four for the week – vol 1

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Introducing Four For The Week

At Claimatic, we talk a lot about connecting people to outcomes. Four For the Week is a new weekly briefing covering for topics that we care a great deal about:

  • What’s Now & Next
  • People & Leadership
  • Technology & Connectedness
  • Decisioning & Outcomes

In this first edition, we begin by revisiting a prophetic McKinsey podcast from one year ago, titled, “Preparing for and managing through a downturn“. We then turn to leadership expert Michael Hyatt who describes the key differences between leaders and managers. Then, we introduce you to a free webinar series that begins tomorrow on Entrepreneurship Skills & Mindset, hosted by MIT professor Jonathan Ruane . We wrap up by partnering with Notion to catalog the best resources on remote work that we’ve found so far.

1. Preparing for and Managing Through a Downturn

Decisioning & Outcomes – Wes Bright, Product Leader
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This podcast episode went 1984 in 2019. In April 2019 to be exact.  “As talk of an impending economic downturn takes hold in the business world, executives can take thoughtful steps to help their companies better weather the storm.”

The eyeroll ratio upon reading this headline had to be close to 1.

Though downturns create many challenges, they also have a sorting effect on the other side, separating the legit players from the pretenders by an even wider chasm. With this mind, it’s fascinating to go back and read/listen to the cast with present circumstances in mind. Specifically, I encourage you to give special attention to their recommendations for how to create this desired distance in a down economy.

Two relevant points from the article that stand out:

  • Cutting costs vs ratcheting up investing: Everyone is going to cut costs in a down cycle. The real issue they say is not reducing spending, so much as it is getting off the brake and onto the gas as soon as the recession is done. Often what happens, they say, “is that people ratchet down, and then they wait too long to bring it back up.”
  • Continue investing heavily in digital: Digital accelerates the division of winners and losers. “Making strides in digital as a place to continue to invest. The future will include digital. The future will include the online. The differentiating move is to up it in the downturn.”

Preparing for and managing through a downturn

2. Are You a Leader or a Manager

People & Leadership – Wes Bright, Product Leader
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This week, New York Times Bestselling Author Michael Hyatt released his latest book,The Vision Driven Leader. Michael has often been called “the leader’s leader”, given his background as a CEO, mentor, author, and thought leader. He has a straightforward definition of vision: “a clear, inspiring, practical, and attractive picture of your organization’s future.”

Vision“, he says, “is the essential ingredient for successful leadership. Unless you, as a leader, have a clear picture of the destination where you want your company” [insert: division, department, team, even yourself] “to be in three to five years, you’ve got nothing that will inspire people to follow you.”

As someone who has worked in over a dozen Fortune 500 companies, I can relate to the challenges of leadership, especially when it comes to making decisions within large organizations. The book quickly gets to the heart of the challenges non-CEO leaders face in the area of vision, which speaks to the lack of clarity and conviction in decision-making that is required of leaders.

Research conducted by the Corporate Executive Board noted an uptick in dysfunctional decision-making within organizations among managers. “Today’s organizations require an average of 5.4 managers reaching consensus to make a decision,” they found, elaborating, “The 5.4 typically hail from different functional areas within the company and often have conflicting goals, motivations, and perspectives. . . . In that type of environment, the result is not bad decision-making—it’s no decision-making whatsoever, keeping the status quo.”

The 4 differences Hyatt cites between a leader and a manager are:

  • Leaders create and cast vision. Managers receive and execute vision.
  • Leaders inspire and motivate. Managers maintain and administer.
  • Leaders weigh and take risks. Managers control and minimize mistakes.
  • Leaders focus on the long term. Managers focus on the short term.

Are you a leader or a manager? We need both in successful organizations. From our experience, challenges arise when requirements of the role and the actions taken by individuals in the role are misaligned. What set of beliefs and behaviors does your role require for your team and organization to achieve its mission?

3. Webinar Series, Entrepreneurship Skills & Mindset

What’s Now & Next – Denis Connolly, VP, Corporate Development
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Jonathan Ruane, who teaches at MIT, is hosting a series of free entrepreneurial webinars starting tomorrow. I have met all of the guys involved and they are nothing if not practical in their approach to entrepreneurship.

Headlining the lineup is Bill Aulet, Professor at MIT and Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. Prior to joining MIT, Bill had a 25 year track record of building and running companies. He has directly raised more than $100 million in funding for his businesses.

Bill teaches numerous classes on entrepreneurship at MIT and is the author of the best-selling book ‘Disciplined Entrepreneurship’ (translated into over 20 languages). He sits on the boards of a number of public and private companies.

Click this link to sign up: Entrepreneurship Skills & Mindset

4. Resources for Remote Work

Technology & Connectedness – Claimatic Team
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We’ve partnered and extended the list from the team at Notion of resources for working remotely. The first few weeks have afforded us a “preseason” to adjust to working differently, and now it’s time to take your remote game the next level. Here is a compendium of resources that we’ve found useful:

Claimatic+Notion: on remote work

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Multi Dimensional Auto-Assignment

Custom Polygon-based Geofencing

Plain English Workflow Designer

Simulation Environment

Real-time Reporting Dashboards

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