Smart bosses give away their power | How White House Black Market uses social media | Amazon wants to deliver your groceries. Why?
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June 6, 2013
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SmartBrief on Leadership

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Smart bosses give away their power
Bosses who want to be more powerful should start by giving some of their power away, writes Marilyn Jacobson. Focusing on empowering your workers ensures that they'll do a better job, and that in turn will reflect well on your own leadership, Jacobson writes. ThoughtLeaders blog (6/5)
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Costco CEO: It pays to treat your workers well
Costco pays its workers an average of almost $21 an hour compared with Wal-Mart's average of less than $13 an hour. That's part of a deliberate strategy to ensure that workers are well paid and well taken care of, says CEO Craig Jelinek. "I just think people need to make a living wage with health benefits," he says. "It also puts more money back into the economy and creates a healthier country. It's really that simple." Bloomberg Businessweek (6/6)
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How White House Black Market uses social media
Every night, White House Black Market president Donna Noce logs on to Facebook and reads the comments on her company's brand page. The insights Noce gleans from her brand's fans influence big-picture items such as the chain's expansion strategy and details like the colors it puts on its shelves. "I don't view social media as just the ability to throw noise out to [a customer]. I want to insure that if I'm going to impose on her personal time and I'm going to engage her, I'm adding value," Noce says. Knowledge@Wharton (6/5)
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Amazon wants to deliver your groceries. Why?
Amazon is planning to deliver groceries, which is a business that has been difficult to profit from in the the dot-com era. Experts say Amazon's strategy could succeed where others failed, however, because the retailer is aiming simply to break even while developing closer ties with its users. "What this does is give Amazon the opportunity to connect with customers on a more frequent basis," says Justin Bomberowitz of RetailNet Group. National Public Radio/The Salt blog (6/5)
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Innovation and Creativity
Canadian food processors join the robot revolution
Canada's food processors have long used assembly lines in which human workers do most of the actual work, but that's finally changing. New robotic systems can spot fruit or nuts that are sub-par and can perform complex tasks such as butchering meat according to precise specifications. "There has been a run more recently to automation and to more productivity," says Peter Fitzgerald, general manager of Fanuc Robotics Canada. "There was a lag, but now it's starting to catch up." Financial Post (Canada) (6/5)
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3 ways to take your innovation to the edge
The best innovations happen on the edge, argues Tim Kastelle: Places where existing products and processes no longer measure up to people's needs. To make your own innovation a little edgier, test your assumptions, travel widely and read voraciously, and deliberately break free from routines. "To innovate you have to make your own map, not follow a recipe," Kastelle writes. Innovation For Growth blog (6/3)
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The Global Perspective
Why do Indian firms struggle on the global stage?
Indian companies prefer to expand by breaking even first, then focusing on local brand-building and marketing, says Jessie Paul, CEO of strategic marketer Paul Writer. That's in contrast to the Western model of investing heavily and grabbing market share, and it often leads Indian firms to pull out of regions where they don't see quick results. "[Y]ou need to understand that this is a long-haul game and you need to plan for it and make sure that you have the stomach and the resources for it," says professor Amitava Chattopadhyay. (6/6)
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Engage. Innovate. Discuss.
How to ensure your employees bloom and thrive
Employees are like beautiful flowers that fade and wilt if they aren't kept in the right environment, writes Mary Jo Asmus. If you've got a worker who's failing to bloom and thrive, try finding an environment that's better suited to their needs, Asmus suggests. "Despite employees’ pleas for a bigger paycheck and better benefits, after their basic needs are met, what they really want is to flourish and grow," she writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (6/5)
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Daily Diversion
Newspaper column reveals China's weird underbelly
The South China Morning Post's "China Briefs" column gives a daily snapshot of mainland China. Judging by the column's recent scoops, China is a bizarre place where bus drivers smoke hallucinogens, people kill one another in fights over parking spaces, old men scatter cash in the streets, and a man complained that he was forced to sit through advertising before he could reach an emergency operator. CNNMoney/Fortune (6/5)
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Featured Content
It’s a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty."
-- Craig Jelinek, CEO of Costco, as quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek
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