Machine learning algorithms are no smarter than the humans they learn from, and in most cases not nearly as smart.
I am no luddite. I am aware of the power of big data when used with good analytics and artificial intelligence in automating functions like logistics, supply chain management, manufacturing and market intelligence. However, business leaders ought to treat automating human resources with particular skepticism and caution.
The only viable path forward for your business during this crisis is innovation. There is no percentage in tentativeness. It is the bold and the innovators who will hit the ground running and succeed when things settle.
At a recent CEO roundtable I held in Tokyo, one CEO talked about how he is implementing enclosed spaces in retail facilities across Japan that are meant to accommodate one customer and one sales person at a time. The space is disinfected after each use. Other CEOs who heard this idea realized they could do the same thing in their own businesses, even though the business of each is vastly different from the others.
I am just wrapping up a week in New York ending with the annual meeting of the Million Dollar Consulting Mentor Hall of Fame into which I was inducted last year. This a group of some of top consultant’s from around the world. Let me share some tips and insights from our meeting.
Business optimism abounds, around the world and in Japan. Cash-hoarding companies are now looking to invest again. Be prepared to offer new value to your customers and prospects. Be prepared to invest in your business’s capabilities.
Turn off the Internet. Stop checking email. An American company experimented with forcing its sales people to communicate with customers by means other than email by deliberately shutting down internet access in the office and on mobile devices during four hours every day. The result? Sales increased from $45 million to $60 million annually. Stop telling me how essential it is for you to be on email all day long.
The top issues of concern of privately held small to medium size businesses in Canada are (1) professionalizing the capabilities of the executive management level team, (2) being proactively strategic as opposed to reactively tactical, and (3) having a succession plan in place both the deliberate and emergencies. Where does your business stand on these?
The problem with CRM systems is garbage-in, garbage-stays. How much “sludge” is in yours? Clean out of sludge, and streamline your sales.
Invest in developing the capabilities of your top people, not in remedying the deficits of the mediocre. That provides the greatest return.
Beware of information technology providing merely an illusion of productivity. Ask yourself how the condition of your business has improved. Ensure that technology complements rather than complicates you business. This is a leadership issue, not a technical one. If you are a leader, take the responsibility.
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