Most Brains Win

by Verne Harnish, The “Growth Guy”

 

What do Google, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, eBay and Wikipedia have in common? Besides being six of the fastest growing organizations in history and making several of their founders billionaires in less than a decade, they all utilize a new reality of the information age – whoever leverages the most brains wins! Figure out how to do this better than your competition and you win big.

The subtitle of James Surowiecki’s best-selling book The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economics, Societies, and Nations is another take on this new strategic weapon. It’s no longer sufficient to have just a smart executive team. You need to launch initiatives to access the collective wisdom of your employees, customers, and the broader world around you.

Besides reading Surowiecki’s book (quicker yet, just read the collective wisdom of Wikipedia’s overview!), read Steven Johnson’s breakthrough book Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software. It’s Emergence Theory that drives the success of the organizations listed above. You not only have to understand and apply this theory to your business, you need to start doing it immediately – so jump on Amazon, another Emergence Theory company, and place your order.

In past columns I’ve touched on several approaches to tap into the collective intelligence of your marketplace including the systematic gathering of customer and employee feedback and the use of wikis to capture and organize this information. There is also some innovative new “community” or “networking” technologies that aid in helping your customers connect with and help each other and in the process, help you.

4000 PAGES IN ONE YEAR

Lee Rosen, President of Raleigh-Durham based Rosen Law Firm (disclosure: they are a client) knew he needed to capture the intellectual capital of his employees and find a way to efficiently organize the information necessary to run his thriving law practice that specializes in divorce cases. Launching an internal wiki, Rosen notes. “I used a $1000 contest to encourage our lawyers and staff to contribute to the wiki and within a year we had over 4000 pages of intellectual content!” For more details, Rosen pointed me to a February 2008 FORTUNE Small Business magazine article about how companies are using wikis featuring his firm (Google will help you find the article).

My company recently launched a public wiki devoted to collecting examples of quarterly themes. Within a few days of announcing the website, many of our long standing clients took the time to populate the wiki with past quarterly theme ideas, photos, and detailed write-ups. This, in turn, is now a valuable resource to the rest of our clients which strengthens our market position as a source of tools and ideas for helping executives grow their businesses.
And we decided to house our wiki on a large public site called AboutUs.org. Founded by one of the top five thought leaders in the wiki space, Ray King, we were advised to avoid becoming a wiki-island onto ourselves. Why is this important? A significant and powerful aspect of wikis is the ability to link to other wiki pages. And it’s this rich-link environment that helps raise the profile of your information on search engines. So it’s important that your wiki, if you want it to be found by others, is housed where it can connect with many other wiki pages. If you want to check out the wiki, go to AboutUs.org and search for “quarterly themes.”

INTRONETWORKS “COMMUNITY”

We’ve also ventured into the community building aspect of our business. Whereas I can see teenagers spending a great deal of time on community websites like Facebook and MySpace, it’s been hard for me to imagine our network of 15,000 executives of growth firms taking the time to visit and benefit from a networking site. In turn, I know there is a tremendous amount of shared experience and talent among these executives if only they could efficiently tap into this reservoir of knowledge.
Spending $15,000, we licensed a system called IntroNetworks – the same system the famous TED conference uses to network their attendees. What their system does is help the people in your network build specific profiles and then through the magic of various algorithms, determines who should talk to whom. Think of it as a matching/dating service for your customers where they can reach out and help each other. And since they are your customers, they likely have various common points of interest.
Within a week of our IntroNetwork’s-supported community, one of the 15,000 executives in our network contacted me to say he might be able to help with a business challenge I personally posted on the network site. And it was someone I didn’t even realize was in the network!

We did connect and he was able to help me determine two concrete courses of action to solve my challenge. For me, that’s knowledge I would have never accessed had there not been the technology to facilitate the introduction.

At your next executive meeting, tackle the question “how can we dramatically increase the number of brains we can access to drive our business.” Then do it and let me know what you create – I need your brain as well!

Cold and Flu Season…Again

As most of the country knows we are in the midst of a massive “Polar Vortex” . As scary as this sounds (and it does sound VERY SCARY) there are precautions we can take to keep ourselves safe and warm.  Firstly do not spend any unnecessary time outside!  I read somewhere you can get frost bite if you expose your skin to the cold for more than five minutes.  To this Florida girl, well that sounds like a horror movie come to life. Second, please bring your animals inside!! Third, I hear lots of hot soup, tea, and hot cocoa are called for in freezing conditions, plus in all honesty that just sounds yummy.

This time of year seems to be when most people come down with a cold or the flu.   That is why we are having a  sale this week on all cleaning supplies.  Kill those sickness causing germs with products like cleaning wipes, Purell, and bottled soap. We hope everyone is staying safe and warm and not leaving the house unless they have to!  20140106_Hero_EmailRestockit.com cleaning product sale

-Rachel Y.

Deadly Virus Sweeping the Nation

BREAKING NEWS: If you work in an office building, you may be already dying!

That’s the news out of our nation’s capital today. Health officials have released a statement warning the public of a new virus that’s being transmitted via office bathrooms.

ReStockIt.com has interrupted our regularly scheduled blog post to bring you this urgent message. The full release continues below.

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Contributors:
World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Washington, D.C. – Patient Zero has been identified in what is believed to be the most quickly spreading virus since the 2009 H1N1 Swine Influenza pandemic. The family of Patient Zero has requested that she remain anonymous, for fear of public backlash.

The disease has been dubbed the “The Cubical Plague” and is transmitting most rapidly through the workplace. Many offices across the country have either shut down or are enforcing the government mandate of surgical masks.

However research is now showing that the virus does not appear to be airborne but rather transmitted through contact.

Offices and institutions that currently use bars of soap are strongly advised to switch to liquid or foam soaps and use touchless dispensers such as those found here to help stem transmission rates.

blog post soap pic“We felt a joint release was necessary to help spread this message- we believe that great strides must be taken to slow the spreading of this disease,” CDC research Ted Bruski said.” Particular focus must be on the public diligently washing their hands.”

The only information available regarding Patient Zero is that she was Hispanic female in her late 30’s with an otherwise clean medical history.

The patient was declared deceased at 2:17 AM EST this morning after a sudden swelling of the brain and an elevated body temperature. Symptoms appear to mimic those of a variety of ailments, from dengue fever to encephalitis.

Arjay Singh, M.D. will be presenting an hour-long special report this evening on CNN at 8:00 PM EST.

Dr. Singh will be addressing many misconceptions people have regarding the virus, and how to combat it. Spokesperson Marissa Shujman of the Department of Health and Human Services will be joining the show via satellite for her first public appearance since the panic began.

“We urge the President to issue an official statement and assuage public concern over this growing epidemic.” Dr. Singh said. “He should use his platform to take a stance against fear mongers while reassuring the American people that their government has their health and safety in mind.”

“Once again, we strongly advise washing ones hands at every practical opportunity,” Shujman said. “You can do your part by sharing this information via social media. You may save a life.”

Holiday Shopping Guide

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Have you already started pulling your hair out over holiday shopping AND shipping? We can totally commiserate with you here at ReStockIt. Not only do we have to make sure our customers get their orders in time, but we all have to make sure our families get their packages too! Here are some helpful tips to get you and your business on the right track for holiday shipping!

  1. Let your delivery driver know your game plan: No matter which carrier you use, let them know if your hours are changing or how much volume you expect to ship out. A forewarned driver is a prepared driver.
  2. Make sure packages are ready at pick-up time: Drivers want to go home too, so if you’re ill-prepared for them, you’ll put a kink in their day. It’s the holidays! There should be no kinks!
  3. Package protection: UPS, FedEx, USPS…they are all kicked in high gear during this time of year. They are pushing packages through sorting facilities and hubs like they are going out of style-so if one of your packages gets dropped…then kicked…then finally picked up, you have peace of mind knowing you packed it like it was Fort Knox in a box.
  4. Organization and you: Let’s face it. You probably use multiple carriers. Eh, it happens. Make sure you have your packages organized by carrier, placed where they need to be, and are ready to go.
  5. Don’t Stress! This is a no-brainer. Holidays are busy times, and we all tend to start pulling our hair out by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, but if you plan now, you can avoid the stress of making sure your customer, and you, are stress-free for the holidays.

For your sanity, we have included some links for shipping calendars from the Big Three Carriers.

https://www.usps.com/shippingdates/

http://www.fedex.com/us/services/pdf/HolidaySchedule.pdf

http://compass.ups.com/ups-holiday-calendar/?WT.mc_id=resources/ship/holiday-shipping.html__Compass_US_en_Article_Calendar

 

Terry

Keeping Germ Free In The Office

Purell Hand SanitizerFedEx recently conducted a study where they began putting sanitizer stations in their office as a test to see if less employees came down sick. The results were an absenteeism decrease. The study concluded that Purell hand sanitizer decreased the spread of germs in the office as well as reduced the amount of sick days employees took by approximately 20%!

Recent studies have shown that lost productivity due to illness costs US employers more than $260 billion annually. That 20% reduction in sick days could mean a savings of $52 billion every year if offices all used Purell!

Of course the benefits of clean hands and fewer germs extend far beyond the office.

You could say that Purell and I have quite a history. When I first started working if I wasn’t just on the verge of a full-blown cold, I was recovering from one. It was an endless and vicious cycle, and one that my boss and co-workers weren’t too pleased about.

That’s when hand sanitizer came into the picture. When my boss insisted that I begin using Purell Hand Sanitizer you could say it was love at first sight for my weak immune system. What a brilliant invention: the closest thing to washing my hands…in a tiny portable bottle.

And if you think you’re doing a decent job of keeping you and your workspace clean, think again.

FACT: Your phone is dirtier than your toilet!

NBC reports that the average office phone is covered with more than 25,000 germs per square inch whereas toilet bowls on average only have 50 germs per square inch…Yikes!

Common surfaces that we come into contact with each and every day at the office are actually considered to have more germs than toilet bowls!! (Need to clean those toilets? Try these).

I can’t afford time away from work and you probably can’t either. Have no fear though; Purell is proven to kill 99.9% of the germs that it comes into contact with which cause sickness and infections. Use Purell and live a happier, germ fee life!

Global Handwashing Day!

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Today is Global Handwashing Day, and people everywhere are washing their hands more than usual. I’m an inveterate hand-washer, but with all this extra washing today, my hands are taking a beating. If yours are anything like mine, they get dry, cracked, and red looking, and no amount of lotion seems to work for them.

That’s why I like Softsoap. First off, it’s made by Colgate-Palmolive, the minds behind…Palmolive! I remember my mother using Palmolive when I was a kid, because it really did help her hands while washing dishes (this was before dishwashers were prevalent in houses) and they didn’t dry out like they would using other liquid dish washing soap.

SS_Strip_Complete

I keep Softsoap in my kitchen, in my bathroom, and at the sink in the laundry room, and each one is a different scent. I alternate between the foam and liquid, depending on my mood, and I try to keep a manlier scent in my bathroom for the hubby, since he says he doesn’t like his hands to smell like lavender. I can’t think why not…

They also have different formulas that you can choose from, whether you want anti-bacterial, Kitchen Fresh, or their Pampered Hands line. Plus, the bottles are really attractive and you wouldn’t be ashamed to have them sitting on your counter! Plus, you should start stocking up for the holidays, because there will be even more hand washing then!

Terry

 

National Bosses Day October 16th

Are you ready? Whether we like it or not, most of us have one. Some are demanding and difficult while others are inspirational and understanding. But whether yours is fabulous to work for or not so much, today is all about bosses - it’s National Boss Day, also referred to as Bosses Day or Boss’s Day.

Patricia Bays Haroski is credited as “creating” the annual holiday. Years ago, the State Farm Insurance Company secretary wanted to show her appreciation for her boss and improve the relationship between employers and employees. In 1958, Haroski registered National Boss Day with the United States Chamber of Commerce and folks have been celebrating and recognizing their supervisors ever since. She selected Oct. 16 to commemorate her father’s birthday.

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Bosses have a tough time of it – they’ve got to make all the hard decisions, and chances are they’ve got to put up with you, too. Buy your boss something nice on Boss’ Day and let them know that you don’t mean to be such high maintenance, and that you understand that being the boss isn’t always easy.

Take them out to lunch, buy them something nice for their desk (we make it easy for you!) or just get them a nice card, letting them know how you feel. Remember, one day you’ll be a boss too, and you’ll want to be ackowledged that you’re the best boss ever!

 Terry