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5 Things 2020 Taught Me About Remote Leadership

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Only one year ago, I shared how the trend was moving to remote work. According to a survey from CloudApp, more than 50% of younger generations were working from home at least part of the week, new startups were launching remote, and companies like GitLab were carrying the torch of possibility.

Little did I know how much that would be accelerated due to a global pandemic. In March, we were thrust into the unknown, and “2 years of digital transformation talks were crammed into 2 weeks,� said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. The tech world moved remotely. Here is what I have learned over the year leading a marketing org and company that previously was not remote.

1. Find your comfort zone

I started like most of you. Unsure of what to do and how to make it work. My first day was spent in my basement on an IKEA kids chair and laptop on my lap.

Day 1 of remote work.

Some remote setups are better than others.

I was literally and physically out of my comfort zone with my nice desk, big monitors, and complete quiet. It has taken time to adjust, to find a groove. I still haven’t quite figured it out and may not ever figure it out until we return to the “old normal.�

What I have learned is that it’s important to adapt and find peace with a new situation. At the very beginning, my team and I did 10-minute standup chats every morning. It was a chance to replace the familiar morning conversations that happen casually at the start of work. Those have gradually faded to a normal weekly cadence, but was a helpful way to stay connected.

I take productivity breaks at home, make sure to play with my kids during that time, so they aren’t desperate for my attention during an important meeting. I also try to separate work and home as much as possible, but I have definitely had a toddler join me on plenty of Zoom calls. These things have helped me to find some sort of comfort zone with change.

Once you find a new normal spot, you will be able to lead better. You can find ways to help others when you have taken care of yourself.

2. Capture the moment

Remote Startups
Be nimble as a remote leader.

Leading marketing at CloudApp, in which screen recorder and screenshot for mac and PC products help remote workers stay connected, I saw a unique moment to capture an audience and help them along the way with some remote work tips and tricks. We put out dozens of content pieces, including podcasts, webinars, blog posts, and guides. The content exploded and had over 100k views directly tied to it over a 45-day span.

Obviously, this moment was a chance for our company to lead and help in the situation. In my 15 years, I have found there are constantly opportunities like this for companies to step up and help their community. It’s important to be flexible and build in time for campaigns that capture a cultural moment in time.

These campaigns generally run hot for a few months and then peter out, but provide a good opportunity to build global awareness of your brand and strengthen ties with your community. Going through this exercise of trend content will also help you to learn how nimble your team is and how you can try and create success with similar campaigns in the future.

3. Over-communicate

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Meet often with your remote team. Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

It’s amazing the amount of side, informal conversations you have on a daily basis when you are side by side with your team. In remote work, those meetings are gone. How can they be replaced? I’ve taken a combination of technology and virtual meetings to do so.

Slack or Microsoft Teams can compensate for some conversations; just make sure to use them wisely. It’s important to block off time for yourself to not be available on these channels.

1:1s and team meetings can provide opportunities to give pass downs from other teams and stay connected as a team. It’s important to protect these on your calendar and not continually reschedule or cancel.

4. Project Management

All projects and campaigns should have a process to ensure they are launched on time and have good results.

Kick-off call – this can be a great time to identify the expected outcomes and timeline for a project or campaign. Everyone who is involved in cross-functionally should be invited to the kick-off call. I also love to use this time to introduce how we will track success along the way.

Project Management software – Having a place to track updates and make assignments is key to scaling, especially with multiple projects running simultaneously. Asana and Jira are both great options for project management.

The key is clear outcomes and milestones along the way. It is also helpful to have a lead for the overall project to help coordinate and ensure updates are put into the project management software.

Quick updates – these can be done with a CloudApp screen recording, a 15 min stand up meeting, or just over email/slack, whatever your company preference is. The key is to have some sort of check-in on measurement to ensure progress and accountability.

Post mortem – sometimes these can be too fluffy. Including things that went massively wrong along with the wins can be helpful in refining the process and making it smoother the next time around.

5. Have fun and celebrate

last minute gift ideas
Don’t forget to celebrate.

I still do a terrible job at this. I am a much more fun leader in person than I am remote. What I have learned, though, is that there needs to be time to celebrate. The best thing we do at CloudApp is a Cloud9 channel in Slack. This is a place that every organization can celebrate small and big wins.

Finding time to celebrate asynchronously and also in team meetings really creates a culture that wants to continue winning and connects to a leader who can help to continue that focus.

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CEO’s Guide to Remote Work Success

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Remote work is what most of us are doing at present — and it will continue to be that way. Before the pandemic, there was an exponential growth of people who sought flexibility in their professional lifestyle. Most professionals have realized that it’s pointless to spend 2 hours in traffic, 8 hours in an office where it was hard to get focused, and then two hours to get home. You get home eat dinner and prepare for the same routine tomorrow. Here is a CEO’s guide to remote work success.

Working from home broke with the traditional routine — providing employees the opportunity to improve their work/life balance.

We’ve all read the thousand statistics and studies about how virtual employees are more engaged and productive. But mental health is something that is highly benefited when companies provide their employees with a flexible arrangement as well.

According to statistics, remote workers are happier, reflecting in the way they work and live. Their quality of life is improved when they get to decide where to work, whether it’s in the comfort of their homes or if it’s in a co-working space with tasty coffee.

There are still work challenges for remote workers and their CEO’s

Despite the significant benefits and the great aspects of being a remote worker, some challenges are hard to overcome. 2020 and the pandemic certainly was something no one was ready for.

Old-school companies who barely used technology were the ones who struggled the most adapting to these changes. However, most on-site companies who based their culture and values on the interaction and connection with one another had a rough time as well.

They had to close their offices and change how they worked drastically, discovering how virtual collaboration works and the best strategies to get the results they needed in a remote environment.

Leaders had to break their brains, trying to help their teams thrive in a remote environment. And remote workers also had, and still have, a hard time adapting to working from home.

Whatever your case is — if you find yourself currently surviving remote work, here are five strategies I’ve learned not only from leading a remote company for more than ten years but also by being a remote worker for over two decades.

1. Always Use the Best Tools You Have

It doesn’t matter if you’re the leader of a successful company or a junior employee who landed her first remote job; this advice applies to all. Buy quality tools that encourage you to be the most productive version of yourself.

Working from home doesn’t mean waking up, eating breakfast, and going back to bed with your laptop. Some remote workers do this, but they don’t get the same results as those who have a dedicated workspace. It’s important to create a space that is destined only to work because that way, your brain will associate automatically that when you sit in your home office, you are going to work, and when you lay in your bed, you are going to rest.

However, this also doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands of dollars building your perfect office. Some people have a big room in their homes, buy an amazing-expensive desk, an ergonomic chair, and the latest technologies. But honestly, working remotely is not about having the most expensive gear but having quality gear.

With a good headset, laptop, a second monitor (preferably), a good mic, and Wi-Fi, you’re good to go. If you live in a small place, try setting up a desk with all your equipment. That way, you know that you only go there when you need to work if you have the option of transforming a room in your place into an office, that’s even better.

Analyze your possibilities and think in the best way you can be productive with what you have. It sounds like when they tell you to buy an expensive headset, it is something superficial and unnecessary, but actually, good headsets tend to be costly because they work. In a remote environment where you don’t interact physically with the people you work with, you need to pull off your best communication tools.

If you’re a leader, lead by example. And if you are a remote employee, having a good microphone, camera and headphones will help you communicate better and more efficiently than struggling to hear what your boss or co-worker is trying to say to you.

2. Get Rid of Distractions

Remote workers are more productive than on-site employees. Many studies reveal that working in an office sometimes is even more distracting than working at home. The main reason is that employees get distracted by talking to other coworkers or just hearing the office noise.

However, we all face distractions, no matter where we are. And it’s important to learn how to deal with them to get work done. I remember a time in my life where I had an addiction to play video games or watch funny YouTube videos.

I thought that spending 5 minutes playing a bit will boost productivity when I returned to my tasks. However, those 5 minutes sometimes turned into 2 hours. Yes, I’m the President and Founder of a fully remote company, and I used to waste a lot of my time because of silly distractions – I admit it.

Then I discovered the power of a distraction-free environment. If you know that you are likely to play video games or use TikTok, then block those apps. Some applications help you block other applications that distract you while working.

If you get distracted by hearing your roommates laughing in the living room, buy kick-ass noise-canceling headphones. The key to creating a distraction-free environment is identifying the problem and then coming up with a direct solution. Here are 5 small tips that help you:

  1. Turn off notifications from your phone (Just the sound of them is already distracting).
  2. Clean your workspace leaving only the fundamentals.
  3. Have opened only the necessary tabs you need to do your tasks.
  4. Focus on one task only and then move on to the next one.
  5. Build a schedule (and stick to it).

3. Have a Routine That Works for You

Most people crave flexibility – in fact, flexibility is one of the top reasons many employees would like to have a remote job. They get to choose their working hours; they build a schedule based on their needs and have more quality time with their families and friends. However, when you are a remote worker, that flexibility can turn into a double-edged sword.

Therefore, having a routine is incredibly important when you start working remotely. Define what is essential for you and build your schedule. A great way to do it is by having an agenda with your to-do list, keeping in mind the projects you currently have and the tasks that need to be taken care of as soon as possible.

A good way of building a to-do list is to write the most important things at the top of the list and the least important things at the bottom. That way, if you don’t get to finish all the tasks, at least you’ll know you did the ones that really matter.

If you are a remote leader, be sure to tell your employees your expectations. This means to tell them your availability hours and ask them to give you theirs; this way, you know that they won’t be answering at certain hours. On the other hand, if you are a remote employee, the same advice applies here, make sure you know during what hours you can reach your boss and be sure to tell him your schedule as well.

Remote success is all about having the right communication, so emphasizing the expectations of each member of the team will allow everyone to know where they are standing and will allow them to perform better as well.

Establishing a routine is having a schedule that helps you get work done and helps you do the things you enjoy the most. Remote work facilitates the work/life balance most people want, but it is up to each remote worker to make that happen.

4. Build Trust – In a Fun Way

Yes, I know you’ve probably read about building trust a thousand times. But that’s because building trust is fundamental if you want your business to thrive.

Trust is what enables honesty and feedback in teams. If you work in a work environment that is based on fear rather than trust, ideas die. No one wants to get creative because they are way too afraid, and if you’re the leader, you’re seen as the enemy.

On the other hand, if you create a mistake-friendly environment, where you encourage employees to speak up and share their ideas, you will not only build a healthy culture, but employees will trust you and will help you achieve the results you want.

If you’re a remote employee, building trust is about being honest with your leaders, being transparent about your work, and about what you feel can be improved.

This all sounds easier said than done, but building trust remotely is not difficult. It just takes the right strategies. For instance, your top priority should be on communication. Enable the right communication strategies, provide crystal clear guidelines, and conduct productive virtual meetings. Also, try having feedback meetings occasionally to tell your leader/employee how you feel about work and how you feel they’ve done theirs.

One of the best ways of building trust in remote teams is with virtual water coolers. These team-building activities are the perfect space for employees to get to know each other. In physical offices, it was easy to run to the marketing guy on the elevator and discover you both love Pink Floyd. In a virtual environment, you need to make this happen in a fun way. Here are some ways of building trust remotely:

  • Celebrating birthdays and special events on Zoom
  • Virtual happy hours once a month
  • Gaming night
  • Sharing fun memes in the group chat

5. Connect with Your Team

Building trust should be a priority in your team, but so does building a connection. The great thing about connecting with your team and the people you work with is a stronger sense of purpose. You no longer do your job because you must or because you need to pay the bills but because you know that you are working for something way bigger than yourself.

In my years of experience being a remote worker and leading a remote company, I’ve learned that culture is not about hitting the bar every Friday after work with your coworkers. Culture means connection, connecting with every single person you work with. Getting to know them, know what they like, their pet peeves, having fun but also helping each other out to be better.

When you build a connection, you build a compromise, and you encourage everyone to collaborate.

And connecting with your team is all about caring for each other. Making the important but basic questions such as Hey, how are you doing today? How is your dog? And questions that make you feel a bit closer to your coworkers/leaders despite the geographic distance.

Ready to Succeed Remotely?

Being a successful remote worker always comes down to your team and how you collaborate. That’s why having the right tools, strategies, and communication channels are fundamental. But it would help if you also kept in mind that establishing relationships with your team is equally important. You are not interacting with them as you would if you were in a physical office. Therefore, caring about your team and making time for each member is necessary. With these 5 strategies, you’ll have a strong foundation that will help you thrive in the remote work environment.

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6 Brilliant Brain Hacks for the Remote Worker

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What was once a niche work lifestyle has become commonplace. Millions of Americans now work remotely – and millions more are ready to join in. While remote working offers many benefits, it also has its own distinct challenges that must be worked through. Understanding how to power through friction and optimize productivity for better output is the goal. Here are six brilliant brain hacks for the remote worker.

Do you know where to start? Here is a practical guide to on-boarding remote engineers from a topmost expert. Consider these 6 brilliant brain hacks for the remote worker.

The Upward Climb on Remote Working

If you work from home, you used to be the anomaly. Today, you’re in good company. Pretty soon, you’ll be part of the majority.

According to Global Workplace Analytics and Quarterly Global, the leader in PR, marketing and advertising, the number of individuals working from home has grown by 173 percent since 2005.

Overall, 4.7 million employees (roughly 3.4 percent of the overall workforce) work from home at least half the time.

Approximately 40 percent of American employers offer more flexible workplace options today than they did five years ago. But with 80 to 90 percent of the U.S. workforce saying they’d prefer to work outside the office at least some of the time, this number is expected to rise in the coming years.

As remote working becomes more commonplace, so will the need for better remote working strategies.

The Top Remote Working Challenges

Remote working is highly appealing and advantageous for freelancers, employees, and employers alike. But it’s not a perfect setup. There are plenty of challenges, including:

Blurred lines

Everyone wants to talk about tearing barriers between work and personal life, but too much overlap can equally problematic. One of the keys to maintaining optimal work-life balance is being able to separate the two. When you work out of the house, it’s challenging to carve out a meaningful division between each area. This can make you less effective in both aspects of your life.


Have you ever tried to work from home when you have a house full of rambunctious children? Or what about participating in a conference call in the middle of a loud coffee shop? Wherever you’re working, distractions abound.


Whether you’re an employee or freelancer, your remote working status typically comes with greater freedom in how you manage your time. If you aren’t careful, procrastination can get the best of you. Over time, it may even become habitual.


When working in an office, there’s something to be said for the predictability. You basically know what to expect. Your desk is in the same place, you see the same people, and you go through the same basic routines. Remote workers rarely have the luxury of consistency. This makes it hard to get in a state of flow.


We may have more communication methods than ever before, but there’s still nothing that can fully replicate being face-to-face in the same physical space. For remote workers, trying to communicate via a combination of phone, email, SMS, and video chat creates an extra layer of friction.


Finally, remote working often gives rise to feelings of isolation – particularly in people with extroverted personalities. This can lead to boredom, pessimism, and a lack of drive. It can even have serious side effects, like anxiety or depression.

Most people ignore these challenges, and the results show. But if you’re someone who wants to increase productivity and maximize output, you need a better strategy.

You need to find what works.

And once you discover what works, you need to bottle it up and use it to your advantage.

Powerful Brain Hacks for Better Results

Brain hacking.

It sounds like a buzzword – and it kind of is. But that doesn’t make it any less valid.

Our brains are constantly being shaped by events, experiences, external stimuli, and other environmental factors. And as weird as it may sound, the human brain is subject to regular physical and cognitive changes.

The neuroplasticity concept says that the brain, like muscles in the body, becomes weaker or stronger over time. It’s continuously changing and rewiring. Over time, targeted techniques and purposeful strategies can morph into automatic habits and processes.

These targeted techniques and strategies are brain hacking. And it’s something that every remote worker can do to overcome the aforementioned challenges and optimize productivity and output.

Here are some brain hacks you may find helpful:

  1. Try Intermittent Fasting for Better Focus

Intermittent fasting is a biohacking concept that involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating. There are various techniques, but the most common is to eat all of your meals in one eight-hour window. In other words, you’re fasting for 16 hours every day.

If you’re someone who loves food, this probably sounds impossible.

However, it’s not nearly as difficult as it initially seems.

It basically means you eat your first meal at 11 a.m. and your last meal at 7 p.m. (or whatever variation works for you).

Aside from the fat loss and metabolism benefits, intermittent fasting actually helps with focus. The consolidated intake of food prevents wasted energy from digesting food. Instead, you’re able to allocate those energy reserves to concentrate on work-related tasks.

On a related note, be mindful of what you eat.

While health professionals have spent years telling people to avoid fat, the truth is that you need healthy fats to maximize cognitive functioning.


It’s pretty simple: The human brain is 60 percent fat.

When you eat, try incorporating items like eggs, avocados, nuts, salmon, trout, and coconut oil into your meals.

  1. Eliminate Digital Media from Your Morning Routine

Bing! Bing! Bing!

Your morning alarm goes off.

You slap the snooze button. Once. Twice. Three times.

Once you finally come to your senses, you grab your phone, pull up Instagram, and start scrolling.

Then you get out of bed, walk downstairs, and turn on the news.

While watching the news, you reply to a couple of late-night texts that came in while you were sleeping.

Over breakfast, you check your email.

It’s not even 8 a.m., and you’ve consumed more digital media than your brain can process. You’ve also unintentionally heightened your stress level, stifled your creativity, and destroyed your focus.

When you start your day with digital media, you’re actually beginning your morning playing catch-up on what happened yesterday. You’re also letting other people dictate how you feel. You haven’t even started working, and stress, worry, and discontentment become the resounding feelings of the day.

Try taking a digital fast for the first two to three hours each day.

In a study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of British Columbia, 124 individuals were asked to check their email frequently for one week. The next week, they were told only to check their email three times per day (and to disable all notifications).

The data was analyzed against the time spent viewing email, and participants reported feeling significantly lower stress levels and higher feelings of positivity when email exposure was limited.

Once you cut back on exposure to email, social media, news, and other digital media forms, you’ll start to feel the positive effects.

While everyone can benefit from less digital media exposure, it’s especially helpful for remote workers close to digital distractions like the TV, video game systems, and personal smart devices.

  1. Leverage the Pomodoro Technique for Better Scheduling

Americans have a love affair with multitasking. We wear our ability to juggle responsibilities like a badge of honor.

But research shows that multitasking actually suppresses productivity. And if you work from home, where personal distractions are omnipresent, it can severely limit your output.

Enter the Pomodoro Technique – a revolutionary brain hacking method that remote workers have been using for years to increase focus and productivity.

The Pomodoro Technique consists of breaking your workday into 25-minute sections of work separated by five-minute breaks. Each one of these half-hour chunks is referred to as a Pomodoro. Once you’ve completed four Pomodoros, you take an extended break of 15 to 20 minutes.

These 15- to 20-minute breaks can be used for remote workers to do tasks around the house – such as folding laundry, fixing lunch, or taking a shower. This allows you to be productive with work while also taking full advantage of the fact that you’re home.

  1. Use Parkinson’s Law to Avoid Procrastination

In a satirical piece written for the Economist in 1955, British naval historian Cyril Parkinson made the following statement:

“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.�

He would later write a book that fleshed out this idea. Eventually, people would refer to this concept as Parkinson’s Law.

In a remote work setting, Parkinson’s Law states that the time it takes to complete a work project depends on how much time you allot for it. In other words, if you give yourself eight hours, you’ll slow down and make it take eight hours. If, however, you only give yourself five yours, you’ll block out distractions and get it done in five hours.

If you’ve grown weary of procrastination and hope to finish your work faster and more efficiently, you need to set tighter deadlines.

Instead of telling a client, you’ll have the project done by next Friday, tell them you’ll have it in by next Tuesday. By tightening the time constraints, you force yourself to work more efficiently.

  1. Optimize Your Home Office for Productivity

One of the major challenges of working from home is that you’re forced to create a professional workspace in the middle of a very personal place.

But this is also one of the distinct advantages.

You have the capacity to design your own workspace – so why not optimize your at-home workspace in a way that puts your brain in the right frame of mind to be productive?

For starters, choose a room in the house that’s as far away from communal living areas as possible. In other words, being located right off the living room isn’t ideal. You’re much better off positioning a home office in the back corner of the house.

Secondly, you need natural light. It plays a catalytic role in brain performance, creativity, and focus.

Thirdly, paint your office walls a soothing color. The principles of color psychology suggest cool greens, blues, or neutrals. Avoid colors like red and orange, which provoke feelings of urgency.

Finally, eliminate distractions by avoiding clutter. While some creative minds thrive in messy environments, the vast majority of people wilt. Clutter zaps up energy and makes it hard to focus on the task at hand. By adopting a minimalist environment, you can get more done with less effort.

  1. Keep a Schedule

The human brain thrives on predictability. Remote working is far less predictable than working in an office where you’re expected to show up, take lunch, and go home at the same time each day.

If you want to give your brain a solid framework to latch onto, a consistent schedule is necessary.

Start your day by having your alarm go off at the same time every single morning.

After waking, implement a consistent routine that helps you transition from personal duties to professional responsibilities.

Start working each day simultaneously and use a couple of familiar tasks to help your brain slip into the right frame of mind.

Taking lunch at the same time is also advisable – particularly if you’re leveraging intermittent fasting.

The hardest part for most remote workers is “clocking out� at a consistent time. It’s easy to continue working and filling time until late in the evening. To prevent this from happening, try scheduling obligations in the evening. This makes it less likely that you’ll keep working.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Not all of these brain hacks and strategies will appeal to you. It’s all about finding your best approach and leveraging whatever it is that helps you achieve a state of flow.

What works for you?

How can you set yourself up for max productivity?

Your approach will differ from the next person’s – so don’t try to mimic or replicate what others are doing. Instead, become like a scientist in the laboratory. Mix, match, and blend proprietary formulas until you discover a brain hacking system that puts you on a path for success.

Image Credit: David Cassolato; Pexels

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How to Enable Successful Remote Environments

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Work-life has changed drastically and unpredictably since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly everyone that can work from home has done so, and with little time to prepare. While this is non-traditional remote work experience, many business leaders are considering supporting remote work permanently – at least in some capacity – as we emerge from our current situation.

This is largely due to the competitive advantages remote work provides over office-first businesses, including increased employee productivity and engagement. This increased productivity drives better performance and, in turn, more profits. Decades of Gallup research shows that highly engaged employees are 15% more productive when they work remotely, and highly engaged workplaces claim 21% higher profitability.

Given this, businesses who have adapted successfully to remote work aren’t expected to rush back to the office any time soon. In fact, a recent study conducted by Motus found that once stay-at-home orders are lifted, as many as 30-40% of companies could permanently spend more time working remotely than in an office – a substantial increase from what business looked like before the pandemic.

The Business Advantages of Remote Work

Having a large remote workforce has numerous advantages for both businesses and their employees. Without commuting, employees can increase their focus on their work, reduce costs on once-necessary items – like gas – and find their own work-life balance. This has led to greater employee satisfaction and retention for businesses. Furthermore, as they are no longer limited by geography, employers can access a larger talent pool when looking at potential recruits.

Many have also experienced near-term savings on utility bills and in-office perks. But beyond these immediate savings, there are much larger savings opportunities when businesses embrace a remote work culture, for example:

  • Office space: Dedicated office space costs businesses $12,000 per employee every year, and office space leases are typically one of the least flexible costs of running a business. By reducing the number of workspace businesses need, they can reinvest office real estate spend into other initiatives that benefit their workforce. This includes investments like employee development and engagement and even perks like childcare or travel stipends, onboarding retreats, or home office setups.
  • Reduced absenteeism and business continuity: Unscheduled absences cost U.S. businesses $300 billion every year. Employees equipped to work remotely are more adaptable and can continue work through unplanned interruptions that disrupt work—for example, an HVAC problem in the office building or inclement weather.
  • Lower voluntary turnover: Losing a valued employee can cost a business $10,000 to $30,000, and 95% of businesses say that remote work has reduced voluntary turnover.

Enabling Successful Remote Work Environments

With increased flexibility, autonomy, and work-life balance for employees – and greater productivity and continuity for businesses – remote work benefits are numerous. Our current work from home situation is unique because they need to act swiftly at the onset of COVID-19 gave employers limited time to prepare employees for productive work in a home environment. Looking to the future, they have more time and ample options to consider that will enable successful remote work scenarios.

In the absence of a dedicated office environment, employers’ most important thing to do is to provide and deploy the tools and equipment that will enable employees to productively carry out their work – namely, a computer and a phone. They can provide these devices in a few different ways.

Company-provided approach:

One option is to supply employees with everything they need through a company-provided approach to supply computers, phones, and sometimes a dedicated internet connection.

However, even with enough time to procure and deploy equipment to every employee, this approach is expensive. Along with providing the actual devices, employers need to provide support for them. While expenses like a computer are one-time costs, phones are a mixture of a one-time device cost and recurring costs for data and service.

For every 500 company phones provided, the average company spends more than $3,000 per month in support. Considering that most employees already have a personal cell phone and an internet connection in their home, it might not make sense to supply these a second time.

BYOD programs:

A second approach is to enable a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program in which employers most commonly choose to pay a stipend to those who work remotely regularly. However, many employers are inconsistent in their approach to stipends. Sometimes amounts depend on when an employee was hired or what an employee negotiated when they were hired.

Additionally, when stipends are rolled into compensation packages, and employers don’t have the data to substantiate the amount paid, stipends are taxable. This means employees who receive a $100 taxable stipend each month; they only take home $70 of that stipend. Furthermore, remote work has costs beyond the mobile phone that should be considered when deciding what a stipend should cover. Frequently overlooked costs include high-speed internet and the space employees use in their homes as a dedicated workspace.

With employment laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which require employees to be reimbursed for any business-related expense, employers who follow a stipend approach put themselves in danger of failing to reimburse employees on-the-job expenses fully and can become entangled in costly lawsuits.

Localized reimbursement rates:

The third (and most accurate) approach is to reimburse using localized reimbursement rates, which factor in geographic costs. This is important — as phone, internet, and home office costs are not the same in every location — and different roles require different levels of availability. Some jobs require employees to be responsive outside of business hours, while others require more limited connectivity.

The average national cost for these expenses ranges between $90 – $126 per employee per month – so what is the right amount? By factoring in the amount of connectivity required and geographic costs, employers can ensure that their employees are fairly and accurately compensated for the costs they incur at the benefit of their employers.

More than 90 million people in the U.S. today have a job that could be performed at least partially from a remote location. As businesses look to the future, some have already announced that they will be transitioning to permanent remote work environments. Companies that empower employees with the tools and resources to be successful will find themselves at an advantage as the way we work continues to evolve.

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The Key to Scaling Company Culture is Automating Employee Onboarding

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Company culture is the glue that binds together a group of diverse individuals in a company. It keeps the boat steering in the same direction. And while your team is small, it’s easy to deliver that culture to new hires. But what happens when your team grows? It’s at this point where scaling company culture has to become a priority – otherwise, all of the gains will be lost, and difficult to get back. Here is the key to scaling company culture by automating employee onboarding.

Through growing our team from 30 to 50 in the past six months — and planning to double it by the end of the year — we’ve learned a lot about scaling company culture.

The importance of injecting company culture early on

Corporate culture cannot be overlooked. A study from Columbia Business School found that “more than 50% of executives say corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value, and growth rates.â€� And 86% of potential employees wouldn’t apply for a job at a firm with a bad reputation. 

To put it simply – company culture has a direct impact on a company’s bottom line. 

I’ve founded multiple companies that have gone on to see relative success, and now that I’m working on scaling my latest startup Lokalise (lokalisedotcom) – the translation management software – it’s clear that culture is the bridge necessary to grow as one, homogenous team, rather than splintered in every direction. 

Our solution – to inject company culture into new employees from the get-go. By communicating it early and often, it’s our best bet to getting everyone on the same page and embodying the same values. 

And when your company is growing at an exponential rate, the solution is always – automation. 

So we built an automated employee onboarding process, which consists of 3 steps. Here they are:

Company worker with office tools currently in work

Step 1: Empowering employees with the tools they need

Different people require different tools to work at their best. Rather than squeezing square pegs into round holes, we accommodate each individual. 

How do we do it?

We give each new employee a full-page survey of their preferred work tools. Such as windows vs. mac computers, which headphones they prefer, what sort of chair supports them best, etc. When they arrive for their first day, their workspace is fully-equipped just as they requested, so they can hit the ground running. 

This reflects the value of prioritizing getting work done, rather than forcing certain arbitrary factors on them, such as strict office hours or uniform office-grade chairs. It also demonstrates respect to the employees – seeing them as humans that have different requirements, and giving them the necessary tools that won’t hold them back. 

Company workers talking informally

Step 2: Two-week, zero-expectation immersion

For the first two weeks of employment, there are no expectations to perform or achieve any KPIs. All they need to do is absorb the company and its culture. 

As new team members join, team leads receive a task to onboard them. This includes introducing the new employee to different teams, each team’s functions and work processes, etc. This way, the new team member gets to know colleagues from different departments and understand how those ”other” teams work.

New employees are also provided with automated “courses� about the company, its values, the ins and outs, factsheets, presentations, case studies, and everything they need to know about the product. At the end, they even have a little quiz that, when completed, marks “graduation� into the company ecosystem. 

It’s important to provide structured learning, especially when scaling. That’s the only way you can make sure that the entire boat is steering in the right direction, without micromanaging an individual’s learning experience. 

Another thing that Lokalise pays attention to is transparency when it comes to everyday work processes and, generally, the direction in which the company is going. This is achieved by posting all meeting notes and company updates on Slack channels. Anyone at any time can follow what others are talking about and pick up the valuable learnings.

The purpose of this onboarding program is not only to increase the employee’s understanding of the company but also to prevent the consequences of mistakes of poorly trained employees. It also helps to reduce staff turnover, which, according to research, can cost companies as much as 33% of a worker’s annual salary. And that’s only because employers fail to invest properly in their workers’ training and professional development.

Maintaining company culture remotely

Step 3: Fostering interpersonal relationships in the new remote reality

Like many businesses, we too have had to learn to adapt to a new remote-first work environment. If previously company culture could be instilled through the various chats with coworkers at the coffee machine or over lunch, this no longer is an option.

We’ve had to think about how to build that interpersonal connection among our team members, and we’ve been implementing several experiments to make this work in our ever-growing team.

The first is – virtual afternoon tea. One tea “roomâ€� would have up to 6 people, where discussion topics weren’t set – you could talk about whatever interested you. Team members could then freely move from room to room, just as you would at a party. 

The second experiment was virtual lunches. This was more structured, where if you joined lunch, you committed to participating for the hour of the lunch. There would be one host who would lead the discussion, also based on their own preferences. 

The third experiment was to implement games nights. There are a ton of tools and platforms available to have virtual game events, like Slack plugins, Kahoots, and more. We found that the talks were fine, but we also wanted to have activities to participate in.

All of the experiments are going to be continued. We’re still playing around with frequency, but we see that these activities fill in the massive interpersonal relationship gaps that really instill company culture. By structuring the ways our team members can come together, we make sure that we’re still all on the same page, even with new employees that haven’t had that in-office experience. 

Final words

An employee’s expectation of a good workplace is something that continuously changes. And on top of that, it varies from person to person. Times have changed, and we’ve come to the realization that to attract top talent, we can’t rely on the bean bags and foosball table. 

For example, an in-depth well-being report published in 2019 (from westfieldhealth dotcom) shows that nowadays 67% of the British workforce believes it is an employer’s responsibility to support an employee’s well-being. 

The fact that Lokalise executives invest time and financial resources into creating a highly appreciated company culture is not without visible results. This isn’t something a worker in the 1920s would expect from their employer. But today in the 21st century, adding “taking care of employee well-beingâ€� to the company’s values is an advantage when attracting talented specialists who appreciate the same.

By creating such an automated employee onboarding process, we’ve minimized employee turnover. Given the shortage of skilled workers in the tech industry, companies cannot afford to lose skilled talent anymore, as finding new talent in the job market becomes more and more difficult with each passing year.

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6 Top Resources For Business Leaders To Thrive During COVID-19

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Leading a business during the COVID-19 crisis is like captaining a ship in a storm — you face threats from all sides, you never know when or how the weather will change, and it can seem as though you have to go through it all on your own. 

The good news is that, as time has gone on, more and more resources have become available to help you forge a path forward for your business. Even though you may feel isolated, no business is going through all of this alone. In order to make it out on the other side, companies need to be prepared to take all the help they can get. 

Without a new stimulus anywhere in sight, businesses can no longer rely on the possibility of government — they have to find a new set of resources to work with. Here are some of the best:

1. Six Feet Apart

Most of the resources on this list are niche, business-focused info hubs, but Six Feet Apart is much more than that. Think of the site as a resource of resources, a compendium of information so vast and broad that it can help just about anyone adapt to a post-COVID-19 world.

As the line between our work and home life has blurred, Six Feet Apart provides tips and best practices to help people successfully adapt to a COVID-19 lifestyle. It features articles on everything from working from home to homeschooling, from food to style, and everything in between. The site is a useful jumping-off point for business leaders looking to adapt both their business and their family to our pandemic world.

2. Lawyers For Good Government

COVID-19 has forced business leaders to ask questions about liability, responsibility, and legality they likely never thought they’d have to. For this reason, Lawyers For Good Government started the Small Business Legal Clinic Project, a pro-bono program connecting companies with lawyers who can answer any questions they may have related to COVID-19 challenges.

Currently active in 30 cities nationwide, the program allows businesses with 25 or fewer employees access to a free, 45-minute consultation with a lawyer. This experience can be invaluable for companies looking to reopen but unsure how exactly they can do so in conjunction with the law — helping them do their part in operating responsibly.

3. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management

One of the country’s top ranked business schools, the Kellogg School of Management has compiled a series of free webinars tailored towards helping business leaders navigate this difficult time. Featuring some of the country’s most qualified business minds, these talks can be a great way to see new valuable perspectives.

With topics ranging from “Pharma and the Pandemic — Lessons For The Future� to “The Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Navigating Current and Future Mental Health Challenges,� selecting just a couple of these webinars can seriously expand your knowledge base in just a few hours — a difficult thing for any business leader to pass up.

4. National Venture Capital Association

Startups were hit particularly hard by the lockdowns and uncertainty that followed; companies that were already running on fumes suddenly had even less capital to draw upon than before. The National Venture Capital Association’s collection of information for VCs and startups is designed to help those in the startup ecosystem help navigate the road ahead.

Primarily intended to assist startups in finding out what government aid options may be available to them, the NVCA also contains an active list of startups who are helping fight the COVID-19 crisis themselves — a good place to start if you’re looking for companies to model after moving forward.

5. U.S. Chamber of Commerce

For those looking into what government assistance may still be available post-CARES Act, search no further than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Coronavirus Small Business Survival Guide. The guide itself is an exhaustive list of government agencies offering support and what businesses can do to connect with them. 

In addition, the Chamber of Commerce also published this set of facts, figures, and graphics designed to help communicate a clear message surrounding what businesses can do to help themselves during the COVID-19 crisis. If another stimulus does get passed, this guide will be a good place for people to start understanding what that means for them.

6. Hello Alice

Hello Alice’s COVID-19 business resource center is similar to several of the other options on the list: a full-scale guide for understanding every aspect of how companies can work through COVID-19. Featuring advice on everything from reopening to cybersecurity, the Hello Alice resource center is a valuable place for businesses of all types to gather information from.

Moreover, Hello Alice is also offering business grants of up to $50,000 dollars to support long-term growth during the pandemic. Companies can apply directly from the resource center if they’d like to be considered.

No amount of training could have prepared a business leader for COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean there’s isn’t value in trying to learn. These resources can help you understand what your next steps should be and how they may affect your business for years to come.

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Advanced Tech Continues to Fail the Diversity Test: An IT Consultancy Hopes to Change That

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Despite the tech industry’s talk about diversity, progress has been slow.

As of this year, 3.8% of Facebook’s workforce is Black — up from 3% five years ago. Women have made slightly more progress, at 23% today compared to 15% in 2014. Figures are similarly disappointing at Apple and Google. 

Diversifying the tech industry isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s a business issue. In more advanced tech sectors, diverse candidates rarely even get the chance to interview. Yet companies with more diverse leadership generate 19% more revenue.  

One company hoping to even the playing field through tenacity and innovation is IBEX IT Business Experts. Led by president and CEO Tracey Grace, a Black woman herself, IBEX is working to bring inclusivity back to an industry that lost it long ago.

How did diversity in tech become so difficult?

Looking at tech now, no one would think the industry found its footing thanks to the efforts of trailblazing women.

Back in the 1940s, a group of six women developed the field of programming in the Army during World War II. Decades ago, people viewed the construction of hardware as the most difficult part of the job. Men built the machines, then a handful of women including Jean Jennings Bartik and Frances Elizabeth Holberton created the software. They had a difficult task ahead, though: they had to come up with the concepts behind software before they could begin coding. Their achievements created the foundation of modern engineering and the entire tech sector.

Those women were white, but women of color played an important role in early tech as well. The women mathematicians who worked at NASA during the 1960s and beyond (given long overdue recognition in the 2016 film Hidden Figures) helped make space travel possible. Working as literal “human computers,” Black women including Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan performed the calculations that allowed Armstrong and company to land on the moon.

As time passed, though, people and businesses began to realize the importance of the work these women were doing. Instead of celebrating their achievements by investing in a field where women were already leading the way, the tech industry attracted scores of white men who wanted to get in on the rise of a new and important market. The people who had made that market possible were shuffled to the back. Tech exploded into a massively profitable industry, and talented people who didn’t match the white male mold found themselves on the outside looking in.

Now, after decades of exclusion of minorities and women in tech, IBEX has said enough is enough.

IBEX pushing tech inclusivity forward

IBEX operates differently from other IT groups. Focusing specifically on advanced disciplines including AI, blockchain, and machine intelligence, IBEX’s consultants can work on several types of projects that most consulting groups do not have the experience to handle. By keeping a variety of highly skilled specialists in house, IBEX can provide a much deeper level of partnership and expertise than comparable firms.

The business not only excels in its field but also uses its powers for good. Guided by Grace’s vision, IBEX leverages its advanced tech talent to identify and execute on opportunities to improve the lives of people who have traditionally been locked out of the best options. Instead of pursuing profit at the exclusion of all else — an unfortunately common attitude within tech circles — IBEX partners with businesses to effect meaningful, lasting change wherever it goes.

Several years after founding IBEX in 2012, Grace saw a need for more diversity in the supplier side of technology, which led her to start Certifiably Diverse in 2017. “Leaders can’t just hire a diverse team and call it a day,� says Grace.“Diverse teams produce better business outcomes, but they’re not enough to fix entrenched inequalities. To make a dent, companies have to insist that their suppliers and managers embrace diversity, too.� 

Certifiably Diverse handles all the traditional duties of a standard vendor management platform without overlooking minority contributors. Overseeing the activities of both companies, Grace is uniquely positioned to understand and attack the issues of exclusion that have been prevalent in tech for decades.

Today, IBEX works to motivate members of minority groups who cannot afford the price of college to master tech skills via alternative paths. New e-learning courses from IBEX are designed to help more people develop the skills the tech sector needs, bolstering IBEX’s own talent pool while enriching communities that have been passed over by traditional education.

IBEX has already made great strides in closing the gap as an IT consultancy, but the same achievement for the greater tech industry remains a distant goal. As Grace and IBEX inspire others to join their cause, their efforts will mark the beginning of a turning point that will make tech a welcoming place for talent of all backgrounds.

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Build Team Culture Remotely With These 7 Tools

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How do you bring your team together when remote work is keeping them apart? 

The COVID-19 crisis has forced many businesses to ask themselves this question, and answers aren’t easy to come by. Teams that may have started working remotely just a few months ago are now facing the reality that they will continue working remotely for some time, perhaps permanently. 

Thankfully, there are many tools perfectly suited to keeping everyone on your team connected and on track. Some of them have long been favorites of remote workers, while others have evolved to be used in new and exciting ways. Whether they improve access to information or streamline digital communication, tools like these are a crucial component of any team working out of the office. If you’re looking to maximize cohesion among your remote team, be sure to check out the following:

1. Guru

A corporate wiki like Guru is a great place to centralize and preserve knowledge about your company. Because of their collaborative nature, corporate wikis can be updated and edited directly by the employees who know the most about those subjects. This can give your team a sense of ownership over their role, boosting trust and morale along the way.

Moreover, a team separated by distance may not have access to the same knowledge management resources they did when everyone was in the office. Having a central hub of information can eliminate time-wasting searches, long email threads and confusion — boosting productivity in the process.

2. Slack

If your team is not already using Slack, now is a good time to start. Slack is a channel-based messaging platform, meaning that you can use it in a variety of ways for your business. Create a thread for your entire team to share ideas. Put together project-based spaces to encourage better group communication. You can even chat privately with team members, making it easier to provide individual feedback. 

A standout feature of Slack is the ability to set active hours. Work with your team to set realistic working hours, then encourage them to mark those on their Slack profiles. Doing this ensures that everyone is working at roughly the same time, creating the much-needed sense of “office hours� in the digital office.

3. Shared Calendar

When it comes to work time, everyone needs to be on the same page. Using a shared calendar will keep your team on schedule with deadlines, mandatory meetings, and tasks. Though it may sound intricate, a shared calendar doesn’t have to be complex — it can be streamlined to suit your business’s needs. A basic Google Calendar can be shared by team members, or you can use something more elaborate like Calendar.

Whatever you choose, make sure everyone who needs access has it; it’s important to ensure that no employee feels left out of the loop on important company timetables. Be wary of giving too many people the power to edit the calendar — you don’t want it to become too complicated for most employees to effectively use. Ideally, you’re looking for something that has the exact amount of bells and whistles your team needs.

4. Zoom Professional

Commit to a Zoom Professional account for your team. Face-to-face interaction is more effective than interaction via a chat or phone call, and if you can’t meet in person, video meetings are the way to go. With something like Zoom Professional in place, you will be able to hold meetings with as much human contact as possible for remote workers. 

While a basic account certainly provides you the ability to meet and see each other, a Professional account has added benefits. Meetings can be longer than 40 minutes if needed, and meetings can be recorded for later reference to catch up those who couldn’t attend the original meeting.

5. Project Management Software

Ensure that everyone is focused on the right tasks at the right time with project management software. There are plenty of options available, so carefully eye the market to see what works best for you and your team. Ultimately, you want something that most closely mimics your in-office project management process while still maximizing remote capabilities.

A shared workspace will help your team from feeling alone in their work, which in turn will keep them motivated. Providing clear deadlines, expectations and access to project updates creates a better remote work environment for your team — the closest thing to an office that remote teams can come by. 

6. Google Drive

Simple but effective, Google Drive has long been a staple of teams needing to share content digitally. A major loss in remote work can be the ability to work collaboratively in real time. 

Utilizing Google Drive can restore your team’s ability to work on the same document, spreadsheet, or slide show simultaneously. Multiple people can have the file open at once, and each person’s edits and comments are assigned an individual color so you know who is providing what feedback. 

Additionally, Google Drive integrates easily into several of the other tools you can use to keep your team together while you work remotely. It also serves as Cloud backup for your important files, guaranteeing that everything is accessible no matter where your team is working.

7. WooBoard

Just because your team is working remotely doesn’t mean that play can’t go remote, too. Tools that keep your work efficient and collaborative are important, but so are the ones that help you boost morale and recognize achievement. Utilizing something like WooBoard allows you to encourage team members, even when you can’t give them a shout-out in person.

Positive reinforcement improves employee productivity. When your team knows you think they are doing a good job, they’re going to work better. Being able to share in each other’s achievements makes working together a more positive experience for all. 

New tools are popping up every day that are designed to help your team. What it means to work together is changing, and utilizing some or all of these tools will help you remain a cohesive, effective team — no matter where you are.

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10 Innovative Business Leaders to Follow in 2021

10 Innovative Business Leaders

2020 has thrown a wrench into almost everyone’s plans. It’s been hard to gain momentum in a year full of so many concerns and setbacks. The new year will be a welcome restart after 12 tumultuous months.

If you’re trying to regain your footing, or want to set some ambitious goals for 2021, take your cue from the world’s most innovative CEOs and business minds. These dynamic leaders are poised for a great year, and you can join them for the ride.

How We Found These Innovative Leaders

Innovative leaders don’t just announce themselves. Many of them work quietly, building next-generation companies and products without a lot of media attention.

So how did we find them? In a few ways:

  • Word of mouth

When people do extraordinary things, word gets around. We checked in with members of our networks to find out: Who’s innovating like nobody else? Who’s going above and beyond creatively, technically, or financially?

  • Digital content

Innovators get written about. We took a look around online to see what our favorite publications had to say. In sites like Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Inc., these leaders are getting a lot of attention.

  • Online communities

Social media is the new town square. We pored over Twitter trends, Facebook groups, and Instagram galleries to get the skinny on which business leaders are making a real difference.

  • Market data

Metrics like CAGR and market capitalization speak volumes about a business leader’s acumen. More innovative leaders grow companies faster, larger, and more sustainably than their peers.

To be sure, we spotted a lot of innovative leaders. But to us, the following 10 stood out.

Innovative Leaders Overview 

From Fortune 500 CEOs to up-and-comers, there are 10 industry leaders I’m keeping an eye on. These individuals are constantly looking for ways to improve their companies, their communities, and the people around them:

1. Jeff Wong

A technology aficionado who is shaking up professional services 

2. Stephen Dalby

A concerned — and creative — father who saw a huge parental problem and solved it

3. Tracy Grace

A second-generation entrepreneur and diversity champion who heads a fast-growing IT consulting firm

4. Brent Shafer

An innovative business modeler who is working to transform the American healthcare industry

5. Ritch Wood

An innovative mind in customer service and beauty products

6. William Richards

A web-based systems guru who created the world’s leading URL redirection service

7. Safra Catz

An acquisitions master who is leading Oracle into its next decade

8. Zach Ferres

A tech entrepreneur who helps companies achieve digital transformation

9. Mary Barra

A trailblazer in the male-dominated automotive industry

10. Asheesh Mani Jain

A marketing mastermind whose creativity is matched only by his generosity

What You Can Learn From Them

What can these innovation leaders teach you? Let’s take a look:

1. Jeff Wong, EY Global Chief of Innovation

The “Big Four� refers to the largest professional services companies on earth. This is a very exclusive group, captained by only the best of the best. 

One of these companies is Ernst & Young, which employs Jeff Wong as its global chief of innovation. This former eBay executive has forged a successful career in Silicon Valley, but his insights on modern technology in business are valued by C-suite executives in every corner of the world. He’s certainly one of the most innovative leaders in professional services. 

2. Stephen Dalby, Founder and CEO of Gabb Wireless

Stephen Dalby is a father of eight children, so he’s well aware of the issues that come with parenting in the 21st century. When looking at options for his son’s first phone, he noticed that every smartphone was expensive and unnecessarily high-tech, so he created a cellular network for kids in Gabb Wireless. 

While Stephen is pro-technology, he realizes that kids don’t need unlimited — and potentially dangerous — features at a young and impressionable age. He founded Gabb Wireless to help other parents solve this problem with a safety-focused phone for kids.

3. Tracey Grace, President and CEO of IBEX

Tracey speaks passionately about diversity in the tech industry. As a black female entrepreneur in IT, she wants to pave the way for minorities to have opportunities in STEM fields. Along the way, she has built IBEX into a thriving tech company, proving herself a strategic leader in her industry. Her experience shines in the consistently high quality of her work. 

4. Brent Shafer, CEO of Cerner 

Brent has a long track record of creating value-based business models that yield big returns. After successful stints at other major corporations, such as Hewlett-Packard and Philips, he is currently applying his innovative approach at Cerner. 

As part of the Healthcare Leadership Council, Brent’s new mission is to transform American healthcare as we know it. It takes a fearless and brilliant mind to tackle such an undertaking. 

5. Ritch Wood, CEO of Nu Skin 

Few organizations are as innovative as Nu Skin. You can thank CEO Ritch Wood for that. His mindset is one of constant progression and improvement. “Innovation is the lifeblood of any company and determines long-term success,� he says. “We all know of companies who have failed because they did not innovate.� 

Ritch’s recipe for innovation includes identifying actual customer needs and using industry-leading technology to solve them. This approach led Nu Skin to be named the world’s No. 1 at-home beauty device system brand in 2018.

6. William Richards, Founder and CEO of EasyRedir

William’s two decades in the tech industry led to the founding of EasyRedir, now the world’s leading URL redirection service, in 2014. His experience building web-based technology systems and launching tech companies provide a powerful résumé for one of the most innovative minds in the tech industry. Building and growing EasyRedir is the cherry on top, providing a needed service to companies at a world-class level.

7. Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle

Founded in 1977, Oracle has long been a leader in software development and implementation. Much of its success is thanks to the innovative mind of Safra Catz, who has been a part of the organization since 1999. She is also a director of the Walt Disney Company, further showcasing her ability to think outside the box. She is credited with over 100 acquisitions since joining Oracle, a bold strategy that has paid off tremendously. 

8. Zach Ferres, CEO of Coplex

Corporate transformation is the name of the game, and Zach is the master. In 2012, he was named CEO of Coplex, which aids businesses in their digital transformations. By purchasing the company in 2016, Zach doubled down on his work. In the modern world, businesses cannot thrive without an active and effective digital presence, an innovation that Zach is spearheading with his own company.

9. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors Company

Mary joined GM when she was 18, and she is now the first female CEO of an auto manufacturing company. With GM diving into more electric cars and competing on innovation with companies like Tesla, it will be interesting to see what the leader of GM comes up with. 

10. Asheesh Mani Jain, Business Head of Relevance

Asheesh is one of the smartest marketing minds that I know. Many of the people on this list are those who have built or run massive companies. Asheesh is one of those smart people who consistently brings creative strategies to different forms of marketing. He’s also one of the world’s kindest people — always trying to bring innovative ideas to people who need help.

What Makes an Innovative Business Leader

Innovative business leaders are not one-size-fits-all. Different leaders made this list for different reasons. Let’s look at a few notable ones:

  • Standout products

Some leaders shine in the products they develop. Nu Skin’s Rich Woods, for instance, is behind many of the latest skincare innovations on the market. Mary Barra of GM is building trendy, affordable electric cars and SUVs.

  • Smart processes

Many of the quietest innovations are also the most important. Tracy Grace, CEO of IBEX, has her high-diversity hiring system down pat. And while Coplex doesn’t build physical products, it’s the best in the business when it comes to digital transformation.

  • Results relative to experience

When you were 18, what were you doing with your life? Mary was climbing to an executive-level post at one of the world’s most valuable auto companies. Leaders who do incredible things for their age are undoubtedly innovative.

  • Growth, mergers, and acquisitions

Massive growth, whether achieved organically or through corporate acquisitions, is impressive. CEO Safra Catz couldn’t have integrated 100 businesses into Oracle without some serious innovation chops.

Whatever the future holds, it’s a good bet these innovation leaders will be there to meet it. They’re setting the example not just for their companies and industries, but for all of us in business. 

Image credit: Matheus Bertelli; Pexels

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How To Turn Your Sales to Absolutely What You Want


The world today is filled with I-want-to-be-satisfied-people, who will procure “qualityâ€� of the product or service they need, corresponding, to befit in their happiness. What does it look like to derive just that: turning your sales into what you want? What’s the dream all about last nights’ sales? What does it look like? Here’s how to turn your sales to absolutely what you want.

Without a doubt, thriving within the business world isn’t a joke, if not possible. The likelihood of the success boils down to one factor, — how well consumers purchase what you offer; your business. There is nothing more hassled than running a business with the whole force, power, motivations, and end gathering “oh-this-little-income.�

Here: Below are tips — if you tread on the heels — your sales rate will be exactly what you want in a matter of time.

1. Target the Right Market and Lay Foundation

Blowing out a large market into a more justified, concentrate you on a specific group of customers. It defines a segment of customers based on their unique characteristics and focuses you solely on serving them.

You may think that most huge-selling businesses are the ones who have the biggest audiences. Well, that logic is flawed. Sometimes, catering to the particular needs of a smaller, yet the more targeted audience (like a local audience) is the key to an untold successful, “what-a-great-sale-I-made” title.

No matter the industry you’re in, getting all the necessary information about a market before entering is like a plane gravity that travels your sales to what it really should be. The whole goal of sales is to get the right message to the right person.

Not all markets are created equal and not all audiences will be unique to your brand. A Right market can be sorted in any number of ways based on an almost infinite number of criteria. Targeting the right market is like knowing where to go fishing for a great catch.

Your primary goal is to identify who will actually buy from you. When you know the answer to your “prime customer” question, you can create a campaign that will make your customer feel like their wants and needs are understood and met by you and your brand.

Aside from that, opting among the market allows effective decision making on your limited resources. Target marketing isn’t about walking away from a sale, it’s about directing business development efforts toward prospects that offer the best potential.

2. Strengthen Your Network

When it comes to attracting new customers, making sales, and building your business, fueling your network can’t be omitted. It’s a Criss-cross pattern of intersecting your business on a valid, clear-cut straight path.

In fact, 78 percent of startups discovered how networking is vital to their entrepreneurial endeavors. If you turn towards a point-of-no-return as per your business network.

Even though the ball is in the audience’s court, it’s a-your responsibility to convey a blow-by-blow sequence, providing a large percentage of your business growth.

Most business owners still don’t realize that the ball is really in their court. Effective communicators can enhance verbal and non-verbal cues to knock together links to help your consumer understand your bid principles that shape your rapid progress quickly.

A strong professional network enables you to attain goals. Of course, networking, if neglected, you’re likely missing out on valuable opportunities to find new partnerships, generate referrals, and even land new clients and new sales positions.

With a strong network, you adopt a strategic and operational audit based on your role in the market. With that, it cautiously helps you decide among your options and choose advantageously to your business. Leads from networking are often more of a resource than other forms of marketing.

Following up on these leads and turning them into clients makes your business goals easier to achieve. Build a network to get your business off the ground, and keep it to grow your sale in the long term.

3. Develop a Take-Charge “Competitive Advantage�

The rap of variety-based positioning is the option of just targeting segments of customers and fulfilling all of their needs. Businesses compete with each other and even themselves to earn supports. However, a well defined competitive advantage will chalk up any organization to outperform its competitors.

Developing a competitive advantage serves as a venture key to securing funding as a business owner. Some entrepreneurs have a very clear vision of their unique advantages. Some others are still struggling. Through a competitive advantage, you will flesh out your product or service which in turn makes customers perceive as unique in the industry.

As a result, you are able to charge a premium price and earn profits with above-average margins. With a well-controlled competitive advantage, that enables a company to dominate, your company concentrates on a limited part of a market. However, when you succeed with take-charge, it allows you to understand the dynamics and unique customer needs — the best chance to become the leader of that niche.

As a result of developing, “niche� products and services, it attracts a higher share of customers in that market segment than competitors. This allows new profits and reduces the threat of competitors.

To sustain this competitive advantage, develop customer intimacy. Get to know as much about your customers as you can. As you find out different things about each customer, you can tailor your offering to them.

When you focus on customer intimacy, you can anticipate what your customers want, how they want it, when they want it, and most importantly, how you can solve it for them. Over time, this strategy leads to stronger trust and customer loyalty. It can induce more purchases by that same customer. Plus, it can lead to more referrals and new customers.

4. Go-Go Sales Promotion Rhythm

Sales promotion is a necessary tool to boost sales. Offering an attractive sales promotion can be an effective method for helping your business stand out in a crowded marketplace. Promotions have traditionally been a default move for business owners to deliver immediate revenue.

The aim of production is sales, however, sale promotions allow you to capture the market and increase the sales volume. It is an important instrument in marketing to lubricate the marketing efforts. Most consumers are looking for low price, high value, or premiums. S

ales promotions can provide all of those and by doing so can recast potential customers into true-hearted brand supporters. In fact, 65 percent of customers agree to receive personalized offers and exclusive discounts have a major or moderate influence on their loyalty.

Sales promotion is different from personal selling which is the persuasion of customers by the salespersons to buy certain products.

Except through direct mail, advertising deals with media owned and controlled by the firm itself. Sales promotion includes activities of non-routine nature to promote sales, e.g., distribution of samples, discount coupons, contests, display of goods, fairs and exhibitions.

5. Carry out a Sale Content Audit

A content audit involves content elements and information assets on a web platform. Sales and marketing optimized sales content for performance.

Here, you characterize marketing in terms of what ideas and messages you want to communicate, how those messages differ from the competition, and how you see the landscape evolving once you have shared them with your audience. Use this effective way to educate your customers in the lead nurturing stage.

You can communicate the benefits of your product or service, and the unique values compared to your competitors’. In the long run, effective in driving conversion.

More sophisticated content can build forecasting models and predict probabilities of behavior among your customers. As well as to maximize success based on your sales model.

6. Cold to Warm to Hot Advertising Skill

Marketing initiatives can be very stressful, deadlines are demanding, and many things can go wrong at the last minute.

However, selling a given product to consumers is more of forming a lasting connection with consumers; advertising, another vital part when it comes to business sales. No product or service can be viable unless it is bought, endorsed, or supported by its target constituents or customers.

Fruitful advertising helps a business to earn profits by enabling more people to know about the products or services, resulting in more sales.

Selecting an important communication element is crucial for the success of your business. Advertising campaigns should be effective across all platforms. Once an integrated marketing process is positioned, you can reap rich dividends from it.

Advertising is a powerful companion that helps you in reminding your existing customers: “your company is alive and fully-functioning.” It is quite a huge necessity in the troubled economy of today where keeping your brand up in the eyes of your customers is extremely important.

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