Emerging Technology

WHAT WE LEARNED THIS WEEK: Good management is like the Beatles

Patrick Stafford /

Six months after Steve Jobs’ death, he’s still able to give management lessons.

 

A journalist in the United States last week revealed interviews that he had undertaken with the Apple founder during the mid-1990s, when he had been kicked out of the company and yet to return.

Among his many quotes in the interviews was one analogy he made, comparing his management style to the Beatles.

“They sort of kept each other in check. And then when they split up, they never did anything as good. It was the chemistry of a small group of people, and that chemistry was greater than the sum of the parts.”

It’s a good lesson for other businesses – don’t hire people who are all the same. Look at your weaknesses, and then hire people to fill those gaps.

Boost your loyalty program

Coles has revamped its loyalty program, with the flybuys scheme given a total makeover. It has over five million active cardholders, but over the past few years, has lost some traction.

The new program has a lot of benefits, but there’s a key lesson here for SMEs. When creating a loyalty program, there are a few things you need to remember – keep it broad, and keep it simple.

All you need to do to create a good loyalty program is make sure as many people can get involved, make it easy to use, and then actually make the rewards something useful. Give people discounts on something they buy regularly.

And more importantly – when customers give you their data, actually do something with it. That’s valuable demographic statistics in your hands – don’t waste them.

Spruce your shop with tech

This week Target made known its plans to introduce technology into its stores that will help shoppers get the best fitting clothes. The company plans to introduce a scanner that will scan over 20,000 shoppers, helping the company make better choices on sizing, reducing the number of online-only returns and refunds.

This is yet another move by a large business to digitise the bricks and mortar retail experience in order to give shoppers more motivation to stay in-store, not on the computer.

But there’s a good lesson here for any business – adding value to the shopping experience is essential. Shoppers want more than just a bland experience of picking products off a shelf.

Look around your store – whether it’s bricks and mortar or online – and then decide how to increase the value there with technology. This will change from workplace to workplace, but you’re sure to find a way technology can help the shopping experience. Working with mobile tech is always a good start.

Going it alone can be a good choice

There’s been a lot of good stories coming out of the Facebook-Instagram deal, but perhaps one of the most interesting is that chief executive Mark Zuckerberg didn’t even tell the board the deal had been done. He just did it.

There was no consultation, no votes, or meetings. He just decided the deal would be done and told everyone after the fact.

That’s not always a good plan, but it serves as an important lesson – sometimes, good deals can’t wait.

If you’re on the brink of an opportunity that could change your business forever, don’t delay. Go for it immediately, and then explain afterwards. Your judgement will need to dictate whether that’s the right call, but once in a while, you’ll definitely need to act quickly.

Create a cyber-attack plan

It was revealed last week the Government is actually providing hundreds of companies with assistance in the event they are ever attacked in a cyber crime.

These companies are deemed important enough to warrant government assistance, and are usually holding information that – if it ever leaked – would be a disaster. Utility companies, finance companies, and so on.

The list reveals an important lesson – the Government is taking cyber crime seriously. So should your business.

You may not be a business of national importance. But you still have plenty of customer data on hand.

Figure out what to do in the event of an emergency. Work with your tech experts to create a back-up plan if anything goes wrong – don’t let all this go by the wayside and then rush to react when you’re actually the victim of a cyber attack.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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