The Lead: Mars Growth Plans, LA Teachers’ Strike Ends, Davos 2019

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.

Mars Inc. Growth Plans

Mars Inc. may be best known for its confectionary treats, but beyond candy, they are also in the food and pet business. Explaining that there needs to be a blend of purpose and performance for growth, Mars Inc. CEO Grant Reid says growth for growth’s sake should not be the goal.

Our View: Keeping your business’ purpose at the top of your leadership priorities will serve as a beacon for your growth strategy. Korn Ferry research recently showed that companies with teams focused on their organization’s purpose had annual growth rates nearly three times the annual rate for their entire industry. A clear purpose engages employees and customers. Further Reading

LA Teachers’ Strike Ends

The Los Angeles teachers’ strike ended after six days as teachers and staff supported a new agreement. The strike impacted about 600,000 students as many people advocated for smaller class sizes and more staffing and raises for teachers.

Our View: Negotiations that involve entire teams need strong leadership. Manage your negotiating team by running simulations. Repetition breeds skill, and practicing different scenarios promotes more thoughtful responses during the actual negotiation. Take advantage of your team members’ unique attributes by assigning people roles that capitalize on their strengths. Further Reading

Davos 2019

At the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting held in Davos, Switzerland, co-CEO of Salesforce Keith Block highlighted the importance of the continuous effort needed to re-skill the existing workforce so that it matches with jobs. Emphasizing that technology should not replace people, Block posed the question “how do we absorb this technology so that we make sure that people are skilled in the workforce and that people are able to embrace the technology (so) that we don’t have massive job loss without massive job creation?”

Our View: Effective leaders incorporate the right systems and processes with the latest technology and are highly people-focused. Empower and enthuse your people by clearly communicating how new technology is designed and how it should be used. A Silicon Valley executive articulated this well by saying, “we used to say people need to be more technology literate. Now we say that technology needs to become more people literate.” Well thought-out systems and processes are the key ingredients to high performance in this realm. Further Reading

Uber Rewards

Uber’s rider rewards program is now available in San Francisco and 24 other places across the United States. The program calculates how much a user spends on Uber and Uber Eats in the last six months and generates perks that include guaranteed prices between a user’s two favorite locations, free car upgrades, ways to earn $5 rebates, and no-fee cancellations if rebooking.

Our View: When customers join your loyalty program, they become marketers for your brand. Rewarding loyal customers reaches a new level when those loyal customers are also influencers who also get to reward their audiences. Rewarding these influencers is a powerful strategy to supplement a traditional customer loyalty program. Further Reading

From Taxi Driver to Playwright

Playwright Ishy Din found inspiration from his days taxi driving. As a taxi driver, he shared conversations with people of diverse professions and backgrounds, and he noticed universal themes of friendship, family, and community that he now incorporates into his plays.

Our View: Identifying and developing transferable skills keeps you up to date, adaptable to change, and strong in times of adversity. Specialized knowledge is useful for particular tasks, but well-practiced transferable skills extend beyond job description and help mold your entire career. Leadership skills top the list of most versatile and useful transferrable skills, and it is important to continuously cultivate them. Further Reading

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