The Lead: Waymo Shares Self-Driving Data, Dumpling Grocery Delivery Start-Up, Nike Leverages Loyalty Programs

Welcome to The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights. This curated content will provide you with quick clarity into relevant headlines and provide straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques. 

Waymo Shares Self-Driving Data

Waymo, the self-driving spinoff of Alphabet, is sharing some data sets it has gathered from its vehicles, that have already covered millions of miles on roads, for free with the wider research community. Self-driving cars provide a wealth of data that can be used to promote and create safety for their passengers. Self-driving vehicles’ AI rely on high-quality data to train on, and more of it is better. Waymo’s data represents just a sliver of available self-driving data, but its move to share it with the public is a step toward creating a culture of transparency in its industry to enhance safety for everyone.

Our View: Transparency is a leadership trait that’s often overlooked, but it is an essential ingredient to develop camaraderie and trust with your team. When leaders are honest and open, they build a win-win mentality with their employees, customers, and other stakeholders. To be more transparent, express your opinions openly (even when it is difficult), keep your commitments, listen to feedback, and demonstrate respect for others. Further Reading

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Grocery Delivery Startup: Dumpling

The Seattle startup Dumpling is a new type of grocery delivery service centered on relationships. Dumpling began as a platform for workers to share their opinions about the companies they work for, and it saw several complaints from gig workers at companies like the grocery delivery company Instacart. Harnessing this information, Dumpling found a way to better compensate their own grocery delivery shoppers by allowing them to set their own flat fees. On the other side, Dumpling also allows customers to personally select their shoppers (which favors those that order pickups in advance rather than those demanding on-call delivery), so everyone has a better experience that goes beyond immediate supply and demand. The shoppers can then learn their customers patterns, likes, and dislikes, and the customers develop greater trust with their shoppers to choose more expensive grocery products like produce, fish, and meat. Dumpling just raised $3 million in an investment round led by Floodgate with participation from Fuel Capital.

Our View: The gig economy’s effect on leadership spans the entire employment landscape. Businesses and workers are impacted in ways that change how they operate, organize, and plan. Leaders can keep pace with these changes and conquer the new terrain by building collective meaning with a wider audience. Find ways to help your workers, customers, and other stakeholders connect with your organization’s mission. Leaders should strive to make the most of a broader set of relationships, more distributed talent resources, and increasingly complex career paths. Further Reading

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Nike Leverages Loyalty Programs

Nike is leveraging the notion that one in three shoppers is willing to join paid loyalty programs specifically for clothes and accessories by offering its first subscription shoe service for kids. The new subscription loyalty program service will help parents meet the needs of their growing children with convenient options for replenishment and delivery.

Our View: Marketing leaders are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience. Loyalty programs are an important part of keeping customers engaged and spending, and according to a November 2018 polling by YouGov, 64% of US internet users are members of some type of loyalty program. “Marketers’ understanding of the customer journey doesn’t end at the conversion,” said Nicole Perrin, eMarketer principal analyst. “It’s important to investigate how their customers want to reconnect after a purchase, whether that’s to get help, to make a return or to research another purchase. This can inform what type of loyalty program communication is best for members. User research and voice-of-customer data are also key to understanding what kinds of rewards or membership benefits the brand’s customers actually want.” Further Reading

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Apple’s Siri Leader Leaves for Microsoft

The former head of Apple’s Siri division Bill Stasior is leaving Apple to join the artificial intelligence division at Microsoft as a corporate vice president. Stasior will not be working on Microsoft’s own fledging voice assistant Cortana, but he will be leading an AI group, though exact details have not been reported.

Our View: Whenever you begin leading a new team, experts agree that you must focus on how you want your team to operate along with what you want them to accomplish. Set and clarify goals and create opportunities for early wins that build team momentum and goodwill when work becomes more challenging and demanding. An early win can be small, simple to fund, and easy to prioritize. Further Reading

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American Michelin 3-Star Chef’s New Restaurant in China

American Michelin 3-Star Chef Christopher Kostow strives to make his newest restaurant Ensue the best restaurant in China. Kostow explains that its location, Shenzhen, near Hong Kong is exciting “because it is a city of 13 to 15 million people. There’s a lot of tech, there’s a lot of affluence and yet there’s really not much in the way of high end, Western cuisine.” Kostow is incorporating regional ingredients and knowledge about the locale palate by gathering feedback from Shenzhen residents, food critics, feng shui experts, and Chinese numerological masters.

Our View: Leadership in today’s global business environment requires emotional intelligence about cultural differences that transcend local tastes and preferences. There are culturally recommended approaches to deal with leaders in every country. For example, when working with leaders in the United States, experts encourage being straightforward and open. Brevity, a focus on tangibles, and prioritization of efficiency are also recommended for dealing with leaders from the US. Advice for working with leaders from Latin America includes building warm relationships, focusing on streamlined structures and processes, and delivering tough feedback in a sensitive and positive manner. Leaders from India appreciate initiative, questioning, feedback given sensitively, and patience with resistance. Leaders in China value the importance of harmony, balance, and the drive for continuous improvement. Further Reading

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