From the NAW Blog

With modern organizations moving away from the traditional hierarchical structure to embracing more project-based operations, working in teams is no longer an alternative choice for employees, but an essential consideration to ensure successful business outcomes. In this article, we’ll look at the five key components that affect team effectiveness, and what types of people you need to bring on board your team.

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From the NAW Blog:

In 2015, researchers at Forrester estimated that B2B e-commerce would reach $1 trillion by 2020. They were wrong: B2B e-commerce topped $1 trillion two years ahead of schedule. The industry is changing quickly, and distributors rarely get the chance to step back and plan for the future. In this first post of 2020, I’ll review the biggest development of the last few years and offer a cutting-edge strategy that distributors can use to dominate in the next decade.

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From the NAW Blog:

Our research for NAW’s just-released Innovate to Dominate, The 12 Edition in The Facing the Forces of Change® Series revealed a powerful new opportunity for distributors — the future of business is up for grabs! There is a race to leverage technology and human-centric forces of change to help business customers reinvent how work is done and how individuals and organizations learn.

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From the NAW Blog:

It’s 2019 and more than 197 million people visit Amazon each month to browse more than 12 million products, according to BigCommerce. The numbers go up every day. But distributors don’t need to be afraid of Amazon. They need to innovate and sell to customers the way today’s customers want to buy. It’s that simple.

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From the NAW Blog:

This blog post is for the sons and daughters of distributors; it is food for thought for your Thanksgiving gatherings! Please help this go viral by sharing it on social media or any way you can! Use our hashtags #b2binnovation #innovatetodominate #distributorsrock

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Washington, DC (October 21, 2019) — Wholesaler-distributors are invited to join the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence and our sponsor PROS on Thursday, November 14, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET, for a live webinar: “Welcome to the Age of B2B Innovation.”

Anyone who has a calendar conflict and won’t be able to attend this live webinar, should register anyway. PROS will send registrants a link to view the webinar on demand. Register here.

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From the NAW Blog:

Many distributors have initiatives aimed at developing high-potential employees. However, identifying the employees with high potential (HiPo) can be challenging and is highly subjective. This is partially because different organizations may define high potentials differently. As a result, the characteristics and abilities that an employee must possess to be classified as a “HiPo” is largely up to individual interpretation. How can your HiPo program truly benefit your company and your employees?

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From the NAW Blog: 

In a recent Forbes article, “Moving Beyond On-Demand To The Real-Time Economy,” Kyle Jackson predicts, “In the near future, we’ll see the demand for instant gratification and access to information intensify even more. On-demand is no longer just a gimmick; it’s a reality. As the dust settles on these changes, a new real-time economy will emerge.” This prediction is consistent with our work for Innovate to Dominate: The 12th Edition in the Facing the Forces of Change® Series, arriving in mid-November, and the Forbes article is an essential read for innovation-minded distributors — especially since Jackson highlights a connection between data, artificial intelligence and trust.

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From the NAW Blog:

A recent article in MIT Sloan Management Review, “Grow Faster by Changing Your Innovation Narrative,” provides essential insights for distributors around culture and innovation, starting with an insightful definition. Innovation narratives are what a company’s employees believe about a company’s ability to innovate. It turns out that four levers are most often used by innovation leaders to drive growth and stay ahead of competitors. We share the four levers below, followed by insights from our ongoing Facing the Forces of Change research. Our goal is to provide insights to help distributors get started on improving their innovation narrative, and the entire article is an essential read for developing fully actionable plans.

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We are saddened to learn of the passing of Jim Pokracki on April 19, 2019.

Jim Pokracki had been the owner of Construction Tool & Threading Company since the early 1990s and previously worked for Sullivan Bolt.

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Today we reflect on our memories of Bob Lehman, honorary Pac West member.  He was a longtime contributor to our organization, and will be missed.

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From Leadership Freak

If the most powerful thing leaders do is connect, the most dangerous is isolation. READ MORE

From Inc.

Planning, Preparation, Process and Personnel. Are you managing all four? READ MORE

From Harvard Business Review

A few weeks ago, we were asked to analyze a competency model for leadership development that a client had created. It was based on the idea that at different points in their development, potential leaders need to focus on excelling at different skills. For example, in their model they proposed that a lower-level manager should focus on driving for results while top executives should focus on developing a strategic perspective. READ MORE

From Entrepreneur

Back in 2008, a team of researchers at Google started a fascinating project called Project Oxygen, in order to determine the qualities of their highest-performing managers. Recently, that team updated its research and modified and added some qualities. READ MORE

From Harvard Business Review

Presenting in a webinar — when you often don’t have access to visual cues about how the audience is responding — can sometimes feel disconcerting or awkward. Here are a few strategies to improve the experience for you and your audience. First, make use of the camera. Many professionals don’t like looking at themselves on camera, but that’s not a valid excuse when you consider how much more engaged listeners are when watching a real person talk to them. Next, an important corollary point: If you’re using the camera, you have to be mindful of visual aesthetics. Specifically, adjust your camera so that it’s giving a straight-on view of your face, and test out how your chosen backdrop appears to participants. It’s also a good idea to rehearse the mechanics of the webinar software you’re using. And finally, decide in advance how you’ll handle audience participation. READ MORE

From Jamie Notter

I’ve been searching the web for a good definition of employee engagement, and I have to say, I’m disappointed. There are a LOT out there, though I think that is fine. It doesn’t need to be oversimplified into a single definition. And given the amount of money we spend trying to fix employee engagement every year, it doesn’t surprise me that everyone and their brother are trying to define it. READ MORE

From Harvard Business Review

Knowing how to read between the lines and pick up on colleagues’ subtle social cues is a critical skill. After all, there’s often an explicit conversation happening in a meeting or around the water cooler — and a tacit one. The best way to take the temperature of a room is to pay attention to the people in it. Note who’s next to whom, who’s relaxed, who’s not, who’s standing, and who’s sitting. Look at their facial expressions, posture, and body language. Then try to make sense of what you’ve observed. Reflect on possible reasons for your colleagues’ emotional states. What’s happening in their lives and in their jobs? If the atmosphere feels tense, don’t let yourself be hijacked by negativity. Instead, shift the mood using humor or empathy. Keep an eye out for positive signals, too — the executive in the corner who’s smiling, for instance — and concentrate on those. READ MORE

From Inc.

You can create an environment where everyone can contribute to your company's innovation efforts. READ MORE

From Forbes

Businesses today operate in an unprecedented environment of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA). Things have become too complex and change too quickly for organizations to effectively deal with challenges of the day—yet they still train leaders in traditional leadership competencies. The wisdom that made organizations successful in the past now jeopardizes their survival. Innovation is the only way to survive in today’s fast-moving environment, and success demands new leadership skills. Let’s contrast outdated rules of thumb with updated reality. READ MORE