In the beginning of my corporate career, I made a conscious effort to avoid office politics. I thought it was a waste of my time and felt that people who engaged in the politics were dirty, manipulative, and underhanded. That is, until I had an experience where I was passed over for a promotion. That rocked my boat! As a result of this experience, I understood for the first time how my avoidance of the workplace dynamics set me up to be blindsided and overlooked.

My comfort level, like many women, was to focus on my work and performance. In fact, according to 2011 research, 77% of women believe their talent and hard work positions them for advancement. Our avoidance of the politics, however, makes us vulnerable because we lack the information about what it takes to get promoted and who makes and influences the decisions. Essentially, we are working in a vacuum with little or no input from key stakeholders on how to move our careers forward.…

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If you haven’t noticed by now, consumers are making a huge social shift from Instagram to Snapchat. The migration over to the popular self-destructing photo and video social network is happening right before our eyes. Snapchat is a multifunctional app: People use it to communicate one-to-one, one-to-few, and one-to-all. They share moments, not just pretty pictures, through stills and videos with added captions, doodles, and filters to make them even more fun and personal. The social shift is official when a majority of consumers start to make an announcement on all their other social media networks to join them on a newer or more popular social network.

When this shift starts, it is when I start to recommend small businesses prepare a marketing strategy for that network. The first movers will dominate and connect with their consumers faster than their competitors. Social savvy small businesses know that taking advantage of social media to market their products and services can be very cost-effective to drive sales and consumer engagement.…

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9781119012115.pdfToday’s great companies win by disrupting stale industries. That is, the great companies of the 21st century destroy the status quo in ways that the incumbents never see coming. Google. Uber. Airbnb.

These greats didn’t make slight improvements to the search, transportation, and lodging industries. Rather, they strapped C4 to the existing model and blew it to pieces.

When you blow up an existing model, you upset the existing players. Those existing players then unite to launch a defense attack. Law suits. Smear campaigns. Anti-disruptor regulation.

How do you survive these defensive attacks? Easy. Constructive disruption.

Is Google evil? Who cares.

Is Uber safer than cabs? It doesn’t matter.

Is Airbnb a legal alternative to hotels? Irrelevant.

Google, Uber and AirBnB disrupt the right way. That’s why they are winning.

Follow these three principles to achieve constructive disruption.

No. 1: Be truthful and transparent

When disruptors challenge the status quo, questions regarding the disruptor’s legality or legitimacy often arise.…

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Cute Blue Bird CharacterThinking about social media and how it works in regards to learning inside and outside of classrooms is endless and inspiring. Just by tweeting an idea, you can spark a connection and invite your students to experience the value of social media.

As I began to dabble with this idea, I was immediately struck by how other educators were using this tool as a way to connect, engage and enhance learning.

In the beginning, it was important to think about how I was going to model this tool and how I could relate it to something with which my students already had experience. So I took my students outside with my laptop and asked them to listen quietly to what they heard as we sat under a tree. After a moment, my students shared a variety of sounds, one of which was a bird’s chirping. I highlighted this and noted that birds have calls and tweets that they use to say hello and communicate.…

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Despite some predictions by food industry market watchers that private label is set to take over, private label share of the packaged-food market has been relatively flat since 2008, and it stopped gaining in other categories in 2011. This leveling off suggests that food brands are able to withstand private label competition. Yet, we’ve found the story is more complex. The first clue is obvious to retailers: there is enormous variation in private label share at the category level. In some categories, such as milk, private label has 60% or more market share. In others, such as RTD coffee, canned ham and toaster pastries, private label has only 1% or 2% share.

The numbers belie reports about how beautifully private label is performing overall and reveal, instead, how the culture of brand shapes consumer receptivity by category. In Hartman Strategy’s report The Future of Private Label Food, our analysis of private label reveals four competitive performance segments in the private label food marketplace that illustrate the role of culture within categories:

  • Private label growth engines tend to come from the fresh-food perimeter, where brands for the most part have not entered (chilled pizza, chilled ready-to-eat meals, prepared salads), and from dinner ingredients like cheese and olive oil.
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