How To Get Big Rewards?

Most sane people are afraid of problems and tend to avoid them. From evolutionary perspective that is something that helped us to survive. I don’t go further into examples or explaining the reasons why, I’m sure you can do the math by yourself as you have come to read this blog.

But what people don’t often realize is that where there is a problem – there is money waiting to be made.

The bigger problem solved – The bigger reward obtained

In short: if your job is to solve small problems you likely get paid little:

Cashier vs. CEO
Nurse vs. brain surgeon
“I only work here” vs. “I will do what it takes to make this company profitable”

If you manage to solve complex and big problems with good track record, you most likely are rewarded well. It is not a coincidence that intelligence (which often equals to the ability to solve problems) correlates with a good income and financial well being.

Easy to replace = lousy rewards

I urge you to make a status check: would you love to solve bigger problems and get a better reward? Are you willing to rise above mundane? Do you have the brainpower to go to markets where majority of people are afraid to enter and prosper: like sales, marketing, strategic planning, leadership?

If you come up with “yes” – that is your first problem to solve!

  • What kinds of problems you want to solve,
  • who has these problems,
  • and how to connect and convince these people that you are the right person to do that?

There is always a “but”

Inspiration and determination will take you far, but it is not all it takes. Nor is the general intelligence alone a guarantee to prevail. In order to be exceptional you also need tools, experiences, and networks:

  • The tools you can study from blogs like EBL, professional books, courses, schools, mentors and educational videos for example.
  • The experiences and merits you gain only by trying hard, and by trial and error – just go and do stuff you feel passionate about. Passion, mission and vision give you extra strength. Money alone is almost never the best motivator, although it sure makes life easier and more enjoyable.
  • Networks help you reach the people and opportunities that are in need of a problem solver. Get out of your comfort zone and meet people: both online and offline. Face your fear of rejection and never surrender to it. First it hurts like hell, but with time you get used to it.

Think about it: Are you using all of your potential or would you like to win more? If winning is your choice, do what it takes to be Ever Better!

Lets recap and go a bit deeper – in order to solve big problems and get big rewards you must find out:

  1. Who you wanna be
  2. What kinds of problems you want to solve and how you plan to do it
  3. Who has these problems
  4. and how to connect and convince these people that you are the right person to do that?

Step 1. is your vision and mission
Step 2. is your strategy
Step 3. is your target audience
Step 4. is your marketing and sales tactic

You have just created your personal business plan, so now go and execute!

Head there; where problems cause despair!

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Why to deliver only the MVP?

When a business is profitable, it is much easier to make an attractive* workplace as well as to keep people happy and motivated**. That is the reason I got the inspiration to write about the importance of supplying the Minimum Viable Product I.e. MVP. MVP is usually used in the context of product development, but I think it can easily be adopted to any industry. I am aware of the fact that this might sound weird for some readers, but keep your mind open for the idea and read on.

Why to deliver only the MVP?

Smart businesses should always be based on delivering the minimum viable product (MVP). Even when dealing with premium brands and services.

Simply because:

  • MVP saves time
  • Time is money
  • Saved money can be used to make people happy and to develop businesses.

But delivering the MVP is a lot harder than it sounds, as in some cases the beauty is in the details – and quite often it can be hard to know if something is good enough. To find out what is the MVP it usually requires surveys, tests launches, experiences and valuable failures.

Embrace failures – they are super valuable. Be grateful that You don’t need to do those mistakes again!

WHEN THE BUSINESS IS PASSION

When leading passionate people doing just the MVP can be tricky, as the passion tends not to respect the laws of smart businesses. I.e. In passion businesses the human resource and development aspect can often even make a product and service better than consumers would require. This extra amount of work should be taken in consideration when setting the price for a service or product. Luckily premium brands tend to sell better when the price rises – to a degree.

Selling the excellence too cheap can cut down the revenues fast.

This also applies when saying “our organization wants to exceed the customer expectations.” Exceeding expectations is smart only if it can be turned into revenues. Usually that can be do by keeping the customer happy (stability and capability to foresee future invoicing) and/or generating brand value which will allow bigger invoicing.

I will later get more into the detail why increasing brand value should be something that every individual and organization should want. The following image explains the basics of it in advance:

BUT WHAT IF THE PRODUCT IS just too BAD

Sometimes the problem can be the opposite: organizations fail to achieve MVP and fail. That usually means that the product is not on the level that market requires or the service is just bad. These kinds of problems are possible to fix, but usually require shitloads of more money, time and patience. And if the money runs up, then the time is out and there is not much to do. That is why it might be safe to put in some extra effort when in doubt or to try to launch with a price with more headroom. The price is always much easier to drop than rise.

TO SUMMARIZE
  1. It can be hard to find out the exact MVP, but if found, it is the best way to run business from revenue point of view.
  2. Exceeding expectations is not a bad idea, but it must be done beneficially. There are no free lunches.
  3. Sometimes it can be better to play safe and do a bit extra, than fail in the launch. If you run a start-up for example, you might have only one chance.

What do you think about this? Makes sense? Or not? Please comment here or in social media. I know this might not be the easiest post to agree with. 🙂

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Inspirational Image: The Best HRD quote ever!

Simply the best HRD quote I have bumped into.

And as we all know, rewarding doesn’t just mean financial compensation. Although it is an important part of motivation.

The following image sums up all the basics there are to remember in making a great place to work:

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Change is inevitable – Growth is optional

The title is a quote from Mr. John C. Maxwell and holds wisdom so great that it is next to impossible to say anything even remotely as wise as that.

But instead of trying to outsmart it, I rather try to explain my view about why changing is often so hard. In short: the main reason boils down to one of our prime drivers in life – the need to save energy.

The change that consumes more energy than the cozy status quo is always more or less painful. Only when there is some level of certainty that the change will pay off (as fast as possible), people are willing to invest time and energy to the process of change. But if the payoff is too far in the future, too abstract, vague, or just requires too much energy, it is quite likely that nothing will happen. This is the reason why it is crucial for the leader/doctor/parent/spouse/friend/… to explain the personal benefits of the change as concrete as possible. In case the journey to the better will be long and hard, it is wise to break down the process to smaller steps which are explained and done one by one.

But how to do the change?

I have written an article earlier this year about doing the change. You can find it here: http://jukkaniittymaa.com/2017/03/01/credit-how-to-make-the-change/

And for those who have already read the article, here is the “C.R.E.D.I.T.” process in short:

 

To utilize C.R.E.D.I.T. make sure you use roadmaps. To make your own roadmap please check my earlier post at http://jukkaniittymaa.com/2017/03/12/how-to-build-a-roadmap-for-success/

Short list advice’s:

  1. Plan your message is advance before announcing it publicly.
  2. Also if possible, rehearse it few times – at least if the stakes are high and you really need to make the change happen.
  3. If communicating the message via email or some other written format, try to get someone trustworthy to read and comment it.
  4. Is there a possibility that people don’t get the benefits, or the reasons to change?
  5. Am I being concrete enough, and sure that all know why the change is needed, how it is done and what is expected during and after the process.

My Personal Change On April 2017

For me the change has been quite easy through my life. Speaking of which, I am now at the brink of change. After working for over 2.5 years in the current company I’ve signed a new contract and will be soon starting as an account director in a very cool and creative marketing agency. This will be a new chapter in my career and I am super excited about it. I hope to be able to help new colleagues and clients to thrive even better. Often change is the thing that can boost personal growth, and that is something I am looking forward very much with this step. Wish me luck!

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How To Build A Roadmap for Success

Roadmaps are great. They can help us to implement long and difficult strategies to the ground level operations, make our team’s goals more achievable, and also are a fun way to get to know yourself. I personally recommend doing a roadmap for any goal that feels even a bit challenging to reach. It can be done for yourself, for your team, or why not even for the family?

How a roadmap should look like?

Don’t worry that much about the form or look of the roadmap. Most of all it is a way to communicate what to do and when. For sure it can be a piece of visually stunning art, but a list written in a napkin can also do the job. In short, the best roadmap is the one you are able to carry either in your mind or in your pocket.

The article will continue after the image.

How to fill the roadmap?

  1. First make sure that you know where we are now. Which are your strengths, aspirations and ambitions?
  2. Get a clear vision of your goal. Where do you want to go? Why do you want to go there? What happens when you get there? How does it feel when you reach your destination? Images can help you visualize your goal. Let’s say you want to get a raise in order to buy a new car. So google the image and use it to get a good grip of what you are working for.
  3. What skills, elements, investments you need to make to get started. These are most likely the first steps on your trip.
  4. Now you have done the beginning and the end. Draw a path between them and start building the steps one by one.
  5. For some people it can be a tremendous help if you think about it as playing a board game and building the path from a to b, c to d and so on.
    The article will continue after the image.
  6. Prefer using as concrete tasks as possible.
  7. Avoid placing goals that are not achievable. It is important to have big plans, but it is as important to know your limits in order to not get too badly hurt. Being successful is a delicate mix of being ambitious as well as rational and realistic.
  8. Remember to update your roadmap as you are working your way on it. Sometimes in life things happen overnight, and sometimes there can be obstacles that require you to take a detour.
  9. Also remember to reward yourself when reaching mid-goals and goals. That will help you to reach your goals better in the future. Find out how the positive reinforcement works – even for yourself. 😉
  10. Make sure you make your goals and roadmaps public, it will increase the possibility of completing them. At least if you want your organization to know where they should be heading to. But you can also consider communicating your own growth plan, as by doing so you might find friends who share the same goal, and you can help each other. Good leaders also want to help their employees to grow, so it can be that by sharing your roadmap, you are able to help your boss to do their job better.

Here is the example I made for the 2017

It is good to know, that as this is an upper level roadmap, each box will require its own roadmap. But alas; this will help me to remember the big picture I am building for the 2017, and I wish that it would help you to build your own roadmap to be an ever better leader!

 

 

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CREDIT – How to make the change

It is almost always possible to do the change for the better. A change is a process like any other transformation.

You can start by asking: “What is the most important thing we/I need to do to perform better?”

In order to make the change, be it personal or organizational, I have simplified the process to the abbreviation “CREDIT” – which as a word means:

“praise, approval, or honour” – Cambridge’s dictionary

Besides of the many other meanings the word holds, these verbs perfectly describe the essence of the change. So let’s see what the C.R.E.D.I.T. is made of!

The article continues after the image.

The Six Elements of Making a Change

1. Communicate…

…the goal, the direction, why the change is needed and what is the one thing that needs to be reached. Make it simple – find the core of the idea and explain why this is the most important task.

It is crucial for the change to succeed so that people understand WHY and HOW the change is done.

2. Respect

People go the extra mile only if they respect you or they fear you. Respect is generated by respecting. Choose your side.

3. Educate

It is the leader whose duty is to coach and motivate employees. Sometimes this requires extra attention, and always good communication: what is expected and why. Just make sure that the person who is being educated is motivated to learn. If in doubt, please check my earlier post http://jukkaniittymaa.com/2017/01/14/how-to-keep-people-happy-and-motivated/

4. Discuss

It is always smart to let people participate as much as possible. That is done the best by discussing one to one. In those discussions it is better to listen more than to speak. That is the reason why we have two ears and one mouth. Well not really, but still a nice proverb. 🙂

But don’t try to roll the final responsibility on other people’s shoulders – as a leader you are in charge and also the one who ultimately needs to be able to do the decisions. Even hard ones.

5. Inspire

People love the change if it feels good and is beneficial to them. Inspiration can be more motivational I.e. getting praised by a manager or a monetary incentive I.e. giving a bonus for a good work. Very often the best plan is a combination of many ways.

6. Track

Make sure you know and remember your own goal. And keep steering the ship accordingly. If it looks like nothing is happening amplify the CREDIT process: communicate more, keep respecting, educate those who need and seek guidance, discuss until there is nothing more to discuss and make sure people get rewarded fairly for a good work.

I hope that this simple roadmap helps you to make the change for the better. Also please feel free to comment this post in the comment section below or in the social media. I would love to hear your thoughts. :3

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How to generate trust in organization: 8/8 – Start to trust

This is the last posting from a series of 8 short articles “How to generate trust in an organization”. The topics spring to life from my own experiences as well as from various books and articles I’ve read in the past. The most influential writers have no doubt been John C. Maxwell and Simon Sinek. Both emphasize the importance of high moral driven “people first” leadership.

How to generate trust in organization: 8 – Start to trust

Obviously the last – but not the least – thing to create trust is to trust. If you don’t trust to people, it is very unlikely that they would trust you or the organization you are presenting.

For some people it is really hard to trust people. And no doubt, too often people will break the trust. But becoming cynical just makes leader’s life hard, or at least the leader becomes a bottleneck for growth. When we are trying to lift our team/organization to the level of high performance, it is just crucial to understand:

There is no way you can win big championships alone.

Please feel free to share and discuss this in the comments, LinkedIn or on Twitter. To make sure you get all the 8 ways to generate trust, subscribe to the blog at:

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How to generate trust in organization: 7/8 – Choose your battles

This is the 7th posting from a series of 8 short articles “How to generate trust in an organization”. The topics spring to life from my own experiences as well as from various books and articles I’ve read in the past. The most influential writers have no doubt been John C. Maxwell and Simon Sinek. Both emphasize the importance of high moral driven “people first” leadership.

How to generate trust in organization: 7 – Choose your battles

Positive feedback improves employees’ self esteem and eventually will raise their motivation. And a motivated employee is much more creative, effective and proactive than an unmotivated one. That is why it is often much better to say something nice than to point out what could have been done better. Great leaders are aware that everything can be done better – but it is better to choose the battles that make a real difference.

With time it is possible to raise the standards and coach anyone to be at least a good expert. Being great requires passion, talent and hard work – these elements are not available to all, so make sure you don’t waste too much time with a person who does not aim for excellence.

Please feel free to share and discuss this in the comments, LinkedIn or on Twitter. To make sure you get all the 8 ways to generate trust, subscribe to the blog at:

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How Hormones Shape Our Behavior – Including How We Lead

12.2.2017

I just read the great article from Harvard Business Review about “The Neuroscience of Trust.” The article thoroughly dives into creating trust in a workplace from neuroscience’s point of view. Why this is a particularly interesting topic and also very relevant for every leader is in short:

Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.

Fascinating timing

The timing of HBR’s article is of course very suitable as I have lately been thinking a lot of the same topic: You might even have noticed that I already have released whole bunch of postings about the topic based on my own experiences. Although my list is not written as to be series of scientific articles, the direction still point’s to the same direction: The trust is generated by trusting and taking each individual as an individual – all people are not the same, but the mechanisms that affect us are quite often the same for everybody.

All people are not the same, but the mechanisms that affect us are quite often the same for everybody.

Oxytocin – the hormone that makes you care and do the extra effort

The brain network that oxytocin activates is evolutionarily old. This means that the trust and sociality that oxytocin enables are deeply embedded in our nature. Yet at work we often get the message that we should focus on completing tasks, not on making friends. Neuroscience experiments by my lab show that when people intentionally build social ties at work, their performance improves. A Google study similarly found that managers who “express interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being” outperform others in the quality and quantity of their work.

In the HBR article the writer Paul J. Zak emphasizes the importance of oxytocin (I.e. the hormone that deepens the relationships between many mammals). That  is something very important to understand. So important, that you should read the article right now, right here: https://hbr.org/2017/01/the-neuroscience-of-trust.

Even by the risk that you might not remember to come back. But that is the risk I am willing to take in order to help you to understand the hormones significance to our behavior both as leaders and persons who are being led.

I am not an endocrinologist, but I can have a look

I am very convinced that hormones are one of the most important factors in determining our behavior in everything we do. As it is quite obvious that I am not an endocrinologist, I still have read quite much about the topic. At least enough so that I know that our actions are guided by few strong hormones including – but not limited to – adrenaline, dopamine, estrogen, oxytocin, serotonin, and testosterone. No human can escape the influence of these hormones and even a slight imbalance usually leads to noticeable health and/or mental issues. Although these problems are not the focus of my blog, I do think that this HBR article is enough to point out that understanding our biological influencers will help us to understand how we should be led, as well as why we work the way we work.

What does this mean?

By understanding some few principles we suddenly are capable to understand better both ourselves as well as our colleagues, bosses, spouses, teenagers, random strangers  and even leaders of nations.  For example did you know that it is the testosterone that helps you to take risks but also makes you lust for power – at the same time reducing empathy.

Because of this it is also worth mentioning that due to this, women are often much better in situations when it boils down to the empathy skills. Actually, the effects of testosterone(s) and estrogen(s) are the big reasons why men differ from women and vice versa – it’s the hormones that shape us to be different, not the gender. To neglect this fact would not be smart thing to do.

But let me make one thing clear: I feel very strongly that all people are equal and should have the same possibilities. Said that, I also think we should be able use our gender strengths when aiming to do winning strategies. It’s like finding your super power and focusing into it:Strenghten your strengths

Human resources protip

I also want to share this scientific founding from Psychology Today – it could be a deal-breaker for many leaders around the world:

In experiments, when status-striving, high-testosterone men are stripped of their status, they become angry, excited, and cognitively impaired. But more surprising, men with low resting-testosterone, without much impetus for status, become angry and impaired when placed in high-status positions they simply do not want.

So as many of you might know, it is very often a mistake to promote experts to work as managers IF they do not show signs of being interested in leadership. Leadership position should never be an accident waiting to happen.

Leadership position should never be an accident waiting to happen.

If you remember 3 things, remember these

  1. The trust should not be left to be generated by an accident, there are several ways to create it
  2. Our behavior is strongly affected by our hormones
  3. All people are not the same, but the mechanisms that affect us are quite often the same for everybody.
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