<
Peter Crosby

A simple test to tell if your HR department is needlessly wasting money.

Every year — often at the request of corporate HR managers —  an estimated 2 million people take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. It’s reported that 89 of the Fortune 100 still use it to determine the personality “types” of current and future employees so they can be assigned appropriate training and responsibilities.

Okay, so here’s the test: Are you giving your employees the Myers-Briggs test? If you answered Yes, then you’re wasting money. And here’s why.

When a scientific test isn’t exactly scientific.

Back in 1921, Carl Jung suggested that humans broke down into several distinct personality types (based on his own personal observations). But he never tested his theory in a controlled setting, and even admitted to the idea’s huge, inherent flaws.

Regardless, in 1942 his theory was adapted by Isabel Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs to create their now-famous test.

The basic idea is that knowing your personality type, and those of others, will help you interact more effectively with colleagues.

Unfortunately, while the two Americans were astute observers of human behavior, neither had any formal education in psychology. So no scientific rigor was ever applied to prove the test’s effectiveness.

Thousands of professional psychologists have evaluated the century-old Myers-Briggs, [and] found it to be inaccurate and arbitrary…

Not surprisingly, the test has since been widely discredited by the scientific community. (continued…)

Peter Crosby

Here’s why you should stop trying to predict the future of your business.

Joi Ito Who wouldn’t want to know what the future holds? Especially in business, where inventing the Next Big Thing could mean market-share domination for decades.

Yet predicting the future is all but impossible (unless the Next Big Thing you come up with is a time machine). Despite the best efforts of psychics, astrologers, and scientists, nothing has ever consistently worked — crystal balls and studying the past are no more effective than a blindfolded monkey throwing darts. In short, you have absolutely no hope of predicting the future.

On the bright side, neither does anyone else. In fact, when it comes to determining the future, it’s a pretty level playing field. Every company in the same boat regardless of size — larger companies have more resources but are slower, while smaller companies have fewer resources but are more nimble.

But, for all practical purposes, there’s really only one way to know for certain where the industry is headed.

Don’t try to predict the future, invent it yourself.

That’s right. Instead of waiting and reacting to competitors’ innovations, you have to disrupt your own industry yourself.

In this recent TED talk, Joi Ito, head of the MIT Media Lab, spoke about how the Internet has democratized innovation in every field. (continued…)

Peter Crosby

How to succeed in business without being an obnoxious blowhard.

Obnoxious Blowhard

A lot of business advice in recent years centered on people branding themselves to get ahead. The Internet, they argue, offers everyone the same opportunity to “promote themselves as well as celebrities and large corporations, even without a multi-million dollar marketing budget.

That’s all well and good, but what about those who’d rather do less branding and just do a good job instead? What if those people could get promotions and succeed in their career without having to toot their own horn 24/7?

A recent book from David Zweig suggests that it’s entirely possible. Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion profiles successful individuals who succeeded without always showing off.

They’re highly skilled individuals whose work is critical to whatever enterprise they’re a part of, but who generally go unnoticed…

Workers who operate “under the radar” and typically keep their heads down can be some of a company’s most critical employees.

Low profile doesn’t mean low importance.

neilpeart
It’s what I call “drummer syndrome.” Much like Zweig’s “Invisibles,” drummers have the critically important task of keeping the beat. And, barring the occasional Neil Peart solo, it’s a thankless job that people often forget about…well, at least until the drummer screws up.  (continued…)

Peter Crosby

5 common questions smart leaders should never have to ask.

Many times, the difference between good leadership and poor leadership is simply the quality and speed of information a leader has at hand. Bad information leads directly to bad leadership — misinformed people make incorrect choices and take ill-advised risks.

A poor leader could easily be a better leader if his/her information was better. So the key difference then is how a leader gets their information.

Are questions are the best way to get answers?

In a blog post entitled 5 Common Questions Leaders Should Never Ask, the author, Warren Berger, posits that what matters in leadership — even beyond the questions themselves — is how you ask the questions.

Questions can be great for engaging and motivating people, but they can just as easily be used to confront or blame, and can shift the mood from positive to negative.

He advises asking questions that focus on strengths rather than weaknesses, and on opportunities rather than failures. Instead of “What’s the problem?” a good leader should ask, “What are we doing well, and how might we build upon that?“

Instead of placing blame with “Whose fault is it?” ask “How can we work together to shore up any weaknesses?” Instead of trying to control employees with “Why didn’t you do it this way?” leaders could ask, “How were you thinking of doing it?” In place of “Haven’t we tried this already?” you could ask, “If we tried this now, what would be different this time — and how might that change the results?”

And finally, instead of demanding “Why haven’t YOU come up with something like [insert latest Apple product here]?” smart leaders should really ask, “How might we use our particular strengths to do an even better job of meeting customers’ needs?”

But what if you didn’t have to ask any questions at all? (continued…)

Peter Crosby

Four things every business must have to create a modern digital workspace.

Manager Working In The Office

Often lauded as the starting point of people’s day, typical corporate intranets have been perpetually disappointing, never really living up to businesses’ expectations. Newer social intranets — while somewhat better — are just as often homogeneous, monolithic software stacks locked into one vendor’s view of the world.

So how do companies provide the kind of modern workspace that will increase employee efficiency and productivity? The following are 4 minimum tenets of a modern, effective enterprise social networking platform:

1. An open, agnostic architecture.

Illustration Of A Manager Working In The OfficeEven in 2014, there are still companies pushing a “their way or the highway” business model. Yet companies need to think holistically about how to make an Enterprise Social Network a successful work tool. An ESN shouldn’t care where your data lives, so insisting on one particular development framework, or pushing cloud-only versus on-premises ignores all the nuances in between the two. And sure, open web standards and RESTful APIs go a long way towards making a single-vendor approach sound appealing, but the reality is, the APIs alone won’t work — companies also need a strong integration framework that can incorporate custom business processes.

2. A broad, business process platform.

To make your ESN a place where people get work done, it isn’t enough to pull events into a feed via a REST API or integrate over OpenSocial. (continued…)

Peter Crosby

The one thing America’s founding fathers valued that your business should, too.

Declaration of Independence

America is celebrating its 238th birthday this weekend, but it’s important to remember that we’re celebrating more than the country’s age.

After its “discovery” in 1492, the New World labored under the dominion and control of the time’s most powerful nations. And, for over 280 years, the early American colonists obeyed the laws of other countries. So when the Continental Congress finally declared independence from Great Britain on July 2nd, 1776it was kind of a big deal.

Don’t be a victim of vendor oppression.

Controlling your own destiny isn’t just good advice for people running a country, it’s good advice for people running a business, too.

The early settlers didn’t have a choice of whose rule they wanted to live under, they got what they got. (Had they been able to put out an “RFP” to, say, England, France and Spain, the colonists might’ve been able to strike a better deal from their future overlords.) Instead, they were at the mercy of the English monarchy who, predictably, began to abuse their monopoly control by illegally raising product prices and seriously neglecting their customer service.

Backed up against the wall, Americans had no choice but to literally blow up the whole vendor relationship and start over (see also, American Revolution). (continued…)

Peter Crosby

Do social networks just encourage people to brag about their accomplishments?

social network bragging

Do social networks encourage coworkers, friends, and family to brag about their accomplishments? While it’s probably true that social networks do encourage some bragging, I’d argue that “sharing positive news about yourself” isn’t limited to social networks.

Even without social networks, we’d still find some way to put our best foot forward — in conversation, email, TPS reports, and even on blogs like this. It’s just human nature to want to make yourself look good to others — heck, it may even be Darwinian — but we realize that still doesn’t make it right.

We’d never stoop to blatant self-promotion.

forrester-logoFor example, when Forrester Research recently reassessed the ESN industry for both Social Platforms and Activity Streams, we tastefully posted:

Forrester names tibbr ESN leader! Totes crushin’ it, yo!

info-tech-awardsAnd when Info-Tech Research Group named tibbr the category Champion, Innovator, and Best Value, we casually shared it:

tibbr takes home the Info-Tech Triple Crown! #believe #YOLO

tibbr-blog-forester-report1Naturally, when Forrester Consulting published the results of their six-month study examining the ROI of tibbr, we took the high-road:

Forrester shows tibbr ROI in FIVE areas!!! #justsaying #humblebrag 

badge-biz-winner-2013aAnd when our tablet app was awarded “Best IT/Business Tool” in the 2013 “Tabby” awards, we barely mentioned our victory:

tibbr Mobile just took home a Tabby!

(continued…)

Peter Crosby

What chefs can teach businesses about being focused and effective.

Fresh Vegetables
By now, we all know that multitasking is a lie. Still, that doesn’t mean we don’t all have lots of things that need to be done efficiently every day — here’s how to make people more effective.

Dealing with the day’s to-do list takes focus. But in a hectic business environment, focus is often hard to come by. It’s a challenge that restaurant chef’s face every day, too. And they deal with it using a practice called “mise-en-place,” which roughly translates into “everything in its place.”

Essentially, it means that chefs start their day thinking through — and gathering up — the totality of recipes, tools, and ingredients they need to do their job that day.

It’s a holistic, mindful approach that could help out at a lot of other industries as well. The only problem is that, at many businesses, the “totality of everything employees need to do their job” is frequently scattered across disparate systems, networks, and business apps.

If your job involves email, CRM and a finance app, you don’t know the sum total of your day until you’ve checked them all out individually — and that opens the door to distractions that can derail you from your larger priorities. (continued…)

Peter Crosby

How to make Microsoft Outlook® part of your social strategy.

banner-outlook

If you work at a company that’s been in business for more than five minutes, odds are pretty good that you use Microsoft® Outlook. Like it or not, Outlook is still the workhorse of enterprise communication. And now there’s a way to make it part of your social strategy.

Outlook is omnipresent.

Outlook is more than just an email client — it includes a calendar, task manager, contact manager, note taking, a journal, and even web browsing (for some reason). As a result, it’s entirely possible for employees to come to work in the morning, launch Outlook, and never leave the app all day.

Unfortunately, that traps them in the horror-show that is modern email. As we’ve already discussed, email kills productivity, wastes time and causes miscommunication, and needlessly costs companies money. So it seems almost Medieval to condemn employees to collaborate exclusively using the outdated email protocol.

Luckily, employees can now have the best of both worlds — the familiarity of Outlook combined with the social features of tibbr: Introducing tibbr for Microsoft Outlook

Plug into the power of social.

tibbr for Microsoft Outlook® is a software plugin that brings all the functionality of tibbr to a handy sidebar within Outlook so conversations can be accessed right where people work. (continued…)

Peter Crosby

The missing piece of the SharePoint engagement puzzle.

banner-sharepoint

You’ve probably heard the pitch before: “Hey, we can make SharePoint better so more people will use it!” By now, you’ve heard it all a billion times. So why should you listen to us? What’s so “different” about our approach? A lot, actually.

tibbr puts SharePoint and other apps on the same page.

Unlike other social-only add-on products, tibbr is a social platform. That means tibbr doesn’t just interact with SharePoint, it acts as connective tissue between it and all your other business apps, too.

“We wanted to integrate [tibbr] with our products, we also wanted to integrate it with other technologies and to do that you had to have a very flexible architecture.”
— Jeff Bagby, Head of Social Media Platform, Thomson Reuters

Better yet, tibbr is application-agnostic: Got Outlook? Get our Outlook plugin. Heavily invested in SAP? Sure thing. Want to add Box? No problem. Salesforce? Of course.

Regardless of which apps you currently use — or want to use in the future — tibbr’s seamless, two-way integration pulls them all together. It creates a single, unified platform for accessing and interacting with SharePoint and other business applications.

In other words, tibbr gives SharePoint users one place to receive, read, and act on all their notifications, conversations, or content. (continued…)