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In Times of Crisis, Keep the Boat Steady

In a year defined by uncertainty, company leaders need to think differently about how to set their teams up for success….

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The CEO of my first startup was a competitive rower in college. One of his teammates, who went on to compete in the Olympics, started a management training course that integrated classroom discussions with lessons on the water, rowing with a team. Our executive team attended one of his sessions. There are three lessons I took away from it that have stuck with me and feel especially important given the tough year we’ve had and the uncertainty that all companies continue to face during the pandemic.

In one of the first exercises, the facilitator put us all on rowing machines. He asked an HR executive to sit at the front, start rowing and set the pace for the rest of us. She spent her time at the front watching everyone else’s pace, and we struggled to get into any semblance of a cadence. The facilitator then asked me to lead. Having seen how difficult it was to follow her, I became laser-focused on making sure that my strokes per minute didn’t budge. You could have used my pacing to calibrate the atomic clock.

Related: 7 Essential Soft Skills to Elevate Your Leadership During the Pandemic

When my turn was up, the instructor asked the rest of the group for their observations of our two styles. The HR exec was so busy trying to watch everyone else’s pace that she failed to build a cadence we could follow. She wasn’t leading the group; she was trying to figure out where it was going. Meanwhile, I failed in the opposite direction. I had my pace dialed in but I had zero awareness of the pace and pulse of the rest of the team. Half the people in the room were dialed in, but I had lost the other half completely.

Even in “normal” times, it is a challenge to set the right pace for your team. It is hard to lead if you spend all your time looking around to see what everyone else is doing. And if you’re not paying attention at all, it’s impossible to get it right. One of the things I learned about team rowing is it doesn’t matter if half the crew can pull hard and fast. If everyone in the boat isn’t in sync, the boat won’t go very far or very fast. An optimal cadence will allow your top performers to still pull as hard as they can, but provide opportunities for everyone to contribute.

The second lesson took place in a real boat on the water. Our boat consisted of me, our CEO (the collegiate rower), the rubber-necked HR exec from the pacing exercise and one of her colleagues. Our CEO obviously knew what he was doing and I was doing my best to keep up with him, but the other two were struggling with the timing and coordination. We competed against the other boats in time trials and despite having the best rower in our boat, we weren’t making progress. Our timing was off, and the boat was rocking side to side.

The facilitator asked the CEO and me to stop rowing, and for us to hold our oars flat against the water to keep the boat balanced. He then asked the other two execs to do all the rowing. We shaved five seconds off our best time. The strongest rowers were doing nothing to move the boat forward, but when we kept the boat from rocking we were still able to move the boat faster than the four of us combined. The lesson was pretty obvious. Sometimes the best thing you can do as a manager is to hold the boat steady so everyone else can get their job done.

Related: 3 Ways to Empower Your Team to Innovate During Uncertain Times

In my experience, most execs and founders are typically (or were) outstanding individual contributors. In rowing terms, this means they can pull harder and faster than anyone, and set a pace that is difficult for others to meet. In a management role, when things get tough, they may have an impulse to grab an oar and start pulling like hell — this is usually the worst thing they can do. Like an unbalanced boat, the company gets out of sync and the overall pace of the business slows.

There’s an adage in sales that the best sales reps are rarely the best sales managers, as the skills required to be great at the two roles are very different. The coaches, leaders and managers who are best at their jobs are the ones who can get the most from their team. Your ability as an individual to do the job is irrelevant in a management context.

Less than a year ago, most executives were leading a team that worked in the same office, with at least somewhat predictable and comfortable routines. Today, remote work, plus the added challenges of the pandemic — health concerns, cabin fever, home school — have completely changed our personal and professional context. The strengths and weaknesses of our teams have completely shifted in this new environment and that requires managers to take a fresh look at the optimal cadence for their team. What your team needs today is likely very different than what they needed pre-Covid.

So as a manager, what does this look like day-to-day? This is all still a work in progress, but at Skillshare, we’ve made some changes. First, we implemented more frequent “pulse check” surveys. Instead of our usual semi-annual employee engagement surveys, these are quick monthly surveys that give us more frequent data points. We’ve also added communications channels and increased the frequency of communication. I’m personally holding weekly coffee chats with four to five employees to replicate some of the serendipitous conversations we had in the office. Finally, we’ve also decided to move to a distributed working model and give up our NYC office, redeploying those expenses to employee development and improving the work-from-home environment. We are still testing new ideas, but we’ve seen positive signs so far.

Related: Smart Steps to Setting Your Team up for Success When Working From Home

I’m an optimist, but I’m also a realist. I know that the future is bright, but the waters remain choppy and they may be for a while. Despite the uncertainty and anxiety that 2020 has brought, leaders, managers and HR teams should just remember to keep the boat steady. With a stable base, every company can find its own pace.

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Entrepreneur

Why You Should Make Twitter Spaces Part of Your Business Strategy

Twitter’s latest feature can help businesses grow their presence on the platform.

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Twitter’s latest feature can help businesses grow their presence on the platform.

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September 5, 2021 8 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Audio content is all the rage these days.

From podcasting to Clubhouse, many businesses are making it part of their content strategy. However, they aren’t the only options for those looking to become part of the audio space.

What is Twitter Spaces?

Twitter Spaces is a place for users to host rooms where speakers can hold audio conversations. Listeners are able to tune in and can also request to speak, allowing them to step onto the virtual stage to share their thoughts and ask questions. And because there’s no video aspect to Twitter Spaces, you don’t have to worry about being camera-ready.

Beta testing for this feature began in November 2020. During this testing phase, all users had access to listen and speak within a Space, however only a small group was given access to hosting capabilities. It wasn’t until May 2021 that hosting Spaces became an option for all Twitter users that had at least 600 followers. Since then, many business owners are giving Spaces a go and figuring out how it fits into their overall content strategy.

Since Spaces has become available, Twitter has announced they are taking it up a notch by also offering a way to monetize the audio conversations you host on the platform. Ticketed Spaces are currently in the beta testing phase, allowing users the ability to charge anywhere from $1 to $999 for a ticket to attend a Space.

Why is Twitter Spaces beneficial for entrepreneurs?

As an entrepreneur, it’s important to put yourself out there online. These days, there are many different ways to do that. You can start a blog, a podcast, or a YouTube channel. You can also build your presence on various social media platforms. It’s all about knowing where your audience is and playing to your strengths. So, if you’re someone who loves to talk and you know your audience is active on Twitter, Spaces is worth considering.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • You stand a better chance at getting noticed. Our tweets have such a short lifespan, but when you’re live on Spaces, you’ll show up at the very top of a user’s mobile app. They’ll be more likely to see you and join the conversation this way.

  • You’ll have a built-in audience. With Clubhouse, users are really starting from scratch with building their audience on the platform. If you’re already on Twitter, then you have people who are there and ready to join your conversations.

  • Nothing is needed to get started. Having fancy equipment isn’t necessary. You don’t even need to put on your business attire. Instead, you simply need to open the Twitter app, start a brand new Space, and begin delivering valuable content.

  • It has accessibility in mind. While many platforms are stepping up to the plate in terms of accessibility, some are still lagging behind. Twitter Spaces has made their audio conversations accessible to those who are hearing impaired by offering live captions. This means you won’t be excluding members of your audience when you host a Space.

And with Ticketed Spaces on the way, many entrepreneurs will want to jump on board with Spaces now so they can establish their presence and prepare for monetization when it becomes more widely available. Everyone loves having multiple revenue streams, right?

Now, the question is, how can you best use Twitter Spaces as a way to grow your business? After all, implementing features like this into your content strategy won’t do much if you don’t have a strong foundation in place, outlining why and how you’re using it.

Here are a few tips for making Twitter Spaces work for you:

1. Know what you want to achieve with spaces

Your time is precious, which is why you want to ensure you’re reaping the rewards when you put time and energy into something. When it comes to Twitter Spaces, it’s smart to set goals for yourself so you know what you’re working toward. This way, you’ll be able to see if hosting Spaces regularly is working for you or not.

For example, you may want to use Twitter Spaces to grow your audience on the platform. In this case, you’ll want to monitor your follower count before and after your Spaces to see if you notice any growth. If you want Spaces to be a tool for promoting your offerings, you’ll need to see if people are taking action and purchasing after the conversation ends. Or maybe you just want to use it to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. In which case, you’ll watch for engagement and take note of what people are saying about you and your content.

The point is, you want to use Spaces as a tool to drive specific results. If that doesn’t seem to be happening, then you’ll know that something needs to change about your strategy.

2. Host conversations that will appeal to your target audience

In order to entice people to tune into your Spaces (and keep them listening to the very end), you need to hold their attention. That means it’s up to you to figure out what they want and deliver it so they see the value in joining the Spaces you host.

Here are a few ideas you can try out:

  • Teach people how to do something. What’s something that your target audience would love to learn how to do that you can teach via an audio conversation? You could offer simple tips and tricks so they can leave your Space and immediately put your advice into action.

  • Discuss the topics in your industry. This is a sure-fire way to grab attention and get a lively conversation going with others in your field. Share your thoughts and opinions, then open up the floor for listeners to join in as well.

  • Host value-packed Q&A sessions. This could be an opportunity to answer burning questions your audience has for you or you could invite an expert onto the virtual stage for an interview, podcast style. Either way, focus on the questions your audience wants answers to.

If you’re not sure what kind of format will work best, try out a few different options and see what interests people the most. Sometimes it’s just a matter of testing to see what works.

Related: 10 Ways to Learn About Your Target Audience

3. Go live regularly on Twitter Spaces

As an entrepreneur, consistency is key to your success. You have to show up regularly if you want to boost your return on investment (ROI). If you aren’t showing up often, you run the risk of your audience forgetting about you entirely. And that’s the last thing you want!

To stay top of mind, it would be smart to create a Twitter Spaces show that you host at a set time. It gives people something to look forward to and the more you put yourself out there, the better chance you have at connecting with new people.

Consider creating a show that you host every week, every other week, or monthly. Go with what works for your schedule. Just make sure you’re showing up and giving it your all if you want to see results.

Related: Live Streaming Video: What It Is, Why It Matters and How It’ll Quickly Grow Your Brand

4. Be willing to experiment with new things

You never know what will work for you until you give it a try. That’s why it’s worth experimenting with how you use Spaces. Try a few of the ideas listed above, but be open to testing out other ideas as well. If you want, you can even ask your audience what they’d like to see from you, which could generate a few new ideas as well. After all, there’s no better source to learn from!

Ultimately, you have to be willing to test and tweak your strategy. If something is working well for you, keep it up. If something isn’t working, figure out why and see if there are any tweaks you can make to improve the idea. If not, scrap it and move onto something else. It’s not time wasted if you learn something valuable about what your audience enjoys.

Related: How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy From Scratch

5. Use Twitter Spaces as a tool to better understand your audience

Done right, Twitter Spaces can be used as a tool to help you connect with your target audience and develop a deeper relationship with them. They’ll get to know you better, and in turn you’ll get to know them better. From there, you can take what you’ve learned about their interests and pain points and use it to create future content within your brand.

And as we all know, providing valuable content is key if you want to boost your followers, engagement, and conversions. Plus, it’ll establish you as an expert in your field over time. Before you know it, your brand just might become a household name.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

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2 Auto-Manufacturers Up More Than 6% in the Past Month

With solid progress on the COVID-19 vaccination front and substantial economic growth so far this year, auto manufacturers have witnessed a significan…

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With solid progress on the COVID-19 vaccination front and substantial economic growth so far this year, auto manufacturers have witnessed a significan…

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August 17, 2021 4 min read

This story originally appeared on StockNews
With solid progress on the COVID-19 vaccination front and substantial economic growth so far this year, auto manufacturers have witnessed a significant rise in sales in the first half of 2021. Given sustainability initiatives worldwide, the EV industry is expected to grow over an extended period. Hence, we think the shares of auto manufacturers, Tesla (TSLA) and Stellantis (STLA), whose shares have gained more than 6% in price in the past month, are well-positioned to move higher. So, let’s discuss.

The electric vehicles (EV) industry is expanding rapidly, bolstered by zero-emission initiatives worldwide. The near-term outlook for the EV industry seems to be bright, as governments around the globe place significant emphasis on accelerating EV production and sales to meet their sustainability targets. The EV market grew more than 40% during 2020, with a record 3 million EVs registered.

Furthermore, global EV sales rose by around 140% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2021. And auto manufacturers are now placing an emphasis on broadening their product portfolios and ramping up production to meet the increasing demand. The International Energy Agency (IEA) anticipates the EV industry will witness “healthy growth” during this decade.

The shares of two well-known players in the industry, Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) and Stellantis N.V. (STLA), have gained more than 6% in the past month and are poised to generate significant returns in the coming months also.

Click here to checkout our Electric Vehicle Industry Report for 2021

Tesla, Inc. (TSLA)

TSLA in Palo Alto, Calif., designs, develops, manufactures, leases, and sells electric vehicles and energy generation and storage systems globally. The company operates in two segments: Automotive and Energy Generation and Storage.

TSLA’s total revenue increased 98% year-over-year to $11.96 billion in its fiscal second quarter, ended June 30. Its income from operations grew 301% from its year-ago value to $1.31 billion, while its non-GAAP net income improved 258% year-over-year to $1.62 billion. The company’s non-GAAP EPS increased 230% year-over-year to $1.45.

Analysts expect TSLA’s revenues to increase 49.3% year-over-year to $13.10 billion in the current quarter, ending September 2021. A $1.38 consensus EPS estimate for the current quarter indicates an 81.6% rise from the same period last year. TSLA has an impressive earnings surprise history as well; it beat the consensus EPS estimates in three out of the trailing four quarters.

Over the past month, TSLA gained 6.5% to close yesterday’s trading session at $686.17. The stock gained 107.8% over the past year.

Stellantis N.V. (STLA)

Based in the Netherlands, STLA designs, engineers, manufactures, and sells passenger vehicles, pickup trucks, SUVs, and light commercial vehicles worldwide. It offers luxury, premium, and mainstream vehicles, as well as financial services, and parts and services, and also provides retail and dealer financing, leasing, and rental services.

On July 6, STLA announced its investment in Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port manufacturing plant, which will become the first STLA plant to produce a solely battery-electric vehicle, in both commercial and passenger versions, by the end of next year. This is in line with the U.K. government’s decision to stop sales of pure petrol and diesel engine vehicles from 2030. The project is expected to garner significant returns for the company amid sustainability initiatives worldwide.

In May, STLA and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., together with its subsidiary FIH Mobile Ltd., formed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to form Mobile Drive, a joint venture aimed at accelerating development timelines to deliver innovative in-vehicle user experiences. Through this partnership, the company expects to push the boundaries in connected car technology and provide immersive digital experiences to its customers.

STLA’s net revenues increased 270.2% year-over-year to €72.61 billion ($85.55 billion) in the fiscal six months ended June 30. Its net profit stood at €5.80 billion ($6.83 billion), up 627.7% from the same period last year. Its cash flows from operating activities came in at €5.62 billion ($6.62 billion) over this period.

A $182.87 billion consensus revenue estimate for the fiscal period ending December 2021 indicates a 12.8% increase year-over-year. The Street expects the company’s EPS to rise 202.8% from the prior year to $4.02 in the ongoing year.

STLA gained 18.4% over the past month to close yesterday’s trading session at $21.68. The stock has gained 32.8% over the past six months.

Click here to check out our Automotive Industry Report for 2021

TSLA shares fell $1.91 (-0.29%) in after-hours trading Tuesday. Year-to-date, TSLA has declined -5.66%, versus a 19.54% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

About the Author: Subhasree Kar

Subhasree’s keen interest in financial instruments led her to pursue a career as an investment analyst. After earning a Master’s degree in Economics, she gained knowledge of equity research and portfolio management at Finlatics.

More…

The post 2 Auto-Manufacturers Up More Than 6% in the Past Month appeared first on StockNews.com

Furthermore, global EV sales rose by around 140% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2021. And auto manufacturers are now placing an emphasis on broadening their product portfolios and ramping up production to meet the increasing demand. The International Energy Agency (IEA) anticipates the EV industry will witness “healthy growth” during this decade.

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Why Steve Jobs’s Passion for Calligraphy Is an Important Example for You

By intentionally exercising your creative muscle, new opportunities naturally follow.

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By intentionally exercising your creative muscle, new opportunities naturally follow.

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August 8, 2021 5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In 1972, Steve Jobs took a calligraphy class at Reed College based on campus posters he saw after dropping out. The poster fonts themselves were artistic enough to catch his eye, and he audited this class, despite knowing the class would earn him no credit towards a degree.

Today, designers and marketers alike have nearly unlimited fonts and creative user interfaces for our digital devices. In a world dominated by ones and zeros, we all owe Jobs a debt of gratitude for bringing creativity into the world of technology.

Jobs was certainly hooked on the creativity of calligraphy. But there were additional creative foundational elements the class instilled in his mind that many business owners can use to reshape their brand and compete at a higher level.

Related: 4 Ways to Unlock Your Inner Creativity

Creativity: It’s a muscle you can exercise

All human beings are born creative and have the ability to exercise and develop their creativity muscle.

We encourage our children to experiment, express and explore creatively. Drawing outside the lines is not frowned upon until you register for a class in architecture.

As we begin our journey into reading, writing and arithmetic, however, the outlets for creativity diminish. Without consistently expressing ourselves, like muscle atrophy, our creative muscles also lose their strength without exercise.

Jobs intuitively knew to expand his creativity muscle when he invested his time into a calligraphy class at Reed. In his 2005 commencement address at Stanford, he spoke about his calligraphy class, saying,

“I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.”

Taking a class or course that focuses on creativity for no other reason other than artistic expression can naturally cross over into creativity in business.

Related: The 4 Key Learning Styles and How You Can Use Them to Learn, Teach, and Grow Your Business

Processes: Learn from alternate industries

We learn primarily through our vision. Our minds are wired visually and with tens of millions of images vying for our attention, but we can only process a very small percentage of it.

Remember the last time you were going to buy a car? Before you decided on that Subaru, you may have never noticed them on the road. After you narrowed down your search, you see them everywhere. That’s our brain filtering content with our reticular activating system.

Unfortunately, with limited resources of time and visual acuity, we tend to only learn from leaders in our own industry. I’m pretty sure Jobs had no intention of creating wedding invitations as a calligrapher, but as he immersed himself into the art of calligraphy, the act of calligraphy opened up creativity in other areas. Calligraphy not only boosted his creativity muscle, but during the creative process, creativity naturally spilled over into other areas — computers.

In the book, I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words, Jobs famously stated, “A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

If you are in the services industry, study manufacturing best practices. This can even be applied to segments inside your industry. If you are involved in marketing, study economics or history.

Experiential: Power off the computer

While drawing curves with ink and paper are a serious separation from the bits and bytes of the computer world, there is an unspoken element of creativity and muscle memory that is often overlooked.

Handwriting.

A recent study by John Hopkins University demonstrated the power of experiential learning specifically with the written word. While writing by hand is going the way of the Dodo bird by the ease of a computer keyboard, this study found we shouldn’t be so quick to discard the pencils and paper. In a study of 42 adults learning Arabic, handwriting helped the participants learn the language surprisingly faster and significantly better than learning the same material through typing or watching videos.

Jotting down ideas or journaling by hand has been shown to unlock increased creativity in our minds and in our work.

Flow: Power off your brain

Creativity, like losing weight, can’t be honed in a single session. Moreover, anyone who has had brilliant ideas in the shower knows, the removal of distractions opens up your creative juices.

There is immense value in emptying your mind, meditating or going for a walk in the woods. We can certainly glean ideas from other works of art, copy, and business models. But, modifying an idea is not the same as creating one. There is a clear distinction between evolution and revolution. Both have their place, but most significant breakthroughs in business and society come not from the evolution of an idea, but through revolution of a completely new way of looking at the world.

Switching off the distractions and putting yourself in a fresh environment creates fertile ground for exercising your creative muscle.

Being creative, mindful and curious can unlock hidden value in your brand. It wasn’t just the skill of calligraphy that Steve Jobs had picked — it was a mindset to think creatively and give something a unique touch.

Related: Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein Applied the Concept of ‘No Time’ to Boost Their Creativity. What Does It Entail?

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