The Lead: Snapchat Redesign, European Infrastructure Repair

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Snapchat Redesign

After lackluster growth since going public in March, the company Snap unveiled their redesign for their Snapchat app. The new design will prod progress and foster relationships by creating a clearer delineation between content from friends and content from publishers. Furthermore, the company announced that it will rely on “human curators” to oversee content that appears on the Discover page in order to prevent filter bubbles and faulty information.

Our View: When growth stalls, leaders must recognize the indicators, make an accurate assessment, and plan to overcome the stall. Overcoming a growth stall requires a team effort, and leaders who recognize they can’t do it alone set the right tone for a recovery. These leaders erase petty disagreements and turf battles and any other destructive internal battles. Further Reading

Fixing Europe’s Worst Roads

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman is leading the repairs of Europe’s worst highways (as ranked in the latest Global Competiveness Report) in an effort to win votes, but the repairs will also boost the economy. Investment may extend to 1.4% of their gross domestic product next year, and every dollar of infrastructure spending may lift long-run GDP by 20 cents through productivity gains.

Our View: Unintended consequences of finding solutions are not always positive. Preventing solution-caused problems requires leaders to ask the question, “what could go wrong?” An analytical approach, a change management system, and a learning culture are all excellent ways for leaders to altogether avoid solution-caused problems or at least minimize their effects. Further Reading

Thrift Stores Fight for Survival

The rise of e-commerce has affected retail giants like Macy’s and Target and has also helped prompt thrift store closures nationwide. Thrift stores which sell second-hand goods battle the increasing variety of online resources that allow people to skip the donation and easily sell used items. Fung Global Retail & Technology reported 2017 as a record year for store closures. Amid the closures some thrift stores continue to thrive. Goodwill Industries of Central Florida opened 18 stores since 2010 that are often known for their clean environment, dressing rooms, extended shopping hours, and a generous return policy.

Our View: It can be a challenge to have e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail working well together. Regardless of whether your business is physical, digital, or both, find ways to collect and analyze your customer data to understand who your customers are and what they want. Use this information to deliver a personalized, value-added experience to each of them. Further Reading

Black Friday at Car Dealerships

Honda Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co. reported greater U.S. sales gains than expected as big rebates, cut-rate financing offers, and other Black Friday offers brought buyers into showrooms. “November and December over the last few years have become a very big merchandising window for the industry,” Ford’s U.S. sales chief Mark LaNeve said.

Our View: The most successful sales organizations have strong leaders with strategic direction that keep their teams focused on excelling. Salespeople’s success is strongly impacted by their sales managers as evidenced by a study in the Harvard Business Review which reported that 69% of salespeople who topped their annual quota rated their sales manager as being excellent or above average. The most effective sales leaders are driven by targets and deadlines, and they are adaptable and receptive to coaching. Further Reading

Marketing Strategy Prediction for 2018

An effective CEO must be an effective communicator and storyteller. It is predicted that storytelling will remain a key marketing strategy for 2018. Companies that can paint a positive picture about year-on-year revenue growth, mindshare, and leadership position and can also make progress towards this compelling vision will likely succeed.

Our View: Storytelling is a communication tool that enhances the meaning, impact, and energy behind ideas. Stories take typical messages and bring them to life, engaging people’s minds and evoking their emotions. Stories transform traditional business communication into exchanges that capture the imagination and build commitment. Further Reading

Available to AchieveForum Alliance Members: A module designed to help participants increase engagement and impact by incorporating stories into their most critical meetings, presentations, and conversations.

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