Digital Transformation or Evolution Supported by Digital Technology?

The digital transformation began many years before the very expression was coined or referred to for the first time.

Expressions like this usually have origin on an author or speaker, who uses it publicly until someone notices. From there the proliferation is fast and reaches diverse audiences acquiring distinctive

meanings, often different from the original ones, which is good, as this leads to public debate and the theme or themes are investigated, spread and developed.

android-robot-holding-piece-of-binary-code.jpg

If we are a potential supplier of “digital transformation” solutions, we cannot stop using the expression, because we face the

risk of resembling outdated, with the negative consequences that this may have on the market.

If, on the other hand, we are in the position of a potential customers or user of “digital transformation”, it is also almost impossible to ignore the theme, as this is how it is presented to us, at the risk of looking too conservative and, as a result, we may lose the attractiveness – to good customers and interesting employees, or even lose competitiveness.

But … and there is always one, Digital Transformation is really much more than it may seem at first glance. Why? Because of most technology providers, whether hardware, software, communications, any other or a mix of all or some of them, aware of these trends and using the term to avoid taking the risks outlined above.

Whenever a new technology – always and everywhere – enters the market and the organizations, there is a normal consequence in terms of employee reaction, related to change and, consequently, the fear of having difficulty adapting or even the fear of being replaced by the technology involved. Those fears are often real and sustained by personal experience or historical knowledge, at least since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

It is naturally more fearful for those who are averse to change, who do not want to adapt or develop themselves, and for those that, unfortunately, have limits of diverse nature – financial, cognitive or others – that prevent them from developing and adapting to new technologies or changes in general, to the extent of need.

The truth is that progress, and in this case the evolution supported by digital technology, namely Artificial Intelligence, will not stop and is a great opportunity for organizations to adapt and develop their organizations and their models and business processes, to adapt their socio-economic structures, adjust their internal policies, understand and adapt more quickly to consumer patterns and trends and, in general, revise their organizational culture.

All this? So many opportunities? And still, some people say that they are in the “digital transformation” simply because they sell or buy any new technology! No! Digital Transformation is much more than just that, it’s also a whole process of cultural change, especially at the organizational leadership level!

How can an organization plan and make this transformation if it cannot stop its business? It seems as difficult as changing the engine of a car driving at high speed on the freeway!

The organization that needs to transform, to stay or becomes more competitive, must look for partners instead of suppliers, and it must ensure that these partners can go beyond simply supplying and implementing new technologies. It will also have to ensure a communication plan of excellence, both internally and with the market and, before it is transformed, must determine the path according to its market, taking into account the trends, problems, the desires and needs of those it wants to be their customers, both now and in the future.

It may seem like a tortuous path – and it may or may not be, depending on whom you have as partners!

Come on, adapt yourself!

Daniel Lança Perdigão
Strategist & Visual Thinker
UpSideUp.pt

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Artifical or Art&visual Intelligence

So many people talking about artificial intelligence and, for sure, most of them have not yet explored their art & visual intelligence.

Arte&Visual by UpSideUp

It’s like wanting to explore the outworlds of the universe without having properly explored our own world.

It’s like traveling to visit Abu Dhabi without having visited their own cities.

I don’t want to be misunderstood, I totally support AI and visiting Abu Dhabi or any other city or culture. I just want to call your attention to the fact that you can explore your inner capabilities to better express yourself and to better communicate – which is different.

UpSideUp created this concept of Art&Visual Intelligence precisely to promote the development of dormant capacities, as since early ages, let’s say, from the age of 6, most people do not explore their artistic and visual communication capabilities.

We are promoting one or two days training on Visual Thinking and MindMapping, within companies, schools, universities and for anyone interested in recovering most of his unused communication capacity!

If you want o know more, you know how to do it! Just take a look at our website!

Daniel Lança Perdigão, Strategist & Visual Thinker, UpSideUp.pt

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Specialization versus Diversification in Business – a 2 step approach

Shall we evolve or keep the business as it is for a long time?

This is a question we have easily answered along the past 6 years, without a shadow of a Visual communication word clouddoubt, but… (and sometimes “but” appears to my mind, and to yours too, I’m sure) this year we wanted to introduce new business areas for the next fiscal and some did not seem as being part of our specialization: Strategy and Visual Communication!

So, what needs to be done? We need to carefully understand what can be part of our core business and what cannot so we keep only the valid options (or almost valid at that first step).

We were offered some partnerships for potentially interesting services as well as the distribution of some nice products that did not fit our mission and were miles away from our core, so we had to discard them.

Now we just have some options – new business lines – that may fit our core business if, and some only if, we can adapt their communication to the market. And that’s fundamental (and it is our second step). Sometimes the package is as important as, or more than, the product, or service in our case!

If you are not sure about the difference, seeking for these two variables (specialization and diversification) in the dictionary may help a lot.

Specialization in an economic sense refers to individuals and organizations focusing on the limited range of production tasks they perform best” (Hall, 2009), or, “The act of specializing; making something suitable for a special purpose” (thefreedictionary.com, n.d.)

Diversification is “A risk-reduction strategy that involves adding a product, services, location, customers and markets to your company’s portfolio” (Hall and Lee, 1993), or “the act or practice of manufacturing a variety of products, investing in a variety of securities, selling a variety of merchandise, etc., so that failure in or an economic slump affecting one of them will not be disastrous.” (dictionary.com).

We are specialized in Strategy and Visual Communication (we offer innovation strategy services based on Design Thinking, training on several areas always taking advantage of Visuals, we produce live Graphic Recording, we do Visual Facilitation, we are in the Video Production, we use  Mind Maps and we sell some products related to visuals and visual arts) so, for this year, we decided to simply add new business lines that fit our specialization: a small Graphic Design area and an entirely new approach to Digital Signage and Corporate TV.

What do you think? Are we adding valid diversification options considering our specialization? We think so!

Now you know what we’ve done, the care we add to put in doing it and that we throw away some potentially good opportunities, simply because they’ll distract us and will reduce our focus from what is our core and specialization.

And don’t forget to get the best people to cover all the missing resources!

Want to know more? Look for UpSideUp.pt and check what is going to happen over the next months!

Daniel Lança Perdigão, Strategist & Visual Thinker, UpSideUp.pt

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Are managers the best coaches?

These days – at least in countries where economy recently faced a strong downturn – no one leaves his job just because one doesn’t like his manager! But if things were easy in terms of getting a new job it will happen frequently. The question is why!

Flying boss (screen).jpgRarely a manager gives employees the attention they deserve or think they deserve, simply because they are always busy doing other “things” (hopefully not more important than their employees!). But are those “things” really important? Or even urgent? Not sure! I assume that there is a high rate of ineffectiveness.

How can a manager manage and help employees succeed (and company succeed…) if he does not devote the appropriate time to them and do not ask the right questions, so he listens and understands his employees’ needs, concerns, problems, challenges and ideas?

I’ve met a manager that once told me, during a coaching session, that he supposes he is a bad manager as he does not found in himself any of the characteristics he believes are fundamental for a manager. He was so wrong! All his employees, with whom I previously spoke, told me he was a fantastic Manager and Leader, because he has the ability to establish great personal relations, listen to them and proactively ask questions whenever he perceives a difficulty of any kind! They follow him anywhere with no questions!

There is another lost opportunity for most managers: giving feedback as part of the coaching process. Most of them don’t do it!

We have created a methodology based on NLP to handle communication problems managers have. And they have a lot. We have worked with managers, from middle to top managers, that feels difficulty giving feedback to employees or simply communicating with others, public presenting or giving an interview.

Is there a solution? Yes!

Managers can work their ability to communicate with their employees and also learn how to better manage their day, by prioritizing what is really important along the day!

If a Manager does not want to change himself he needs to change the process and delegate those tasks to others, like giving feedback, communicate internally or with the market. Internal (with middle managers) or external (with specialized communication coaches and consultants) solutions need to be urgently implemented!

Why waisting more time? Get a solution!

Daniel Lança Perdigão, Strategist & Visual Thinker, UpSideUp.pt

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NLP – a brief introduction

Many people have heard of NLP and when they hear this acronym they immediately associate it with its most obvious meaning in Portugal: PNL = “Plano Nacional de Leitura” (National Reading Plan), which has a real relationship with personal development.

But (and today we will not talk about the “but”) what I want to speak to you about today is another NLP. This NLP is derived from the original “Neuro Linguistic Programming”.

What is NLP?

So what is NLP? It means Neuro Linguistic Programming and it’s really related to the three components that most influence in the development of the human experience: Programming, Neurology and Language.

Three components of NLP

  • Programming? Yes, all of us, since we were born, or even earlier, are programmed by everything around us (and by everyone) and that programming determines the model of the world we build and what we want and believe are capable to do, and, generally, we are capable of doing much more than we suppose.
  • Neurology regulates all the functions of each ones’ body, from the most automatic to the most rational, almost always influenced by internal and external factors.
  • Linguistics or Language determines how we relate to and communicate with other people, as well as the outcome or feedback we get from that communication. Attention, the language can be verbal or non-verbal.

For those of you who, like me, believe that communication can be at the root of most problems, both in terms of personal relationships and organizational mechanics, and can be the solution to all of these problems, you immediately see the importance of Neurolinguistic Programming – a way to programmatically use language to influence neurology and the results obtained.

NLP and its study provides tools and leverage the development of skills that help us drive towards individual excellence by developing the flexibility, skills and behaviors that support it, also involving strategic thinking and understanding of mental processes and cognitive factors that underlie all behaviors.

This “school of thought” is based on assumptions and there are two whose understanding is absolutely fundamental:

    • The map is not the territory” – nobody is the “owner” of reality. Each individual mapahas his or her mental construction of any reality and, being aware of it, it is easy to see that each of the other people we relate to will have his own so it’s natural that we have different perspectives on any subject or situation.

 

  • Mind and Body are one system” – what takes place within us and between us and the outside world is a system. Understanding that everything interacts and influences each other helps us realize that “people are not their behaviors” (another NLP assumption).

Studying this topic is exciting and whoever does it, like me, for many years, cannot stop using their tools for everything in life, in the pursuit of their own personal excellence, and in helping to develop this excellence in others.

Curious about this? Want to know more? You know what to do! Ask me and / or wait for the next articles.

See you soon.

Daniel Lança Perdigão, Strategist & Visual Thinker, UpSideUp.pt

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Sales competencies? We can count them by the fingers!

Sales People UpSideUp.jpgI am talking about the 5 Pillars of Efficient Sales People  

In a large number of countries, including Portugal, there are very few who take on the role of “sales”, so today I decided to write about this topic, since I believe that in any company, we all have to be a sales person … and a very good one.

I know you can argue that not everyone receives bonuses, so they are not sales people, but in fact, if they receive a salary, it is because the company sells, because if it doesn’t, no money in nobody’s pockets!

These five competencies I am going to mention are absolutely fundamental to those who have the formal role of sales and are also applicable to all other people who work in a company that produces, services or products, to sell to third parties. And they are also useful to anyone who, in any other way, wants to “sell” their ideas.

And what are these five skills? Those are, without any specific order, the following:

Self-management

This is undoubtedly a core competency for success, sales and for any other job.

To be able to manage ourselves, to plan our day, to focus on our personal development, to seek and find the tools we need, to define our own goals, to commit ourselves, to set our priorities and to frame them in the available time and to self-evaluate is decisive for our success, individually and for the collective to which we belong.

Effective communication

Always remember that communication is bi-directional and key to success in relationships between people.

It is much more valuable to each of us what we hear than what we say, for hearing means learning and speaking means – if we do it well – transmit and teach.

For effective communication in sales is undoubtedly much more important to hear the customer than to be talking about us, our company or our product or service.

Once we hear what the customer wants, will it not be much easier to position our offer?

Empathy and Partnership

I am mixing empathy and partnership, not by chance.

Whenever empathy is natural, partnership is present. It is not worth pretend that we are in empathy with the customer. This is manipulation and a relationship based on manipulation cannot last long, nor get good results for no one.

Partnership is to sell the customer what he needs, when he needs, in the needed quantity and for a fair price!

The sales person is often afraid to say “no”, especially to their bosses, but being assertive and knowing how to refuse a disastrous business is a huge advantage as it avoids future damage that destroys all of the (false) value previously generated! We know this story very well …

Focus on Goals

Focusing on goals – whether corporate or self-defined – is a key component of motivation, as it promotes our direction, provides us with the energy we need in each situation, and nourishes our personal ambition and self-esteem.

Being focused on the goals, even if we get distracted throughout the day, for different reasons, we always know how to find the right path and gain a real sense of urgency for what is fundamental.

Intelligent Independence

What do I mean by “intelligent independence”?

As always, I like to finish with a provocative view!

Nowadays there are a lot of discussions about the millennials and how the career is made of multiple experiences and that no one wants to be held to a company for many years … and they are right., In this aspect too, I am a millennial… although I was born many years in advance!

The truth is that staying for a few years with the same company is much more difficult and requires many more skills than “jumping” from company to company every year, because whenever we are in a new company we have a period of “state of grace” and as we are doing new tasks, we’re innovative and generally people likes us. However, it is difficult to maintain this status for a long time!

“Intelligent independence” is to be able to innovate and give the best of us, guaranteeing all the previous skills and having the humility to learn from those who can bring value, knowledge and experience that will support our own development, whether as a sales person, professional or human.

I believe in excellence and sharing, so putting together in the same company youth and experience, with these five competencies, is key to success, whether in sales or in any other job.

Is there any other job?

See you soon.

Daniel Lança Perdigão, Strategist & Visual Thinker, UpSideUp.pt

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You need to “No!” (and to know too!)

What do I mean by “You need to “No!”“?

Just a little introduction to frame you:

UpSideUp is in business since 2011 and I have been doing a win-loss analysis for the last 3 years. I am happy to say that we close more than 2/3 of our business proposals and I hear many people in the business talking about much lower success rates.

IMG_7092.JPGSo, what are we doing right?

Well, lets see:

  • Our prices are fair!
  • Quality is generally very good!
  • Innovation is always present!
  • We never failed!
  • We have good customer references!
  • All testimonials are positive!
  • We have an average evaluation over 90/100!
  • We never got late to a meeting!
  • We write each proposal from scratch on a white page!
  • We have a good Code of Conduct!
  • Our Services are clear and all Conditions are transparent!
  • We think about each customer’s needs!
  • We establish good personal relations!

But… will these aspects be enough?

Maybe not! So I needed to go deeper…

By asking several customers what influenced their decision for us, I found out that we ask a lot of questions! They also told me that not talking too much about us is good, as it shows we care for them! Not using a Powerpoint presentation on first meetings was also much appreciated.

And one the most interesting discoveries was that many customers valued the fact that we ask if what they are requesting us to do is really what they want and need, and sometimes we even ask, in advance, if they have budget (and I mean enough money) to pay for our services.

But the most amazing discovery was the fact that some customers valued our courage to tell them “NO, I WILL NOT DO THAT JOB AS I DON’T BELIEVE IT WILL SUCCEED OR YOU’LL GET THE EXPECTED RESULTS!”.

Just think about the power of the positive NO. Now you know!

See you around.

Daniel Lança Perdigão, Strategist and Visual Thinker @ UpSideUp.pt

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