Could it be the central competence for leadership effectiveness?

"You" maps and feeling felt - ideas from Dr. D. Siegel

“You” maps and feeling felt – ideas from Dr. D. Siegel

Most of us have little insight into how well our listening skills are performing in our working relationships. And yet research is showing that effectiveness in the workplace hinges partly on an overlooked ability to actively (consciously) listen. And research goes even further to say, success at work and in leading teams depends on a particular form of listening, empathetic listening.

Recently Karen Bachmann, Perficient Digital Research Director, and I co-presented on the topic of improving listening skills and awareness during a workshop hosted by amUX in Atlanta. She shared the obvious and nuanced differences between listening and hearing, along with some of the barriers that affect listening. I spoke about the importance of attuned communication (i.e., conscious listening), the doorway to empathetic listening and development of meaningful working relationships.

Empathetic listening: the gateway to building human capability

Karen kicked off the workshop with a quote from Greek Philosopher Zeno of Citium, “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” To fully understand and explore this idea, first know that you and I have a habit of hearing, essentially taking input, a passive mechanism of the ear. Hearing is not the same as listening. Listening is an active, conscious and selective skill that can be practiced and consequently improved. As Bachmann mentioned to the audience at Polygon Atlanta, it starts with understanding the differences between hearing and listening:


Mechanism of the ear

A sense

Perceiving sound


Continuous and pervasive


Ears are only one input

A skill

Making meaning from sound


Conscious and selective

Read the rest of this post »

6 Trends Impacting Email Marketing This Year (And Beyond)

Email Marketing Trends


It’s like nails on a chalkboard…broken personalization. However, personalization and contextually relevant messages will continue to be a highlighted email marketing trend this year. With new technology paving the way, we will likely see more trends emerge as the customer journey evolves and ISPs get smarter.

Whatever does happen this year, it will hit hard and fast and brands will need to adjust their strategies to accommodate this dynamic and ever-changing industry. Here’s a look at some of the big industry trends predicted by the gurus: Read the rest of this post »

#NRF16 Takeaways: How the Retail Landscape is Changing

shutterstock_300750113_350The National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show is a visual overload of the latest and greatest retail technologies. I was fortunate to attend this year and came away with these thoughts:

Retail has become lower touch and no touch. I viewed the emergence of touch-screen vending machines that interact with you as a consumer. You have the option on one that was in Microsoft’s booth to see a large scale nutrition guide for the product prominently displayed after choosing the product. In the supermarket category, you now have the ability to self scan a full cart of groceries with a higher accuracy than when a clerk scans them. Not sure who handles the bagging at the end, though.

There were several vendors showing virtual dressing rooms. The thought behind this is that you get your body scanned and the virtual dressing rooms allows you “try on” different selections without having to get undressed. One even featured a POS right the in the virtual dressing room. The clerk then pulls the purchased items and you proceed to the checkout. Read the rest of this post »

David Bowie And How Technology is Reflected in Music

David Bowie

2016 had a rough start for music lovers. With so many extraordinary musicians passing, it got me thinking about the impact music has on our lives. Music is both an influencer and a mirror. It creates trends and it reflects them. Of all of the deaths this year, David Bowie’s was the most painful for me personally.

I’m not alone in my sadness. He was a musician, songwriter, painter, and actor. But above all, he was an innovator.

In celebration of innovation, I put together a list of songs that praise or denounce technology.


Joe Walsh – Analog Man


Welcome to cyberspace, I’m lost in the fog
Everything’s digital I’m still analog
When something goes wrong
I don’t have a clue

Read the rest of this post »

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Agility: The Future of Retail – NRF 2016

ANRF2s we are half way through day 2 at NRF, large crowds are grazing through the expo halls while innovative speakers are educating attendees on top trends and imperative solutions that are driving the retail industry this year. As the retail industry moves fast and furious, businesses must not only improve customer experience and drive innovative products but be agile and adaptable. Agility was a key component discussed among sessions the first day of the show.

The digital age has revolutionized the retail industry and with that organizations must evolve their strategies for experimenting, designing and operating their businesses (both physical and digital) as well.

Here are a few key points from this session:

Biggest challenge:

  • Moving stores from a large “set” to a more living, fluid space

How can an organization be agile? Read the rest of this post »

The Rise of Android TV

While there has been much discussion about Apple TV and its impact on the home entertainment market, Google has been quietly building a digital eco-system that already has game-changing potential. Building upon the success of the Android operating system, Google has developed a Smart TV platform that succeeds where others have failed in the past. Android TV goes beyond the basics of streaming movies and videos. It is a robust multi-media platform, that seamlessly integrates with mobile and other connected devices to create an interactive television experience. Here’s what makes Android TV different than the Smart TV platforms of the past.

A Usable Interface

The first thing you’ll notice about the Android TV OS is how quickly the interface responds. Clicking the home button on the remote immediately loads the available applications. There’s no more waiting for your TV to connect to the network or getting a cup of coffee while Netflix decides to load. The interface provides instantaneous feedback and allows you to quickly navigate the available content. Additionally, the interface features a voice-activated search that displays results from multiple categories.

Android TV UI
Read the rest of this post »

Top Trends in Consumer Markets for 2016

pablo (1)This year is shaping up to be the best year for the retail and consumer products segments since the recession. Moody’s recently upgraded its retail forecast to a 5.3% growth rate in 2016, almost double the growth rate in the last few years, with particularly strong growth expected in home improvement and grocery. Although apparel sales are flat, consumers are spending instead on vacations and dining out.  eCommerce will continue to outperform broad retail, and with it all elements of digital marketing, content, and creative.

Trends to watch out for: Read the rest of this post »

Sharing our retail success stories at NRF 2016

nrfMoody’s recently upgraded its retail forecast to a 5.3% growth rate in 2016, almost double the growth rate in the last few years.

We’ve done a lot for retail companies in the past two years to plan for this growth and evolve and improve their systems to accommodate it.

Because we are so focused on helping our clients deliver the best possible experience to their customers, we are thrilled to exhibit at Retail’s BIG Show, NRF 2016. At the booth, we’ll be telling the stories about how we:

  • Transformed service operations into a complete system of engagement for one organization and storage retailer
  • Improved workflow efficiency and accountability for a leading big-box retailer
  • Established analytics and dashboards for critical financial tracking and reporting for a leading beauty supplier
  • In-sourced eCommerce and fulfillment operations for a clothing retailer and manufacturer to reach record sales
  • Reduced site abandonment and improved search functionality to enhance a major shipping and logistics company’s digital experience
  • Enabled omni-channel customer service and produced a 360-degree view of customers for an outdoor apparel company
  • Implemented an eCommerce platform that enabled digital transformation for a leading retail giant
  • Enabled global expansion for a clothing company by delivering a seamless customer experience
  • Provided a single view of the business for a multi-channel retailer and nutritional products manufacturer to reduce costs and increase sales

Find us at Booth #1024, and learn about what we’re building with some of the leading retailers in 2016 to enhance the customer journey.

Learn more about what we’re planning in our blog post here.

User Experience Debt: Why, What, and How? (Part 2)

shutterstock_307219181_350Part 1 of this post shared some ways that I’ve seen user experience debt burgeon from projects. This includes all manner of usability flaws and poor experiences. Here, Part 2 offers a strategic framework for addressing those problems. It’s divided into the following 3 sections as “Why”, “What” and “How.”

  1. Purpose. Why do we want to improve our designs?
  2. Assessment. What needs to be done to improve them?
  3. Design Principles. How will we do it?

1. Purpose 

Strategy must begin with genuine purpose. As the business philosopher Jim Rohn said, your success in life will be measured by your impact on other people. What is the purpose of your design? How will improving your user experience help the world in some small way? Read the rest of this post »

3 Key Takeaways from SODA’s Digital Marketing Outlook Report

sodaThe 2015 2H Digital Marketing Outlook report from the Society of Digital Agencies was recently published. It’s a sort of “State of Digital” report, so our teams here are very interested in what it has to say.

I found it interesting the way that SODA defines “digital marketing” to cover what I would simply refer to as “digital”…or “digital experience:”

“A quick word about the phrase “digital marketing.” Today it means almost every activity within organizations which touches their consumers, from advertising to product innovation to customer experience.”

Here are the 4 biggest takeaways I found from the report:

1. Technical Expertise is as Important as Creative

“The digital agency of the future needs more than technical and creative expertise. It needs business consultants who have a deep understanding of the client side and the right skillset to engage effectively with professionals from a wide range of company disciplines, including logistics, production, sales and marketing.”

2. The Ideal Digital Consultant Understands Inter-Departmental Functions and Needs Across the Organization

“Only with this insight can an agency offer sharp, workable solutions. Such consultants can talk the same language as clients and will help agency teams move beyond being experts in digital strategy to become agents of business transformation. To really challenge a clients’ business performance, agencies must understand every aspect of that client – from production and sales, to customer service and product development. By developing a deeper understanding of the business challenges our clients face, we can articulate more meaningful solutions and ensure that our offers aren’t seen as experimental or simply a bit of fun.”

3. It is Imperative to Aim For Business Transformation Rather Than Simply Digital Solutions

“We need to put the client’s business at the centre of our strategic planning and think like business innovators rather than digital creatives. This is a huge cultural challenge.”

As I said in my blog post announcing our acquisition of digital agency Enlighten last month, one of our digital agency’s missions is to help the world’s leading enterprises digitally transform. We aim to do that for our clients by offering them the coupling of excellent creative capabilities with a deep understanding of the enabling technologies.