3 Levers To Drive Accountability, The 7 Eternal Truths Of Entrepreneurship & Zoom Kicks Two Own Goals
13 August 2023 Newsletter
“Knowledge is like knowing the names of all the streets in a city. Wisdom is knowing how to get from one place to another.” – John Holt
Hope you’re Thriving!
It’s been a productive week with meetings, quarterly planning workshops, and a speaking event.
Let’s do this.
The 7 Eternal Truths of Entrepreneurship
This week I read a great interview article with Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, amongst many other great books. The article outlines Sinek’s seven eternal truths of entrepreneurship, which I thought you’d enjoy.
- Make room for blank space.
We don’t need to be productive every moment of every day.
- Never, ever stop learning.
The road needn’t be as painful or bumpy. Instead, read and learn from others.
- Have a purpose, not a slogan.
Every business has a vision or purpose on its website; it should be the standard by which you uphold your ethics and integrity and by which you make financial decisions.
- Go beyond growth.
Why does your company exist? Growth is not the answer. It’s a result.
- Always show up to give.
Put your ambitions aside, and care about enriching the people in front of you.
- Optimism is ideal; pessimism is necessary.
You should want to work with people who see a problem and then roll up their sleeves to help solve it.
- You don’t need to know everything.
The biggest lesson I learned was to say, “I don’t know,” and to ask for help. The effect has been profound.
Read the article here: Simon Sinek of the 7 Eternal Truths of Entrepreneurship
Zoom Kicks Two Own Goals
Last week I discussed the results from the mandated return to the office and how it’s impacting recruitment and attrition among other things.
During the heady days of the pandemic, Zoom video stole most of the video communications market share, which was previously owned by Skype, and Zoom recorded 400 per cent revenue growth in 2020.
How did they manage that?
Zoom’s strategy at that point beat Skype with the following features;
- Easy to set up on your computer, you don’t need to download software or have an account
- Super easy-to-use features
- Secure and reliable
- Free to use for meetings up to 40 minutes
In the past quarter, the company recorded revenue growth of 3 per cent. As someone who uses Zoom almost every day, I see a company struggling to redefine itself and find relevance, adding features like email and calendar to combat Microsoft’s Teams’ video. But Teams isn’t easy to use, it’s unreliable, everyone needs an account, and it’s paid.
Instead of doubling down on what they can be the best in the world at, Zoom are trying to be everything to everyone, replacing buttons like ‘share screen’ with ‘calendar’ in a desperate effort to increase feature adoption.
There’s no doubt that Zoom need to evolve their strategy and once again achieve revenue growth, and one of the ways they’re planning is by utilising AI. In their latest shareholder letter, they stated:
“We are adapting a federated AI strategy that combines our proprietary AI models, models from leading AI companies like OpenAI, and select customer models. By embedding this flexible, scalable AI approach into more workflows, we hope to provide our customers with richer, more actionable insights that empower them to work smarter and serve their customers better”.
This led to Zoom releasing their new terms of service (TOS), which ended up being somewhat of an own goal that they had to defend and retract this week Zoom denies training AI on calls without consent . It basically meant that Zoom was betting all its chips on AI – and that users couldn’t opt out.
Section 10.4 of Zoom’s new TOS says:
“You agree to grant and hereby grant Zoom a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license and all other rights required or necessary to redistribute, publish, import, access, use, store, transmit, review, disclose, preserve, extract, modify, reproduce, share, use, display, copy, distribute, translate, transcribe, create derivative works, and process Customer Content and to perform all acts with respect to the Customer Content,” including for the purpose of “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence” for the “improvement of the services, software, or Zoom’s other products, services, and software.”
In a second ‘own goal’ this week came the news that Zoom had mandated employees who live within 50 miles of the company office need to attend two days per week. This is part of a trend within tech companies that are wrestling back power from employees who have had it way too easy for way too long. Still, the media portrayed it as the official end of the pandemic, and perhaps as an irony, where if Zoom wants us to work from home and call colleagues via Zoom, then they definitely should.
Either way, these ‘own goals’ make me think that if you can’t be the best in the world at your core business, then your core business cannot form the basis of your strategy.
Read the article here: Zoom calls employees back to office after riding work from home wave
3 Levers To Drive Accountability
When we start working with them, accountability is one of the main concerns and the source of frustration for CEOs and leaders. “We need to keep people more accountable” is a sentence we hear repeatedly.
If this is something you’re currently saying (or thinking), you’re not alone.
While many views address accountability, the simple and proven approach below will give you momentum and a way to measure and evolve.
Mapping your team members in a 2×2 graph, like the example below, will give you a visual aid of your team members’ accountability levels relative to behaviour and productivity.
Most of the leadership teams we work with go through this mapping process, asking themselves the following questions;
Behaviour axis: How consistently is the person behaving in line with our company Core Vales? (None of the time – Almost all the time)
Performance axis: How consistently is the person delivering as per the role expectations? (Below expectations – Exceeds expectations)
In the top right quadrant, we have those who consistently perform based on your expectations and consistently behave in line with your company’s core values. Let’s call them your high performers.
But what should we do about the team members in each of these areas, and how can we develop an action plan to be confident that our actions are, in fact, correct?
Read the full article here: 3 Levers To Drive Accountability
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