Organizational Culture Archives - Matt Black Ink
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Organizational Culture

If you manage people in your professional life, you shoulder a heavy load. While it has certainly been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my career to date, it’s also physically, mentally and emotionally taxing in many ways. Whether it’s just a few or a whole boardroom full of people, ensuring your team are performing up to expectations (or above!) with smiles on their faces is no easy feat… and that’s putting it mildly! In a world where research done by Gallup states that a mind-boggling 70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by his or her Manager, there are some things you just can’t afford to do. But in the same breath, there are behaviours you can model and strategies you can use to ensure that you’re standing out in a positive way. Sure, everybody’s raving about you and your management style… but is it for the right or wrong reasons? Here are the 3 best and worst ways to stand out as a leader:

$4.2 billion in gambling. 30-second TV ads worth $5 million apiece. Over a billion chicken wings. Super Bowl 50 is nearly upon us…and clearly, nobody does it bigger than the NFL. While residents of the Carolinas and Denver are hyped up for their teams to lock horns in San Fran for football’s ultimate prize, I’m still feeling deflated over the Patriots loss a few weeks back (yes, pun intended). But despite not having a horse in this weekend’s race, there’s a part of me still looking forward to Sunday for a few reasons. Given its status as one of sports and entertainment’s largest social and cultural institutions, there’s a ton of slick production value that goes into promoting the Super Bowl and the teams involved. I’ve always loved getting to know specific players and coaches through the various interviews and featurettes that are published and created in the weeks leading up to the game itself. Super Bowl This year is no different and I’ve got the Carolina Panthers to thank for that. The combination of Cam Newton as MVP-to-Be Quarterback, Thomas Davis as unbreakable Linebacker and Ron Rivera as Head Coach has produced an almost perfect run to Super Bowl 50. An embrace of disparate personalities, a refusal to submit to doubt, a rock-solid culture and a vision – not a dream – have all propelled the Panthers to the biggest game of their lives. And along the way, I think they’ve truly inspired the fan base, their counterparts in the NFL and everyone else paying close enough attention. Here are a few of the lessons in leadership that Cam and company have taught me this season:

Wait, today's date is WHAT?!

No joke: February is right around the corner, and just like that, we're a month closer to 2017.

Time really does fly.

But hopefully you've spent the first 27 days of the New Year wisely, eliminating nasty habits from 2015 and getting after your professional and personal goals.

Truth be told, I don't normally struggle when implementing new tasks into my routine (just don't consult my waistline!)

For me, the hardest part has always been building and maintaining momentum.

It's one thing to introduce changes – but finding ways to make them stick is a whole other animal.

Come to think of it, it's no different with your brand.

How many times have you said “This is the year we blog!” or “I'm going to cut our marketing costs by doing XYZ!”

And in many cases, I'm sure you followed through.

But for a day... maybe a week?

Becoming a reputable brand that consumers want to do business with takes a measured, consistent and honest approach.

And it normally doesn't happen overnight either!

Here are 3 keys that will help you implement habits that produce results and ensure you maintain momentum:

The search is over. Hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of resumes have breached your company’s walls, countless rounds of interviews have been held, third and fourth opinions have been offered up… and you’ve finally made your decision. The new hire starts on Monday. …Fast forward three months… Signs of progress for your greenest employee are nowhere to be found. The rest of the team has weighed in (privately or otherwise) and he or she “just isn’t getting it.” Things aren’t working out. You’ve trained them well, given them the resources you figured they needed… what gives? It’s time to consider the fact it might not be them after all... maybe it’s you. Have you ever taken a step back and thoroughly examined the process you’ve implemented to build your team? Because don’t kid yourself: that’s the key to everything in terms of producing results that everyone can be proud of. It’s all about the process. Building a winning team is almost entirely dependent on understanding what you’re looking for in an employee. And I’m talking more than just the tired clichés – everyone is a “driven,” “versatile” “problem solver” on paper. How, when and why you do certain things while you’re vetting candidates can make or break your success and retention rates. As you work towards building a winning team, here are a few critical stages of the process (in no particular order) you need to nail every time.

Every once in a while, a large multi-national brand rolls out a campaign that sets the social and digital worlds on fire. High levels of engagement, coast-to-coast community building, multiple influencers involved, a ton of exposure… Applebee’s #TasteTheChange is all that and more, leading many marketers to fully buy in to what they already know: live-streaming is the future. Thanks to platforms like Meerkat and Periscope – and perhaps most importantly, a willingness to fully embrace and employ technology in their marketing – Applebee’s is leading the way when it comes to drawing in eyeballs, creating conversation and bringing customers to their restaurants. Applebee's Oh, and I hear their new menu is outstanding, which definitely helps. After an extremely successful activation in Times Square, Applebee’s decided to up the ante and focus on the restaurant experience. While taking over the Big Apple was epic in its own right, there’s something to be said about sticking to your bread and butter as well. With 2 million free appetizers to give away, 12 hours of streaming planned and numerous live look-ins at locations across the U.S., #TasteTheChange was real marketing, with real people, in real-time. Historically speaking, many big brands get a bad rap for being impersonal or too robotic in how they market their products and services. And while I’m sure many of them would love to let their hair down a little, it’s much easier to play it safe in an effort to keep their image squeaky clean. There’s something intoxicating (and terrifying!) about putting your brand in the hands of your customers without any major filters or a laundry list of “do’s and don’ts.” Think about it: during #TasteTheChange, Applebee’s welcomed live-streaming parties, where realistically anything could have happened. But brands who appreciate the power of now assume that risk because they know the guaranteed positives outweigh the potential negatives. Here’s why I think Applebee’s #TasteTheChange is the way forward: