Category Archives: Change Management and Leadership

Keeping Fit While Traveling this Holiday Season

Over the passed several years, family and friends have made a number of suggestions around health and fitness that have made their way into my travel repertoire. Some have worked and others are perhaps more work for the gains based on my business travel schedule. While I have done well to keep the doctors complaining about my numbers, I also seem to have more energy and focus in my day to day activities. Whether you are traveling on business or home for the holidays these five tips will help you cope and enjoy your travel with renewed vitality.


1. Eat Deliberately.

We all have different bodies and those bodies – hate to tell you, Dear Reader – change over time. Which means those carbs (also sugars) we put away in our 20s have to be very well managed. Favor “greens and pro-teins” if over 40 and watch high cholesterol foods with high cream and egg yolk content. If you can swing being gluten-free (or even “gluten selective”) try it. That combined with limiting red meat to once or twice a week mean less blood flow to your digestive tract and more to your muscles including your heart (and your brain).

2. Eat Oatmeal for Breakfast.

The corollary to eating deliberately is to eat oatmeal for breakfast as often as possible. My friend is in his 70s and still hikes with the teenagers and keeps fit by this secret weapon. Oatmeal has the effect of non-gluten carbs for energy and positive cholesterol impacts for the heart. Add nuts or granola for a protein boost.

3. Get at Least 6-7 Hours of Sleep Each Night.

Executives across industries have become increasingly vocal in the need for sleep. Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer apologized for falling asleep during a meeting, giving off a less than professional appearance to her guests and colleagues. Whether you are traveling with the kids or overseas (or particularly both) get your shut eye. As a fallback take a nap but make sure it is real sleep and not just dozing to get precious REM time.

[Sub-corollary: If you don’t sleep, you need to eat.  Our bodies can adjust if you need to pull that all-nighter or you can’t sleep across the pond, just take a fourth meal at midnight.  Then get your nap the following day.]

4. Exercise at least 20-30 minutes at least three times a week.

As a distance runner I can throw all of the diet rules out the window when I am burning 3,000 to 5,000 calories a day. In the off-season (as around the holidays) I need to make sure that I can still exercise at more modest levels. Treadmill runs, hotel pool lap swims, yoga, or even brisk walks help keep the blood moving, increase circulation, and promotes high metabolism. The result: generally more energy for work and recreation.

5. Skip the Red-eye Flights

Bargain hunting for flight fares – which appear to be quite high relative to recent years – during the holidays is common practice. You take what you can get at the best fare to get to Grandma’s house in time for dinner. However early morning and late flights without significant time changes can really mess with your body clock and impacts both sleep and diet cycles (see above). If you can afford to do so, travel during normal waking cycles based on your outbound departure time. You will enjoy your travel experience and your family will too.


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Filed under Change Management and Leadership, Millennial Worker Shift

If I Were 22 – Three Things I would Tell My Younger Self (Who Might not Listen)

As a LinkedIn influencer I was asked to write on the topic of If I Were 22, some words I might share with my younger self and things I was doing at that time.  This was a great exercise to bridge multi-generations of readers.  Follow all blogs on LinkedIn and Twitter at #IfIWere22.  Thanks for reading.

A lot has happened since I was 22 but I remember those and the immediate years afterwards with fondness. Graduating college. The first job. Living on my own out of school and moving to my own apartment. Water skiing the summers on Lake Havasu. Those crazy super bowl parties (it’s on during the afternoon usually on the Pacific coast). Volleyball each weekend in Hermosa Beach. Think the B-52s song “Deadbeat Club” – I lived that song each weekend replete with the 25c beers at the Poopdeck. Looking back on it now I lived a great dream.

If I did know what I knew now back then I would probably offer some kind advice to the young man I once was (knowing full well my younger self may opt not to listen to my advice). Here are the top three. Since my advice would have been good enough for my younger self I do try to offer it to my own grown children (and do my best to lead by example, albeit not always successfully).

To read my top three list, visit my LinkedIn post.  Photo courtesy of Zeta Psi North America.

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June 2, 2014 · 2:06 pm

Why Customer Engagement Matters – Customer Dynamics and Business Judo

My briefing on The Customer Edge with host Butch Stearns and colleague Matt Healey from Technology Business Research provided the post-game interview with SAP Insider CRM 2014 conference.  Some highlights may also be found in my LinkedIn post this week, including some thoughts around generational shifts around social marketing expectations and the business judo that needs to happen to give the power of the brand back to the customer.


Click on the photo to go to the briefing or select this link


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Filed under Big Data, Business Analytics, Change Management and Leadership, Cloud Computing, Digital Content Strategy, Innovation, Marketing and Social Business, Millennial Worker Shift, Mobile Society, Operations, Strategy, Technology

Changing Intended Human Behavior, and Liking It

More on my coverage of convergence forces, recently I interviewed a number of customers and executives at the SAP CRM 2014 conference in Las Vegas.  One of the big topics was the focus of location-based services, social, and predictive analytics to offer real-time perks to consumers who have opted-in for such deals.

I’m walking through the park with my wife and I receive a notification on my smart phone.  Because my wife and I enjoy a particular film festival, an offer comes to us for a free ticket with one purchase to an event happening in a nearby venue.  When we finish a lovely movie experience, we receive additional offers for a bite of dinner from three local establishments which we have frequented in the past.  We have taken a leisurely stroll in the park and extended this into a full day of entertainment and relaxation.

Science fiction? Hardly, as we saw this week at the SAP Insider CRM 2014 conference in Las Vegas the citizens of Montreal can live this experience every day with the use of the Societe du Transport Montreal (STM) application.  This location-based customer engagement mobile app identifies where the citizen is, how they can route from point to point inside the city’s transit system, and offer perks and offers along the way by participating establishments which the citizen may or may not already have a customer history with.

This was just one of several customer engagement (CE) scenarios that were discussed with applications across a wide range of product and service industries from public sector, to telecommunications, to discrete manufacturers. Unlike other location based services apps driven by big data where data privacy issues surrounding dynamic pricing my create societal concerns, this fully opt-in community-based approach works.

I am posting the STM promotional video here as well.  For my full report on findings from CRM 2014 check out my blog on the SAP Community Network (login required for comment).

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Filed under Change Management and Leadership, Digital Content Strategy, Enterprise Performance Management, Innovation, Marketing and Social Business, Millennial Worker Shift, Strategy

Coffee Break with Game Changers 2014 Predictions Pt 3 – More on Convergence Forces

The popular internet radio talk show program hosted by Bonnie D. Graham returns for its third full season of predictions and trends which will impact business and technology. What will be the disruptive factors in the market in 20-14? I joined Bonnie and the panel during the fourth segment around 56:00 with my take on “convergence forces” to beg the question “can you fish in a tsunami?”


My opening statement – besides my annual holiday Irish Cream recipe which you can find elsewhere on my blog – is summarized below. You can also find more on this blog and on my SCN page.

One of the big news stories in strategy, innovation and tech circles is the growth and convergence of four key trends from the past two years. These trends – social networking, mobile computing, cloud applications and big data – are not new.  In fact our firm covered these extensively in 2012 and continue to advise clients on how to leverage these trends strategically, both individually and collectively. What is occurring now as we move into 2014 is the cumulative effect of these trends into force directions of their own.  These so-called convergence forces – or what Gartner Group calls nexus of forces (NOF) – have a tendency to amplify and extend innovation in new and more powerful directions, much like strong winds, lunar position, and seismic disturbances can affect the behavior of ocean tides.  To put it another way, you might be able to plan to fish based on high tide but planning to fish during a tsunami is, well, a bit more complicated.

You can plan to fish in a high tide but fishing in a tsunami is a bit more complicated.


Filed under Big Data, Business Analytics, Change Management and Leadership, Cloud Computing, Cloud Readiness, Digital Content Strategy, Information Technology, Innovation, Marketing and Social Business, Millennial Worker Shift, Mobile Society, Operations, Strategy, Technology

SAP NetWeaver Gateway PAM – A New Productive Approach for Microsoft Users

I was happy to participate at the recent SAP TechEd US in the product roll-out of the new  SAP NetWeaver Gateway Productivity Accelerator for Microsoft, or SAP Gateway PAM.  What is SAP Gateway PAM and why is it important?  From a forthcoming white paper, some specific background:

Today’s labor force is different. Knowledge workers demand easy and transparent access to critical business information in order  to complete their jobs. As such, line of business owners must take responsibility for their own employee retention. Business users, particularly the Millennial workers (generally considered those born between 1979 through 1999) who are making up more and more of the workforce, grew up learning how to play and fun was part of their learning pedagogy and educational upbringing.  So line of business owners need to make work fun and easy and for this IT must be in partnership with the business.  Whether it is via on-premise , on the cloud or mobile applications, business information must be quick and easy to access in order  to complete day to day operational tasks, and done so in a secure, easy to maintain manner across the entire enterprise software landscape.

Knowledge workers also have a tendency to prefer to work in teams rather than alone. As such, performance management systems which place much of the emphasis on independent contributions will give way to more team-based and group performance approaches.  Despite these trends, research has shown that line of business owners have a “hazy understanding” of what is needed to address this shift in worker business practices. This “lack of clarity” on the part of line of business owners is partly because knowledge work involves more diverse tasks than does production or clerical work which can be procedural and repetitive.

Since knowledge workers spend half their time on interactions, research suggests that companies should first explore the productivity barriers that impede these interactions. Common barriers may include lack of clearly defined expectations and outcomes, competing information sources for executing work tasks, and basic information accessibility issues.  The work environment itself may pose a barrier, whereby overly structured processes and systems deter knowledge workers executing tasks in team-based environments.

With this shift in worker behavior, performance metrics are hard to come by in knowledge work, making it challenging to assess how effective particular individual knowledge workers may or may not be against poorly defined goals and objectives.  Against this backdrop, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many companies settle for “scattershot investments” in staff development and corresponding IT systems and processes rather than to consider a cohesive environment that clearly supports knowledge worker behavior.

In recent years, many companies and research firms have taken a hard look at the need to increase accessibility of critical business information that exists in SAP Business Suite solutions and SAP data structures like HANA and BI across lines of business and functions in its many customer organizations.  By studying the demand for information  and the use modes of that information, SAP has determined that there is a “gap” between the accessibility and the use of business critical information.  In an ideal situation, all workers should be directly connected to the SAP back system to access information directly and quickly in order to execute processes efficiently. However for the majority of SAP customers only 25% percent of the business users are directly working on the SAP systems.  Given that over 400 million users access Microsoft email services and 1 billion Microsoft Office licenses currently exist worldwide, it is easy to see how a typical SAP customer would have business access to Microsoft based productivity like Microsoft Office, Microsoft Project, and Microsoft Excel.  In addition, these business users are increasing their day to day consumption of business critical information via mobile channels, with more and more information consumed via smart phones and other mobile devices.SAP believes that by 2018 over 50% of business users will access SAP business critical information via non-native user interface (UI) modes, further increasing the need for broad integration between SAP Business Suite and Microsoft environments.

In response to this need, SAP has developed a solution that provides an extended set of tools and connectors to easily create bi-directional communication between the SAP Business Suite stack and Microsoft platforms in a secure, development friendly approach.  Called SAP NetWeaver Gateway productivity accelerator for Microsoft (NetWeaver Gateway PAM), this new platform builds on the recent design improvements of the overall NetWeaver release with additional pre-configured extensions specifically for use in Microsoft application environments.  Using .Net programming options via its Design Studio and open data (OData) protocols, developers already familiar with the Microsoft stack will be able to quickly develop new and enhance existing extensions from SAP Business Suite applications directly into Microsoft user environments via Gateway PAM.  As such SAP NetWeaver Gateway productivity accelerator for Microsot becomes a single, unified and fully secured platform to bring the SAP and Microsoft environments  together in the lowest integration cost model developed to date.

SAP NetWeaver Gateway Productivity Accelerator for Microsoft (SAP Gateway PAM) allows for easy integration for Microsoft productivity tools such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Project and Microsoft Visio.  Through the use of pre-configured extensions into these applications, workers connect to critical business information stored in SAP Business Suite solutions in a low-cost, highly transparent manner.

Ning-Jing Gao from the SAP Information Worker Unit interviewed me on the SAP Technology channel after I had an opportunity to review the release materials. Watch the full YouTube interview, below.  This is a next big step towards seamless UI and data integration between SAP Business Suite and Microsoft productivity applications.

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Filed under Information Technology, Millennial Worker Shift, Technology

Cyborg Cockroach Sparks Ethics Debate

I was interviewed by Emily Underwood for her recent article in Science Magazine on the “Robo Roach” by Backyard Brains, the world’s first commercially available cyborg.  I was able to test drive Robo Roach 12 at the recent TEDxDetroit show.

This concept is based on some of the same neuroscience that is used for treating Parkinson’s patients with the new “pacemaker” stimulation approach.  I have two family friends both in their first three months with a new neural pacemaker and while the effects vary between the two and across all patients who have the procedure, both have experienced a market improvement in their quality of life.

Here is the YouTube video showing how the cyborg is controlled by an iPhone app:

Thanks to Emily for her interest in this technology and the ongoing ethics debate.  What do you think, weird science or freaky cool?

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October 24, 2013 · 7:39 pm