Tag Archives: Pitfalls

The Dramatic Downfall of Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn Shows 3 Pitfalls All Leaders Should Avoid
January 10, 2019 12:13 pm|Comments (0)

Why would somebody who had achieved so much risk everything by flaunting the rules?

Unfortunately, Ghosn is just the latest case of poor decision-making in the C-suite that has gone unchecked. Another recent example is Elon Musk, an incredible visionary who consolidated power as chairman and CEO of Tesla, then was forced to give up his chairman role after making inappropriate social media posts about taking the company private.

There is a lesson here: Passion and vision are vital to success in business, but they are not everything. There is a reason that barely half of all companies in the S&P 500 Index combine the roles of chair and CEO in one person. Absolute power corrupts.

That’s why, rather than insulating themselves from balancing influences, smart leaders build support systems that minimize their weaknesses and help them avoid falling prey to corrupting influences.

If you aspire to be a top leader in your field, here’s how you can follow that path of success.

Build a team of rivals.

One of the biggest mistakes powerful people can make is to surround themselves with colleagues who create an echo chamber, rather than with people who question ideas and push them to improve. Steve Jobs wanted to be challenged by Apple’s best and brightest; he said that when team members debate, “they polish each other, and they polish the ideas.

Jobs believed that team members needed to get comfortable with conflict to drive each other to do better. And, he was right. Building a culture of productive conflict keeps leaders sharp. The best team will take your strong ideas further and rein you in when you are headed in the wrong direction. If you build a team of enablers who support your every move, you will begin to think you are infallible. In mild cases, that mindset can inhibit growth; in cases like Ghosn’s, it can derail careers and tarnish legacies.

Think candidly about the people around you. Do they feel empowered to challenge you and polish your ideas? Have you done enough to promote productive conflict on your leadership team? The answer to those questions will determine the health of your organization.

Hire people who complement your weaknesses.

The best leaders are self-aware enough to know their own weaknesses and to gravitate toward people who minimize those shortcomings. Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and President Frank Wells built a brilliant partnership because they complemented each other perfectly: Eisner was the visionary strategist, and Wells was the practical executor. Together they transformed the entertainment industry.

People are often drawn to those who are similar to them, but it is vital to widen your perspective. Colleagues with different backgrounds and skill sets can remind you of consequences you have not considered and provide viewpoints or ideas that might tip the scales in taking your business from good to great.

Establish clear governance.

Though it is less visible, a company’s governance can be just as important as its culture and vision. Make sure to have a strong legal team and consult with auditors to keep your business compliant with the highest standards. You should be following best practices long before anyone starts watching.

It can be easy to lose sight of governance, especially when pursuing exponential growth. Leaders have a responsibility to set the example. If employees see their supervisors treating governance as a low priority, they will be more prone to misconduct. What you permit is what you promote.

Remember that the consequences for ignoring governance can affect companies on a grand scale. Already, Ghosn’s behavior at Nissan has created tension in the valuable partnership between Nissan and Renault, an issue that could ultimately damage both companies.  

One of the challenges of success is that each accomplishment brings new problems to solve. It is all too common for highly successful people to think that they are infallible, that they are the smartest person in every room, and that the rules do not apply to them. Leaders owe it to themselves and their organizations to erect structures to guard against these pitfalls.

Do not fall prey to the corrupting influence of power. Surround yourself with people who challenge you to improve; hire employees who minimize your weaknesses; and remember the principles that govern your organization and keep your business honest. No matter what leaders achieve, they must continue to set an example for others to follow.

Tech

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How To Overcome The Most Common App Pitfalls
January 13, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

Have you considered starting a mobile app? Or does your company already have one in progress? There are thousands of successful mobile apps on the market, but tens of thousands of failed starts to balance them out. Building a mobile app isn’t a get-rich-quick-scheme; instead, it’s a trial by fire that only a small percentage of candidates survive.

Survival and Failure

Of all paid apps, about 90 percent are downloaded less than 500 times per day, earning less than $ 1,250 per day. Considering the high upkeep costs of applications, that can hardly be considered a success.

In the words of Shmuel Aber, “with over a million apps on the market, consumers have lots of choices, and they won’t download or pay for your app unless you’re truly exceptional. There are a lot of moving parts to the average consumer’s decision, so you need an in-depth understanding of the market if you want to survive.”

So what are the main reasons most mobile apps fail?

Main Reasons

These are some of the most influential factors driving mobile app death:

1. Improper audience targeting. According to Andrew Daniels, “Apps will often fail because they’re not meeting the needs of the target audience or because they’ve not researched simple things like the most used devices of the target audience. If your customers are predominantly Android users and your app is only on iOS or vice versa, you have an immediate problem. We also sometimes have businesses come to us with an idea for an application concept, but no real data suggesting whether the market needs or wants it or whether anything like it is already available.” You need to define your target audience, and be sure they’re going to use and enjoy your app. Research is your greatest asset here.

2. Poor user interfaces. According to Britt Armour, “There are a lot of components involved in building an app that offers a great user experience, but at the basest level, your app needs to be intuitive. If a user struggles to perform basic functions on your app and can’t figure out core functionalities easily, the result is very poor usability.” Your app design should make the app so approachable, even a novice could figure it out.

3. High levels of competition. The app market is saturated, so even if you have an original idea, you’ll likely face significant competition from at least two or three other companies. If you’re caught unprepared by a dominant competitor, you might not be able to survive. You can gain an advantage by reducing your prices, offering better functionality, or avoiding competition entirely by focusing on a different niche.

4. A lack of a marketing strategy. In the words of Juned Ahmed, “These days, by building a great app you have just done half the work. Until you market the app and make it discoverable to the audience, the whole effort will not get its due. Many mobile apps do not make enough to sustain as a business principally because of a poor or half-hearted marketing strategy. Just writing a great App Store description is not enough.” Make sure you work with a professional and diversify your tactics.

5. No brand consistency. Without a consistent brand, you’ll struggle to increase your customer retention. You’ll need to start with solid brand guidelines outlining the character, image, and voice of your company, and make sure those standards are enforced on all platforms.

6. Lackluster support and follow-up. If a user has an issue with the app, who are they going to turn to? If you don’t offer solid customer service, or follow up with your customers to make sure they’re having a good experience, your app could fail. Fortunately, this is one problem that doesn’t take much investment to solve; just listen to your customers and give them what they’re asking for.

7. A poor monetization strategy. There are many ways to monetize an app, whether it’s through a paid download, paid extra content, or displayed ads. If you choose the wrong strategy, or implement it inefficiently, you might cut your revenue stream in half. Look to your competitors, and don’t be too greedy with your profits initially, or you could scare away potential customers.

8. No plan to scale. In the words of Artem Petrov, “Mobile app development failures aren’t something the top players on the market have no idea about. The successful developers gather data, make well-informed decisions and adapt their apps, while others just wait for downloads… and fail.” If you want to be successful long-term, you need some plan to improve your app over time, and grow your user base. If you stand still for too long, a competitor will easily be able to improve upon what you’ve built, and poach your users away from you. Keep your app updated, and aim to keep expanding.

It’s certainly possible to make a mobile app successful, even in a market as diverse and competitive as this one. But if you’re going to survive, you first need to learn from the failures of the untold thousands of apps that came before you. Do your research, plan everything you can, and tread carefully, especially in your first few months of operation.

Tech

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