<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=474710470599804&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

CMI Blog

the latest from cmi speaker managment

Mike Walsh | Embracing #InstaFood

By cmiadmin | Aug 25, 2015 | Comments Off


Futurist Mike Walsh: Food Producers Must Embrace Innovation to Succeed with Next Generation

by IFT

The most successful food producers and manufacturers in the next decade will be the ones who harness the rapid advancements in science and technology to meet the demands of the first fully digital generation as they become adults, according to a July 13 keynote address by futurist Mike Walsh at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago.

“If you really want to understand the future, you have to start with the people who are going to live in it,” said Walsh, author of The Dictionary of Dangerous Ideas and CEO of the consultancy firm Tomorrow. “And the most disruptive group of future food consumers, I believe, are people who are currently celebrating their eighth birthday. If you can understand how an eight year old thinks, you’re a long way toward really understanding a transformative change in consumer behavior. ”

Walsh said that age group is of particular interest because they were born in 2007—the same year the iPhone was introduced. They are the first generation to be connected from birth, so they are growing up with a much different outlook on shopping, cooking and eating than other generations. They will expect products that are customized, readily available and—as already apparently on Instagram—look good enough to be photographed and shared on social media.

“When you think about an eight year old, how they will be making judgments about food, about food brands, eating and dining, it’s all going to be very connected to their experience on that smartphone,” he said. “Look at the way the next generation forms their views on food today. Look at Instagram—there is some extent to which the next generation doesn’t want to eat a meal unless they are going to take a picture of it.”

Walsh said the challenge for the entire food industry is to be prepared to meet the demands of these tech-savvy, on-demand consumers while still producing enough food for a population expected to grow to about 9 billion by 2050. He said that will elevate the discussion already taking place about whether to genetically modify plants and livestock to meet the population’s food needs.

“As a futurist, one of the things that really fascinates me is that intersection point where science and technology head-butts the realities of everyday human experience,” Walsh said. “As food scientists and technologists, this is something you encounter every day, because for all of the developments that you come up with, at the end you’re still talking about food.”

Is Your Culture Built On the Right Foundation? | Tim Sanders

By cmiadmin | Aug 18, 2015 | Comments Off


by Tim Sanders

Ask a strategic consultant about the value of a strong organizational culture and she'll likely remark: "Culture eats strategy for lunch!" Her reasoning is usually based on the consistency of behavior that strong culture creates - enabling every associate to make "the right decision" even when the leader is not around.  The name of the game in business growth is scalability, growing steadily without sacrificing consistency in quality (whatever that means to you.)

Org-culture is a conversation, led by leaders, about "how we do things here successfully." It's built up through hiring, on boarding and successions practices.  It's reinforced through rituals and stories, often shared at the group level.  The more leaders punctuate the conversation with action, the more the followers march in lock step with them.

But here's the problem: Every idea is based on an assumption, and similarly, every culture is based on a set of values.  When transparency is a key value, the culture requires sharing information and avoiding secrecy.  When someone violates it, they are shunned, punished or coached.  The word 'transparency' is often embedded into internal communications and in some cases, the market facing branding.  While few would argue against transparency, I would take issue with whether that value is a leader's personal value or a business driver.

The purpose of an organization is to produce customer/member value, which in turn is captured in order to sustain and grow it.  If culture drives consistency, then it should be based on values that drive the business by producing a unique value proposition.  In other words, your culture-driving values should differentiate a company in a way your customers care about.  That's the real reason that culture has become a focal point of leadership development and corporate performance.

When Zappos put a supreme value on "Delivering Customer Happiness," it separated them from other apparel e-commerce providers.  They redesigned call center rules, adopting unconventional KPI's to ensure that reps spend ample time with customers and display empathy and a sense of humor.  They enforced the culture heavily throughout hiring an on boarding, famously offering briefcases of money to those who were willing to quit (and leave the Happiness Culture).  In this case, the value drove the business.

But in too many cases, values are often created in a cramped conference room by over-worked founders or later in the life of the enterprise, by corporate communications during a turnaround. There is little or no formal training on how to vet a value for business output, it's usually just a random process where words or phrases are thrown around until the group forms a consensus.

That's why companies have chosen "Fun" or "Fair" or "Agile" as their values - making them the foundation of the culture they are building.  And it's hard to debate the value of fun, fairness or agility from a personal or even professional standpoint.  Why not?  That's why they are often adopted.  But what if the company is in the financial services market, where "Meticulous" is valued by the customer more than "Fun"?  What if the company is in a risk-averse business, where customers value "Best-To-Market" instead of "First-To-Market"?  In those cases, Fun and Agility are not business drivers, they are pet values, which are likely to build more of a cult than a strong corporate culture.

So here's the prescription: Test the values that you base your culture on for business value. If you choose "Honesty" for example, ask yourself, "is this a market space where deceit is a customer concern?  Is this a lead story in our industry?" If it is, then this value will drive the business through differentiation.  If not, then you are basing your culture on a foundation that could lead to a me-too market position.  If your competitors are honest, then why is this a business driver value and not just "good business practice"?

You might be thinking, "What's the harm in including obviously good values in our culture mix? Why exclude "Fun" or "Honesty"?  I thought that way too for a long time, but when I went to work in human resources, where values are a part of the talent lifecycle, I realized that you have to pick your battles, and limit yourself to a manageable group of norms you want to create.

Limit yourself to 3-5 values, the less the better.  Much like phone numbers or login passwords, the longer the list, the harder it is to call up when you need them.  Culture is all about living a set of values everyday, and if you throw in the kitchen sink, your associates will have to pick and choose, and that's where a culture starts to get weak (read: inconsistent).

It's never too late to go through the business driver value process with your team.  If it leads to a new conversation about "how we do things around here moving forward," it just may help your company jump out of the pile, and rise to the top of the customer's mind.  Just like a company can outgrow its founders, an organization can also outgrow its founding values.

Note: The recent holocracy movement at Zappos is based on the founder's value of self-management.  It's yet to be seen as to whether that's a pet value  or a business driver (their relative customer experience levels will be lifted).  In the long run, the fate of the company's market position will be an acid test of my theory about picking personal or business centric values to base a culture on.


6 World Cup Lessons Applicable to Every Customer Relationship

By cmiadmin | Aug 18, 2015 | Comments Off


By Lior Arussy

Watching the World Cup unfold before our eyes in the last month has been exciting. As a customer strategy professional, I could not help but be jealous of the emotional loyalty fans demonstrated toward their favorite teams. If companies were able to generate such loyalty from their customers, their growth and profitability problems would evaporate overnight.

There are several lessons we can learn from the games and especially the Final between Germany and Argentina. This nerve-racking match brought the best teams in the world into the ultimate battle for the title of world champion. The tears in the eyes of Messi and his Argentinean team made it very clear that no. 2 was not an option. Rather it was an excuse for not becoming champions.

Here are some things to consider when your goal is to be no. 1:

Lesson 1 – You’re only as good as your next win

Both teams played their best games prior to reaching the Final but the amazing results they achieved in the previous matches were merely stepping-stones. As soon as the games were over, those accomplishments were taken for granted by the fans, who quickly shifted their attention to anticipating the next game. Where would the next win come from?

You’re only as good as your next act of customer delight. The past brought you here but will not take you any further. “What’s next?” is the ultimate question we all must ask ourselves – every day, in each and every customer interaction.

Lesson 2 – Team over starters, every time

The German team is known for its “well-oiled machine” that plays an integrated game with no starter more important than the other players. The team scored the most goals overall during the World Cup (7-1 against Brazil, still unimaginable) and ultimately won the title of champions. Argentina with its amazing star could not beat the great German team.

It’s time to break down the silos and lessen the dependency on the single heroes. You either have one hero-like team or nothing. Break the silos and develop a superior line-up. The days of the individual rainmaker are gone.

Lesson 3 – Every player matters

While Germany had veteran stars, it was Mario Gotze, a 22-year-old who subbed into the game, that scored the redeeming, title-winning shot. He did what many of his older, more experience teammates failed to do.

Talent is everywhere in your organization. Nurture it. Engage every employee and empower each one to score the winning goal.

Lesson 4 – You’re playing against the clock

No one has the patience to wait anymore. Time is now a product feature. You need to perform at your best in a limited timeframe. Who knows, Argentina may have scored had there been more time on the clock. But there wasn’t.

The same concept applies to your customers. Your timeframe to score is ever shrinking. Time is not working for you. Act fast.

Lesson 5 – Efforts don’t matter, results do

Argentina played well. They did try. But “trying” is simply an excuse for not scoring. No one rewards excuses. Get results or get eliminated. Such is the way of all World Cup games.

The same is true in business, efforts and meetings and PowerPoint decks will never substitute an amazing moment of customer delight. Either you drive results or your efforts do not matter.

Lesson 6 – Focus everyone on the measure that matters

In soccer, you measure various actions such as assists and fouls but only goals matter. Every player knows it and no one is excused from this single focus.

In organizations, the KPI’s are so complex that people forget the real measure that matters. It’s time to unify everyone around a single, clear measure and align everyone to achieve the ultimate goal within their specific role and position. Just as in soccer, a unified corporate team, clearly focused on a single goal, will get results.

These lessons, always true, are amplified during the World Cup Final where the stakes are high and every action matters. Thinking about it in the context of working with customers, the stakes have always been high and every action has always mattered. Competing for customers’ hearts every day is our World Cup. The lessons above should be a clear roadmap to our championship, one game at a time.


Strativity makes Inc. Magazines Top List for 3rd year

By cmiadmin | Aug 18, 2015 | Comments Off

Strativity Group Inc. To Appear On the Inc. 5000 List For Third Consecutive Year Inc. Magazine Unveils 34th Annual Inc. 5000

Inc. magazine today ranked leading Customer Experience firm, Strativity Group Inc. on its 34th annual Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent entrepreneurs. Companies such as Yelp, Pandora, Timberland, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, LinkedIn, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained early exposure as members of the Inc. 5000.

“Appearing on the list for the 3rd straight year is a testament to the value we deliver to clients seeking experts in customer experience transformation,” said Strativity President, Lior Arussy. “Our unparalleled growth in customer experience research and consulting places Strativity as the undisputed leader in this emerging and exciting space.”

The 2015 Inc. 5000, unveiled online at Inc.com and with the top 500 companies featured in the September issue of Inc. (available on newsstands August 18 to September 22) is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. The average company on the list achieved a mind-boggling three-year growth of 490%. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue is $205 billion, generating 647,000 jobs over the past three years. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at http://www.inc.com/inc5000.

"The story of this year’s Inc. 5000 is the story of great leadership. In an incredibly competitive business landscape, it takes something extraordinary to take your company to the top,” says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. “You have to remember that the average company on the Inc. 5000 grew nearly six-fold since 2012. Business owners don’t achieve that kind of success by accident."

The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring all the companies on the list will be held from October 21 through 23, 2015 in Orlando. Speakers include some of the greatest entrepreneurs of this and past generations, such as Marcus Lemonis, host of the CNBC show “The Profit,” Robert Herjavec, one of the main "sharks" on ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank,” KIND Founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky, and Co-Founder of Goodshop.com JJ Ramberg.

Strativity Group – Passion, Expertise and Execution

The people at Strativity are united by passion and guided by a proprietary integrated methodology to unleash exceptional performance with employees and customers. With experience at leading organizations such as Bain, Deloitte, EY, Ipsos, Bulgari and HP, Strativity brings world-class experience combined with a focus on measurable results.

We measure success by a single word: Execution.

Strativity has had the privilege of working with exceptional brands such as Mercedes-Benz, MasterCard, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Walmart, New York Times, FedEx, Clinton Foundation, American Management Association, SAP, Wyeth, Honeywell and Johnson & Johnson.

With over 160 completed projects in 21 countries impacting over 250 million customers and 400,000 employees, Strativity is ready to face your challenge. http://www.strativity.com

Learn more about Strativity's leader Lior Arussy Here


Connecting to the World in a Digital Age

By cmiadmin | Aug 18, 2015 | Comments Off

Why author and app startup boss Yossi Ghinsberg sleeps in a tent —wherever he's living

by Cromwell Schubarth Senior Technology Reporter Silicon Valley Business Journal

Yossi Ghinsberg was already famous long before he pitched the Blinq mobile app that his startup, Headbox Inc., developed at 500 Startups late last year.

That’s because a book he wrote about getting lost and nearly dying in the Bolivian jungle became a best-seller that in turn became a Discovery Channel docudrama and is reportedly now in the early stages of becoming a movie.

We caught up with Ghinsberg a few months after he was featured in The Pitch in February. Our conversation was edited for length.

Is it true that you always try to live in a tent, no matter where your home is?

Yes, yes. Although right now, I would call it a beach shack. It’s kind of like a fisherman’s hut. But for years, everywhere I lived, whether it’s Los Angeles or Sydney, Australia, and five years in Israel, I lived in a tent that was always pitched as part of my house. If it was an apartment, I would build it on the roof of the apartment building. If it was a house, I would build it outside. But my tents weren’t about roughing it. They were very lush and luxurious. I built them in a very beautiful way.

Why do you do that?

It was about living in a temporary dwelling with walls that are very thin that let you hear the elements. It was symbolic for me because I belong to the world. I’m a nomad and a traveler. The tent symbolizes all that, the impermanence of life, the respect for life, and also the joy to be really in communion with nature. When you step outside the tent, you step on the earth. You build a fire, and you sit by the fire with friends.

How does your wife feel about this?

My wife, luckily, is like me. So for her, it is a delight as well. But I want to stress that this is not about camping out. It’s about a certain notion and a symbol that attracts me. I really enjoy it. There’s no sacrifice there. It’s pure joy.

Are you living in Silicon Valley now?

I have been living in the Valley since we joined the 500 Startups acceleration program. I was in Mountain View, then moved to Palo Alto, and then to Menlo Park. For five months, the entire company living and working out of a nice house in Mountain View. It was like we had a hackathon for five months. It was five guys, fully dedicated. Once we finished that, I took the development and engineering part of the company back to Tel Aviv. I came back here to do the business, and the networking, and the investment, and the rest of it. I’m building a presence here, which I will maintain myself. I’m not relocating my family yet, but down the road I will relocate my family.

When was the last time you went 100 percent offline?

Only when my battery dies.

I mean intentionally.

That is a very painful question. I changed the name of my species. I don’t call myself a human being, anymore. I have become a human doing. I’m constantly building a lot of things, so I haven’t been a lot offline, you know? I don’t recall having even a rest day, you know? I have wife and four kids that in the last seven months I hardly have seen. It’s not the best lifestyle.

Is there anything that you’re never without?

Yeah. My mobile device. I’m never without it. My Kindle, too.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

If there’s ice cream in the house, I wake up in the middle of the night and I go down and I eat it all. It’s not a sweet tooth. I don’t eat any candy, or chocolate, or cake, you know? But if there’s a good ice cream, I just cannot sleep until it’s done.


Learn More about Yossi Here

How To Win Success Series

By cmiadmin | Aug 18, 2015 | Comments Off


Hi there! 

At any event Cary Mullen speaks at, he announces free access for all attendees to the resources below. He will send access info out to you, so you can get it to your customer - I'm sure you'll want to blast it out to all your attendees after hearing Cary and seeing just how great his Secrets to Success are. 

Have a super day!

Cary Mullen Audience Resources

Attendees will get access to:

An interactive, multi-media self-development program valued at $297 per person (online version only) – check it out at HowToWin.com

Mp3 download of his talk 

Articles with tips for winning

Visit How to Win Now to Learn More

Three Lessons that can be Simply Magic for Small Business

By cmiadmin | Aug 11, 2015 | Comments Off
by Cara Waters - Smart Company

Vinh Giang is a magician and entrepreneur who founded the online business Encyclopedia of Magic, which now has 48,000 users.

Giang was the keynote speaker at the launch of Victoria’s small business festival yesterday.

He told the audience how he came up with the idea for Encyclopedia of Magic while still at university and had difficulty telling his parents, who were Vietnamese refugees, of his plans.

He recalls telling his parents he wanted to quit uni and start an online business selling magic.

Giang recalls thinking: “I’ve just told my dad I want to become Harry Potter.”

However, Giang’s parents agreed to give him $100,000 to start the business.

“Please jump as high as you possibly can, as long as I’m alive I’ll always be your net,” Giang’s dad told him.

“So I tested the theory,” Giang said.

Giang says his dad also told him that in your life you should never put yourself on a pedestal, “put the lessons on the pedestal”.

These are the three lessons that Giang says have completely changed his life:


1. Perspective

“People always ask me ‘Vinh, what is magic?’.  Magic is just a problem that you cannot solve, ” Giang says.

“So often in my life… the reason I couldn’t solve it was I saw things from only one perspective.”


Giang says many magical tricks are all about perspective.

For small businesses Giang says networking can give you a different perspective that completely changes your business.

“So many times we get stuck in a silo mentality, but collaboration is power,” he says.


2. Influence

“My mentor once told me if you really want to reach your full potential, you cannot afford to have one negative person in your life,” Giang says.

“You are the direct reflection of the top five people you spend time with.

“If you ever wonder who you are, pick the top five people [you spend time with} and put them in front of you.”

If you don’t have a skill and you want it, Giang says you need to find someone who has it and bring them into your top five.

“Nobody says no to a free lunch,” he says.

Giang put this to the test after deciding he wanted author and entrepreneur Matthew Michalewicz as a mentor.

He wanted to get his attention and decided to do this by buying 1000 of Michalewicz’s books.

It worked.

“He has opened up the entire world to me,” Giang says.

“I’m moving to the US next year. It’s incredible how he’s been able to influence my life.”


3. Beliefs

Giang says when he is trying to work on particularly difficult magic tricks he has to believe they will work.

“I was foolish enough to believe it was possible so I tried, because I tried I found a way,” he says.

“The simple lesson here is that your beliefs affect your actions.”

Giang says if you believe in your soul something is possible, then you can take the first step, and once you take the first step the second step becomes clear.

“Far too often we look at a challenge, it looks impossible, we give up and don’t even try,” he says.

Giang believed in himself while starting his business. After months spent building his site on the first day there were only 82 people on the website, which was built for traffic from thousands.

“It crushed my soul,” said Giang.

Instead of giving up Giang changed his business model by creating multiple different websites to see which one was the one most users were likely to sign up to.

“That is my business today,” he says.

“Adversity is the greatest competitive advantage in life. When things get hard it is the training to be great.”