The Lead: Apple’s Next Move, 2017 in Review

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.

A Celebration of Mrs. Claus

Ann Votaw writes about her newfound Christmas career as Mrs. Claus. At 5 feet 10 inches, Votaw is a former musical theater dancer with big expressions and a Rockette’s posture. She impersonates Mrs. Claus and allows children who are afraid of Santa the opportunity to talk to her instead. On her first day in costume, she said she felt like Superman on the first night of his career.

Our View: There are many ways to adapt your leadership style. Leadership is situational, and leaders shouldn’t trap themselves in one leadership style. They should use different styles of leadership to reach a greater audience and to inspire more achievements. Successful leaders choose their leadership style based on a solid analysis of the situation and the collective end goal. Further Reading

Apple’s Plans to Combine iPhone, iPad, and Mac Apps

Apple plans to combine iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps to create a more seamless user experience. Though the plans are still fluid and could change or be cancelled altogether, this initiative is part of a longer-term push to make the underpinnings of Apple’s hardware and software more similar.

Our View: Creating a great user experience is an important component of customer service leadership and business leadership in general. The discussion about the design of your products should shift from a tactical discussion to a strategic one. Leaders must ask questions about the business impact of their products’ design and the type of user experience they facilitate. Further Reading

EU Court Decision Poses Challenges for Uber

The European Union’s highest court ruled that Uber must comply with the same regulations as taxi associations. Uber wanted to be exempt, arguing that they are only a digital services provider that connects riders with independent drivers. This court decision will challenge Uber’s plans to expand in Europe, because the company will be required to spend money on licensing fees and employee benefits.

Our View: Keeping up with legal and regulatory changes is one of the many responsibilities of business leaders. Some tactical advice on how to do this includes enrolling in regulatory newsletters, participating in regulatory training opportunities, keeping an updated database of regulations that concern your business, and appointing a compliance officer. Implementing these tactics will help you keep your business on track with regulatory requirements and deadlines. Further Reading

Blackberry’s Potential Comeback

Blackberry’s stock surged last week after it reported solid demand for its software. After their announcement last year to stop making their trademark phones, Blackberry now outsources the production of their hardware to other smartphone makers. Blackberry now makes 85% of its sales from software and services.

Our View: Most CEOs at companies that have pivoted or re-imagined their businesses in a lucrative way asked themselves these three important questions:
1) “What do we do that is distinctly valuable and defensible and might be extended to other customer needs?”

2) “How can our customer interactions be made more lasting and valuable?”

3) “Are there recurring revenue services and products that can extend beyond the initial sale?”

Further Reading

2017 in Review

Year 2017 saw the global economy improve amidst a number of unsettling events and trends. In places all around the world, catastrophic storms and flooding wrecked homes and livelihoods, but innovation and technology continued to enhance the quality of life. Human capital is now the biggest driver of wealth in the world today. There are many ways to sum up 2017, and worldbank.org does it in twelve charts.

Our View: The end of the calendar year presents a wonderful opportunity to reflect on your business’ challenges, failures, and successes. Appreciate your success and the lessons from your failures. Reflecting on the past can help you make progress towards your goals and make upcoming challenges easier to overcome. Further Reading

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