“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are”
Perception is a major and old area of study in the field of Psychology. Perception is how we organize, understand and interpret the world around us: what we see, what we hear, what we feel, what we smell, and what we taste. Dependent upon the business you are in, all five senses may play a role or perhaps just one or two. There is the belief that perception alters and may distort our vision of reality, perhaps masking the truth. If people come to a situation with a preconceived notion of what should be, they might tend to see what they expect, not what is there. So, we tend to bring to a given situation an inherent bias that may color the reality. The point of note here is that in viewing a business situation you need to see what is there, not what you expect to be there based upon previous experience, training, or expectations. That may be difficult to do.
Without a doubt, perception is a complex phenomenon influenced by personal values and/or beliefs, experience, attitude, education and training. An individual’s level of perception also may have some hereditary basis. Perception operates in all aspects of our life: our personal life; our social life; and, most certainly, our business life.
Specifically, what role is played by perception in business? If one accepts and understands that developing a vision, or predicting where a market will develop, or identifying major trends that impact the basic fabric of society, or determining how best to take advantage of an opportunity, is an essential part of running any business, then you accept perception as a basic ingredient in those processes. Sometimes, that hunch or gut feeling one gets is a form of perception. Remember that perception is how we see things and how we arrange and interpret those things to come to a conclusion or to make a decision. Consequently, perception is a principal ingredient in the management of a business and it can be a powerful tool in business, if properly recognized and applied.
A new wave of business leaders are doing much to change their perceptions, particularly in the tech industry, which is leading the drive for a more positive future for the human race. AtSkylab, CEO&Founder Dean Grey is known in the network marketing industry as one of the most inspirational and charismatic keynote speakers and his perception relies on the idea to help others: “It’s a Reward Within Itself”.
Perception in business is a reality. It is an essential part of one’s package of business skills. It is a core competency. To deny these statements is to deny a basic attribute of entrepreneurship, leadership and decision-making. Perception is basic and integral to how we see and assess opportunities and how we will pursue opportunities. It is how we view our business environment and the elements that make up that environment both internal (staff, resources, equipment, services, products) and external (the market, the customer/client, the competition); and, it is much more. It is also the identification and understanding of major trends, especially long-term trends, that affect the basic structure of society (aging population, empty-nesters, women returning en masse to the workforce, decline in manufacturing jobs and the increase in service sector jobs, global economics, growth in the health care industry, information technology and the trend to inter-company collaboration).
Peter Drucker, business management sage of the 20th Century, considered perception the skill essential to making bold, creative decisions. In Managing in a Time of Great Change, he said :
“Today, perceptiveness is more important than analysis. In the new society of organizations, you need to be able to recognize patterns to see what is there rather than what you expect to see.”
Therein lays the key benefit to applying or invoking the right perception. There also is the core problem. We need to see what is there, not what we expect to see. How do we do that? Here are a few suggestions.
Eliminating the ego in decision-making is the major component. The ego is personal baggage based on previous knowledge, previous experience and expectations. It may not be all bad, but, then again, it may. It colors one’s view and may even distort the image that you ought to be seeing. Clearing one’s mind and taking, as much as possible, an open and simple view of the business environment, to see it as it is and not as one wants it to be is the objective. The results of eliminating ego, hopefully, are a fresh view and through that fresh view the identification of new business opportunities.
Related to eliminating ego is this: assume nothing. Assumptions must fit reality. That means having a good grasp on your business environment: the existing situation, the opportunities for growth, what the competition is doing what the client wants (always a moving target), to mention a few. So, assume nothing; get the facts; check and re-check and check again.
Acquire a clear and working knowledge of those long-term trends we spoke of in Part One of this Article. These are the trends or shifts in society, existing and emerging, which change the basic structure of society, including the business sector. These long-term trends significantly affect the business decisions we take, or ought to take.
Perception has always been an important part of the business management decision-making process and will always remain so. Perception, appropriately understood and applied, is a key business skill and is the leading edge in recognizing and developing business opportunities.
“This gives us the opportunity to change our environment and thus, change ourselves for the better.”
“Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better thank is absolutely essential.”
Anyone who has ever worked with an overbearing self-promoter knows there is a big difference between a show-off and a superstar. Downplaying your skill set won’t do much for your reputation, either. The key to shining in the office is to find a balance between sharing and bragging and focusing more on being than seeming helpful, encouraging, organized, prepared and genuine.
Here are five ways to step into your spotlight in the office by adopting the proper behavior (without turning everyone off)
Make an effort to connect.
There is truth in the saying that people will never forget how you made them feel. Instead of rushing to your desk and putting your head down, make an effort to say good morning/hello to everyone from your receptionist to your boss and ask them how things are going every once in awhile. In doing so, you can help to diffuse any misinformed projections, build relationships with your team that will inevitably boost productivity and set yourself apart from those who only acknowledge those who can help them in some way.
Start each day with a clear purpose.
Take a few moments each morning to understand what you want the outcome of your day to be. After you have a clear picture, identify the most important tasks to take on in order to achieve it. These are the ones that will bring you to the result you want to achieve and help you stay on track when the inevitable interruptions and social media temptations begin to seep in.
This sounds obvious, but how many people know someone who is always running late, shows up to meetings without notes or always has an excuse for a missed deadline or sloppy work? Try and bring one well thought-out idea to each meeting instead of trying to shoot off five off of the top of your head (or offering none at all) and meet your deadlines with edited work instead of trying to beat them and move to the next thing.
Give weekly updates and take it upon yourself to lead the charge when it comes to following up on projects (before they are due). Information exchange offers a great benefit to those who are opening the lines of communication. Not only are you showing the work you have done in a non-aggressive way, you are also leading team members who may have needed a reminder or a little guidance as to how to get things done.
Do your part, but no more.
This doesn’t mean to play the “that is not in my job title” card, but more a reminder to step up and give 100% but don’t take on other people’s duties to show off or play the martyr. You want to share your knowledge and wisdom without stepping on anyone’s toes or disempowering them. Teach them how to fish and hold them accountable the same as you expect them to.
If you respect and adopt these simple steps, your behavior will change and it will results in the workplace’s harmony where each member’s behavior contribute. All of those steps can be enhanced by Gamification.
A prime example of a company who is taking the gamification world by storm is Skylab Apps. At Skylab, one great use for Gamification is by incorporating it into the workplace. It can be an asset because it can provide employees with further work-related knowledge. This could be in regards to policies, standards, performance expectations, and so forth. Gamification makes learning about these various things actually fun and engaging, which in turn produces more educated and well-versed employees.”
The number of mobile platform users today is greater than the number of desktop users!
Consequently, businesses have realized the need to effectively use mobile channels platform for attracting customers. They have started new operations (or scaled existing ones) through mobile websites and mobile apps.
“Mobile devices have already ingrained themselves into our daily lives and business are realizing that this is something that can work to their advantage.”
While businesses with large wallets can afford to employ both mobile websites and apps platform, other companies might have to choose one of them. The choice between mobile apps and websites depends on their cost, usability, required features and the audience they serve.
That being said, studies show that users prefer mobile apps platform more than mobile websites. This makes for a strong reason to have mobile apps for reaching out to potential (and existing) customers.
In addition, there are various other reasons, too, that make mobile apps better than mobile websites platform.
#1 Mobile Apps Offer Better Personalization
Personalization is about offering tailored communication – Smart Chat – to users based on their PIIP (Proximity, Identity, Interest and Performance)
“Personalization is critical in making a mobile User Experience delightful”
With mobile apps, it’s easy to treat users with a personalized experience.
Mobile apps can let users set up their preferences at the start, based on which users can be served with customized content. Apps can also track and observe user engagement, and use it to offer custom recommendations and updates to the users. Furthermore, they can also identify location of the users in real-time to provide geography-specific content.
However, improving user experience is not the only purpose that personalization serves. It can also help improve conversion rate of apps:
When users are pampered with personalized content, they have a higher chance of making a conversion.
At Skylab, visuals and layouts are customizable, but the underlying structure is stable & standard. This creates total control for the client – flexibility within a proven and tested framework.
This is a massively-disruptive model
#2 Ease of Sending Notifications
For the last couple of decades, email has been the most widely-used business communication tool. Businesses have extensively used email (some almost abused it) to reach out to their users. As a result, email has lost the effectiveness it once had; its open rates and click rates have constantly dropped.Well, there’s no reason to worry.
The notifications are of two types: push and in-app notifications. They both are exciting alternatives for communicating with app users in a less intrusive manner.
The ability to send instant, non-intrusive notifications to users is so desired that it is one of the major reasons why many businesses want to have a mobile app in the first place.
In-app notifications are the notifications which users can only receive when they have opened an app.
Push notifications, on the other hand, are those notifications which users can receive regardless of any activity they are doing on their mobile device. There have been instances where the push medium of notifications has delivered click-through rates of 40%.
At Skylab, we’ve got the full suite: outside the app, inside the app, and a master control center.
Notifications are the primary way users get information about activity in their apps.
#3 Making Use of Mobile Device Features
Mobile apps have the advantage of utilising features of a mobile device like camera, contact list, GPS, phone calls, accelerometer, compass, etc.
Such device features, when used within an app, can make the user experience interactive and fun.
Moreover, these features can also reduce the efforts users would have to make otherwise. For instance, users completing a form on a banking app might need to submit their photograph for completion of the process. The app can let users take help of the camera of their mobile device to capture and submit a photograph.
“Apps can utilize native features of mobile devices to enhance User Experience.”
The device features can significantly shorten the time users take to perform a certain task in an app, and can even boost conversions.
Add-on: Mobile websites platform can also use some features of a mobile device like camera, GPS, etc. Still, there are technological constraints in utilizing all the multimedia features of a device (which mobile apps can use).
Skylab has worked in the development of BlowBunny app. We use the native features which had been shown above to create Voting Contest. It’s one of the Gamificationadd-on features that Skylab can provide.
You can see the most recent posts and -following customizable tabs- the Leaderboard with the actual ranking, your own posts and the winners from the past weeks.
This fun contest renews every so often – admin choose the timeframe – and the winner earns a reward!
Customize the How to Win screen to display the contest info and reward
#4 Ability to Work Offline
It is probably the most fundamental difference between a mobile website and an app.
Although apps too might require internet connectivity to perform most of their tasks, they can still offer basic content and functionality to users in offline mode.
“The beauty of mobile apps lies in their ability to work even in offline mode.”
Let’s take the example of banking app again.
The app can provide features like tax calculation, instalment calculation, and determination of loan limit. These features can work even without the help of an internet connection.
Add-on: Even though mobile websites platform can use caching to load web pages without an internet connection, they can only offer limited functions.
#5 Freedom in Designing
Even with all the technological advancements in web designing, mobile websites have to rely a lot on browsers to perform even the most elementary functions. Mobile websites depend on browser features like ‘back button,’ ‘refresh button,’ and ‘address bar’ to work.
Mobile Apps don’t have any of these restrictions.
A mobile app can be designed with a lot of elaborate functions, based on advanced gestures like ‘tap,’ ‘swipe,’ ‘drag,’ ‘pinch,’ ‘hold,’ and more.
Apps can use these gestures to offer innovative functionality that can help users perform a task better. For example, an app can let users move to a next or previous step using the swipe gesture.
Skylab gives you the ability to modify colors/branding + actions + bottom/side menu navigation.
#6 New Branding Experience
Since a mobile app is distinct from a company’s website, it has the liberty of offering a new branding experience to users. It means that the company can experiment with new branding styles for the app, which can be different from the regular brand style of the company’s website (or the company altogether).
Going a step further, companies can build mobile apps specifically to transition into a new brand style for themselves.
“Mobile apps can be used to create a distinguished brand for your product/service.”
Additionally, a mobile app can also allow users to customize its appearance, as per users’ liking. This can further help in the personalization front of the app.
Add-on: The concept of microsites work on similar lines. Microsites offer a distinct brand experience to users, as compared to their parent sites. They are often used to promote a sub-brand, an event, or a newly-launched service.
Skylab can implant a social media page and any website directly into the app. This enhances User Experience.
On this screenshot of the Allysian app, the Action-Buttons can be set in a different way and the different tabs at the bottom of the app as well
Allysian Science is One of the Skylab’s Clients. Its mission is to maximize human potential through advanced science and education, enabling people to become the best at whatever they choose to be.
Skylab provides to the Admin a wide Platform Settings Control as seen in the previous point. Admin can optimize and change the display as they wish.
Different courses and lessons about Allysian
The Brand story, aspirations, clients & partners, testimonies and others branding experience can be available with great refine design and layout on the app. New users can easily access to those in the Training tab. Each lesson give credit to the reader by just indicate that it has been completed. Each completed lesson will be displayed on the Recognition Wall where every users can like, comment and access to.
#7 Users Spend More Time on Apps
Mobile users spend 86% of their time on mobile apps and just 14% of the time on mobile websites.
“In today’s market, in order to be a successful company it is essential to go mobile”
Moreover, the average time users spend on mobile apps is also increasing — rising by 21% in 2015 from 2014.
Note: A point to consider here is that users spend a majority of their time on gaming apps and social media apps. Skylab has merged both of them to create a Gamified Social Media.
However, we also don’t have data telling us which mobile websites users visit more often (out of the 14% of their time mentioned above). Hence, it’s not possible to make a comparison.
#8 New Stream of Conversions
If you’re looking to increase conversions, mobile apps platform can be a great medium to push users down the conversion funnel.
Mobile apps can be used to acquire both top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) and bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFu) users.
For instance, utility apps can bring-in ToFu users, which can be later nurtured into BoFu leads. On the other hand, apps like eCommerce already have BOTF users, who have a higher possibility of converting.
Add-on: Since mobile apps are much more targeted in nature (through their content and utility), they can be used to tap specific users in the funnel. Mobile websites, in contrast, reach out to a diverse set of audience.
With Skylab, you already have a community of BoFu and ToFu. Those Users will jump on your app when it will be launched ! Companies focus on capturing new customers, but successful brands knows the importance of retaining & rewarding existing customers.
If your user base does not feel a compulsive need to check your app multiple times a day, you are unable to compete. We leverage this need for frequent engagement, exploration, and unpredictability.
#9 Brand Presence
Users spend a substantial amount of their time on mobile devices. It’s safe to say that many of the users encounter the apps they’ve installed on their devices, almost every day. This regular encounter can be viewed as a branding opportunity for the apps. For the record, a study shows that U.S consumers spend 5 hours on their mobile each day !
Even when users are not actively using a mobile app, they are still reminded of the brand associated with the app. The icon of the app acts like a mini-advertisement for the brand.
“Mobile app icons can work like innovative ad-banners.”
The Allysian Logo is its Brand’s Identity
The presence of an app on a user’s device helps influence user’s perception about a brand, subconsciously.
All of these Apps’ Logos become their own Brand Presence
This user behaviour can be linked to the Signal Detection Theory, which suggests that users process even those ads which they’ve ignored at some level in their minds.
With Skylab platform, we have implanted a GamificationEngine with gamified features to add value on what is already on the mobile market. This increases the companies’ value.
#10 Apps Can Work Faster Than Websites
A well-designed mobile app can perform actions much quicker than a mobile website.
Apps usually store their data locally on mobile devices, in contrast to websites that generally use web servers. For this reason, data retrieval happens swiftly in mobile apps.
Apps can further save users’ time by storing their preferences, and using them to take proactive actions on users’ behalf.
There is also a technical justification as to why mobile apps can work faster.
“So, mobile websites are technically slower than mobile apps!”
While all this is happening in the background, users get to complete actions quicker on the front-end of mobile apps, again contributing to a delightful user experience.
Mobile App v/s Mobile Site — What Should You Choose?
Developing both mobile website and mobile app for your business can prove to be a costly affair. You might have to choose one of the two channels, based on your budget and business goals. While both channels have their own pros and cons, mobile apps, especially, can help you get higher conversions. Mobile apps offer greater personalization and operational efficiency, along with multiple other exclusive features.
At Skylab apps, we provide Mobile & App platform according to the client’s needs. We also bring an essential interest to the native features and add-on features which mobile platform can provide and support (Smart Chat, Notifications, Smart Tags…). Skylab has truly understood and incorporated all of these points we’ve just gone through.
“The Role of a great leader is not to give greatness to human beings, but to help them extract the greatness they already have inside them.”
A Leader’s quote
As we rise into leadership roles, it’s not always easy to walk the talk. Of course, we want to be wise sages, counseling our charges and inspiring them to greatness. But that’s easier said than done. The challenge was particularly acute for Karl Allen, co-founder and CEO of Planet Jockey, a company that creates management courses in the form of online games. He knew it would be a sad irony if the head of a company selling leadership games wasn’t much of a leader, himself. So he vowed to step up – and here are the lessons he learned through playing his company’s games and vowing to become the right kind of CEO.
Recognize where you’re starting.
Planet Jockey’s game teaches the principles of “buoyant leadership” – what Allen describes as “a concept whereby, as a leader, you float [on top] because the people you lead believe you deserve it.” (The concept is discussed in depth in a book called The Case of the Missing Cutlery by Kevin Allen, Karl’s partner in business and life.) But Karl recognizes that while buoyancy is the goal, he won’t always be perfect. “I can do it at times,” he says. “But sometimes [negative] instinct takes over, and it takes over really fast.” These days, he can recognize when he feels his temper rising at work, and can guide himself back into a more inspirational mode of leadership.
Say what you mean.
In evaluating his leadership style, Karl Allen recognized that sometimes in the past, he’s prioritized being ‘nice’ – which has driven him to avoid saying what he really means. That doesn’t serve anyone, he’s concluded. He recalls one incident where he felt one of Planet Jockey’s Udemy classes wasn’t gaining traction fast enough. The best possible reaction, he says, would have been to tell his staffer, “You’re doing an amazing job, and I’ve got a great idea for all the ways” we can grow further. He also could have directly discussed the critiques he had of the marketing. Instead, he recalls, “I phoned her up and said, ‘I think we’re really dropping the ball.’ It’s passive-aggressive, because when I say ‘we,’ I mean ‘you.’ And that’s terrible and destructive.” Planet Jockey’s games have helped him to realize where he went wrong.
Meetings are critical. One of the areas where Allen knows he fell short initially was in running staff meetings. “Before, I’d just get everyone into a meeting and start chatting and people would shout at me and I’d shout back at them,” he recalls. “What I learned after playing the game is that you need some rules. It’s not just about inspiring people; meetings need to be structured. For instance, you need smaller meetings, so you should try to limit it to 6-8 people. That way you know you can get to hear everybody’s point of view and everyone gets a chance to talk.” Overall, he says, “You need to know what needs to come out of the meeting, and have a clear sense of who’s there and why they’re there.”
Early on, says Allen, he would sometimes take too narrow a view of what others could contribute. “The game taught me that people within your team have a lot more to offer than sometimes you realize,” he says. As a result, he started a team practice in which staffers sit down and share what they’re doing outside of work. That’s how he learned about one employee’s side calligraphy business, which she was pursuing with a friend who worked at a company Allen was targeting. Allen had always thought of his staffer as being expert in “digital marketing, not face-to-face sales.” But with a little coaching, she was able to persuade her friend to make an introduction at her company. “I realized she has an amazing sales persona,” says Allen. “She built that skill and we got a huge piece of business.”
The conversation is what matters. When it comes to a topic like leadership, there will never be 100% agreement about the best approach to a given situation. That’s how Allen came to realize that the real value of the game is in the conversation it sparks. “The learning from the game wasn’t even so much from the game itself,” he says. “The learning is from the reflection on the game – how well you did, or thought you did…You learn because you have to fight it out and discuss it [with colleagues]. The answers are ambiguous and part of a learning process.”
MindMovies is one Skylab’s Client. Through the Channels section, you can access to great content about leadership and entrepreneurship directly on the app. Each Skylab app provides great training and learning section related to the appropriate business sector.
Becoming a great leader isn’t easy. It’s especially challenging when you’re running a company that’s predicated on teaching others how to lead. As Karl Allen shows, opening up about your mistakes and the learning process along the way is part of what it takes to truly succeed. You win or you learn !