Archive 2013

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It can be all too easy for leaders to settle into familiar patterns and habits over the years. But if you haven’t looked up from your hectic schedule and evaluated areas where you could stand to improve, you might be stuck in a leadership rut. So even if you’re wary of personal New Year’s resolutions, consider entering 2014 with a focus on leadership resolutions that can strengthen your entire organization.

Refine Your Leadership Focus in 2014

Forbes shares four common pain points that leaders often struggle with: becoming more thoughtful, focusing on employee benefits, transforming talent recruitment and investing in continuing education. These measures not only address frequently overlooked areas, but they directly drive improvements in employee satisfaction and retention rates, which can, in turn, fuel organizational stability and long-term success. To learn more about these four leadership resolutions, read the full article here

How many meetings leave you feeling as if nothing was achieved? The meeting did not achieve its purpose; the people who attended did not meet their goals. In essence, it was just a time-wasting conversation and you would have rather been at your desk, answering the pile-up of emails and tending to your work.

If you find yourself trapped in the hamster wheel of hapless meetings, you’ll empathize with Jason Fried’s TED talk, Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work. He discusses the time wasted at meetings that don’t move projects along and that serve only to prevent people from working.

Murphy proposes Workflow 
Management as an alternative to traditional meetings

Given that such meetings are the traditional course of business, how do you get out of the rut and find a more effective vehicle for communication and project development? Turn to Martin Murphy’s book No More Pointless Meetings.

Murphy proposes a technique called Workflow Management. First, managers assign a facilitator to run meetings. Facilitators choreograph workflow sessions to assure that the group is collaborative, productive and efficient. The impartial facilitators assume responsibility only for process – not the meeting’s content. They do not join in the discussion, instead, they use separate content (the focus and purpose of the meeting) from process (the logistics of the meeting: place, seating layout, tone, energy level, numbers and types of attendees). Surprisingly, Murphy suggests that meetings are more effective when a junior ranking member officiates.

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What is the Cognitive Surplus?

Clay Shirky author of the business book “Cognitive Surplus: creativity and generosity in a connected age” and of the Ted Talk “How Cognitive Surplus will change the world” coined the term “Cognitive Surplus” to “describe the free time that people have…to engage in collaborative activities” particularly online. People worldwide are allocating their free time to connecting with each other instead of passively watching TV alone. Fueled by enthusiasm and passion, they are using their creative energy outside of work to fulfill social goals, not economic ones.

Clay Shirky - Every year there are a trillion hours of participatory value up for grabs

Clay Shirky a Technology Optimist

Shirky, a social media theorist and technology optimist, sees Cognitive Surplus as part of a positive evolution. “Now, we have technology that allows us to create, not just consume,” he says, urging former couch potatoes to take advantage of new opportunities to make a difference. “The wiring of humanity lets us treat free time as a shared global resource, and lets us design new kinds of participation and sharing that take advantage of that resource.” This new resource means that “every year there are a trillion hours of participatory value up for grabs.”

Cognitive Surplus Erring on the Side of New Technology

The trend toward online collaboration is emerging as the Internet shifts from “old technology“ to “new technology.” Old technology locked users within specific systems, while new technology embraces openness and chaos. As it matures, it lets its users develop their own rules and protocols. New technology is very effective at coordinating people with different skill sets and competencies in many different places. The Internet now lets individuals pool their Cognitive Surplus to accomplish major goals at minimal cost in a variety of areas, including software development, content creation, art, design, entertainment, crisis management, and much more.

Shirky: the gap between doing nothing and doing something often provides the freedom to experiment with the creation of junk

Cognitive Surplus’ First Step: Participation

Even though Cognitive Surplus has social ramifications, it doesn’t always focus on making the world a better place. Even the LOL Cats Shirky says represents a joint effort. “Even the stupidest collaboration still shows that they’ve tried something.” It’s all part of a selection and learning process, wherein “the gap between doing nothing and doing something often provides the freedom to experiment with the creation of junk.” Individual motives don’t always have to be noble. LOL Cats are just a stepping stone to better things. He likens LOL Cats to the events that followed the invention of the printing press, when erotic novels got published before scientific journals. So, don’t worry if your kids are addicted to LOL cats; in the grand scheme of things, it is for the greater good.

Cognitive Surplus: How Sharing and Collaborating Accelerate Innovation

If you are looking for a solution to a problem, chances are that someone has already found it and might already be sharing it with the rest of the world. You might even be able to access an online tutorial detailing the steps to follow to implement that solution. And, if no one has looked for a solution yet, a community of experts awaits on line to research your problem for you. People online constantly ask, “How do I do this?” or “Is this possible?” Those who freely share their solutions are fueling a virtuous circle of improvements and building in an accumulation of knowledge.

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You have already started a blog with the intent of making it your job. You provide relevant information and views on important topics. You blog frequently and people are returning to your site for information or entertainment. Your blog entries now rank in Search Engines and drive new visitors to your website. You can measure the results of your efforts with your blog’s PageRank and Domain Authority. Personally, you are well on your way to establishing yourself as a thought leader in your “community” or industry. In short, you have found your niche. You have successfully launched your own blog. So what’s the problem? Well, you can’t make a living with it, at least, not yet.

Eight Tips that Will Help You Monetize Your Blog

So, how do you monetize your blog, the traffic it draws and your blogging skills? How do earn money from your blog without compromising its content or your integrity? Charlie White and John Biggs, authors of “Blogger Boot Camp: Learning How to Build, Write, and Run a Successful Blog” – offer some valuable insights that inspired the following tips:

1. Skip the Donate Button and Try Selling Merchandise Instead

The donate button is popular among bloggers whose site’s traffic volume is not sufficient to be monetized any other ways. PayPal, the most commonly utilized service for this purpose, may have been overused. Donations work only if your blog is connected to a charity or a worthy cause. Without that strong connection, asking for donations does not work. The online audience has gotten tired of seeing buttons that say “buy me a beer” or coffee, and that killed the random personal donation button.

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getAbstract, in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), was proud to attend The Buttonwood Gathering 2013 and officially launched its newest product – getAbstract Compressed Finance.

One of the world’s most prestigious financial conferences, The Buttonwood Gathering brings together leaders in economics, finance, government and business. Thought leaders such as Alan Greenspan, Mohamed El-Erian and Robert Shiller discuss important developments surrounding global finance. The conference marked the perfect occasion for us to introduce this exciting new offering, in part because the getAbstract team began their initial stages of development for the product just one year ago at The Buttonwood Gathering 2012.

Thomas Bergen at The Buttonwood Gathering announces the launch of Compressed Finance
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Providing answers to today’s financial market challenges.

New York, NY, October 29, 2013: At today’s Buttonwood Conference, getAbstract AG and The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) unveiled Compressed Finance, a new mobile knowledge platform that aims to curate and compress the world’s most salient economic reports and outlooks, as well as country and industry profiles.

The increasing complexity of today’s global economy makes access to the right information essential for finance experts who need to make intelligent decisions. However, these leaders are often confronted with information overload and time constraints.

Compressed Finance: economic reports, ecomomic outlook and industry forectasts

Drawing on its 15 years’ experience as a leader in the compressed knowledge field, getAbstract fills business professionals’ need for current and accessible financial and economic knowledge. Working together to create Compressed Finance, getAbstract and The EIU curate the most relevant content from renowned institutions – such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Economic Forum, the Brookings Institute, the European Central Bank, and many more. getAbstract then compresses the information into concise two- or five-page summaries, which customers can access online via their PCs and mobile devices (Android, iPhone/iPad, Blackberry). The new Compressed Finance platform is available to subscribers on

Thomas Bergen, CEO of getAbstract AG says, “Providing managers worldwide with relevant and easy-to-access business knowledge has been getAbstract’s goal since its foundation 15 years ago. In the aftermath of the recent economic crisis, partnering with The Economist Intelligence Unit to provide decision makers with compressed financial reports, outlooks and profiles from experts was the next logical step and an excellent addition to our growing library of compressed business.”

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“If what you desire is a robotic, static thinker – train them. If you’re seeking innovative, critical thinkers – develop them” (

Why do corporations invest in Leadership Development Programs?

Organizations implement leadership programs to expand their employees’ competencies, skills and abilities to execute current and future business objectives. A development program should teach leaders to drive performance effectively and to help their teams excel.

Five Levels of Measurement for Evaluating a Leadership Development Program

Your corporate goal is to build a pool of talented people who can lead your workforce and who can generate business improvement, innovation and profits.

Great leaders gain a lot of their knowledge by accumulating years of experience, but good organizations accelerate their leaders’ professional growth by investing in programs that develop their skills. Of course, human resource senior managers need to know how to plan their companies’ leadership development efforts and how to measure, track and evaluate how well each programming investment meets its goals.

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In his book “Give and Take,” author Adam Grant makes the case that most successful people are Givers. He warns, however, that “knowing how to build on ‘the strength of giving won’t necessarily ensure success,” and provides techniques so that Givers can prosper without negatively impacting themselves. His underlying assumption is that Givers seek opportunities to help others unselfishly create meaning at work and in their life. They find satisfaction and recognition by sharing information and their expertise with their network. Their Archilles’ heel is their trusting nature, which exposes them.

What can individuals and corporations do to foster a culture of giving? What are five ways Givers can prosper while protecting themselves from issues such as disappointment and burnout?

5 Ways Givers Prosper

1. Identify and Avoid Takers: Promote a Giving Environment.

Givers and corporations need to protect themselves from Takers. Takers have a disastrous impact on teamwork and collaboration. As Adam Grant explains, “Takers are fakers.” Takers communicate by dominating others. Typically, they want all the credit for someone else’s work or ideas. While their communication style, lack of openness and curiosity is not conducive to creativity or innovation, perhaps most damaging of all is that they deter others from contributing or sharing information by spoiling the reason why Givers decide to participate in the first place.

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What if the key to individual success was making the world a better place and helping others? What if the secret to success is “givers prosper?”

As Zig Ziglar wrote, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Adam Grant also sees a connection between success and being a Giver. His book, “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success,” divides the world into Givers, Takers and Matchers. He shows that Takers and Matchers end up in the middle of the income ladder, while Givers hold the top and bottom ranks. So, what are the attributes of Givers, Takers and Matchers? What separates top-ranked Givers from unsuccessful, bottom-ranked Givers?

Giving, Matching, Taking and How Each Affects Success

Are You a Giver, a Taker or a Matcher?

Givers, Takers and Matchers share certain characteristics, as Grant shows. They differ most in their communication style and how they interact with others. Givers encourage creativity and excellence, and offer help with no strings attached. However, they are not completely selfless dreamers. Successful Givers protect themselves from burnout and help others while still pursuing their own goals. They are prudent with their time and energy.

Givers’ unselfish ways earns respect and admiration. Their method of communication is “powerless.” They don’t assert their power or dominate others, but instead they gain influence by their behavior, which includes demonstrating vulnerability, sharing, listening, and showing interest and curiosity in others. A Giver validates other people so they open up without feeling manipulated or coerced.

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Today, a blog is an essential marketing tool for promoting yourself or your business. A successful blog can drive awareness of — and traffic to — a company’s website by leveraging SEO (search engine optimization), which generates more organic traffic and increases visibility. A compelling blog is integral to positioning your brand, product or services; establishing customer relationships; driving new sales; and retaining existing clients. Combined, these positive results lead to more revenue..

The Top 3 Attributes of a Successful Blog

Increasingly, people seek blogs as the go-to source for easy-to-consume information. As a consequence, your audience members are learning more from blogs — and making more decisions based on the information they gather from blogs. You can make your blog into a fantastic vehicle for establishing your niche within your (or your company’s) industry and for solving your readers’ problems.

Twitter can be a valuable tool for gathering up-to-the-minute collective intelligence and ideas from experts, leaders and conceptualizers. Indeed, the social media platform has changed enormously how we collect and collate information by directly connecting us to the innovators and industry leaders of our day. Our personal commentary on news, insights and trends is thereby not only reliable but immediate and efficient, too. Indeed, one of Twitter’s leading benefits—over any other social media platform currently available to us—is that it enables us, both as business people and individuals, to network with—and learn from—others.

The Top 10 Businesss Leaders to Follow on Twitter

Indeed “business leaders who truly embrace the concept of sharing and helping are worth following,” says Peter Shankman, who is globally recognized for his alternative thinking regarding marketing and social media, and features on our list of top 10 business leaders to follow on Twitter. “They’re few and far between,” he continues, “but the ones who understand that there’s tremendous benefit in sharing their knowledge, not only for the good of all mankind, but financially and revenue-wise as well, they’re the smart ones, they’re the ones worth following and retweeting.”

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You don’t have to be an advertising executive to see how things have changed in the world of advertising and marketing. In his book, Uprising: How to Build a Brand and Change the World by Sparking Cultural Movements, author Scott Goodson explains how marketing and advertising have evolved from crassly hawking wares to consciously promoting a social movement. Goodson explains the difference: “Companies and brands must learn to stop talking about themselves and to join in a conversation that is about anything and everything but their product.” Goodson describes the importance of attracting attention without being obvious or manipulative: “There’s a fine line between associating with a rising idea and trying to co-opt it or turn it into a banal sales pitch.”

What is Movement Marketing

From 25 years of industry experience, Goodson crafted the concept of “Movement Marketing” as a new way to build a brand. As the founder of marketing and advertising agency StrawberryFrog with offices in New York, Amsterdam and Sao Paulo, Goodson has started his very own movement. He has been a guest speaker at Cambridge University, Columbia Business School, and recently spoke at a TEDx event with the theme, “Mass Movement Mania.” In addition to writing a column for Forbes, Goodson passionately sets out to help businesses and industries engage with movement marketing by speaking at business and marketing conferences around the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Do you cheat and lie, and yet still think you’re a good person? If so, you’re in good company. But, if you’re a business owner, a cheating or lying employee isn’t good for your company. Apparently, deception has become so common that the threat of getting caught doesn’t even factor into whether or not a person will cheat or lie.

Best Ways To Prevent Lying And Cheating In Your Company

The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty author Dan Ariely uses personal examples from his life to explain why people cheat. Ariely, a Duke University Psychology and Behavioral Economics Professor describes how he once exaggerated an ailment in order to obtain a wheelchair that would enable him to skip a long line at an airport. In his book, he describes how his lie was so effective that he himself became indignant about the airport’s inept treatment of his condition.

People think that Hip Hop artists get their inspiration from life on the street or from experience in the inner city. That might be true. But they also find inspiration in books. Robert Greene’s first book, “48 Laws of Power” published in 1998, sold more than a million copies and critics have called it cunning, crafty, amoral and awe-inspiring. In spite its controversial content, it could qualify as one of the most influential business books of all times. It has captured the imagination of the lot of famous people including rap artists and athletes.

D.J. Premier Reputation is the cornerstone of power tattoo from  48 Laws of Power

“48 Laws of Power” Inspires Lyrics, Tattoo and Much More

  • • Ludacris has mentioned that the “48 Laws of Power” influenced him.
  • • D.J. Premier had the 5th law, “Reputation is the cornerstone of power,” tattooed on his right forearm.
  • • Kanye West and Jay Z cite the book on their album, “Watch the Throne” a collection about opulence, fame, materialism, power, and the burdens of success released in August 2011. Their song “Prime Time,” includes lyrics saying, “At 42, be better than 24s mastered 48 laws.”
  • • Drake’s lyrics in “What I’m Thinkin’ Right Now,” include, “So read ‘48 Laws’ if you never read it, because that is one of the main reasons I’m level-headed.”
  • • Busta Rhymes drew inspiration from the “48 Laws of Power” to deal with a problematic movie producer.
  • • 50 Cent loved the “48 laws of power” so much that he teamed up with Greene to write “The 50th Law” based on the concept of fearing nothing.

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The award ceremony takes place at 4 p.m on October 9, 2013, in the “Lesezelt” at Frankfurt Book Fair

Lucerne, Switzerland – July 29, 2013. Have we learned from the financial crisis? Can business repair the economic damage the crisis inflicted? Can we predict the future? The best authors dare to ask big questions. They research, analyze and scrutinize. They provide us with food for thought – and in the best cases, it’s a feast.

getAbstract is proud to present the getAbstract International Book Award to the best business books of 2013 This year, getAbstract assessed more than 10,000 English and German business books in the fields of leadership and management, strategy, sales and marketing, human resources, economics and politics, finance, and career development, and we have selected 10 finalists.

International Book Award nominees: Philipp Mirowski, John Wiley & Sons, Nate Silver, Jared Diamond, Andrew Blum Read the rest of this entry »