Save Billions By Thinking Of Your Influence Strategy – By Applied Influence Group

Upon reading the news headlines this morning, I was astounded to see this story detailing that one tweet from Kylie Jenner, a reality TV star, had knocked $1.3bn off Snapchat's stock market value. It begs the questions why did this happen and what could Snapchat have done to avoid it? Snapchat have recently made a controversial update to their interface that has divided opinion amongst its users. We see this with operating systems all the time in the work place too; be it with Windows, IOS, Microsoft Office etc, integrating updates and ‘improvements’ to existing solutions that people understand, is never without issue. When these updates occur, you usually get three general groups of people: those that are for it, those that are set against it and the largest group; the uncommitted to what side of the fence they fall into. When introducing anything new in business, one of its measures of success may be determined on how many people adapt to it and so winning the support of the uncommitted is virtually essential for commercial companies like Snapchat. If we examine Cialdini’s weapons of influence Kylie Jenner has so much influence over vast swathes of their target audience because, amongst other things, she is liked and is seen as an authority by her followers. When people are unsure about what decision to make, they are much more susceptible to these weapons of influence and so when she wrote her tweet, she was able to turn public opinion against the update which subsequently resulted in the stock price plummeting. So what could have Snapchat done to have avoided this? Interestingly a little over ten minutes later Jenner countered her previous tweet by writing something positive about Snapchat, but the damage had already been done. It would not surprise me if someone from Snapchat’s PR department quickly got in contact with her and asked to help put a plaster on an extremely open and distressing wound. Firstly, mapping out who could have sway over the success of the update would have identified that Jenner, along with undoubtedly dozens more celebrity users, had an enormous level of impact to affect the attitudes of the uncommitted. This realisation informs your influence strategy and is one of the ways in which we help our clients when they are attempting to have an impact and affect change. If an influence strategy had been put in place to pre-frame Jenner, show her how the update is of benefit to her and got her on board as an advocate, then rather than Snapchat losing £1bn in value, they could have gone somewhere down the line to win the support of the oh so important uncommitted. The next time your business is about to roll out something new, either internally or externally, just take time to consider who are likely to be the uncommitted and who has the influence over them. It might not only make the transition of change a success, but also save you billions as well.

12 March 2018

Helping Hand

The end of the tax year presents a final chance to make use of tax allowances and exemptions that can give children a big step up the financial ladder. “Saving is a very fine thing. Especially when your parents have done it for you.” As the intergenerational wealth divide widens, Winston Churchill’s often-quoted words now resonate increasingly with grandparents and other family members as well. We all want the best for the children in our lives. We don’t know what their future will hold, but want to make sure they have every opportunity to do well and be happy, whatever they eventually decide to do. Of course, money isn’t everything, but starting to save early on their behalf might make the difference between whether or not they can afford to do what they would like when the time comes. The pleasure to be had from being able to see younger generations benefit from lifetime gifts also needs to be measured against the very real need to help them deal with today’s financial challenges. The figures are all too depressingly familiar to younger generations. Research by The Sutton Trust revealed that English university students will graduate with an average debt of £44,000; by far the highest level in the English-speaking world and more than double the average debt levels at universities in the United States.¹ First-time buyers now need to put down an average £33,000 deposit to get onto the property ladder. Unsurprisingly, that means the typical first-time buyer is now aged 32.² It means that what was once a ‘nice to do’ savings idea is increasingly becoming a necessity. But putting away funds for the benefit of children or grandchildren can also play an important role in helping families come together to bridge the intergenerational divide. In doing so, they can reduce the burden of Inheritance Tax (IHT) to ensure more wealth remains in the hands of the family and not the taxman. Perhaps the most important opportunity to combine lifetime estate planning with saving for children is the annual gifting exemption. You can make gifts worth up to £3,000 in each tax year, and carry forward last year’s, if you haven’t used it already. That means a couple could potentially remove £12,000 from their joint estate immediately, as long as they use both years’ allowances by 5 April. You can pass on larger amounts of money free of IHT, so long as you live for seven years after making the gift. It’s also worth considering the ‘normal expenditure out of income’ rule. This allows you to make regular gifts out of income which are exempt from IHT as long as they don’t affect your standard of living. Long-term plans A tax-efficient Junior ISA is justifiably the first option for most savers to consider. A maximum of £4,128 can be invested for each child in a Junior ISA in this tax year, rising to £4,260 from 6 April. Savers can typically invest a lump sum or make regular contributions, providing the flexibility to fit in with gifting plans. Launched in November 2011, the scheme was initially slow to catch on, although 794,000 accounts were subscribed to in the last tax year. A total of over £3.3 billion is now held in Junior ISAs – a testament to the scheme’s growing popularity.³ And yet many of those generously making Junior ISA contributions risk failing to make the most of the opportunity. Nearly 60% of Junior ISA funds are deposited in low-paying savings accounts. “Junior ISAs are designed to be long-term savings vehicles, and those who save for their offspring or grandchildren at the earliest opportunity have got 18 years for the money to grow before the funds are transferred into a standard ISA,” says Phil Woodcock, Head of Investment Communications at St. James’s Place. “For those who choose to invest in a Stocks & Shares Junior ISA, that should be plenty of time to ride out market fluctuations and benefit from the compounding effect of tax-efficient income and growth.” It might be considered a disadvantage that a child can access Junior ISA funds when they reach the age of 18, as there is a possibility that shorter-term financial priorities take precedence. At the other end of the age scale, it’s worth remembering that anyone can contribute to a pension plan for a child; but of course, that means the funds will generally be unavailable until the beneficiary is aged 55. That said, this could also be an advantage because it enforces a long-term view of saving. A net annual contribution of £2,880 would attract tax relief of £720, making a total investment of £3,600. As the end of the tax year approaches, there is limited time left to explore and make use of the allowances and exemptions available to help shape the future of the children in your life. ¹ The Sutton Trust, Degrees of debt, April 2016 ² Halifax First-Time Buyer Review, July 2017 ³ HMRC, Individual Savings Account (ISA) Statistics, September 2017 Brought to you by Lynn Anderson Ltd, Founder Member and Principal Partner Practice of St. James's Place Wealth Management The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested. The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time and are generally dependent on individual circumstances.

27 February 2018

Mobile World Congress 2018 Predictions

The biggest mobile show on earth, Mobile World Congress, is about to take place in the Mobile World Capital of Barcelona for the 13th year in a row. At this year’s event, the prominent theme is “creating a better future with mobile technology,” with mobile communication now reaching nearly 5 billion people or 2/3 of the world’s population. MWC18 IN A NUTSHELL Today, mobile technology is truly having a renowned impact by improving health services in remote areas, tracking diseases, empowering urban farmers, monitoring elections, lowering the threshold for free education, giving everyone access to banking services, connecting families across the globe and so much more. One big challenge nonetheless, is that the “the real world” is years behind the promises and deliberations presented at large conferences. While technology companies and industry experts discuss how voice control and personal assistants are taking over the home, most people still struggle to make them do anything more than set an alarm or tell them the weather. LGs opening presentation at CES on the LG CLOi smart home assistant serves as a reminder to the industry. The industry has a habit of creating unrealistic expectations, but when push comes to shove, ends up under delivering. This recent video of what HAL 9000 would be like if it was powered by Alexa is funny, but also serves as a great representation into what people are experiencing on a daily basis. The same holds true for Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, the smart home and Autonomous Vehicles. One notable exception is Apple. While a few years behind on delivering “new stuff,” they bring to the table products that work. In the past year, Apple has launched their Face ID and Artificial Intelligence technologies. Their desire to deliver on their promises could possibly be the reason that they’ve postponed the delivery of their Apple HomePod. This leads us to an important lesson to everyone exhibiting at Mobile World Congress 18: show off the latest concepts, but be honest about the readiness of the technology. WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO SEE AT MWC18 At Mobile World Congress 18 you will be hearing about Personal Assistants, Artificial Intelligence, 5G, Blockchain, more Augmented and Virtual Reality, Smart Home’s and the increase in devices connected to the internet. Take for example emerging technologies like the Sophia robot, the stepping stone to robots that actually think. In 2017 and again at CES 2018, Sophia the Citizen Robot stole the show, dominating the AI assistant conversation and reporting. We can except MWC18 to be no different. Often the less exciting, real heroes of the show are forgotten or over shadowed by mega trends. Take mobile apps for instance. By listening to industry experts, you would have thought we reached peak app status several years ago. On the contrary, last year alone, revenues from Apple’s App Store grew 30% while app usage continues to increase at a similar rate. In reality, most enterprises are only now finally starting to catch up to “mobilizing the enterprise” with the launch of mobile apps. So maybe the big trends at MWC18 are in the non-trends? Making our devices and data more secure with Intel’s security flaw a big topic Digital transformation of the mobile Industry which is far overdue Making 4G faster and more reliable Mobile payments leading the way in China Tools to develop better apps for employees and consumers Making Telemedicine available to Healthcare Mobile technology that reduces energy usage, waste and CO2 emissions Using mobile technology to build smarter factories, better transportation, safer cars and a better world This leads us back to the prominent theme for this year… Enter MWC18 with this in mind, “creating a better future with mobile technology.” Make this your mantra for the conference. I’m sure this way you’ll get a lot more value out of the conference, rather than just checking out all the latest gadgets. By Magnus Jern, Chief Innovation Officer, DMI  

13 February 2018

Human-Centric Mobile Trends 2018

Tired of buzzwords, glitchy new handsets, smartwatches, talks about how AI will replace employees, virtual reality shopping replacing physical stores, and other technology trends that hardly impact you in the short term? Then this is the trend report for you. We believe that the winners of the Mobile Age are the executives, organisations and companies that put the human first. After all, we are humans whether we work, drive a car, spend time with our family at home, or if our job tasks are being augmented by machines. This report will make you think how these trends may impact your organisation and personal life in 2018. Down the report here: 2018 Mobile Trends by DMI

24 January 2018

Quit Your Job the Right Way

31st January is the day workers are most likely to hand in their notice. If you are one of these people looking to move on then it’s important to hand in your notice the right way. We Brits generally don’t enjoy confrontation or awkwardness, so for most people, giving notice is not usually an enjoyable experience. But there is a right – and a wrong – way to do it, from both a legal standpoint and from a common courtesy perspective. Here are a few steps you can take to hand your notice in the right way so as you remain respectful to your current employer whilst retaining control: 1. Request a one-to-one meeting with your manager so as you have the privacy to discuss matters. This allows your manager control over how and when they announce your resignation to the rest of the team. A Friday afternoon works well as it gives your boss the weekend to absorb the news. 2. Put it in writing, clearly stating your resignation date and leaving date. If you wish to shorten or lengthen your notice it is advisable to include this in the letter and bring it up in your discussion. Remember you can use any accrued holiday to shorten your notice. 3. If there is a counter-offer, while flattering, be clear about the reasons you are leaving, remain firm and stick to your guns. 4. Be prepared for questions about your new role and company and only offer what information you feel comfortable in giving. 5. Leave on good terms, it will be observed and noted. Leave in as professional a manner as possible, you never know when your paths may cross again.

17 January 2018

Perceptions of Change: How Much Intellectual Humility Have You Got?

By Applied Influence Group Prior to Barack Obama’s decision in April 2016 to authorise the mobilisation of ground troops in Iraq and Syria, he had called the US’ intervention in the region ‘a dumb war’, he had opposed previous troop surges during the Bush administration, promised to withdraw all troops by 2008 which was then extended to 2010... and then 2011, and finally in 2014 categorically declared that the US would not have boots on the ground in the region. Critics of Obama labelled him a hypocrite, accused him of going back on his word and perceived him as an unreliable President for his change in policy. Regardless of subject and context, the opposition to people making considered decisions and changing positions has always puzzled me. Reading Paul Ratner’s article finally gave me a label to describe and commend Obama’s decision switch; intellectual humility. In leadership I feel that this quality is essential, not only for the person making the decision to have, but for those that the change in decision effects to understand. Far too often in my military career did I see a plan being stuck to, regardless of feedback and results, simply because the leader had committed themselves to a certain course of action. The result of this dogmatic approach led to the ultimate failure of an objective which could have been salvageable if the leader had the intellectual humility to reassess and change their mind. Likewise, when I have had leaders change their mind mid-process, I’ve seen peers and subordinates complain and moan that ‘the boss doesn’t know what they’re doing’ despite the end result turning out positive because of the change in plan mid-way through. Ratner quotes Mark Leary, a professor of psychology and neuroscience, who draws a parallel to the business world in stating that it is important for business leaders and managers to have a broadness of perspective and take as many other perspectives into account as possible. As time trickles on, situations change and perspectives shift and therefore it is understandable for initial plans to alter. However, I would argue that the danger of this is when the plans change on a whim, without consultation and effective understanding of the reasons why, to those it effects particularly if they have low intellectual humility. Intellectual humility is important on both sides of an interaction when it comes to successful influence, particularly in change management. If this mutual awareness is present, then the perception of the change and those responsible for it, will be a lot more favourable.

16 January 2018

New HQ for The JM Group & Longbridge

The JM Group (IT Recruitment) and sister company Longbridge Recruitment last week announced the opening of their new 5,500 square feet office in the City of London. The new space includes five meeting rooms named after parent company Staffing 360 Solutions’ other global offices, a chill-out area with pool table, eye-catching wall murals, plus bright and spacious desk space with room for further expansion. The JM Group, founded in 1981 and acquired by Staffing 360 Solutions in 2015, has been growing at a rapid rate. With current staff of 25 employees, The JM Group is looking to increase these numbers by 40% over the next two years. Finance and Operations Director Adam Drew, said “The last 12 months have been fantastic for us as a business and everything is pointing to continued growth over the next year. “With this in mind, we decided to invest in larger offices, giving us more room for expansion and an even better working environment for our employees. “Looking forward, we are now in a position to see further growth as we invest in people and services in 2018 and beyond. “The additional capacity and fresh, fun feel that the new office provides will undoubtedly assist in executing our growth strategy.” With 35 years’ experience in IT and Business Change recruitment across the globe, The JM Group is committed to recruiting and developing high calibre professionals to some of the leading organisations across financial services, major corporates and consultancies. If you’re considering a career in recruitment and want to hear more about life at The JM Group or Longbridge, please contact our talent team on For further information, please visit or contact 0207 251 7300. You can also find The JM Group on LinkedIn

08 January 2018

The Multi Horizon Innovation Discipline

Future proofing your organisation When people think of innovation, they tend to think of a new product, like the iPhone, or the driverless car. Think a little harder, and a company might think of making a process more efficient, like Toyota did with car making, or changing a business model, like Uber. Some of these are incremental, and some are a breakthrough. To future-proof their organisations; firms need a balanced portfolio of innovation activities. Why? If you are only looking at incremental, step by step innovations and short-term results, you can miss the big opportunities of a market breakthrough or a radical innovation that your competitors might make. You are also a target for scores of well-funded start-ups like Airbnb, Uber and Netflix. Incremental steps are no defence against disruption. If you are only looking at long-term, lab-based innovations you are probably trying to predict the future. You are making big bets on technologies and changes in what people might want that may never happen. You can end up missing revenue you could make in current operations, by not responding to immediate customer needs. You could end up losing money in the core of your business by neglecting it. In this short piece, we look at how companies can look at a spectrum of innovations across 1 to 5-year time horizon and recognise that each initiative requires a different discipline to innovate, incentivise and progress through to commercialisation. We also look at the role that the leadership has to play in supporting all of them simultaneously. Up to 1 year – Incremental innovation Incremental innovation is where firms improve their products and processes step by step. They are innovations that bring better products and services, possibly quicker to their customers, protecting their core offering. There is a distinct set of strategies a firm can deploy. Edge strategies that look at the firm’s customers journeys to find greater wallet share. Digital strategies that map customers’’ engagement journey with the firm to transform the customer experience. That way they gain loyalty and advocacy that drives both new customer revenue and greater lifetime value from existing customers. Lean strategies focused on process innovation that takes the waste out of the production and fulfilment process, bring more reliable services quicker to the customer base, again improving customer satisfaction and retention. In incremental innovation, the role of leadership is to encourage the grassroots within their frontline teams, those that interact with customers on a daily basis. It means redefining their day jobs, training them to be spotters of operational innovation opportunities, and creating the time and space for these employees to test them. Once a distinct value is created for the customer, the firms can decide how to monetise it. There is a range of pricing strategies that look at additional revenue and margin generation. Pricing strategies and monetization of innovation are both an art and a science. 1-3 year horizon – Building on adjacencies Of course, a firm can grow simply by launching existing products into new geographies. Here, however, we are going to look at growth strategies based on innovation. When firms are innovating over 1-3 years, they tend to be launching new products and services, clearly differentiated from the competition, that reach newer market segments and customers that are presently not well served. These innovations may be technological advancements. Blue ocean strategies increase the market pie by bringing in new customers that value different attributes and are willing to pay for them. One example is the Galaxy Note – a phone with a pen. Firms can also bundle and unbundle products, like a phone with a contract. Often more powerful is business model innovation, where new revenue streams could from different monetisation strategies. Think to move from ownership of an asset to consumption models (don’t sell a coffee machine, charge for number of cups consumed), or moving from a one-off sale to subscription models (Adobe changed its licensing model to subscription a few years ago bringing it more predictable annuities) The role of leadership here is to create new business teams with dedicated resources to build these product innovations and allow them to build, test, launch and operate with managed autonomy. The leadership team needs to train these (cross-functional) teams in leading-edge design thinking and frugal innovation techniques to take a fresh consumer-oriented perspective on innovation and break the mindset of pure incremental innovation. 3-5 year horizon – Future proofing the organisation This isn’t about predicting the future. It is about creating it. Whatever you start building, you will end up creating something else. It is an iterative process of experimentation, learning from the market, and going again. Right now, for example, Facebook is running a small-scale experiment with Facebook TV called Watch. To make this happen, leaders need to develop and promote a mindset that if we don’t cannibalise our business someone else will! How? For example, by selecting innovation champions and creating teams around them. Then deploy scenario planning activities to track multiple futures and build a strategy around lean experimentation, pushing a number of initiatives through a funnel. They will need to challenge the firm’s status quo and current revenue streams, and educate finance teams that techniques like cash flows and NPV analysis won’t work in this case. Instead, an ethos of patience, all the way to shareholders, is important to allow innovations of this nature the time to grow and create profit. Nespresso is a huge revenue stream to Nestle today, but it took 20 years to build and was almost killed off several times One way is to create a positive crisis to drive action for the future, even if the threat is not that obvious today. Leaders need to build an ambidextrous organisation and create the discipline of managing the portfolio of initiatives, actively managing the paradoxes and tensions that come with both protecting the core and challenging it at the same time. Going for moon shots, tracking them and narrowing down to a handful of future-focused initiatives, building the mindset and organisation of skills for reinvention – it all lies at the core. It’s not easy, and that’s the reason a number large well-established firms failed (remember Kodak?). A number of others have reinvented themselves completely, like IBM. Bottom line Through a number of reference studies carried out across a large number of firms (ref), it is not geography, IP, patents, national culture or R&D spend that drives the firm’s ability to innovate. The largest contributor by far is the firm’s culture, which has distinct attitudes of being future focused, a willingness to cannibalise their existing revenue streams and revised tolerance for risk and managing ambiguity. The leaders of these firms also create the disciplined environment that allows the many in the firm to innovate successfully. Organisational: Evaluate how you can innovate today. Innovation is not limited to R&D, its product, process, business model, strategic and management innovation. Make a start today. By Viren Lall, Managing Director at

07 December 2017

Recruitment & Religion – A Match Made In Heaven!

If I told you a recruitment consultant entered into a year-long programme to lead a monastic-life, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, you would be forgiven for thinking it was penance for the much-documented sins of recruiters. It is, in fact, the story of Rebecca Green, one of the JM Group’s very own consultants. Rebecca was invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury, principle leader of the Church of England, along with other Christians from around the world, to spend a year living in a monastic-inspired community. Rebecca is one of the non-residential members who commit to the same practices as residential members while continuing in their everyday work. As part of the programme, the Archbishop, Justin Welby, came to visit Rebecca in her place of work. He was keen to find out about Rebecca’s role as a JM Group Recruitment Consultant and how she manages her full-time work commitments together with her duties as a monk, which include working with vulnerable people alongside local charities in London. Before working for the Church, The Archbishop was a treasurer in the oil industry and takes a particular interest in business ethics. He has spoken publicly about enabling the leaders of tomorrow; people such as Rebecca. Far from being a recruitment drive from the Church to get young people into religion, the aim of the transformative year is to enable Rebecca and her fellow monks to shape the rest of their personal and professional lives, equipping them to live with integrity in every sector of society. Rebecca, 25, says “Being a full-time recruiter and part-time monk definitely is a unique experience and one that even bemuses me at times. It is a privilege to spend a year alongside others of my generation, with a passion for faith and desire to give their best and succeed in the workplace. It has also made me realise that Religion and work don’t have to be separate entities but can successfully go hand in hand for the betterment of all. It is also an honour to have the Archbishop of Canterbury championing this. I’m confident what I learn and experience this year will help my professional as well as personal development for a long time to come.”

27 November 2017