically between ages 15 and 20, said the ability to pursue their passion is a top motivating factor, compared with only 32 percent of baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials.

The next generation of workers appears more willing to put in the extra effort needed to achieve their goals. Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed from Generation Z said they would work nights and weekends for higher pay, opposed to just 45 percent of millennials, 40 percent of Gen Xers and 33 percent of baby boomers.

Gen Z workers will also head anywhere for a job they want. Nearly 70 percent of Generation Z said they would be willing to move for a good job opportunity, compared with 52 percent of those across all other generations.

In order to attract Generation Z workers, employers better make sure they are keeping up with their technology. Having grown up their entire lives immersed in technology, those from Gen Z believe that having access to the latest technology will make them more productive and allow them to work from anywhere.

In addition to their technology offerings, organizations need to start defining their brand to Generation Z if they want to attract them when they hit the workforce. The study’s authors said engaging with this generation requires a strong employer brand that differentiates an organization in the marketplace and that also communicates in a language Gen Z understands.

“The key to successfully attracting and engaging Gen Z throughout their candidate journey will be a strong employer brand that is consistent across technologies,” Matheson said. “Organizational brands will need to be transparent, adaptable, personable and memorable, targeting the brand’s ideal Gen Z employees through tools like social recruiting and talent CRM targeted emails.”

The study was based on surveys of more than 2,000 people across the boomer, X, Y and Z generations. The Gen Z respondents pre-qualified themselves as either employed or, among younger teens, planning to work in the future.

What is The Element of Value

When customers evaluate a product or service, they weigh its perceived value against the asking price. Marketers have generally focused much of their time and energy on managing the price side of that equation, since raising prices can immediately boost profits. But that’s the easy part: Pricing usually consists of managing a relatively small set of numbers, and pricing analytics and tactics are highly evolved.

What consumers truly value, however, can be difficult to pin down and psychologically complicated. How can leadership teams actively manage value or devise ways to deliver more of it, whether functional (saving time, reducing cost) or emotional (reducing anxiety, providing entertainment)? Discrete choice analysis—which simulates demand for different combinations of product features, pricing, and other components—and similar research techniques are powerful and useful tools, but they are designed to test consumer reactions to preconceived concepts of value—the concepts that managers are accustomed to judging. Coming up with new concepts requires anticipating what else people might consider valuable.

The amount and nature of value in a particular product or service always lie in the eye of the beholder, of course. Yet universal building blocks of value do exist, creating opportunities for companies to improve their performance in current markets or break into new ones. A rigorous model of consumer value allows a company to come up with new combinations of value that its products and services could deliver. The right combinations, our analysis shows, pay off in stronger customer loyalty, greater consumer willingness to try a particular brand, and sustained revenue growth.

Most companies have a formal method of segmenting their customers into demographic or behavioral groups, which presents an opportunity to analyze what each of these groups values and then develop products and services that deliver those elements.

Whenever an occasion to improve value presents itself, managers should start with a survey of current customers and likely prospects to learn where the company stands on the elements it is (or is not) delivering. The survey should cover both product and brand, because examinations of the two may yield different insights. For example, the product itself may deliver lots of value, whereas customers have difficulty getting service or technical support.

The elements of value have an organizational dimension as well: Someone in the company should be tapped to explicitly think about, manage, and monitor value. One pay-TV executive, lamenting the success of Netflix, told us, “I have a lot of people working on product features and service improvements, but I don’t have anyone really thinking about consumer value elements in a holistic manner.”

The concept of value remains rooted in psychology, but the elements of value can make it much less amorphous and mysterious. Abraham Maslow emphasized the bold, confident, positive potential of psychology. The elements can help managers creatively add value to their brands, products, and services and thereby gain an edge with consumers—the true arbiters of value.

You’ll Have to Sell It

Most of the time, the best decisions respect or reinforce the norms and values of your organization. That gets you buy-in and commitment. But how do you raise the odds of doing this? One approach is to run through a simple mental exercise – before you actually make a decision that will affect many parts of your organization. It’s basically testing your options for resonance.

Imagine you are making a presentation. Your audience consists of people who will be affected by your decision. Go through each of your options and imagine how you would justify choosing that option – in terms of the values and norms they really care about.

What specifically would you say about each option? What could you say with genuine conviction, which is often critical to persuasion? What might ring hollow, raise eyebrows, or elicit resistance? Which options seem likely to get your audience smiling or nodding yes? In short, which option seems to be the right next paragraph in the ongoing story of your organization and what it stands for?

What does this mean in practice? Here is an example you may recall, if you read some of the many negative headlines it generated about Yahoo. The problem originated in the early 2000s. Like many other Western companies, Yahoo began building major operations in China. As a condition of doing business there, these companies agreed to follow China’s laws and regulations restricting freedom of speech. Then, in 2005, a dissident journalist named Shi Tao used his Yahoo email account to send a document to Western reporters that described Chinese government restrictions on media coverage of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. This document had been widely circulated among Chinese media organizations and was hardly a high-level state secret.

Yahoo faced a very difficult issue in China, once the state security officers appeared at the Yahoo offices, but the company might have handled it better, if its executives had followed some version of this exercise in the months or years before Shi Tao’ arrest and imprisonment. They could have asked themselves how they would handle a situation like the one that actually occurred. After all, a request from Chinese state security authorities for personal information about a political dissident was hardly an unlikely scenario. And, if they decided to handle it in the way they actually did, Yahoo’s executives might have understood how difficult it would be to explain this decision – in terms of basic values and commitments – to everyone it would affect.

Would this exercise have a difference? There is no way to know. But it might have become clear that doing what the company actually did was an untenable response to the situation, and the company might have taken some useful precautions. For example, the office manager who identified the journalist had no guidelines or training for handling situations with state officials. There was no senior Yahoo official available for him to consult. And the information the police wanted was readily available, not stored a remote server or protected by passwords or approvals. In contrast, Google kept its personal identification data on servers in Hong Kong.

None of these steps would have solved the problem, but some combination of them might have given the company time to work on tactics and perhaps negotiate with the Chinese officials. Steps like these would have enabled Yang and Yahoo to explain, to critics and to Shi Tao’s parents, that they had done all they could – aside from leaving China altogether – to protect the privacy of Yahoo customers and stand up for Western values of free speech. Yahoo and its employees would also have known that the company had done all it could do to adhere to the values that defined Yahoo.

Testing for resonance can help you make a good decision and also raise the chances it will be implemented effectively. If your plan for resolving a gray area problem clashes with the defining commitments of your organization, it may work no better than a badly matched organ transplant. Some people will follow your decision because you’re the boss, others because they want to keep their jobs or get their bonus, and others because they have no choice other than to live with the decision. But none of these tepid motives can substitute for the deep commitment that creates great organizations and thriving communities. That level of commitment requires a strong sense of common identity and shared purpose.

How to Businesses from Pokemon Go

Since the launch of the augmented-reality game Pokémon Go, there’s been a lot of buzz about how small businesses can use the game to their advantage. Now, after more than a month since Pokémon Go first launched in the U.S., market research shows that the hype is real: Pokémon Go really is bringing in more customers and boosting sales for many small businesses.

The first survey that demonstrates the bump given to businesses by Pokémon trainers comes from Revel Systems, which builds mobile point-of-sale systems for iPads. The data Revel collected comes from the company’s clients that have PokéStops nearby, and it demonstrates an increase in foot traffic, gross sales and total customers. Here’s what Revel found: Eighty-two percent of businesses with nearby PokéStops reported an average 9 percent increase in weekly foot traffic. Sixty-three percent of businesses with nearby PokéStops increased their weekly sales by an average of 12 percent. The average increase in weekly gross sales totaled more than $2,000 per business. Those businesses also reported an average increase of 265 weekly customers. The mantra “gotta catch ’em all” has helped small business owners capture more customers and boost revenue, according to Revel’s research.

“If I were a store owner with a PokéStop nearby and I was attempting to increase traffic at a specific point in the day, I’d activate a Pokémon lure on the PokéStop,” Chris Ciabarra, co-founder and CTO of Revel Systems, said. “Lures attract Pokemon for 30 minutes, and can significantly increase traffic, which is especially good to use during slow times. It’s an easy and cost-effective way to use technology to your advantage. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel to increase sales, you are using what you have access to in order to generate results.”

In addition to Revel System’s research, the Slant marketing agency conducted a survey of 500 Pokémon Go players to find out more about how they interact with businesses while out hunting for Pokémon. Their findings reinforce the reporting by small businesses and suggest that Pokémon Go is leading players to patronize small, local businesses they otherwise might not visit.

Slant Marketing found that most Pokémon trainers play from 1 to 3 hours each day, most prominently during weekday evenings and weekend afternoons. The survey found that while these players were out and about, they were far more likely to visit a local business, particularly restaurants.

Eighty-two percent of players have visited a business while playing. Fifty-one percent have visited a particular business for the first time. Seventy-one percent of players who visited a business did so because of a nearby PokéStop or Pokémon gym. Sixty-eight percent of players who visited a business did so because a Pokémon lure had been placed nearby. Forty-eight percent of players who visited a business with a Pokémon lure reported staying for an average of 30 minutes or more. On average, players who made purchases spent $11.30 at the businesses they visited while playing. Thirty-three percent of players said they visited businesses “a couple times per week,” while 18 percent said they visited businesses daily.

“Whenever we see new technologies — or existing technologies used in new ways — in our culture, we look for how we can engage consumers to interact with brands,” said Chris McGuire, VP and general manager of Slant. “That search starts by finding out how consumers are currently interacting with brands/businesses using the new technology, which is why we were excited to conduct the survey of Pokémon Go users.

What is The Elements of Value

When customers evaluate a product or service, they weigh its perceived value against the asking price. Marketers have generally focused much of their time and energy on managing the price side of that equation, since raising prices can immediately boost profits. But that’s the easy part: Pricing usually consists of managing a relatively small set of numbers, and pricing analytics and tactics are highly evolved.

What consumers truly value, however, can be difficult to pin down and psychologically complicated. How can leadership teams actively manage value or devise ways to deliver more of it, whether functional (saving time, reducing cost) or emotional (reducing anxiety, providing entertainment)? Discrete choice analysis—which simulates demand for different combinations of product features, pricing, and other components—and similar research techniques are powerful and useful tools, but they are designed to test consumer reactions to preconceived concepts of value—the concepts that managers are accustomed to judging. Coming up with new concepts requires anticipating what else people might consider valuable.

The amount and nature of value in a particular product or service always lie in the eye of the beholder, of course. Yet universal building blocks of value do exist, creating opportunities for companies to improve their performance in current markets or break into new ones. A rigorous model of consumer value allows a company to come up with new combinations of value that its products and services could deliver. The right combinations, our analysis shows, pay off in stronger customer loyalty, greater consumer willingness to try a particular brand, and sustained revenue growth.

We have identified 30 “elements of value”—fundamental attributes in their most essential and discrete forms. These elements fall into four categories: functional, emotional, life changing, and social impact. Some elements are more inwardly focused, primarily addressing consumers’ personal needs. For example, the life-changing element motivation is at the core of Fitbit’s exercise-tracking products. Others are outwardly focused, helping customers interact in or navigate the external world. The functional element organizes is central to The Container Store and Intuit’s TurboTax, because both help consumers deal with complexities in their world.

In our research we don’t accept on its face a consumer’s statement that a certain product attribute is important; instead we explore what underlies that statement. For example, when someone says her bank is “convenient,” its value derives from some combination of the functional elements saves time, avoids hassle, simplifies, and reduces effort. And when the owner of a $10,000 Leica talks about the quality of the product and the pictures it takes, an underlying life-changing element is self-actualization, arising from the pride of owning a camera that famous photographers have used for a century.

How to Boost Your Career

Your relationship with your boss is critical to your success. But there’s another person who often has just as much influence over your career: your boss’s boss. What should your relationship with that person look like? How often should you interact with her? What should you say? And how do you foster a connection without undermining your direct manager?

What the Experts Say
“The more you are known and respected by people above you, the better off you are from a career standpoint,” says Priscilla Claman, the president of Career Strategies, a Boston-based consulting firm and a contributor to the HBR Guide to Getting the Right Job. And your boss’s boss — a person who “knows the scoop, knows the vision of the organization, and is helping set the strategy” — is a good person to get to know, she adds. The stronger your relationship, the more insight you’ll have into your company’s future. Moreover, having your boss’s boss on your side gives you professional leverage, says Karen Dillon, coauthor of How Will You Measure Your Life? “Having that person as your champion increases the likelihood that your promotion will be approved, your raise will go through, and you’ll be considered for that next great assignment.” And yet, connecting with your manager’s manager is “a delicate dance,” since your boss is still the “middleman,” she says. Here are some strategies for getting the dance right.

Show enthusiasm
One of the best ways to show your value to higher-ups is to “be present and engaged” in your organization, says Dillon. “If your boss’s boss is giving a lunch talk or a town hall meeting, go to it. Sit in front. Ask questions. Continue the conversation in the hallway.” Show that you care about your company and that you are serious about your career. After all, “your boss’s boss should want to see you succeed. You need to demonstrate your eagerness to do so.” Claman recommends seizing opportunities to touch base and asking information-based questions, such as: ”Do you have a contact that could help me with a particular assignment?” or “Can you recommend a book that could improve my understanding of [a relevant business issue]?” Ask your manager for suggestions first, and then ask if her boss might have more ideas. “People are generally willing to help with these kinds of questions because it allows them to show how knowledgeable they are,” Claman says.

Find a common bond
It’s important to “remember your boss’s boss is a human being,” says Dillon. “Find a way to connect on a human level.” Perhaps she’s a movie fan, an avid skier, or maybe she really enjoys cooking. “It might take digging,” but it’s worthwhile to forge a bond that’s not solely related to work. Also bear in mind the corporate truism that it’s lonely at the top, so your efforts will probably be welcome, adds Dillon. At the very least, “don’t avoid this person.” But also consider “asking her to lunch” or just “engaging her for 30 seconds at the water cooler about her weekend plans, the Oscars, or last night’s baseball game.” At the same time, don’t beat yourself up if you find it difficult to build a friendly rapport. “There are some people in this world that are you are not going to win over,” says Claman. In these cases, you’ll have to court your boss’s boss the way you would a “difficult customer.”

Raise your profile
Just doing good work is “not enough to get noticed” by people higher up the command chain, Dillon says. So “make sure you’re not too heads-down or never claim credit” for your ideas. You don’t want to suck up or brag, but a little horn-tooting may be necessary. Pass on compliments you receive from customers and colleagues to your manager, who will probably send them to his boss, since your success reflects positively on him. Claman suggests you also “take an entrepreneurial approach to your job and the tasks you’re asked to complete.” Pitching solutions that solve your organization’s problems is standard practice for managing up. So offer ideas for new initiatives or “how to do things better and faster.” Some of these suggestions will require approval, and “moving ideas up the hierarchy creates an opportunity to talk to your manager and his manager,” Claman says. Another way to raise your profile with your boss’s boss is by volunteering for a cross-functional committee — preferably one run by him. This both deepens your ties to him and increases your visibility. It’s also worth asking, with your manager’s blessing, if you can attend certain high-level meetings. You’ll increase your exposure to other parts of the company, expand your network, and “develop a personal reputation that’s not tied to your boss.”

Remember who’s
Having a good relationship with your boss’s boss is a wonderful thing — but don’t prioritize it over the one you should be developing with your manager, says Dillon. Keep her in the loop and include her on all communication you have with higher-ups. The adage “Gossip as if people are listening” applies here, she adds. Assume that your boss will hear about any interactions you have with her manager. “Don’t do anything to surprise her, and don’t make it look like you can’t wait for her to get out of the way,” Dillon says. “The worst thing that can happen is that you make your boss feel insecure.” Claman agrees: “Don’t go around your boss. Show your loyalty. No matter what organizations may say about having an open-door policy, there are norms” that you must respect.