All posts by Antonia di Lorenzo

About Antonia di Lorenzo

A writing addicted who dreams with open eyes. Blogger and freelance journalist, my main sources of inspiration are people, multicultural environments and tube stations. Good attention to detail and with a proactive approach. My maxim is "Let it be".

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Why increasing discretionary effort in the workplace is the key of success

Why increasing discretionary effort in the workplace is the key of success

by Antonia Di Lorenzo

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“If you don’t trust someone to spend the right amount of time at work doing the job, or to turn up dressed correctly for a meeting, then are you likely to be empowering them to act on behalf of a customer?” The answer to the rhetoric question by David Radford, market management director at insurers Allianz Retail, seems to be: “No, I do not.”

More recently a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) report on leadership noted that “the key to performance is through engaging employees in ways that produce discretionary effort and creating an environment which encourages greater employee empowerment and voice to facilitate the exchange of ideas and know-how.”

Discretionary effort is the level of effort people could give if they wanted to, above and beyond the call of duty. David Jukes, president EMEA at Univar, a leading global chemical distributor, says in regards that “the organisations with discretionary effort tend to be the ones that care more, that make things happen, make people feel better about what they do. It makes colleagues feel wanted and appreciated, and customers feel loved and special.”

It is evident how discretionary effort is associated with engagement, and in some cases, it seems to be the natural result of the latter. Marc Woods, founding director of SladenWoods management consultants and a gold medal winning Paralympian, highlights how in today’s organisations, perhaps more than ever before, people matter. People’s actions are the main contribution to the success of an organisation. It seems there is a gap between what people are potentially prepared to do, and what they actually do, depending on the environment they’re working in, the organisation’s culture, their relationship with their manager or co-workers. These factors can stimulate people to stop from doing that little bit extra or going beyond the call of duty.

Woods wrote a book based on the results of his research: “Why Some of Your Team Go the Extra Mile and Others Don’t Show”. He identifies six drivers that organisations can target if they want to create an environment that fosters discretionary effort:

  • autonomy and empowerment;
  • consideration of the individual;
  • self-sacrificial leadership;
  • fairness and equity;
  • identifying with your team;
  • trust.

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In the context of discretionary effort, trust operates on several levels. One factor that impacts on trust, and therefore discretionary effort, says Alf Crossman, a senior lecturer in industrial relations and human resource management at Surrey Business School, University of Surrey, is the psychological contract between employer and employee, in other words, how employees believe they are entitled to be treated and the kinds of promises that people infer from their employee relationship. If on the one hand, people are prepared to give, then on the other, they expect to get something back in return.

According to Radford, even though the discretionary effort may be voluntary, it is important that organisations reward this behaviour to give the individual more consideration; on the other hand, they cannot take actions against who decides to not put in a bit more. It’s a matter of choice.

According to a study commissioned by Aubrey Daniels International (ADI), the only way organisations can earn discretionary effort is through the effective use of positive reinforcement,  that is any consequence that increases the probability of this behaviour. If people experience positive and immediate consequences, there will be more probabilities that people enjoying what they are doing will choose to go beyond the minimum required. After all, that’s exactly what happens in the everyday life, bringing the same attitude into an organisation, collaborating in building positive reinforcement.

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Reese Haydon, Marketing Specialist at DecisionWise, points out how discretionary effort varies by tasks – some of them can be more engaging than other ones and stimulate us to put in a bit more (extrinsic engagement) – or by person – according to this school of thought, the nature of task does not matter (intrinsic engagement). It is believed that both the theories are true. Engagement is a choice made by two parties: employer and employee. If the employee chooses to go beyond the minimum required, the employer needs to create an environment where the first one can be more engaged. Discretionary effort and employee engagement seem to be a by-product of a two-part equation.

Woods recognises that there is massive potential value to the employee, being able to contribute to the organisation more than managers imagine and expect: “No matter what your role or position, you can help your organisation focus on and improve the key drivers that can unlock that potential. Why wouldn’t you want to create an environment in which discretionary effort is able to flourish? That’s the kind of organisation we all want to be part of.”

When people enjoy, they are motivated to find solutions, are creative, guarantee a high level of commitment, a long-term and consistent relationship with the organisation.

How engaging are your tweets? You can find it out with View Analytics Details

How engaging are your tweets? You can find it out with View Analytics Details

By Antonia Di Lorenzo

Twitter

Are your tweets any good?

Twitter is experimenting with mobile tools to figure that out, thanks to the feature View Analytics Details on the bottom of the tweet view, showing the statistics of impressions, engagement, rate and more.

Twitter started utilizing analytics for all users on its website last year. However, the new functionality makes it easier to access on phones.

As explained by The Verge, not all the users have access to it and it is not clear when and if the news will reach all the users.

The idea, as mentioned by The Next Web, is the promotion of the single tweet through an easy process. Nevertheless, the company does not make any comment and the feature has not been included among the news on the agenda, as it is probably still in a testing phase.

The feature gets its data from Twitter’s Analytics platform, which was recently made available for anyone on the service to use. The logical evolution of this new feature would be to directly promote tweets inside the mobile app.

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It looks like a sort of social media monitoring on your Twitter account. Basically, you can find out how many people have seen and clicked your tweet. By monitoring your account, you can find out the results of your tweet and eventually increase them by reading the statistics, to be more engaging and improve your presence on the social media platform.

Trevor O’Brien, Twitter Product Manager, in his article The spirit of experimentation and the evolution of your home timeline, says: “As we’ve shared a few times, we constantly try new experiments around here, which serve to inform the evolution of the product. We believe that each successful experiment, big or small, can make your Twitter experience simpler and more relevant to you.”

According to him, the main goal would be to continue improving the home timeline.

“We recently ran experiments that showed different types of content in your timeline: recommended Tweets, accounts and topics”, he says.

“Testing indicated that most people enjoy seeing Tweets from accounts they may not follow, based on signals such as activity from accounts you do follow, the popularity of the Tweets, and how people in your network interact with them. These experiments now inform the timeline you see today.”

According to TechCrunch, the quick glimpse at how your tweet is faring seems like something that would be very useful for brands and others who thrive on social media success. But the feature will probably go unnoticed or unused by most who don’t care about that kind of thing, probably getting close to Facebook, even though it is essential to figure out the different purpose of Twitter, that also involves a different range of users.

On the one hand it fears a poor interest from the general audience, on the other it is believed that these experiments with engagement statistics directly in tweets can open a new frontier of communication on this social media platform.

Also, whoever says that they don’t care what people think, are sometimes not telling the truth.

Human Resources

HR Tech Europe Conference: the new frontier of the HR role

HR Tech Europe Conference: the new frontier of the HR role

by Antonia Di Lorenzo

 Human Resources

Although there is no commonly accepted definition of Human Resource Management, the key point is to see the staff as a real asset in the organisation.

From this principle, the basic schools of thought are divided into two theories:

  • the RBT (resources-based theory) sees this resource as the sole source of a unique competitive advantage, enduring and inimitable. Therefore it brings the management of human resources to the centre of corporate strategy (see Barney 1991, Boxall and Purcell 2003).
  • The second school, also called “soft HRM”, starts from the analysis of Porter (1985) and sees the competitive advantage reachable only by product differentiation or cost leadership, therefore suggesting an integration (a “fit”) of human resource management policies with those concerning the general business strategy (see also Miller 1987).

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The HR officer is the professional figure who deals with the management of the staff, from research to selection, from training and evaluation to administration. Their tasks can vary widely depending on the size of the company.

Agota Czeller, Human Resources Manager Intern in Grow3, is responsible for ensuring the quality of written correspondence with applicants and third parties, preparing reference letters and employment contracts, scheduling and conducting interviews, screening CVs, producing weekly departmental summary reports and working on improving the current recruitment process.

“HR priority is to make sure that all the employees are well looked after and their concerns are addressed and met appropriately. It is important to make sure that the company’s people needs are aligned to its strategic needs. People are the most important assets of a company,” she says.

According to her, the main responsibilities of a HR officer are:

  • To find the right person and someone who can fit into the organisation;
  • Once someone is in the firm, make sure that the employee’s needs are met and they are well, and that they stay for the needed time (to complete job) also;
  • HR looks after the training, learning and development needs of each person;
  • If a person needs to leave the organisation, they will make sure that this is done as professionally as possible;
  • All of this includes documentation and administration;
  • Communication.

In order to facilitate this last aspect, Agota confirms that “technology can be a tool which helps communication between different parts of the organisation such as HR and employees of different departments or employees and their line managers.”

“If, for example someone is working flexibly, some apps like skype can help keep in touch or if performance review takes place, then skype could also be used,” she says.

Regarding the relationship between the HR role and the new technologies, London will greet the HR Tech Europe Conference in March 2015, considered to be the fastest growing HR event in the world, for the third successive year.

It is believed it is the best European conference on HR and technology, delivering timely, thought-provoking keynotes, panels and networking opportunities with senior leaders from around the globe.

With regards to a potential innovative side of the HR role, our HR Manager Intern says: “I think HR can be innovated if we start to see its function as being strategic rather than only administrative.” She supports, “that means that HR – policies and practices – is one of the tools that can be used to ensure that a business is successful. If the employees are looked after, their well-being is good, then they will perform better, helping the company prosper.”

“In order to change the role of HR, we need to make sure that it is less transactional and more about relationships,” Agota continues, “although HR is aiming to be strategic, it must not ignore the needs of the individual. Organisational goals must not undermine employee goals, they should go hand in hand. Technology should be used also as a way to modernize recruitment, training, performance management.”

Among the confirmed speakers of the global event that is coming to London next March, we find the names of Peter Hinssen, Chairman and Co-founder of Nexxworks, one of the world’s thought leaders on disruptive innovation, Rachel Botsman, named the Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and Costas Markides, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship.

 

“Your physical, mental and intellectual resources, continually growing and changing, are your personal capital.”

Brian Tracey – writer and expert in development of human potential.

 

 

Neuromarketing: strategies for persuading people to buy

Neuromarketing: strategies for persuading people to buy

by Antonia Di Lorenzo

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Neuromarketing is a new field of marketing research that studies consumers’ sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli. It is aimed at the identification of the communication channels focused on buying decision processes, in other words, what happens in people’s brains when confronted by stimuli related to products, brands and advertising. The objective is to determine strategies for persuading people to buy.

Researchers use technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure changes in activity in parts of the brain, electroencephalography (EEG) and Steady state topography (SST) to measure activity in specific regional spectra of the brain response, and/or sensors to measure changes in one’s physiological state, also known as biometrics, including (heart rate and respiratory rate, galvanic skin response) to learn why consumers make the decisions they do, and which brain areas are responsible.

Our brain is divided into three parts:

  • The rational part thinks, elaborating rational data;
  • The intermediate part listens, elaborating emotions and sensations;
  • The primitive part decides, taking into account the results that come from the other two parts.

 Neuromarketing

How does the primitive brain work on the emotional side?

According to an infographic generated by Nashville, Tenn.-based Emma, an email-marketing software provider, the primitive brain controls gut reactions and emotions and works much faster than our conscious mind.

Gut reactions are absorbed by the primitive brain in less than 3 seconds and emotions process information 5 times faster than our conscious brain does.

How does it work with images?

 The primitive brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. It is believed that 90% of all the data processed by our brain is visual and it is easier to remember pictures with text rather than text alone.

According to the infographic mentioned above, the brain is particularly attracted to images of sex, danger and food, but also using facial expressions can quickly grab the customer’s attention and can be a beneficial advertising strategy. Faces and eyes, particularly of women, have a positive impact on feelings of trust, but they shouldn’t disturb the reader from the message.

Why colour matters.

 More than 60% of our feeling about a product is determined by the colour alone. Different colours can actually send various signals to our brain.

 According to an article on Focus.it, 80% of a brand’s recognisability comes from its colour alone and colour has a profound effect on our decisions.

 Blue: safety, reliability, serenity.

Yellow/Orange: vitality, positivity, brightness.

Purple: spirituality and mystery.

Black: value, prestige and sophistication of a product. Used by important Italian fashion brands, such as Armani, Gucci, Versace, Dolce&Gabbana.

Green: calm, health, freshness. Ideal to attract consumers careful of the environmental aspect.

Red: health and victory.

Before you decide which colours to choose for your app, or a new product launch, you should identify the target to which it is addressed. According to research commissioned by KISSmetrics, a web platform that deals with American marketing and statistical analysis, women on the web like blue, purple and green, but do not like orange, brown and gray; men prefer blue, green and black, but do not like brown, orange and purple.

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“One of the best ways to persuade the others is through your ears: beginning to listen to them”

Dean Rusk, former Secretary of United States.

Social Media Monitoring: some tricks to do it better

Social Media Monitoring: some tricks to do it better

Everything you should know to increase your social media strategy.

by Antonia Di Lorenzo

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Would you be able to drive with a covered dashboard, without knowing how much petrol you have, how fast you are going, if you have any problems? I don’t think so.

At the same time, you cannot know how your activity is going if you don’t monitor periodically what happens on your website, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and if you are achieving your goals.

Social media monitoring is a magnifying glass on your company, that allows you to know how, from where and who visits your website. As Jasmine Jaume, Marketing Manager at Brandwatch, writes on the blog, “social media monitoring is the act of using a tool to monitor what is being said on the internet”.

The clients’ feedback is the most effective instrument to orient your brand, to plan your future actions and to optimize your website. Conversations on social media channels reveal authentic users with needs and opinions expressed in a natural environment. It is a sort of crossfire between you and your clients that allows you to understand how and why to act.

Grow3 met Domenico Armatore, Founder of Community Manager Freelance, who explains to us in an interview tricks to create the best social media monitoring strategy.

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  • What is social media monitoring and why should PR start tracking?

Social media monitoring is a set of activities aimed at listening to the conversations on social media. The internet is now a place where people express opinions on certain topics, and very often also talk about the brands they love or hate. Knowing exactly what happens online is therefore crucial for companies. In these activities PRs play a central role because they can anticipate and resolve various kinds of crisis.

 

  • How can it be managed by companies?

My advice is to commit to professionals who are able to read the tone of the conversations and then help companies to take action on any trouble spots. Listening is often not enough, you have to know how to intervene and “enter” into conversations related to the brand. In order to do this, very specific strategic skills are often required that companies do not have.

 

  • How important is Social Media Listening to build a solid reputation?

Understanding what people think about a particular company is central to any brand reputation strategy. You cannot build a solid reputation if you do not know what are your weaknesses. It’s the client who often gives the most useful and relevant feedback and in recent times the internet is the tool most often used.

 

  • How can we gain the trust of customers?

Social media is a great way to create strong relationships with customers or potential ones. Companies must be able to know how to listen and to give definite, relevant and fast answers. Brands must make every effort to show that the customer is always at the centre of their activities. Quite often you can achieve this goal by giving unique and targeted experiences, where the element of personalisation can make a difference. If you look at digital campaigns of the last few months, you’ll notice that the customisation is central to all of them: personalisation of experiences, products and so on.

 

  • Could focusing directly on customers be the key to gaining their trust?

As I said before, the answer is absolutely yes. Social channels are to be used in this way and, in my opinion, companies that are able to do it as best as they can win a very strong competitive advantage.

 

  • How can you handle negative feedback?

As Social Media Community Manager, I often find myself having to deal with negative comments or criticism from various channels of my clients. My advice is to always respond with grace and apologise if necessary. Depending on the severity and the impact of the comment, it is essential to activate different tactics. Most importantly: the crisis management on social media should not be left only to the Community Manager, but always requires the participation of various departments of a company.

 

  • And the positive ones?

The positive comments on social channels are a very important resource for companies. They reflect the reliability of the quality of a brand, its products or services. Surely thanking is the first step to take in the event of congratulations or appreciation of various kinds. If, for example, we find a number of positive comments on a single topic, we could use this insight to develop activities that give visibility to a company’s strength.

 

  • In this regard, some people have said “stop talking about yourself and start listening to the others” can be useful to become number one in your business. Do you agree?

As I said before, listening is one of the most important tasks that the brand has to do. In my opinion, this is for a basic reason: the conversations of people about a company often reflect the perception that these people have of the brand. And sometimes, as you know, the perception of the brand is more important than the brand itself.

 

  • What should we monitor? What is the main aim of an operation of social media monitoring?

It depends. The monitoring must be calibrated according to the needs of the brand. There are not, in my view, unique directions.

 

  • What are the prices of the instruments used for this operation?

Around the web there are several sophisticated tools to help you monitor online conversations and in particular on social media. The prices change depending on the quality of the instruments. Recently on our blog we published two articles analysing the avalaible tools. You can read more here http://communitymanagerfreelance.it/blog/category/tool-2/.

 

  • Are there any free tools?

There are some free online tools, but if you work with major companies, I always recommend buying one that returns accurate insights. Among the free packages, one of the best is SimplyMeasured (link: http://simplymeasured.com/free-social-media-tools/).

 

  • How can organizations get the most out of establishing workflows for increased analysis and management?

I believe that companies should begin without creating any distinction between digital departments and non digital ones. The analysis on social media is an important resource not only for those who create the communication, but also and firstly for marketing departments. The analysis often allows you to have real time views of people about a certain product or service, although it has not yet been launched.

Listening to internet communication can also help in the development of a product that has the features required by the market. As you might guess, it can mean a big competitive advantage.

 

 

Domenico Armatore

Domenico Armatore, Italian, Founder of Community Manager Freelance, co-founder of Pinterestitaly  and teacher of Community Management and Pinterest Marketing for Ninja Marketing, Il Sole 24 Ore and other Italian realities. Co-author of the e-book “Pinterest for the business”.

 

The importance of Ethics in Sales: the opinion of Nick Lee, Honorary Professor at Aston University, Birmingham

The importance of Ethics in Sales: the opinion of Nick Lee, Honorary Professor at Aston University, Birmingham

by Antonia Di Lorenzo

nick lee 2009

As water and oil for some companies or bread and butter for other ones, Ethics and Sales is one of the thorny problems which involves the new frontier of the business.

As if I were one of his students, Nick Lee, Honorary Professor at Aston University, Birmingham, explained me in an interview the importance of “being ethics” and how to connect this aspect to the main aim of making profit.

Author of Journal of Management, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, Dr. Lee’s work has also featured in popular outlets such as The Times, The Financial Times and BBC Breakfast.

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  • Dr Lee, what relevance does ethics have in business and why?

I think it depends, there are a lot of ways you can say it is relevant. It depends on what you mean by ethics.

  • What does ethics mean for you?

I think you talk about behaving in a fair manner. Essentially not taking advantage of the organization or customers in sales. In sales I think this is a very important thing. We have to be realistic. In sales the main objective is to make profit but automatically I think the important thing is to talk about long-term profit.

If we behave in an unethical way we tend to focus on the short-term. If we see companies having problems this is because they don’t have very good long-term prospects on relationships. Some of the reasons for the financial crisis was that there was too much short-term focus on making profit. If you think about long-term continuing relationships and continuing business, then  ethical behavior is the natural thing to do.

  • How would you recognize an ethical business? What characteristics do ethical business have in your opinion?

There isn’t a model that you can look at a business and you can say that it is ethical. You don’t have to say “we are an ethical business”. I guess what ethical organizations have in common is that they have good ethical role models, that is people who behave ethically and show you can be successful by being ethical. A lot of problems with ethics is that people make bad decisions. But they don’t make bad decisions because they are bad people, but because they don’t have experience or a knowledge what the right decision can be or they feel under pressure.

  • What do you mean for “bad decisions”?

Defining what makes a behavior ethical or unethical is actually a difficult task. Everyone knows you are wrong if you go to a customer meeting and you hit your customer with a baseball bat. But what about if you are in a customer meeting, you have to make a target by the end of the week and the customer maybe is thinking he wants to delay the decision for two weeks. What do you do? Do you lie to the customer? You can say if he orders after the end of the week, his order will be not quick enough because many factory facilities are overstressed, so he has to order quickly. And it is lying to the customer.

Lying is unethical in a philosophy point of view, but you can look at a practical one. Is anybody really being hurt by unethical behavior? Do you just think of unethical because of the behavior or the consequences? This is one of the questions we always have to think when we talk about ethics. But also why people behave like that. One reason may be they are under pressure or they don’t realize the importance of behaving in a truthful manner or they don’t have a good role model as sales manager.

  • What about Trust and Credibility? Firstly, how is possible to get the customer’s trust? How long does it take to develop a strong relationship with a customer?

If you have ethical behavior you can build trust. Sometimes people behave unethically because they are afraid. According to an economic theory, if you think someone is harming you also feel you can advantage of them. Building trust from the customer is always a difficult task.  As every relationship, it takes a long time to build a good relationship but it doesn’t take very long to break the relationship. Usually in a long term is always an ineffective strategy to be unethical, but in a short term you can relate to a great performance.

  • How much can the reputation influence a customer?

Company reputation can play an important role at the beginning of the relationship. It can help a lot to build trust.

  • If credibility comes from performance and professional reputation, what is the role of the social media? How much can they influence what people think about you?

Social media plays an important role. I think it is easier to influence people in a bad way rather than in a good way. I think it takes more to build a positive reputation. A lot of campaigns were wrong because people who were running them didn’t expect how consumers will take that. A lot of companies don’t know what it is going to happen when you put something online.

  • Can spending time together and sharing the same interests be a way to get the customer’s trust? If yes, which is the borderline?

Yes, it can. Psychologically we know that sharing interests can help to build a relationship together. But the important thing is to avoid to pass the “borderline” and be genuine. The company has to look genuine, in terms that you have to look real, not just an act.

  • Do you believe there are many organizations currently adopting an ethical approach in terms of engagement?

I think it is hard to say. It is hard to really place ethical frameworks around what people are doing. There are a couple of things to be worried about: one is how important you think being authentic is unethical or to be presenting an image to the world that is not true. But companies do that as part of their job. But probably the image ethical concerning everybody, consumers and staff, related online, is the data collection and data protection.

  • At the recent London conference by Ethisphere on ethics and governance one attendee suggested “sales trump ethics every time.” This was asserting that for most companies if it’s a choice between ethics and sales, the latter always wins. What do you think about that? Do you believe that sales always trumps ethics?

It is a kind of false choice. It is easy to say things like that, but we don’t have any reference. If you face people with the right choice you can always influence what they choose. But the problem is between Ethics and Sales on a long term prospective. On a short term basis perhaps that’s the case, for individual salespersons sometimes the choice can concern choosing the easier and the more beneficial outcome for themselves. What we have to do is showing very clearly the benefits.

People always choose the benefit over no benefit. That’s the truth. We have to present the ethical choice as long term benefit, rather than a short term benefit. The problem we had in the past concerns that there were a lot companies focused on short term performances and influenced by unethical behavior. Ethical behavior is more about long term relationships generation.

If you think about your personal life, for example, if you married with somebody you have a long term prospective or if you have a long term relationship, it is in your benefit to place wider criterion of your decision rather than your short term benefit when you are out on an evening or in a night club. Business is not different to life. If we have long-term prospective the ethical choice is always the highest performance choice. The problem is when we motivate people with short-term prospective.

If we have effective long terms wider intensive motivational programs, people will be motivated to behave more ethically. Our job is saving the long-term prospective as preference.

Got-Ethics

Why choosing a multicultural environment for your business

Why choosing a multicultural environment for your business

by Antonia Di Lorenzo

                                                 group of young ecologists                                                                  

When I hear the adjective “multicultural”, I always think of an international dinner.

Imagine a long table at the centre of a huge living room, packed by people from different cultures. Everyone brings their own traditional food from their country: sushi from Japan, Mexican tacos, Spanish paella, French crepes, Indian rice, pasta.

By the end of the evening, probably full and drunk, you would have tried new dishes, which you may like or dislike. You would have had a new experience that allows you to explore foreign cultures, expanding your horizons towards worlds that you didn’t know, meeting people with different backgrounds who can teach you something.

Your dining experience resembles a community where each one gives their own contribution, in order to grow up together and improve themselves.

The result will be engagement, knowledge, open-mindedness, in one word: satisfaction.

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Now let’s see the advantages of using an “international-dinner approach” to increase your business.

  •  Improvement of the problem-solving. As Jared Lewis explained in The Advantages of Multiculturalism in the workplace, being exposed to different points of view helps to create a sense of cultural awareness and to think outside the box when the employee will face a problem. Getting in touch with foreign cultures can allow you to realise how your mind is limited and how it influences negatively your way to solve the problems.
  • Team work. The employees who will work in a multicultural environment will be more inclined to respect diversity, collaborating and finding a compromise in face of adversities.
  • Knowledge. Discovering new cultures can widen your horizons. Firstly, when different backgrounds and experiences come together, you can expect a huge increase of possibilities. It can be also beneficial to stimulate creativity. Irina Chirileasa, Media Assistant, has examined in depth this topic through the eyes of GRSC Renewals Team members. This company has leaders from all Europe, who confirms working in an international environment can stimulate your hungry for knowledge and leading to excellent results. Cristiana Lupu, East Europe and CIS Regional Manager, Support Renewal Sales, GRSC, says: “Coordinating a team made up by members who come from different parts of the world is amazing! You learn a lot about what it means to live in a global society. Working across cultures tests your general knowledge, adaptability, contextual leadership and, of course, patience. There are tough aspects as well, for example balancing out the extreme cold drive for results with keeping the people motivated and driving each of them to the next step in their personal development.”
  • New contacts. Having employees from different countries means also passing the frontiers. Your new contacts network’s name is world.
  • Global Interactions. Having a high degree of understanding how other cultures do business leads the company to an international level. Global interactions take shape through different beliefs, philosophies and various ways of conceiving the marketplace.
  • Flexibility. The workplace always demands flexibility, but in a multicultural environment you need to be ready to adapt yourself to different cultures. This often means getting in touch with different approaches which, potentially, can affect positively your projects. Maria Avram, Germany Senior Manager, Support Renewal Sales, GRSC, explains that in a multicultural environment there is a wonderful exchange: “Along the way, my team learned from me to be more organised, disciplined, confident. I also learned from them to be more flexible and communicative, to be more tolerant and also that people change, not completely, but partially.”

Grow3 puts a lot of effort into creating the right conditions to build a multicultural environment, in order to realise these beneficial effects. Caitlin Doherty, Marketing Manager of Grow3, says: “ I think that multicultural is synonymous of global. To be global it is essential to feel global, creating an international community. It is an added value as well as a priority. This is one of the main values of our company.”

Multiculturalism means evaluating people firstly as ideas producers, without taking into consideration any background or origins. It can drive the business to progress and social innovation.

Ideas are the priority. They don’t have any colour or ethnicity. They belong to people who with their ideas are able to create a community.

World

 

Ethical Leadership: Women do better!

Ethical Leadership: Women do better!

donne-e-coworking 

Today, I opened door n° 68 at 9:15 am. I took a seat and made a coffee.

There were ten people working this morning, eight of them were women. Mothers, wives or girlfriends. But it seemed everyone had something in common: a potential for ethical leadership.

According to a study at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, women are less ready to compromise their ethical values for money and social status.

It sounds good, but let’s try to understand why and how.

Firstly, ethical leadership is about understanding your core values and having the courage to express them in all parts of your life, in service of the common good.

It starts with an inner journey, in search of values which define one’s own identity, developing a vision as a frame to articulate one’s actions, and finally, finding the voice with which to express it, in order to lead the whole community.

It sounds like this person would be organised, with a deep commitment to her priorities, able to juggle work and everyday life, never once taking their eyes off their goals, always ready to serve others, following a moral code. It looks almost like a portrait of a mother.

Supporting this thesis, Liz Earle, British entrepreneur, but foremost a mother of five children, reveals that the working mothers’ approach is the key to success in an interview released in the Irish Times on 30th September 2014.

She told the Irish Times: “I always say if you want something done well ask a woman, but if you want something done really well and fast, ask a busy woman.”

According to Liz, women are able to think faster than men, because they naturally have to do so. She co-founded the Liz Earle Beauty Company in 1995 when she was a young, working mother, sold it fifteen years later to Avon. Today, it is a global brand with 600 employees.

Jessica Kennedy, the paper’s lead researcher and a post-doctoral fellow in Legal Studies and Business Ethics at Wharton, said: “It is the very need of ethics that is driving many of us to talk about bringing the ‘feminine’ relational characteristics to the masculine ‘wield power’ characteristics of the workplace.”

Nevertheless, the headline of a global development article on the Guardian, entitled “Women are better off today, but still far from being equal with men”, explains that, despite the improvement in women’s role, in both industry and government, the faces remain stubbornly male. According to the statistics, the number of women owning a small and medium-sized business is estimated to be between 8 and 10 million.

An article in The Independent published on of the 28th September reports the initiative of one of the world’s leading executive headhunters, Egon Zehnder, to end the male dominance in the boardrooms of the UK’s top firms. Under the guidance of Miranda Pode, the managing director, Egon Zehnder has promised to re-organise the male-dominated executive roles, to push women to the top of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies.

Currently, there are just five women covering the big boss role, such as Carolyn McCall of Easyjet, Véronique Laury of Kingfisher and Olivia Garfield of Severn Trent.

It seems women cover support roles but are far from the leadership of a company.

You could ask me why. I could reply to you with another question that could be useful for reflection. If it is true that women are potential ethical leaders, following core values in their actions in the business more than men, the lack of female faces at the top of companies leaves open some questions:

  • Is ethics still a taboo in developing business topics?
  • Considering the wish to renovate the male-dominated executive positions, can ethics and business work together to innovate the old view of business?
  • Can following a moral code save the business or is it just blocking the interests of other parties?
  • Can core values and showing the emotional side of a company create an engaging environment in the office and transmit it to the clients?
  • Can clients be more engaged, feel like a part of a community, be more mindful of their real necessities?

If the answer to all the questions above is yes, it means you are ready to start the change. Put the business in the hands of a woman, she will make sure it is successful.

 

A day working in the room n° 68

A Day Working in the Room n° 68

By Antonia Di Lorenzo

A day working at Grow3 begins at 9.30 am in the morning, in the room n° 68 on the third floor of the Eurolink building, just five minutes walk from the Brixton tube station.

My first day I knocked on the door and I took a seat. Before starting I made a cup of tea, even though I used to start my day with a hot espresso, but I was not able to use the coffee maker. No matter, because I was so nervous and anxious to let caffeine flow into my veins.

engagement

Around me people from different countries filled the room. Italians, Brazilians, Chileans, Indians, Venezuelans, British, Spanish. I thought: am I in London?

Each person has a different background, experience or studies. Everyone has a different story to tell. But they all are part of a multicultural community ready to grow together as team and to help other people grow.

Our flexibility and desire to learn is our motivating power.

In the first days in Grow3 I learned:

  • No matter what you have studied, your background, or your previous experience your ideas weigh more.
  • No matter where you come from, you will be part of an engaging community, to share your knowledge and make it available for others.
  • Behind every kind of business, there are people. We go beyond money to see what our clients really need. Nothing can be built sustainably without passion and inspiration.

As Albert Camus said:

“To create is likewise to give a shape to one’s fate”.

That’s how we work in the room n° 68.