Tag Archives: Culture

The Rule of Thirds

I know that I have high expectations compared to the “average consumer,” but that’s because I don’t tolerate excuses.

I know that a high level of customer experience can be achieved, every time, if the focus is put in the right places. The area, where focus is most often currently placed — profit — will take care of itself, if the customer experience is taken care of.

This is one of the reasons why I feel that I am more capable, beyond my years of experience, to run a company is because I my “big picture” focus is where companies need to be placing their effort. Effort should be placed equally in three areas of the business:

The Rule of Thirds

  • 1/3 on maintaining an excellent product quality.
  • 1/3 on amazing and memorable customer experiences.
  • 1/3 on constant innovation (thinking of ways to improve).

Rule of Thirds

If effort is placed equally on these three areas, businesses will result both in fantastic short-term success, but more importantly long-term customer loyalty and retention.

For those who feel that customer retention plays a relatively minor role in helping a company grow a healthy bottom line, here are a few statistics you might be interested in:

According to Bain and Co., a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. 

And if those numbers don’t impress you, Gartner Group statistics tell us that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. 

Still not sold on customer retention? One final statistic provided by Lee Resource Inc. should give you plenty to think about:

Attracting new customers will cost your company 5 times more than keeping an existing customer.

– Forbes.com

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Introduction to Socionics

What is socionics?

Socionics is a theory of human interaction based on fixed patterns of information processing known as “socionic types.” A socionic type (there are 16 of them) is a description of some very fundamental ways in which a person’s psyche works. These psychic qualities define to a large degree a person’s relationships with others, his or her perception of life as a whole, and the niche he or she strives to occupy among people.

Each person’s psyche is a lopsided construction that attempts to pursue certain kinds of information (stimuli) while minimizing others. This is what socionic type describes. This lopsidedness creates a need for social cooperation. The nature of close cooperation (relationships) between people depends on how well-suited people’s lopsided psychic tendencies are to each other. This is what intertype relations are about.

The origins of socionics

As the story goes, founder of socionics Aushra Augusta (she shortened her last name from “Augustinavichiute” to “Augusta” to make it easier for foreigners) was mulling over fundamental issues of human existence (“why are some relationships good and others bad despite everyone’s intention to have good ones?”) in Vilnius, Lithuania in the 1970s, when she came across a number of typological systems that influenced her thoughts — Kretschmer’s psychosomatic types (i.e. endomorphs, mesomorphs, and ectomorphs), Kempinsky’s (now a forgotten Polish psychiatrist) concept of “information metabolism,” and — most of all — Carl Jung’s typology of psychological types.

Augusta created symbols to represent the functions described by Carl Jung and — together with a circle of fellow researchers/hobbyists — eventually created what is known as the “socionic model of the psyche” — a neat description of the psyche where each of the 8 information elements has its place in each person’s psyche. This was quite a development on Jung’s typology and introduced many new concepts, including the mechanisms that explain how types interact.

Socionic types

The 16 socionic types differ on four axes (called ‘dichotomies’): rationality/irrationality, extraversion/introversion, intuition/sensing, and logic/ethics. Each type has one characteristic from each of the dichotomies, making 16 possible combinations. This does not mean there is a complete absence of the opposite mechanism, however. It means that one is more flexible and multi-faceted, while the other is more rigid and simplistic.

Although types often display similar values, life strategies, general behavior, and facial expressions, such traits such as IQ, musical talent, sports abilities, charisma, “personal power,” etc. are little related to type. A review of how socionists have typed famous people will demonstrate this. No type is inherently “predisposed” for success or failure in life. A common error of socionics enthusiasts is to try to relate non-socionic traits to socionic types.

In addition, socionics does not view type structure as being so rigid that a person can change little in life. One’s positive or negative thinking patterns, overall outlook on life, and emotional health are not tied to type and are quite flexible. However, socionic type is one of the things — along with inborn physiological traits — that does not change, even if outward behavior, emotional states, and attitudes do. Socionic type describes psychic mechanisms so “deep” that they are difficult to gain a full awareness of, much less modify in some way (but then, why would you want to modify them??).

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Intertype relations

The basic difference between socionics and other typologies is socionics’ theory of intertype relations. Socionics is not a typology of personality, but a typology of perceptual traits that define one’s relationships with others. Hence, we should not be surprised to see significant personality differences between individuals of the same socionic type — as long as we see that there is a similar pattern of intertype relations.

Intertype relations describe the nature of interaction and information interchange between two people at a close psychological distance by describing how partners’ psychic functions interrelate. These socionic relationships range from very difficult and potentially harmful to one’s self-realization to very beneficial and pleasant to the psyche. Intertype relations most influence one’s informal relationships with others, where one chooses friends based on pleasure and mutual benefit (cooperation).

Duality and dual relations

Socionics_duality_ILE-SEI   ILE & SEI

A unique aspect of socionics is the discovery of complementary psychic structures. Jung and his followers recognized a particular attraction between individuals with certain leading functions, but these observations were not developed into a full-fledged theory, and the Meyers-Briggs system does not seem to address them at all.

Each of the 16 socionic types has its ‘dual’ type. The essence of dual relations is that the natural information output of one type is the preferred information input of the other. Having a dual or dual around stimulates one to use one’s strengths as much as possible. Even their mere physical presence tends to exert a calming and balancing influence. Dual relations develop around the strongest functions of each partner and keep mental and physical functioning balanced, while directing partners’ energy towards constructive and rewarding activities.

Socionics and the MBTI

At some point Augusta and her associates learned of Isabel Briggs Myers’ and her mother Katharine Cook Briggs’ development of Jung’s typology across the ocean in the United States. Newcomers to socionics in the West often have to face the difficulty of trying to distinguish between the two typologies. They are fundamentally different and cannot be treated as “the same types, but with different type names.”

Those who look deeply into socionics and the MBTI recognize that socionics’ theoretical apparatus is more systematic and logical in nature — and simply larger. Indeed, socionics was created by a “thinking” type, while the MBTI was created by “feeling” types (a quick review of sites on the two fields will make this clear). That is just the beginning of the differences.

I personally, of course, find socionics to be a big improvement on the MBTI, but I’m sure there are ardent followers of the MBTI that hold the opposite opinion.

The four socionic dichotomies appear to be very similar to the dichotomies used by the MBTI system. However, close inquiry reveals that there are many subtle differences. If you assume the dichotomies are the same and equate each socionic type to an MBTI type, some socionic types will overlap to a large degree with their MBTI counterparts, others will partially overlap, and yet others will seem to be completely different. If the types were truly equivalent, a similar theory of intertype relations would have arisen in the MBTI system — but there is none. On the whole, MBTI and socionics types seem to correlate in roughly 30% of cases. That is not nearly enough to consider the two typologies close approximations of each other.

The socionics community

There is a large socionics community across the Russian-speaking world. In many if not most large cities of the former Soviet Union there are people who hold evening classes on socionics and social gatherings for people interested in socionics. Centers of socionics are Kiev (Ukraine), Moscow and St. Petersburg (Russia), and Vilnius (Lithuania). Here socionics conferences take place where socionists present and discuss papers and studies and most books on socionics are published (there are now maybe 40 or 50 books on socionics, primarily in Russian, but also with a few in Ukrainian and Lithuanian).

At the same time, socionics is a decentralized field of study. There is no central body that is universally recognized as the single authority in the field or that dictates methodology, type identification, etc. Socionics arose outside of the academic world (although Augusta was a sociologist) and has not yet obtained official academic recognization, though it is now often mentioned in psychology courses in universities around the former USSR. Competent and respected socionists generally are known in the community and publish in community journals and participate in seminars and professional dialogue.

Socionics is held together by numerous enthusiasts and scattered professionals — who publish books and journals, teach courses, diagnose types, and consult individuals, families, and even entire organizations.

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Gifted Individuals Make a Significant Contribution to Innovation in Organizations

With their creative talents, gifted individuals can make a useful contribution to innovations within organizations. Highly gifted individuals possess many more creative possibilities than the average gifted person.

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To make use of their innovative ideas and to implement them, however, an effective interaction between gifted individuals and their work environment is essential.

How do gifted individuals contribute to innovation?

GiftedThinking

  • The gifted individual can easily identify the relationships between goals, missions, and assignments.
  • The gifted individual has the ability to focus intensely on the content.
  • Arguments based on content are key.
  • Habits, traditions and social pressure are quickly spotted. If these seem to be in conflict with the content, they are discarded as being irrelevant.
  • Thinking ‘outside of the box’ is second nature to them.
  • Switching between one’s own professional area and other disciplines is no problem at all.
  • The opinion of a formal authority does not weigh any heavier than the opinion of another party.
  • Information from others is checked against one’s own experience or against other information.
  • The gifted individual has a high degree of commitment and passion.
  • Existing protocols, structures and approaches are only followed if they seem to be effective and are well-founded.
  • A customized solution is sought for each individual situation, often when this has not been requested. ‘Standard problems’ are also approached in this way.

Favorable environmental factors required for making use of these contributions are listed below. The favorable characteristics listed correspond strongly with the ‘task culture’ and ‘person culture,’ while the unfavorable characteristics correspond with the ‘role culture’ or ‘power culture’ from “Harrison’s typologies of organizational culture.

Favorable and Unfavorable Organizational Characteristics for the Gifted

Favorable organizational characteristics:

  • Flexibility.
  • Little hierarchy.
  • Few procedures (only if they are useful).
  • The development and needs of employees are of importance.
  • Room for productive conflicts.
  • Power and influence can be acquired through expertise, dedication and success (or, at most, through personality, ability and outstanding performances).

Unfavorable organizational characteristics:

  • Procedures determine the work.
  • Power and influence are predominantly dependent upon your position.
  • The development and needs of the employee are of little importance.
  • Conflicts are often avoided.

How can giftedness be recognized?

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If an employee arrives at your consulting room, how do you recognize the above-mentioned characteristics of giftedness?

  • Wide interest in all kinds of fields (curious and passionate).
  • Sensitive to, such as, noise at work (highly sensitive).
  • Can speak passionately about a subject that interests him or her, starts speaking more quickly, the eyes light up, makes agitated gestures (passionate).
  • Quick analyses of the work situation: ‘that’s how it works’ (highly intelligent).
  • Focussed primarily on the content of the work (highly intelligent).
  • Wants to work in his/her own way (autonomous).
  • Wants to see a lot of variety in the work (creation-directed).
  • Produces unorthodox solutions that are not generally accepted (sparkling original).

Focus points for the problem analysis

  • Gifted individuals suffer relatively often from stress and burnout. Factors that can be of influence here are the nature of the work (sufficient challenge), the degree of autonomy and the defining of borders. Gifted employees are especially passionate and have the tendency to insufficiently specify their own limits.
  • Bullying, or other forms of aggression: because a gifted individual does not fit the requirements of the ‘average’ employee. As a result, fear/anxiety disorders may arise.
  • Depressive feelings often start at an early age. Gifted individuals can therefore more easily feel lonely and isolated.
  • Fear of failure as a result of setting the bar high and the tendency to perfectionism.
  • The gifted individual can come across as having ADHD. The combination of giftedness and ADHD is not uncommon.
  • Gifted individuals have a high sensitivity for odors and sounds.
  • They more quickly experience certain circumstances as being a hindrance.

The Future of Business

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Most business experts agree on the importance of the customer’s insight, especially as technology makes it easier for them to communicate with one another via social networks, texting, and ratings websites.

The most popular solution:

Implementation of a CCO

The CEO empowers a Chief Customer Officer (CCO), responsible for ensuring quality of the entire customer experience (the relationship a customer has with a business at every touch point, from advertising all the way through buying and using the product or service). According to these experts, the CCO should be strongly backed by the CEO. This is because some of what the CCO may have to say is contrary to what other board members want to hear, but it needs to be said. It is the voice of the customer.

Personally, I believe in a completely different strategy to ensure incredible customer experiences:

Transformation of the CEO to a CCO

The CEO serves as the “customer with a big imagination.” He remains ignorant to the “technical aspects” of the business, purposefully, to keep him blind to what’s possible and stay focused on what should be.

The customer does not care about “what’s possible.” The customer also does not care about cost-cutting, technical limitations, or mistakes in development. It is department head’s responsibility to constantly innovate and improve to turn the “dream” into a reality. This philosophy was made popular by Steve Jobs, named “the reality distortion field.”

  • The COO interprets the wild ideas of the CEO, turning them into possible, executable steps and delegates them to the various departments. In a sense, the COO “runs” the company, inspired by the CEO.
  • The various departments stay in touch with visits from the CEO, who maintains and inspires the overall vision.
  • The various departments may run into difficulties executing certain aspects, at which time the CEO will serve as a “problem solver” to seek creative solutions to their deadlocks.
  • The CEO also motivates the departments with his passion for the vision, his viewpoint as an average customer, and his unwillingness to accept excuses as an answer. There is always a workaround.
  • The concept flows from dream, to pattern, to design, to strategy, to process, creating a more refined product as it reaches each level.
  • The last level is the outlook, at which point the CEO will see, touch, and feel the product that will hit consumers (as a customer). He will be able to see how the finished product matches up to the original vision… In some cases, it will be an improvement. In some cases, it will be inferior and sent back to a certain, earlier stage in development.

As a “customer,” anything less than a “wow” at this stage, from the CEO, is unacceptable.

After the product release, results from numbers compare with steps in the development. Steps in the development can be refined for further enhancement of future products released.

Why Should the CEO be the CCO?

What shows that customer experience and satisfaction comes first more than by making the top-ranking official responsible for it? I’m not just talking about publicity here, I’m also talking about the message sent to the entire company, internally. Why should a CCO have to be so heavily backed by the CEO to clarify the message of how important customer experience really is?

With the CEO responsible for customer experience, it shows an undeniable devotion to the overall satisfaction of the customer; and that message is coming from the top. The CEO being ignorant to certain knowledge allows his imagination and his desire to build the ideal product unstinted by technical limitations. This is not dissimilar from how Apple ran during its most creative period.

Steve Jobs was a visionary who dreamt up products that customers would want and pushed the individual departments to innovate and improve  to create that vision. He had minimal to no technical skills by the time he was the great innovator we think of him as. Too often, CEO’s become too far removed from what customers want and rely too heavily on metrics and costs, when they need to put themselves in the shoes of the customer.

This strategy requires a different style of CEO than is typically recruited to run multimillion dollar companies, but it is a more effective, long-term strategy to make sure that there is constant innovation and excellent experiences. Since the CEO is ignorant to certain aspects of the details, it also requires that he be surrounded by a strong team that make up for his weaknesses, to allow his strengths to shine. If it is a “Steve Jobs” visionary-type CEO, then it’s prudent to surround himself with very detail-oriented people.

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Google sincerely thinks that Google+ is the future of Google

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A Google and Google+ Future

While I believe this is a definite possibility (and admittedly being a Google+ fan myself), there is much more to ruling the future of the internet than scooping up new, ignorant users. Google+ needs to up its game in terms of features, user-friendliness, intuitiveness, learning curve, and really just a whole makeover. I’ve been patient with Google+, but it has been too long now without any significant updates or improvements.

fofb_infographic

A Facebook Future

Facebook (I hate to say it) now dominates Google+ in features, and they are slowly learning that people would rather connect with like-minded strangers than the people they shared a high school with (that no longer share any interests with them).

Google+ can be the future of Google (and the Internet), but it needs a little push…

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Being Divergent in a Team Atmosphere, Without Having to “Walk the Plank”

Backwards Time Machine

Does anyone else have the “curse” of explaining an opposing argument so well, your peers think you’re on the “other side” and start attacking you?


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Being a Visionary is Not as Easy as it Looks

I’m a natural devil’s advocate, and somebody who constantly thinks of every alternative possibility.

Throughout my professional career, there have been a few situations where me trying to bring up opposing arguments, for improvement of the project / idea, resulted in a team turning on me.

The Visionary / ENTP Personality Type

  • ENTPs love to argue and consider it a sport, sometimes hurting those who don’t. They like proving their points and showing others how impressive they are.
  • They are masters at improvising and are usually good at everything they put their minds too.
  • Interested in almost everything, they become pleased with people who are skilled and talented.
  • Once something they are interested in is no…
  • View original post 682 more words

    Google: A Culture and Way of Life, Not a Tool.

    Google

    Google could run breathtaking campaigns, enhance the user experience, and market themselves for what they truly are: a culture and way of life, not a tool.

    Google has evolved into more than just a search engine.

    Sure, that started it all, which sparked an “age of curiosity.” For the first time, anyone could find out anything, if they looked hard enough.

    Throw social into the mix, and we’re creating a completely new society.

    “Hey, these people think like me,” empowers us all.

    “Hey, these people don’t think like me, let’s discuss,” starts a dialog.

    Google is tearing the walls down of outdated norms, awakening untapped potential, and allowing us to become our true selves. This increase in honesty will lead to a decrease of prejudice and ignorance, creating a better world for everyone.

    Seamless Integration

    This isn’t even touching the subject of how the next generation technology that Google is developing will make technology less of a burden. Google will bring technology back to its intended purpose: to enhance our lives, not slow it down or get in the way.