The Lead: Airbnb Profitability, Pay-TV Service, Antarctic Ice Diminishing

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.

Airbnb Achieves its Second Year of Profitability

Airbnb already achieved its second year of profitability in 2018 and is expecting to hit 500 million arrivals by the end of Q1 2019. With a $31 billion valuation, the accommodation rental platform is prepared to go public from June 30, 2019, and they are creating a cash bonus program for its staff.

Our View: Money isn’t the sole reason for motivated employees, but behavior can be influenced by monetary incentives. When employees understand what they can do to help accomplish company goals and incentive plans are done well, lucrative opportunities flourish for employees and their organizations. Start establishing incentives with an open-ended brainstorming session that includes the employees you are incentivizing. Ask questions like “what can you personally do to get us closer to attaining our desired results?” to steer the conversation toward individual action items. Further Reading

Related AchieveForum content: Offering Rewards and Recognition

Pay-TV Service may be the Next Competitor in the Streaming Arena

NBC’s streaming service will be freely available to anyone that subscribes to their pay-TV service (or $12 per month for those that don’t subscribe to pay-TV), and NBC predicts it can generate about $5 in ad revenue per user with the service. Competing in the streaming arena will be expensive, and competitors HBO and Hulu are both increasing spend on content and original programming this year.

Our View: When leaders shift from competing within an industry to competing in an arena, their sustainable advantage should be changeable. Arenas are defined by customer needs. Rita Gunther McGrath further elaborates “arenas are characterized by particular connections between customers and solutions, not by the conventional descriptions of offerings that are near substitutes for one another.” McGrath is the author of the book, The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business. Further Reading

Ice in Antarctica Diminishing at an Accelerating Pace

Antarctica is losing its icy covering and melting six times faster today than it was in the 1970s. In the National Academy of Sciences’ most recent measurement, sea levels have gone up by nearly seven millimeters due to Antarctica’s melt alone.

Our View: Global problems often seem like untouchable giants, but individual efforts do make a difference. Leaders are often more effective by setting an example. A poem by an unknown monk illuminates this sentiment: “When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.” Further Reading

Related AchieveForum content: Leading in Context

Google is Buying Smartwatch IP from Fossil

Google will be purchasing smartwatch technology from the watch and accessory maker Fossil for $40 million. The intellectual property and an unspecified number of employees will be included in the deal. The current No. 2 player in smartwatches is Fitbit, which has had three key acquisitions: Coin, Vector, and Pebble.

Our View: Leading through acquisition transitions requires thoughtful integration. A new set of employees presents cultural challenges and risks costly turnover. Leading the integration after an acquisition is not only challenging, it is also highly visible. Being under the spotlight means leaders’ words and actions are often magnified. With this in mind, remember to continue to communicate the value promised to stakeholders. Further Reading

Related AchieveForum content: Accelerating Strategic Initiatives; Leading through Transitions; Leading Change

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing is becoming more prevalent. At-home tests are more affordable than complete genetic workups through a doctor, but privacy and long-term health may be overshadowed by prioritizing convenience and cost. Like many solutions, the answer is often found by developing something in the middle ground and in this case, something between pricey doctor-ordered kits and limited kits available in drug stores. No company has emerged as a leader in this particular space, and currently, sensitive customer data is being uploaded and retained in large databases.

Our View: Strategy leaders must address cost and quality, and healthcare is one of the most challenging industries to manage the delicate balance between the two. Healthcare organizations can manage this by prioritizing value-based outcomes. This means the focus is on:

  1. Delivering leading-quality and transparent outcomes
  2. Practicing disciplined cost management
  3. Enhancing the patient experience

Further Reading

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