Four Ways Work and Focus Has Changed in a 2% GDP World

Four Ways Work and Focus Has Changed in a 2% GDP World

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period. (Definition from

The higher the growth rate of our GDP (the more we’re producing), the better the outlook is for our economy.

Where are we today? Jeffrey R. Immelt, CEO of General Electric said earlier this year that, “In a world of 2 percent G.D.P. growth, you really have to be good at everything you do.”

What does “being good at everything” mean? How has work – and focus – changed in a lower than typical GDP world? Here’s what we’re seeing:

1. Focus on one thing. Organizations are refocusing on the one thing they want to be good at moving resources there. What’s your one thing? Your company’s?

2. Look at where your industry is headed and prepare now for the future. Think Artificial Intelligence (AI). Think digital industry. What’s changing and what do you need to know/do to be on top of those changes?

3. Change is a constant. Learn and practice the skills you need to be agile and flexible amidst constant transformation and ambiguity.

4. Be a business person first and a functional expert second. Understand the needs of your business, your customers and your team, and apply your functional expertise to meet those needs.

What are you seeing?

Thank You: Why These Are Two of the Most Powerful Words

Thank You: Why These Are Two of the Most Powerful Words

thankful-for-teaser-image-2Google “gratitude in business” and you’ll wind up with thousands of results. And not just because it’s November – a month in which the topic is top of mind for Americans preparing to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s because, as it turns out, gratitude is good for business. And that is because, as neuroscientists have discovered, gratitude actually changes our brains.

According to a Huffington Post round-up on gratitude and the brain, here are three of 10 ways gratitude affects our performance at work:

  1. Gratitude improves social behaviors which makes it easier to network. Studies show that those who are 10% more grateful than average had 17.5% more social capital.

  2. Gratitude stimulates goal achievement. In one study, participants instructed to keep a gratitude journal for two months reported more progress toward their goals.

  3. Gratitude enhances decision making.

Expressing gratitude in the workplace helps leaders create connections (between actions and outcomes, effort and performance) and build relationships (among team members and with others more far-flung in the organization).

Like working any muscle, with repeated practice, the behavior becomes more natural. Here are three ways to make the most out of the gratitude you offer every day – in person, by phone or via a hand-written note:

  1. Be specific about what you’re thankful for, e.g. “Thank you for taking the recent uptick in cost of quality so seriously, and for the focused analysis you provided in your process review.”

  2. Explain what you liked or the next steps, e.g. “I learned two things from the perspective you provided and believe we can make significant progress in reducing defects.”

  3. Continue to build the relationship, e.g. “I’ll take this work forward to the Quality Council and let you know what next steps we put in place.”

Research shows that those who practice gratitude every day live longer, sleep better, experience increased productivity and live happier lives.

We could all use more gratitude in our lives, and especially in the workplace. My challenge to you… smile more and thank someone today.

Here’s a look at what some of our team members are thankful for:

kim-hanson thankful-for-tracy thankful-for-kerrigan beth-swanson natalie thankful-for-elizabeth

5 Keys to Successful Portal Development

5 Keys to Successful Portal Development

intranetforum-updated-11-6-16There’s a lot of confusion between the terms digital workplace, intranets, portals and hubs. To me, they all describe the same thing – a collection of digital tools, and/or a common digital space, that helps employees stay focused and on top of relevant information, provides access to the work tools that keep them efficient and which also connects them to the colleagues they need to interact with, no matter if they are around the corner or around the world.

Here are the five keys for a successful hub or portal:

  1. Strategy: The most successful hubs have a strategy – a reason for being – that matches business objectives. Without a clear, workable strategy your hub will quickly dissolve into chaos. It needs that business reason for being which will keep the site on point.
  1. Collaboration: This is where a true digital workplace comes into play. Your hub needs useful tools and designated space for online collaboration. This space is where teams will do their work and where innovation and knowledge transfer will take place. What kind of tools? Which types of space? Your strategy – and your audiences – will tell you that. But you have to ask, and listen.
  1. Governance: We’re often asked who should “own” the intranet? The answer is: Everyone and No One. Intranets work best when they have clear and simple policies. Good governance means active representation from all functional groups, most especially Communications, Human Resources and IT. And yet Everyone must have a stake in contributing and maintaining the content, or No One’s needs will be filled. Effective hubs are not a service provided to your employees, they’re a healthy collaboration and mix of relevant content and open space to create.
  1. Relevance: Content is still king. If you can’t provide relevant, compelling content that meets your users’ needs, your hub is already dead. Spend time thinking through what content and tools employees need to be effective, and continue to be interested, and then organize the hub so they can find them. And assemble cross-functional teams to keep it going.
  1. Customization: Or What’s in It for Me (WIFM). The ability to customize a portion of a common corporate homepage leads to better and more frequent usage of a hub. Set aside room for a user’s local and/or business unit news, and allow users to choose links for the homepage to the tools and resources they use most often. It’s their hub too; let them mold it to their own hands.
A final word – on mobile apps. Mobile apps are the new buzz word. Everyone wants one because our smart phones let us choose our own apps and so, hey, why can’t we have fun apps like that at work? When looking at mobile app development, you want to be sure that: (a) the app meets a business need; (b) it links back to your intranet or hub, (c) it’s extremely easy to use, (d) you have tested it with a pilot user audience before launch. Mobile apps work best when they are highly focused and do no more than three things. For example, an HR app might provide 1. paystub information, 2. a link to job openings and 3. enable benefits enrollment. A retail manager app might provide a dashboard that tracks three key items and/or compares that store’s metrics to other stores in the region.

These are just the top notes. How you use your portal, your hub, or what you design a mobile app to do, depends on the make-up, the business needs and usage of your audience. That can be a daunting task. You don’t have to go it alone.  Consider partnering with us here at OTSP.  We have the experience, we have the skilled technical partners, we can help you benchmark with others, and we will be beside you as you navigate through the process, from strategy to development to launch. You can reach me via email at: