Our Marketing Manager shares her key takeaways from SXSW 2017

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This was my first time attending SXSW and most likely won’t be my last. I spent a total of five days drinking the kool aid and here’s what I learned:

The explosion of influencers

One of the hottest topics was influencers. As more brands and VCs look to invest in this space, they are running into a major issue: authenticity. How can businesses ensure the experience is authentic? But also, how can they evaluate their ROI?

Businesses need to understand that influencers are known for who they are (they are made famous on social channels first and are self-built star) versus celebrities who are known for their work (and often made famous by more traditional channels such as TV, radio, etc.). Put inherent trust in the influencers your business hires. They should be real people with real experiences interacting with your products and your company. Just as brands need to distinguish themselves, so do influencers. As this space grows, consumers will be even more sensitive to highly produced content. Make sure the end results match your brand and your influencer’s brand. – This was from The Moral Code of Pay-to-Play Marketing panel.

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‘A robot without a tool is like a car without tires’

You couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a talk, exhibition or demonstration around robots or AI at SXSW.

While robots will continue to be a tool for increased productivity, they will be made to collaborate with humans. Cobots are robots that will be careful of human safety, can work in unstructured environments and have a user interface to interact naturally with their human co-workers. – This was from the Democratizing the Industrial Robot talk with YASKAWA Innovation talk.

We saw the future of storytelling unraveled and pieced back together as we watched a film made completely by AI tools. It’s as dramatic as it sounds. From conception of characters, location, clothing, makeup to the casting of the actor and editing, AI tools such as IBM Watson, EEG, emotion recognition, MS Rinna chatbot etc. were used to create a ‘watchable’ film. – This was from Can a Film Made by a Machine Move You? panel.

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Content is king, queen and all the other pieces on the board.

We are starting to see digital platforms such as Youtube, Facebook etc. incubate themselves. They are buying both content and creators. They are also making creative decisions from design to production. We predict that the logical next step would be to bring all elements of content creation and distribution in-house that is if they have not already begin to do so.

Where will content live in the future? Content creators are looking beyond legacy platforms like Facebook and Twitter. From interactive video storytelling, audio and voice recognition, VR/ AR / MR, live video and messaging (chatbots), content creators are looking to build monetization into “themselves” from day one. – This was from the Pop Tech: Marrying LA and SF panel.

sxsw_select_8The future of design is reductive?

From a smart but disgruntled attendee: The machine reduces me to data. Interestingly, this complaint set off a lively discussion.

We are in a lopsided moment where we have data but we are bad at doing something with it all. Except for advertisers. Advertisers, sneakily enough, are using data to adapt to consumers’ needs and wants. Although there is a lack of transparency around their usage of data, it’s scarily nothing new.

There is also the idea of thinking of your data-self as an extension and not a representation of you. As we continue to feed more data and more of ourselves into machines such as Google Home or Alexa, we’d have to accept the fact that we are a known entity. How can design tackle this issue? Is design still the reductiveness of noise and not possibilities? – This was from Innovation by Design: What’s Next? panel.

Tl;dr robots are here to stay. So are influencers.

The post Our Marketing Manager shares her key takeaways from SXSW 2017 appeared first on Moving Brands – an independent, global creative company.

Flexible working, just an employee perk or a business benefit too?

It’s fair to say that these days most employers accept the need for some flexibility in the workplace, whether it’s allowing staff to work from home to wait for a delivery, or not returning to the office after a meeting. But is there an argument to suggest that flexible working can be more than simply an employee benefit and that a flexible working strategy can be beneficial to your business as well?

The workplace flexibility movement began years ago when many organisations launched talent initiatives to accommodate working mothers. Over time though, flexibility options have mushroomed: from compressed workweeks to job sharing, to adjustable schedules etc.

Being a millennial myself, you won’t be surprised to hear that an organisation that offers flexible working hours is appealing to me. But as a millennial I am not alone in this thinking. Organisations now span four generations— Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and the incoming Gen Z-ers, each with different leadership, communication, working, and learning styles, but what we do have in common is a desire for more workplace flexibility.

Moving away from the traditional 9-5 doesn’t mean employees are any less committed to the success of their organisation; in fact, it’s quite the opposite, flexible working can mean greater quality and productivity. And if your workforce is more productive then surely your business will benefit?

The business benefit

From its birth as an employee entitlement, workplace flexibility has grown to become a requirement for organisations that want to make the most of its people’s productivity.

The most successful businesses and teams have the ability to get the most out of the people they have. There is a limit to the number of hours in a week and a limit to the number of people you can employ, so making sure this input works as effectively as possible is one of the key factors to improving productivity and, ultimately, success.

With flexible work schedules, employers experience these benefits:

  1. Reduced absenteeism and sickness
    A study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute points out that while poor health causes employee absence, being ill does not have to result in employees being absent from work. It suggests that more flexible working options could mean less sick leave, and less absenteeism if illness is managed in a way that is better for employers and employees.
  2. Encourages dynamism in your business
    Having a team who are in and out of the workplace at different times of the day and working remotely at others means your company is always on the move. Staff and employers are not getting entrenched in a particular way of working.
  3. Increased employee morale, engagement, and commitment to the organisation
    All employers want a motivated and productive workforce and flexible working can promote this. Studies have shown that flexible working means your workforce are happier and less stressed and this means you don’t have as much sickness absence to deal with.
  4. Reduced turnover of valued staff
    If your staff are happier in the workplace then this is one of the things that can boost your staff retention. Recruitment can be an expensive and time consuming process. Retention also allows for continuity in the business.
  5. Increased ability to recruit outstanding employees
    Staff retention is great but all companies need to recruit new staff occasionally. Offering flexible working can make your company more attractive to potential employees. Having a reputation for flexible working can give your organisation an advantage and help to tempt the best talent to apply for your roles.
  6. Fosters better customer loyalty
    If your company has a reputation for flexible working customers also appreciate this. These days people like to know they are buying from companies that care about their employees and the community. Flexible working shows customers that the company tries to take staff needs on board. You are seen as a progressive, forward thinking company.
  7. Gives staff more control
    Flexible working gives staff a feeling of having more control over their work time and free time. This means they are more willing to work under their own initiative and are often more prepared to go the extra mile.

Not all flexible working ideas will work for every company, but the basic foundations are the same. Whatever the size of your company; trust, communication and technology are all vital for a successful strategy. The benefits of flexible working depend on the nature of the business. How it operates, what its customers need and how its people work but it’s likely all companies will see the impact of having an engaged and happy workforce will have on its productivity.

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Stats – can we do a nice infographic for the article using this data?

  • Women without children would rather have more free time than make more money (68 %)—even more than those with children (62%).
  • 40% of professional men work more than 50 hours per week. Of these, 80% would like to work fewer hours.
  • One in five employees cares for elderly parents, a number that could increase to almost half of the workforce over the next several years.
  • By 2025, Gen Y employees, will grow to represent 75% of the workforce. For this emerging generation, work-life fit is valued more than compensation growth or skill development.
  • 92% of Millennials say that flexibility is a top priority.
  • 45% of working parents are very concerned about having more time to spend with their families—and that number increases to 72 percent for those who are simultaneously balancing parenting and care giving responsibilities.
  • 58% of UK workers think the traditional office will not exist by 2020.
  • Flexible working has a significant influence on loyalty, with 81% saying it would make them more likely to stay with their employer.
  • 65% of employers said flexible working had a positive effect on attracting talent and keeping people long term, saving on recruitment, induction and training costs.

The post Flexible working, just an employee perk or a business benefit too? appeared first on Tonic Agency.

Who guards the guards?

Last week, Experience Planners Julia and Natalie went to a talk on the ethics of behavioural science with some of the field’s biggest names.

The brief is simple, one hour to write a blog post, let’s go…

After a slow start and so, an extra wine, the talk kicked off with panelists giving their views on how to be ethical within the practise of behavioural science, immediately getting us thinking, who decides what is classed as good behaviour and what is not? One of the panelists Emily Haisley, Investment risk and Behavioural finance Director at BlackRock argued that if you can help people fully comprehend the decisions that they’re making and the consequences of that decision, then they tend to make better decisions and feel happier about them. Nudging them into a state of knowledge and empowerment means they’re in control of their decisions and are more likely to make decisions in the state of System 2.

System 1 and System 2 are our mind states when making decisions, System 1 is our emotional, impulsive state and System 2 is our rational, analytical state. Decisions made in System 2 are seen as morally more acceptable, but this may not always be the case.

So does targeting our System 2 state of mind mean we can drive genuinely positive behavioural change? Even when the ambition of a product fits squarely into what the wider society deems to be a positive, the outcomes can still be surprising. Using the example of the Fitbit, where people have chosen to be told about the number of steps they are taking a day, trying to nudge them towards daily targets, people with trackers actually lost less weight than those without. Regular reminders of how active they’ve been helped may have justified the extra slice of cake! Even when fairly confident about the positive nature of a nudge the outcome could still turn negative.

Another perspective was that we should educate people and children on how to recognise nudges, however this was shot down by nearly all the panelists as they themselves admitted that recognising nudges doesn’t stop you being influenced by them.

Looking to traditional advertising, we’ve long been comfortable using persuasive tactics to talk to our audiences. We use content and imagery to sell a lifestyle, we use language and emotions to encourage people to spend their money! Framing and social proof, chunking and default choice are all tools we use regularly in the design of everything from digital platforms to above the line advertising. We rely on regulations to define what is fair, but often it’s down to the team or individual to decide what’s right.

If we look to social media, there is an abundance of talking, sharing and posting, arguably manipulating and forming our point of view with stories and facts that may not even be true. ‘Fake news’ and clever algorithms mean our individual news sources can be hugely contrived and our exposure to differing opinions becomes extremely narrowed. Is that ethical? Should Facebook regulate further? Should the government then regulate Facebook?

When working on a campaign to reduce littering no one has any problem with us using behavioural science to drive change, no one will ever complain if we try and increase rates of recycling, but how do we define what is right? Whose needs are more important than others? Which causes get ticked off as ‘good’? And who gets to make that distinction?

Essentially, who guards the guards?

We’re on the Recommended Agency Register!

We’re proud to announce that we’re on The Drum’s Recommended Agency Register. Again.

What is the Recommended Agency Register?

The Recommended Agency Register is The Drum’s way of helping brands choose agencies, based on their ratings. It acts as an online directory of agencies in the UK so that brands quickly know what agencies are the best in a particular sector. The full register contains over 45,000 agency ratings, all of which are added by the agency’s clients.

Because the clients leave the recommendations for their agencies, you know that the advice is solid. Brands are asked to rate agencies based on a particular sector that they’re working on, for example; creative design or B2C strategy. These recommendations are then all collated into the RAR.

Due to the tireless efforts of the Harvest team, our clients were happy to recommend us across the disciplines that we work on; including content marketing and content strategy/creation, paid search, SEO, CRO, performance marketing and online advertising.

How did we do it?

We work hard for our clients, and we make every effort to integrate ourselves with our clients’ teams and their company culture in order to produce the best possible results, as well as work that we are really proud of.

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A great example of this is Seconds Matter, which is a video project we made for Premier Care in Bathing. We wanted to highlight the challenges that people with arthritis struggle through every day, in order to raise awareness of the condition.

The video that we made really resonated with our audience, which is what we worked hard for. But it also did well for the client. We earned 35 backlinks, and the client got an 11x ROI.

Why does it matter?

We’re really proud of what we do, and our case studies. We work hard to make sure that we deliver measurable results for our clients, and helped them take their businesses to the next level by using digital channels.

But it’s not enough for us to just shout praises about ourselves, which is why we’re so happy our clients took the time to recommend us.

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Getting client feedback is something that really resonates amongst every Harvester here. It means our clients took time out of their busy days to recommend us and gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling.

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So we’d like to say a big Thank You to all our clients for recommending us. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to show off how great we are!

How we did

So how did we stack up against other agencies? Let’s take a look at the scores.

We’re pretty pleased that some of our clients rated us 10 in every area, and that our lowest average score is 8.5.

If you fancy working with a recommended agency, why not give us a call, or drop us a line info@harvestdigital.com.

The post We’re on the Recommended Agency Register! appeared first on Harvest Digital.

Brands and St. Patrick’s Day marketing success

If you hadn’t already noticed that today has a particular tint of green about it, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. A worldwide celebration of Ireland’s patron saint, and lucky for us Londoner’s a particularly sunny Friday.

 

Out of  33 million Irish-Americans, 56.1% are planning on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the US, making it the fourth biggest US drinking day behind NYE, Christmas and Fourth of July. Spending is also at an all-time high this year with 5.3$B expected to be spent in the US.

With so much potential spend no wonder some lucky brands have charmed their way to a pot-of-gold at the end of their marketing rainbow.

So in honour of the holiday, we’ve collected together some of the best successes brands have had from their St. Paddy’s Day marketing campaigns.

 


#1 Guinness

St. Patrick's Day Marketing

 

13M Pints of Guinness will be consumed worldwide today so there is no way we can’t include Guinness in this blog post. This amazing campaign links with their previous ads to encourage friends to get together and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as ‘the friendliest day of the year’.

The brand produced an interactive infographic filled with different stats and figures about the product and worldwide celebrations on St. Patrick’s Day. Each stat was shareable on social and also included a competition to win a trip to Dublin. Guinness raised huge global brand awareness with their snazzy infographic, sparked social conversations and gained a vast amount of data on their consumers.

 

 #2 Jameson Limited Edition

 

Jameson has launched its 6th consecutive St. Patrick’s Day limited edition bottle which sees Jameson celebrate its Irish Heritage by collaborating with some of the finest Irish artists or illustrators.

It is a fantastic long running campaign that returns year-on-year as a way for Jameson’s to celebrate their brand history and heritagewhile also celebrating the culture of Ireland to bring people together and celebrate amazing moments. While This campaign not only promotes great company and national culture, but also gives loyal Jameson’s customers the chance to collect beautifully crafted limited edition bottles!

 

#3 Jameson – #LongLiveTheShot

 

In 2015 Jameson launched a great social campaign, led by 360i, featuring 3D video ads on Facebook and Instagram. The ads encouraged people to raise a shot to the bartenders and anyone who celebrates St. Patrick’s Day.

The campaign was a brilliant way to encourage engagement on social as users were invited to share their St. Paddy’s Day experiences through a shot glass filled with Jameson whiskey, paired with the hashtag #LongLiveTheShot. The social campaign saw a 20% business growth for 3 consecutive months and a 720% increase in e-commerce sales. Although this was a US centred campaign those results are certainly worth talking about.

 

#4 Tourism Ireland – Global Greening Campaign

 

The Global Greening Campaign continues to go from strength to strength as more iconic world landmarks are illuminated in green to celebrate Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day. When the campaign initially launched in 2010 just the Sydney Opera House and the Sky Tower in Auckland participated. Since then we have seen a host of different buildings in many countries take part and turn green to celebrate the national day.

The campaign has had huge global success, last year’s campaign featured 240 landmarks and sites in 45 countries including 7 World Trade Centre at Ground Zero, the Great Wall of China and the Nelson Mandela statue in Johannesburg. Today we will see London’s Heron Tower and One World Trade Center in New York alongside many other new landmarks. Want to see if your city is featured? Check out the full list of new landmarks here.

 

 

So there we have it. We hope you enjoyed our choice of the some of the best St. Patrick’s Day marketing campaigns. What are your thoughts on our choices, did we miss any? Let us know in the comments or at @HarvestDigital and finally Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

 

The post Brands and St. Patrick’s Day marketing success appeared first on Harvest Digital.

Beyond Best Practices: 5 Scientifically Proven Secrets For Email Marketing

By Nancy Harhut (Chief Creative Officer)

Have you heard the dirty little secret about email?

You can follow all the best practices – every single one – and still not get the open, read and click through rates you want.

You can write subject lines short enough to be seen on mobile devices. You can craft easily scanned, reader-focused copy. You can even pop your buttons in contrasting colors.

Yet your metrics may still lag behind your goals.

It turns out that science offers a very good reason for this. And it has to do with how people actually make decisions.

Up to 95% of decision-making takes place in the subconscious mind.

According to social scientists and behavioral economists, up to 95% of decision-making takes place in the subconscious mind. That’s right, 95%.

We all like to think we, and our customers, make thoughtful, considered decisions. But very often people simply rely on decision-making shortcuts – certain automatic, instinctive, reflexive behaviors.

Humans have developed these shortcuts over the millennia as a way to conserve mental agency. And today these hardwired decision defaults can impact everything from what people read, to whom they trust and when they buy.

The good news? If you’re aware of these decision-making shortcuts, you can create emails that take advantage of them, prompting people to automatically take the actions you want them to take.

Following are five ways to do just that.


1. The Zeigarnik Effect – or why just getting started can be so powerful

The Zeigarnik Effect - Hotels.com

Social scientists have found that people don’t like to leave things incomplete. Once we start something, we feel compelled to finish it. It actually bothers us not to.

Think about a book you’ve read to the end, even if it wasn’t as good as you thought it’d be. Or a TV series that you just couldn’t wait to come back after the summer hiatus, so you could see how things turned out.

That’s all evidence of the Zeigarnik Effect in action.

And email marketers can use this principle very effectively. For example, send a message reminding prospects that they began designing or customizing a product on your website, but never finished. Or that they added several items to their cart, but never quite checked out.

Another powerful application of the Zeigarnik Effect can be used in loyalty programs. You know those digital punch cards that offer customers a free product after they’ve made 10 purchases?

Instead of showing 10 empty squares waiting to be marked off, show 11 but already mark off the first one. The number of purchases you want customers to make remains the same.

But in the latter scenario, the card has already been started, and that can make people feel compelled to complete it. In fact, one social science study showed a 78% increase in completions using this tactic.


2. Availability Bias – or what to ask before you ask for the sale

availability bias - flying

People will determine the likelihood of something happening based on whether or not they can recall an instance of it. That’s why, when asked, someone will tell you that lots of people die in plane crashes.

They’ll think back to the news reports they’ve heard involving planes, remember many of those stories involved crashes and casualties, and based on this information that’s “available” to them, determine that yes, many people must die in crashes.

What they don’t have available to them is many stories of perfectly safe plane landings.

So how do you use Availability Bias in email marketing? Before you ask your prospect to buy your product or service, first ask them to think of a situation in the past when they could have used it. Or to imagine a time in the future when it might fit nicely into their lives.

This will make them more receptive to your message, because they’ll judge the likelihood of the event (in this case their needing what you’re selling) to be higher.


3. The Scarcity Principle – or why people want what they cannot have

AhaLife - The Scarcity Principle - Email Marketing and Behavioral Science

Researchers have found that people place more value on items that are scarce. If something is readily available, we get it if we’re interested and ignore it if we’re not.

However, just let people know that the product or service is available only to certain people, or only for a certain amount of time, and that changes everything.

Suddenly, people will want it. And want it badly.

This is the Scarcity Principle in action. It has two sides – exclusivity, when something’s available only to certain people, and urgency, when something’s available only for a limited time.

Email marketers can easily tap into the Scarcity Principle using deadlines, exclusive offers, and limited quantities. Include expiration dates in your emails, emphasize that your target is receiving the email because they are part of a certain group, or underscore how rare, hard-to-get or nearly sold out your product is.


4. The Authority Principle – or how to instantly leapfrog the competition

Authority Principle

When people are young, we’re taught to recognize and respect authority. By the time we’re adults, it’s second nature to us. We automatically trust and believe those whom we perceive to be authorities — often without giving it a second thought.

And that’s why the Authority Principle can be so powerful for email marketers. We can use it to catapult our companies to the top of our target’s consideration list.

If our email includes an endorsement from a respected person, publication, association or institution, it can trigger a decision-making shortcut. Our targets will assume the endorser has done all the research, saving them the time and effort.

It becomes an easy decision to just take the expert’s recommendation.

In addition to a quote from an authority, you can also trigger this response by adding badges or logos from business, consumer and trade associations to your email, mentioning that you’ve been named to a top 10 list, or showing that your product or service was featured in the news.

Once your target sees you’ve attracted the attention of an authority, you’ll instantly look better than your competition.


5. The Von Restorff Effect – or which days are best for email

The Von Restorff Effect in Email Marketing

According to the Von Restorff Effect, people notice and remember things that stand out. If something is unusual or different, it attracts our attention.

So, as email marketers, we want to take advantage of days that are unusual and different. And what days are unlike most any others? Holidays and special occasions.

Special occasion emails can encompass customer birthdays and anniversaries, as well as company Founders Days and new product launch days.

Holiday emails can include all the traditional holidays –Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. – as well as any of the offbeat and unusual ones that a quick Google search can reveal.

For example, as I write this, people all over the USA could be celebrating National Chicken Boy Day, National No Rhyme (Nor Reason) Day, National Gyro Day, National Cherry Popover Day and Emma M. Nutt Day, who you may or may not recognize as the first female phone operator.

Admittedly, these are rather obscure holidays, but they can provide the inspiration for an email theme that could certainly stand out from every other day.


Use these principles to increase your email metrics

The truth is, there are lots of hardwired behaviors and decision defaults that your target relies on every day. And this applies regardless of whether that target is older or younger, highly educated or not, rich or poor, male or female or in a B2B or B2C environment.

As you develop your email campaigns, don’t stop at best practices. Also factor in the way people actually make decisions. When you do, you’ll finally see that increase in open, read and click through rates you’re looking for.


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Wilde Agency is an award-winning integrated marketing agency that specializes in understanding and utilizing the science of human behavior to drive superior results for our clients.

If you’re interested in learning how we can help you improve your ROI, please contact John Sisson, President of Wilde Agency at 781-251-2745 or john.sisson@wildeagency.com.


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The Google Fred Update

It’s been about a week since there were rumblings of a new Google update, but we’re sure one is here. While Google declined to officially comment on the update, aside from their usual rhetoric, SEOs all over the web began to notice heavy changes to certain types of sites.

In a departure from the other recent updates that we’ve had – e.g. Penguin 4.0 – which have focused mainly on links and link quality, this update seems to look at the quality of content on site. Fred appears to be a judgement around whether users are finding sites helpful or whether a site is answering relevant queries correctly.

How has Fred affected sites?

From the evidence that we have seen so far, it appears that Fred has mainly been related to sites that are not designed to answer relevant queries, and are only made for generating ad revenue.

A lot of the sites that Fred has affected are very ad heavy, with little content and a lot of ad space. I’m sure we all know the type of site here; a slideshow format and hundreds of ads – something you usually get referred to by a Taboola or Outbrain widget.

According to largely anecdotal evidence at this point, these sites have seen a drop of 50 percent or more in organic traffic overnight. Search Engine Roundtable has highlighted some specific sites that were affected by Fred, and they all seem to fit into the ‘ad revenue over user intent’ model.

How can sites recover from Fred?

If a site has been affected by Fred, it could be due to the level of ad space over content. A lot of webmasters are responding to Fred by removing some of their ad space – and have seen their rankings recover as a result.

One such site that has been notable in their efforts to fight Fred is FactSite. Luke Ward, who owns FactSite has said that while the site is old, his content was unique at the time of posting and helped users.

However, he has seen a massive drop in rankings due to the effects of Fred and, as a result, removed his advertising space. After removing his ad space, he saw his site’s rankings return to normal within fifteen hours.

And why is Fred a fish?

Gary Illyes said that, unless stated, every update will be called Fred from now on. According to Barry Schwartz, Fred is the name of a fish that Gary has. So there we go.

If you’re worried about effect of this or any other algorithm update, drop us a line and see how we can help you.

The post The Google Fred Update appeared first on Harvest Digital.

Adapting to Change Can Be a Slippery Slope

When you ski the conditions are often fleeting. It may start off sunny and end up snowy; the snow conditions can be powder at the top and slush at the bottom; the light goes from bright to flat, and the wind can pick up at any time. I recently went skiing in Utah with a group of 11 skiers ranging in age from 14 to 77.  Here is what I observed, and how each lesson can impact your performance in the workplace.

Fear can create doubt in an instant.
When visibility changed and it became difficult to see the slope, the youngest and oldest skiers became a bit paralyzed. They seemingly lost their ability to ski and needed to have their confidence rebuilt. Others followed more experienced skiers and were visually guided down the mountain and eased off the cloudy, windy ridge with no fear at all. The key is to adapt to conditions and find a focus to guide you through turbulence.

Internal voices have a strong influence.
We discussed the idea that everyone in the group knew they could get down anything. We might not ski it well but you know you can get off the mountain. One day, a few consecutive falls created a momentary lapse of confidence for one of my family members. After a break inside for lunch they regrouped, but that lack of confidence had an impact on their ability to perform. The key is to control the voice in your head. Shifting from a negative to positive outlook directly impacts outcome.

The equipment is rarely to blame.
We often look for who or what to blame when things don’t go well; in skiing it easy to focus on the boots or the skis. I found myself longing for a brand of skis that I had rented last year—the Nordica Belle to Belle. The day I got them I felt stronger and more in control. Did those around me believe that I skied better than the day before? No, but for me they were game changers.  The key is to be aware of our crutches, and use them to help us adapt and excel.

You can enhance confidence in others.
In this example, the group was able to influence the outcome of an individual. By positively reinforcing members who suffered from self-doubt, we were able to shift their confidence and, in turn, their ability to ski. Are you watching the group and individual dynamics during times of change? The key is, as a leader, to get those paralyzed by a big moment back on track… or you risk letting their fear steer them off trail.

Shifting resources can improve outcomes.
One day we hit the slopes early and the snow was very wet. Many people’s jackets and gloves were not fully waterproofed. As some of us had to leave early that day, we accessed the situation. I took off my dry shirt and traded with my sister before heading down. Another took my dry-liner gloves and, if we had thought of it, we should have given someone my daughter’s jacket. Our ability to generously shift the dry clothes to those staying allowed them to have a more productive, enjoyable afternoon when the sky cleared. The key here is to ask, “Do we reassess the situation and change course enough?”

These lessons may sound simple, but times of rapid change, when fear of the unknown seems to loom around every corner, can be paralyzing, make us doubt ourselves and steal our confidence. We can help each other adapt, change course and reassess situations as a group more quickly. However, often we try to plow through with the doubt in our head (or in our equipment) thus reducing the chances of optimizing the situation and creating the strongest outcome. I will take my lessons from the mountain back to the office, and I hope they might inspire you to adapt as well. Happy skiing and happy leading!