Daily Archives: October 3, 2014

Asian Games: Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan to lift cricket gold medal


Incheon: Test nation Sri Lanka denied Afghanistan their first ever Asian Games gold medal as they overcame a batting slump to win the cricket final by 68 runs on Friday.

Bowled out for 133, the Sri Lankans hit back to skittle the impatient Afghan batsmen for 65 in the Twenty20 match watched by a full house at the 2,500-capacity Yeonhui field in Incheon.

Leg-spinner Jeevan Mendis grabbed three wickets for 13 runs and Isuru Udana and Chaturanga de Silva chipped in with two wickets apiece as the Afghans folded up in 17.4 overs.

Eight batsmen failed to reach double figures for Afghanistan, who are set to make their debut in the 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.

It was Sri Lanka’s first Asiad gold medal since the 2002 Games in Busan when Susanthika Jayasinghe won the women’s 100m and Damayanthi Darsha picked up the women’s 400m title.

Afghanistan have so far won five silvers –including two in cricket — and six bronzes since starting out in the inaugural Asiad in New Delhi in 1951.

The cricket silver was their second medal in the current Games after Roman Abasi’s bronze in taekwando.

Sri Lanka, who elected to bat after winning the toss, rode on Dinesh Chandimal’s 33 and skipper Lahiru Thirimanne’s 57 off 37 balls to race to 79-1 in 10 overs.

The spirited Afghans fought back to claim the last nine wickets for 54 runs and bowl the Lankans out with five deliveries to spare.

Skipper Mohammad Nabi took four wickets for 18 runs in 19 deliveries of off-spin and seamer Gulbadin Naib claimed two for 20 to cause an unexpected collapse.

Defending champions Bangladesh, who lost a rain-abandoned semi-final to Sri Lanka by the flip of the coin, claimed the bronze with a 27-run win over Hong Kong earlier.

Star allrounder Shakib Al Hasan smashed 46 off 37 balls and claimed two for 23 as the Tigers displayed superior skills than the minnows.

Bangladesh, batting first, piled up 162-6 in their 20 overs as Mohammad Mahmudullah smashed 35 off 21 balls lower down the order.

Hong Kong’s Pakistan-born left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed took three wickets for 36 runs.

Hong Kong managed only 135-7 in reply, with Mark Chapman leading the way with a 31-ball 38 that contained two sixes and as many fours.

Bangladesh’s experienced attack slowed the run-rate as left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny supported Shakib with three wickets for 22 runs.

“We were disappointed that the semi-final was washed out which deprived us the chance to go for gold,” said Bangladesh all-rounder Mohammad Mahmudullah said. “But we won’t go from here empty-handed.

“This was my first Asian Games and it was fantastic to take part. Playing in a new venue like Incheon was so exciting,” he added.


Photo credit to Newsfirst.lk

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Technology Questions Every CMO Must Ask

Marketers today encounter a mind-boggling array of technologies. CMOs I talk to are swamped by meeting requests from technology vendors, and most feel an acute pressure to climb on the tech bandwagon. But they worry about the massive distraction of full-scale technology assessments-and about the risk of buying expensive tools that don’t live up to their potential.

My colleagues and I believe CMOs can make better technology sourcing decisions by asking five fundamental questions. The first two focus on avoiding the all-too-common trap of treating each technology decision in isolation.

1. Will the technology advance a critical marketing priority? This seems like an obvious consideration, but we often see the technology tail wagging the marketing dog. Plenty of the new tools have the potential to add value in an absolute sense, which is why they appear on CMOs’ radar screens in the first place. But the real question is how much value the tool under evaluation adds relative to other possibilities.

Marketers who ask this question make individual technology assessments in the context of the overall marketing priorities that a given tool will address. It’s hardly rocket science. But this common-sense discipline often falls victim to a combination of poor planning and siloed decision-making-for example, when individual marketing teams independently make narrow, channel-specific technology choices without accounting for interdependencies and appropriate sequencing.

2. Will the tool add balance to the marketing technology portfolio? It’s useful to categorize marketing technologies into three buckets. The first helps a company deliver more personalized marketing content and experiences to customers and prospects (especially through digital media). The second allows marketers to use data and analytics to reach better decisions. The third improves the effectiveness and efficiency of core marketing workflows. These buckets are interlinked. For example, marketing automation technology helps deliver personalized content and offers to large numbers of individual customers on a scale that would be unfeasible using traditional manual processes.

Over time, marketers should strive to build a technology portfolio that is balanced across the three buckets. So any individual technology assessment needs to account for how a given tool fits into the architecture of the overall portfolio.

In many ways, acquiring a new technology is the easy part. The harder part is getting people to use it-which raises three additional questions.

3. Is the organization culturally ready to adopt the new technology? Like technologies elsewhere, marketing technologies can unsettle long-held views and ways of working. Changing these attitudes and behaviors requires a multi-pronged approach: championing by senior leadership, evangelism by believers on the marketing front line, and active involvement of middle managers in encouraging the change. This “sponsorship spine” is at the core of effective change management and raises the odds of disciplined, deliberate adoption. Success requires identifying desired adoption behaviors, anticipating resistance and challenges, and having a deliberate mitigation plan – all before acquiring a new technology.

4. How readily can current marketing workflows integrate the new technology? To take one example: a number of new technologies can improve the analytic power of marketing test-and-learn processes. But many marketers still treat test-and-learn as an adjunct to their main creative and campaign-management workflows. If test-and-learn remains a sideshow, the impact of these new technologies on marketing outcomes will necessarily be limited. It’s only when core marketing processes are overhauled to integrate ongoing testing and iteration (so-called agile marketing) that the value of the new technologies will be realized.

5. Do potential users have the skills they need to benefit fully from the technology? Even when marketers are excited about a new tool, they may lack the skills and capabilities to use it. While most vendors do provide training and support, it may be inadequate to an organization’s needs. Additional training and other support-even new hires-may be required to bridge the capability gaps. Hence, the technology assessment needs to include a plan (and a budget) for whatever additional training and capability investments are needed.

Questions like these are part of the playbook of technology buyers in other parts of the enterprise, who have been adopting new technologies for more than two decades. Marketing is a relative newcomer to this game, which is why so many CMOs feel overwhelmed. The good news is that a well-planned technology diligence process-a process that anchors individual decisions in a larger context and focuses on creating the right environment in terms of sponsorship, process changes, and capabilities-can significantly improve the odds that marketing’s many new technologies will deliver on their promise.

Harvard Business Review

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How Thomson Reuters Is Creating a Culture of Innovation

It’s not easy for big companies to innovate. As Steve Blank, Clay Christensen, and many others have pointed out, once firms reach a certain size, most of their resources (and investment dollars) are rightly devoted to executing and defending their existing business model. Moreover, the skills that are cherished and rewarded for achieving current results differ from those that aid in discovery and experimentation, both of which are needed to drive innovation. As a result, fostering a true culture of innovation in big companies is often an aspiration rather than a reality.

If this is the case in your company, then it might be worthwhile to look at the experience of Thomson Reuters, a $12.5B global information solutions company. The company’s strategy of fueling growth through acquisitions served it well for many years – but this approach also reduced the focus on innovation. While many managers were developing new products and services for their own businesses, they were not leveraging innovation across the enterprise, and some were relying too much on acquisitions to drive both innovation and growth.

To reverse this, senior leadership took a number of steps. First they agreed to shift funding from small, incremental acquisitions to innovation. In early 2014, they established a “catalyst fund” – a pool of money that internal innovation teams could use for doing rapid proof of concept on new ideas. The fund was announced on the company’s internal website and teams from anywhere in the businesses were invited to submit their suggestions.

To access the fund, teams had to complete a simple two-page application about their idea, the potential market, and the value to the customer (what problem was being solved). The teams with the most compelling ideas were given an opportunity to present and defend their idea to the innovation investment committee, which included the CEO, CFO, and a few other senior executives. In the first month, five “winners” were announced and then immediately publicized on the Thomson Reuters internal web site. This triggered a great deal of interest, and a steady flow of applications.

The company also took a number of other steps, driven by a newly appointed executive sponsor and a full-time innovation leader, to make innovation a priority. Developed after talking with dozens of people both inside and outside the company, these steps included:

Building innovation metrics (such as number of ideas being considered, and amount of revenue from new products/services) into business unit operating reviews, so business leaders would pay attention to the pipeline and commercialization cycle time of new ideas. Appointing “innovation champions” in every business – i.e., credible leaders who would help their business presidents implement programs and processes to move the needle on the innovation metrics. For example, the champions created a common terminology for innovation across the company so that everyone referred to the same types of innovation (e.g. product vs. operational) and referenced the same stages (e.g. “ideation” and “rapid prototyping”). They also built an online Thomson Reuters innovation “toolkit” that employees could use to educate themselves about innovation, run innovation events, and work through the process of translating ideas into commercial opportunities. Creating an innovation “network” on the intranet site where internal entrepreneurs could share their stories and ideas, and get connected to others who were interested in solving customer problems in new ways. Orchestrating a communications campaign with blogs, articles, and video interviews with internal innovators. Organizing an “enterprise innovation workshop,” with representatives from every part of the business, to identify and plan ten specific innovations that leverage existing company assets -and implement them in 100 days or less.

In the spirit of innovation, all of these steps were initiated as experiments to focus on learning, adjusting, and figuring out what would work. For example, the innovation metrics were sharpened as the definitions of innovation evolved, and the experience of the first few innovation champions helped clarify criteria for selecting additional ones. Also, all of these steps were carried out with as much transparency as possible, so that all Thomson Reuters employees would not only know what was happening, but could contribute to the effort as well.

The results of all this work have been impressive. Innovation is now one of the hottest topics in the company. The innovation “network” is the most visited site on the company’s intranet, and more than 250 ideas were submitted by employees for consideration at the enterprise innovation workshop, some of which are already being implemented. Several Catalyst Fund projects, which span multiple business units, also are now being prototyped and piloted with customers and most of the businesses have a robust portfolio of innovative ideas that are moving through the pipeline. So although there is still much to be done, and the jury is still out, clearly the momentum for innovation is building.

There is no magic formula for how big companies can reinvent themselves. The innovators’ dilemma is still alive and well and is not easy to overcome. But the experience of Thomson Reuters shows that progress is possible – particularly if leaders use the lessons of innovation to build the innovation culture.

Harvard Business Review

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How Successful People Deal With Stress


LinkedIn Influencer, Bernard Marr, published this post originally on LinkedIn.

A survey by TalentSmart showed that 90 percent of top performers know how to manage their emotions in times of stress so that they remain cool, calm, and able to do what needs to be done.

That’s an important lesson in and of itself for all of us – because all of us experience stress in our lives. Research has shown that some stress is good for us: it helps us perform at optimal levels. Too much stress, however, can have serious psychological and physiological repercussions.

Since we can’t necessarily avoid most stress – especially in our work environments – it’s to our benefit to learn how to deal with it, and learn from the examples of those who are already successful.

According to surveys and other research, successful people have some strategies in common when it comes to managing stress.

It may sound a little Oprah to you, but developing a gratitude practice is a psychologically proven way to reduce stress and maintain a more positive outlook on life. When you have a more positive outlook (and less of the stress hormone cortisol) you are happier and more productive, too.

Easier said than done? Sometimes. But successful people tend to be those who see opportunities for growth masquerading as failure, and who look for the lessons learned when something goes awry, instead of wallowing in what could’ve/should’ve been. Maintaining a positive outlook. It’s a popular and proven stress management tool. If affirmations aren’t exactly your thing, try reframing negative thoughts. If you find yourself dwelling on something negative, try adding, “But what I can learn from this is.” Even just noticing that you’re stuck in a negative thought can help you move away from it.

No one is perfect. Not even the most successful people on the planet are perfect – and they would almost certainly tell you the same. Richard Branson, for example, has had some well known failures in his time, yet has always been blunt about his belief that you fail quickly, fail big, learn from it, and move on. Many of us worship the cult of perfection, but letting it go may release us from a heavy burden of undue stress.

Successful people often have the presence of mind to realize that they must care for their most important asset -themselves – in order to continue to be successful. They prioritize healthy habits like getting enough sleep, limiting caffeine and alcohol, getting proper exercise, and switching off from technology periodically. Being overly tired, hopped up on chemicals (like caffeine and alcohol) and constantly monitoring our digital lives puts our adrenal glands into overdrive, and our stress levels through the roof. A truly successful person will strive to find balance to help moderate his stress.

One major cause of stress is the number of decisions we have to make in a day. Every decision from whether to have the sandwich or the salad all the way up to hiring and firing decisions weighs on us and causes us stress. Relying on simple routines like having the same lunch every day, answering emails at the same time, or even simplifying your wardrobe can help save your stress and sanity for the bigger decisions that really matter. President Obama (who undoubtedly knows a great deal about stress) mentioned this in an interview with Vanity Fair:

“You need to remove from your life the day-to-day problems that absorb most people for meaningful parts of their day. You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”

Finally, successful people are able to keep the bigger picture in view, rather than focusing on minutiae. This is about focusing more on the “why” behind what you do than the “how.” For example, you might feel yourself getting stressed out about the fact that you have to work out every day for an hour (the how), but if you focus on the reason you want to work out – to be healthy and live longer – you may find the actual task less stressful.

I hope you find these strategies useful. As always, I am keen to understand how do you manage stress in your life? I’d love to learn your most successful stress-busters in the comments below.


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