We’ve been publishing daily here since early February. Today, we thought we’d take the opportunity to point out some of the best pieces we’ve published, giving you a second chance to catch up on some of our best thinking.
“In the world of business and marketing, “strategy” is frequently used, yet rarely useful. For all of our strategy statements, strategic roadmaps, corporate strategies, launch strategies, innovation strategies, and on and on and on, the ideas that we label as strategy fail to affect meaningful change.”
So Mike Arauz begins to tackle the challenge of defining strategy and making it an actionable concept. Complete with an infographic.
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In March, Aaron and Josh attended TED 2012 and came back with an idea for nearly every TED presenter. This post, one of our most popular, revived an old UC tradition – The Booster Pack, a deck brimming with ideas both small and large. Even if you didn’t speak at TED this year, there’s probably something for you in the 50+ ideas we pumped out.
Our venerable Ops Director Lucy Blair has spent a good chunk of her time wrangling the diverse schedules and varied activities of the Undercurrent team. In this post, she outlines the system she and her team have developed tocategorize the various activities of the team into 11 day types.
“Deciding in advance how you’re going to spend your time becomes a straightforward process of selecting one of the 11 day types and then molding your day around accomplishing these few pre-selected priorities. Essentially, you’re selecting the kind of cuisine you’re going to cook and then choosing the perfect recipe. You’re steering clear of recipes that don’t fit the bill. In other words, activities that divert focus away from these pre-established priorities can easily be labeled as distractions and can be avoided. Meetings and phone calls whose agendas don’t align with the day’s goals can be rescheduled to a day that makes more sense.”
Good customer service is a valuable asset, yet an incredibly difficult one to develop. Encountering great customer service from Bergdorf Goodman, Derrick Bradley broke down the specifics of their clever system.
“This is a great story for brands looking to pursue one-to-one communication with their customers. That Bergdorf Goodman brought all of this to bear for a potential sale is even more impressive. It didn’t require a spectacularly designed website, an iPhone app, a presence on Pinterest, or the like. All it took was a well-designed system, process, and connection with the brand’s core capabilities to service customer inquiries.”
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Finally, Clay Parker Jones launched the first part of an ongoing series about the value of employees and how to get the most out of them.
“My approach to developing capability in people is based on three things I’ve encountered, from three different fields. The elements in bold below are the ingredients for my magic potion:
- You need a lot of experience to have great taste, as radio icon and media mogul Ira Glass teaches us.
- Basketball writer Henry Abbott notes the importance of experience when he points out that playing time – time on the court, doing the things, and working it out while covered in sweat – is like oxygen for young NBA players.
- And as designer Khoi Vinh tells us, a little bit of self delusion goes a long way.”
Give the right people the right time, he argues, and you’re on your way to developing the core capabilities for success in the world of strategy.