Employee Engagement – an Executive, Managerial and Individual Responsibility (Part Two)

In Part one of this series, we looked at the executive responsibilities the C-Suite has when undertaking the establishment of the right company culture for its employees. Shareholders are slowly but surely beginning to realize that leading others altruistically not only results in more productivity but also increases ROI — a Christian principle written in the Bible thousands of years ago.  When one considers that the industrial revolution took place more than 200 years ago, it’s about time for 21st century management, stuck in 20th century practices, to update its fundamental premise and adapt to the ubiquitous communicative technology our crowd-centric, knowledge-based society. 
 
Employee engagement isn’t a natural result that business leaders should automatically expect.  The C-Suite, and particularly shareholders, should stop here for a minute and earnestly think about what employee engagement means for their organization.  Again, employee engagement ought to be considered as the worker’s emotional “payback” on how he or she is being treated by the organization that employs him or her.   
In his article: How Shareholders Are Ruining American Business Justin Fox writes the following:
 
“One could attach many adjectives to the giant banks that tumbled down during the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008: reckless, greedy, hubristic, stupid. Here’s one that may come less readily to mind: shareholder-friendly. But that’s what they were. Several studies have found that the more shareholder-oriented a bank’s corporate governance and executive-pay arrangements were heading into the crisis, the more trouble the bank got into. A misplaced focus on pleasing shareholders, it seems, must be added to the roster of causes of the crash.”        
Let’s stress again to our 21st century shareholders and C-Suite, that Return on Employee Engagement (REE) or, mostly disengagement, is the emotional and intangible by-product of how the workforce honors or dishonors the company they are working for.  It is the resulting outcome of three basic business components:
 
1. People and their well-being as employees and family members while at work or away from work.
2. Products/Services’ sustainability, quality and benefits for all employees, users and consumers.
3. Profit, because every company needs to make money.
 
Profit should be the resulting outcome of employees’ positive engagement while manufacturing high quality products and/or services.  Pillars 1. and 2. should be the cornerstones that contribute to the success and overall health of a company’s culture and financial results.  Profit should be the end result of manufacturing extraordinary products or services by a super joyful workforce, motivated to go above the call of duty.
  
How can workforce, clients and suppliers thrive in a toxic environment when the basics of company culture are wrong? What will JP Morgan’s “emotional” and financial damages be after last November’s Twitter hashtag #AskJPM high-jacking?  Should JP Morgan start all over again?   
 
JPMorgan
 
Renaming Human Resources into Human Capital
 
Today, most businesses are still carrying the hierarchical woes of the “enlightenment” era and its resulting Industrial Revolution; a time when machines became the center of “human” manufacturing processes. Back then, the steam engine revolutionized the 19th century and brought in a “machine-centric” work ethic in the newly “industrialized” manufacturing environment.  Managers had to ratify the short processes that would be performed by uneducated workers pouring in from rural areas.  At that time, managers owned the knowledge of how machines operated. The plant worker had the sole purpose of implementing the manufacturing steps as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Workers were not hired for their brain capacity but solely expected to work the machines.  Henry Ford powerfully expressed it when he once said: “I pay my workers to bring their bodies to work and the bastards insist on bringing their minds.” 
 
Dragging our business ethics and infrastructures out of the 19th century footprint remains a challenge.  The practice of using people as “machines” is still present when one considers the modern euphemism of “human resources”. Humans are still relegated to the level of resources or machines. Their main purpose was, and still is, to speed up the manufacturing process while minimizing costs. The 19th century machine-centric manufacturing processes have barely changed today.  We continue to cling on to them while cleverly (or not so cleverly) relocating our manufacturing premises to international areas where “cheap labor” is still available.  
 
In the Huffington Post article “S&P 500 CEOs Make 354 Times More Than Their Average Workers”, dated April 15th 2013, it was reported that UnitedHealth Group CEO-to-employee pay ratio is 1,737:1 and Wal-Mart CEO-to-employee ratio is 717:1.  One wonders about the pay ratio when considering that Wal-Mart employees are hopelessly fighting for a minimum yearly salary of US$25,000. 
In the International Business Times article: “Wal-Mart Says ‘Save Money Live Better,’ But Workers Don’t Make Living Wage And Rely On State Benefits” Christopher Harres wrote: ”… a study from June found that Wal-Mart workers in Massachusetts are forced to use government benefits like food stamps and Medicaid to top up their average salary.  A similar report from California found that 44,000 employees rely on around $44 million worth of taxpayer money to get by. It’s thought that up to $1 billion is spent annually by states all across America to subsidize the lowest-paid Wal-Mart workers, according to ChangeWalmart, an advocacy group in support of Wal-Mart employees.”
 
The French Revolution was supposed to introduce: Liberté Egalité et Fraternité (Liberty, Equality and Fraternity) but what happened to this old adage when considering the ruthlessness of corporate shareholders?  How can Wal-Mart expect its employees to represent its culture (and by the way what is Wal-Mart’s culture?) when there is an obvious lack of respect, fairness and equity towards them?  How about Wal-Mart’s suppliers? Are these paid fairly or do they also have to apply for subsidies?  What is the resulting quality of the food the average US citizen has on his dinner plate?  Can truly nourishing food result from such capitalistic greed?  
 
In Part three we shall look at middle management and the role it should play when implementing an open culture versus a hierarchical and silo culture. Looking forward to your suggestions and comments on this post. In the meanwhile, I wish all my reader a successful 2014 and God’s blessing upon all your undertakings. 
 

Employee Engagement – an Executive, Managerial and Individual Responsibility (Part One)

In this three part series, I would like to cover three principles of employee engagement as inspired by an article written by Blessingwhite in January 2013.  Blessingwhite spelled out three important areas well worth revisiting and expanding upon.  These principles or responsibilities can be applied to any business, group, or association, and should be carefully examined and studied by CXOs, middle-management and employees alike. These points deserve to be called The Three Fundamentals of Employee Engagement:
 
1. Executive responsibility:  trust, communication and culture
2. Managerial responsibility:  coaching, relationships and dialogue
3. Individual responsibility:  ownership, clarity and action
 
Part 1:  Executive Responsibility
 
As I have covered in past blog articles company culture, positive or negative, will define the outcome of an employee’s emotional attachment to the company, his work satisfaction, leadership acceptance and trust.  Positive company culture IS the most important prerequisite for employee engagement and will result in dedication, creativity and innovation.
 
Culture is everything, from the little things we miss when living away from home, to the way we “do” things.  It’s the way we tick and contribute to our working environment, as well as the technological and digital tools we are most familiar with. Company culture is the foundation of every employee’s well-being and work satisfaction. 
 
Culture is the “heart” of the company and if a culturally-responsible executive leads with warmth, care, love and concern, the “fruits” will be visibly seen in a happy, engaged workforce.  A company’s culture can be defined by what employees are saying about the company when the boss is not in the room! Some years ago, en route to an interview in Bavaria, I stopped at a local bar with the clear intent of finding out the reputation and culture of the company I had applied for a job with.   I was very surprised by the overwhelming negative comments that some of the locals, including employees, were freely expressing! The emotional reaction of the people around me was overly negative and almost compelled me to return home!  I wished the Managing Director of this medium business (€300M) had been there to assess and identify the fruit of his labor and the resulting company culture!
 
Negative company culture affects productivity, motivation and product development and my personal incident serves to highlight the statistics that 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged!  The cost? “According to Gallup’s calculations, actively disengaged employees — the least productive — cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity” … “ This is a yearly cost of at least $2,246 per disengaged employee.”. According to The Economist, 84% of senior leaders say disengaged employees are one of the three biggest threats facing their business.  
 
Stop! Let’s be positive and proactive, and give ourselves four examples on how to promote a transparent culture of communication and trust from the top down! Remember… culture percolates down from the top!
 
1. Create a coffee-shop area within your company.
 
This will become the place where employees gather!  Allow them to meet during work hours and not just during breaks! Don’t limit the coffee shop to just free coffee and snacks.  As a matter of fact encourage workers and especially top management, to use the coffee shop for meetings, brainstorming, after-work parties and any motivational scheme Human Resources is creative enough to come up with! The coffee shops should become company hubs where crowd-sourcing and co-creation is encouraged during, before and after work hours!
 
2. Create graffiti walls
 
Encourage people to drop their ideas on the wall! If company culture is positive, comments will be honest, yet respectful. Allow every employee, partner and supplier access to the wall, but only reward the non-anonymous comments. This will surprise many workers especially if the organization has been hierarchical from the start! At first the workforce might be reluctant, but as they observe management using it first, the employees will follow.
 
3. Reward the best innovative ideas
 
Every month, reward the 20 most exciting graffiti.  This will definitely be a sign that management does mean business, and that ideation is being encouraged from all levels and from all workers! Who knows, your employees might even get their friends and family involved and the flood of ideas could be crowd sourced.
 
4. Reward the best criticisms
 
Look for the best criticisms and encourage employees to come up with real problems, particularly if they do not have the solution!  Employees can sometimes perceive that their inability to solve a problem means a lack of competence, when actually they may not even be responsible.  Best criticism rewards allow openness and the chance to eradicate and tackle real problems.  
If management uses the graffiti walls and frequents the coffee shops, not only will it set an example of company transparency, but this will also encourage workers to follow their example! This brings us back to culture and the need for management to walk the talk and not just talk the walk! Leading by example is mandatory if a serious culture shift is to take place!  Leaders who persist in functioning as silos should be dealt with swiftly and consequently.  Silos need to be torn down.  As a matter of fact, the higher in the hierarchy the faster it should happen! Remember Tony Hsieh at Zappos: study his writing and listen to his recommendations! Could you imagine a rowing team with one of its members paddling in the opposite direction? Absurd, right? If HR accepts this type of behavior, how on earth can a business keep afloat and achieve its highest potential in the face of roaring competition.
 
In Part 2 of this series we will look at the challenging responsibility of middle management and the cultural door-keeper it has traditionally been.  Did you know that Microsoft has around 500 VP’s, each building their own silos?  An obvious by-product of this is hanging on to obsolete products such as Microsoft Office!

Die Acht Schritte Zum Erfolg

1. Positive Einstellung
 
Ihr Erfolg hängt zu 90 Prozent von Ihrer Einstellung ab, nicht umgekehrt.
 
2. Pünktlichkeit
 
Pünktlichkeit sollte für alle selbstverständlich sein
Im Tagesablauf und beim Erkennen von Situationen
 
3. Gute Vorbereitung
 
Auf Ihr Äußeres, Ihre Gebietsverantwortung und Ihre Kunden
Auf Negative und Positive
 
4. Voller Arbeitseinsatz
 
Acht Stunden oder auch mehr
 
5. Effektive Gebietsverarbeitung
 
Keine Vorurteile: Jeder Mensch / jedes Geschäft
Jedes Geschäft kann ein potentieller Kunde werden
Gebietswechsel kostet Ihnen Zeit und Geld
 
6. Behalten Sie Ihre positive Einstellung
 
Schnelle Körbe sind gute Körbe
Der Kunde hat das Recht nein zu sagen
Bleiben Sie stets souverän und freundlich
Jedes Nein bringt Sie zum Abschluss näher
 
7. Werden Sie sich bewusst, warum sie hier sind
 
Wo auf Ihren Karrierewegen sehen Sie sich?
Ohne Ziele erzielen Sie kein Ergebnis
 
8. Üben Sie Kontrolle aus
 
Für Ihre Zukunft sind Sie der Hauptverantwortlicher
Zeigen Sie Eigenmotivation und Lernbereitschaft 

Seven changes for TomTom to implement in order to turn things around: An open letter to TomTom’s Management Board Members

Harold Goddjin (CEO)
Marina Wyatt (CEO)
Alain De Taeye (Board Member)
 
Dear Harold
 
Three years ago, while visiting Austin, Texas, I purchased a PNA (Personal Navigation Assistant) from TomTom at Fry’s Electronics.  Although my PNA works perfectly, major software and hardware improvements should have been considered prior to production of this series.  To this date my TomTom PNA does not inform me if my destination is on the right or on the left hand side of the road; very important information when traveling in any larger city.
Back on the “Old Continent“, I was surprised to see that my PNA’s internal memory would not house the complete set of TomTom’s version of Western European maps thus dividing it into Northern and Southern Europe and forcing me to choose and reload every time I am traveling.  Additionally, my PNA does not provide any slot for additional data cards!  What an antiquated technical limitation considering the fact that memory has never been so readily available. May I respectfully remind you that both Flickr and Yahoo Mail offer a whopping 1TB of free memory, and Google Mail 15 Gigabytes!
However, the main point of this letter is the fact that TomTom charges £74.95 every year to keep the map content updated.
 
TomTom justifies its yearly fee of £ 74.95 by “packaging four updates” within its price.  Harold, do you earnestly want your customers to believe that GPS maps require an update every three months?  Considering the GPS market as a whole, an annual £74.95 price-tag is astronomical when considering the fact that Google provides its navigation app, including all updates, for free!  The one major advantage that TomTom has over free navigation apps for smart phones, is the size of its devices.  For this reason I would like to keep my TomTom GPS device.  However, in order for your company to remain competitive, and I would even go as far as suggesting, in order for it to survive, I would like to strongly make the following recommendation.  Remove the cost of updating maps immediately and make the digital map content available for free!  This must be done if TomTom wants to maintain its business credibility and put an end to the down-sliding of its sales.  Just like I refuse to pay £74.95, I would like to suggest that many other customers feel the same way!  Since 2007, TomTom has lost almost 50% of its sales.  It is time for TomTom to realize that its PNA’s business model is antiquated and possibly soon to become redundant.  It’s better to face reality right now, turn things around, adopt a new business model (more later), than eventually lose the market altogether don’t you think?
 
What is going to be the business future of TomTom? In a recent article: “Navigation device maker TomTom sees Q2 profit fall 14 percent as European crisis hits salesAssociated Press writes:  “TomTom NV, Europe’s largest maker of navigation devices, says its second-quarter net profit fell 14 percent to €8 million ($10.6 million) from the same period a year ago, as sales to car makers were hit by the ongoing financial crisis… The company said Thursday that sales for the quarter dropped 4 percent to €250 million ($331 million), including a 13 percent fall at the automotive division that makes navigation systems built into new cars.”
 
TomTom’s sales woes should not be surprising as the PNA market shrinks in both Europe and Northern America.  In a past article from the GPS News “TomTom Revenue Down 17% in 2012, Outlook for 2013 is Challenging”  “TomTom indicated that the PNAD market size in Europe was 2.5 million units (2012) compared to 3.2 million units in the same quarter of last year (2011)…The North American market size was 2.5 million units (2012) compared to 3.7 million units last year (2012). TomTom market share in North America declined to 19 percent compared to 27 percent in the prior year.”
 
Harold, it is time for TomTom to cut to the chase and face reality and turn things around.  As the Germans rightly say “better an end with a fright than a fright never ending”.  If Tom Tom wants to turnaround and become successful again I would like to suggest the following recommendations:
 
1. Transform your company culture and make it customer-centric.
2. Have every employee at TomTom reapply for his/her job or a new position.
3. Make sure every re-hired employee is 100% in tune with TomTom’s culture.
4. Create cross-functional teams to actively destroy silos and sub-silos.
5. Fire employees (especially mid-management and VPs upholding a silo culture mentality.
6. Move all the digital map material to the cloud and make it available for free and connect your services to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + Yelp and Foursquare.
7. Have the board communicate with end-users and start crowd-sourcing for new PNA ideas.
 
I sincerely wish TomTom much success because I still think there is enough time to turn things around.  Time is pressing on, and TomTom has only three months left in 2013 to implement some of the changes I am suggesting in this blog overview
 
Kind Regards from Hamburg, Germany
 
Bruno P. Gebarski 

 

Five Crowd-Sourcing Lessons Learned from a Retail Business Moving its Shop Location

Manuka Wholefoods is a remarkable little shop owned by a family of New Zealanders living in Chichester (West Sussex) in the southern part of the United Kingdom.  Manuka Wholefoods retails a full array of organic products such as grocery, dairy products, fruit and veggies, skin and body care, nutritional supplements and organic wines.
 
For personal reasons, the Manuka Wholefoods business owners had to travel right before relocating their shop within Chichester.  Beyond the traditional emails sent to their customer database, the on-site working crew, led by highly capable and motivated Shop Manager Claire Burgess, decided to give customers a little map-flyer helping them to visualize the new location.
 
1. First, start the crowd-sourcing project within your own team
.
Creating a readable map everybody could understand turned out to be a challenge. Claire could have printed out the typical Google map, had it photocopied and “voila, here you go customers, take it or leave it!  But insightful Claire Burgess wanted to go a step further. She decided that not only should customers understand and be able to read her map, but more importantly customers should be able to visualize the new shop location.  In order to create the best possible drawing, Claire first sought advice from her own team.  By doing so, she enthusiastically included them in the project while gaining their motivation and support.  
 
2. Crowd-source with own employees for personnel engagement and motivation
 
The three Manuka Wholefoods team members had different views and expectations on what the map should look like.  After briefly conferring with each other, they all decided to try out a Google version.  At that time, the Google map seemed the logical choice since the team could perfectly understand the directions from the old location to the new. 
 
3. Test your idea and ask for genuine feedback from your crowd
 
Claire Burgess went one step further.  She started showing the map to her customers, and asked them if they could visualize and understand where the shop was going?  Although 80% of Manuka Wholefoods’ customer base is from Chichester, most of the customers to whom the map was shown had genuine difficulties reading it and understanding where the shop was moving to.  Claire’s team realized that many of their customers did not know the street names or names of the city landmarks.  The team had to pause and accept the fact that the map they created and perceived as logical and easy to follow, came across to the majority of their customers as confusing.  The quintessential lesson they learned was the fact that they did not find out until they genuinely started to ask.
 
4. You miss the point if your business gets it, but your “crowd” or customers don’t
 
Manuka Wholefoods’ sales team started asking customers for suggestions.  It became clearer that a readable map would have to be made from scratch.  Unneeded street names were removed.  Thanks to the help of many customers, the map became a crowd-manufactured effort featuring four arrows originating from the former shop and ending at the new location.  The customers preferred a map overview with directions along the main roads rather than the most direct route along unfamiliar streets. Furthermore, customers then requested that it would help if pictures of known landmarks and shops could be added to the map to create a complete visual of the new location.
 
ManukaWholefoods is moving-medium 
5. Assume nothing and get your crowd’s attention
 
Although posters announcing the move were strategically placed, these seemed to be of little use unless pointed out to customers. In this day and age, we are all busy, preoccupied and in a rush.  We see but do not read; we hear but do not listen! That’s
why folks, with any message you want to communicate, you’ve got to get people’s attention.  We all are creatures of habit. We often overestimate the relevance of a message by genuinely assuming that people are interested. 
 
Once the map had been finalized, 750 copies were personally given out by Claire Burgess and her team.  Furthermore Manuka Wholefoods will have to distribute additional flyers to encourage its customers to create new shopping habits. How many customers will forget and realize that the location has changed when suddenly faced with the old empty shop?  Over the next three to six months, Manuka Wholefoods will have to remind, coach and reward customers for having adjusted to a major change:  shopping at its new location.
 
What is your crowd-sourcing experience as a business owner?  What are some of the lessons you’ve had the chance to learn? I am looking forward to your comments and suggestions:  Until next time, I wish you all a successful week. 

 

Six Reasons Why Social Business Strategists should read Jacob Morgan’s “The Collaborative Organization”

I purchased Jacob Morgan’s “The Collaborative Organization” on Amazon UK at its full price.  “The Collaborative Organization” is a strategic Enterprise Social Software guide and a monumental must read for any CEO, CMO, CIO and CCO (Chief Culture/Customer Officer) wanting to successfully implement Enterprise Social Software within his enterprise.  Erik Brynjolfsson, coauthor of Race Against the Machine writes: “Most business leaders understand how critical collaborative tools are to the success of their companies.  What they need now is a guide based on hard data and practical experiences that show how to put those tools to work.  Morgan fills that need with this book.” 
“Rapid pace of change is occurring in technology, human behavior and business culture” writes Morgan.  It is imperative for organizations to check and if necessary update obsolete intranet/extranet platforms and radically transform internal and external communication.  Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Lew Platt once said:  “If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times as productive.”  Please bear in mind that Morgan has a full array of added case studies on his Chess Media Group website adding tremendous value to the study of his book.
 
The Collaborative.Organization-medium
 
1. Enterprise Collaboration Tools bring real advantages to companies willing to implement social business software solutions.
 
Among the top reasons for enterprises considering the implementation of Enterprise Social Software (ESS) Morgan’s top six are:
- Connecting colleagues across teams and geographies (72%)
- Increasing productivity (65%)
- Fostering employee engagement (60%)
- Fostering innovation (59%)
- Capturing and retaining institutional knowledge (59%)
- Enabling access to subject expert (54%)
Morgan uses many case studies to back up his enterprise social software exposé. 
 
2. Accelerate the serendipity of weak ties with the use of social business software solutions
 
“One of the most visible changes for companies is often how horizontal communications lines open up across various enterprise silos” writes Morgan.  He discusses the risks companies are facing by not implementing social software tools as well as the possible threats to be faced while implementing them.   
 
3. Excellent delivery of the technology landscape
 
Morgan’s technology landscape is a strategic overview social leaders will greatly appreciate when considering their social platform menu.  Morgan and his Chess Media Group have done a meticulous job at surveying all the different collaborating platforms, and the percentage of companies using mashups, wikis, blogs, prediction market platforms, forums, Ideation platforms, RSS feeds, micro-blogs, collaborative file sharing and social email and much more. 
 
4. Social Enterprise Software evaluation matrix
 
Morgan offers an excellent vendor evaluation matrix, which is very well presented and easy to use.  It will help social leaders to rank ESS vendors according to specific areas such as::
- Vendor management, product roadmap and viability
- Ease of use and intuitiveness
- Price
- Features
- Technology integration and security
- Customization and integration
- Product features: people
- Support and maintenance
- Vertical expertise
 
5. Adaptive emergent collaboration framework
 
Morgan delivers another useful matrix with five core areas:
- Goals and objectives (company, department, metrics, customers and employees)
- Organizational culture (leadership, mutually beneficial value, change management, openness and evangelists
- Process (escalation, information management, automation)
- Technologies (tool selection, integration, training, adoption, maintenance and upgrades)
- Governance (best practices, guidelines, employees, customers, metrics)
Morgan recommends a maturity model of adoption made of seven steps and the different milestones achieved during their implementation.
 
6. Culture and technology are the two most important drivers
 
Morgan stresses enterprise culture and how it is one of the most crucial pillars of Enterprise 2.0 when attempting to establish the right foundation for hybrid, intern and external communities to communicate and engage.  Morgan quotes Carl Frappaolo “Culture is the single greatest potential asset or detriment.  A culture conducive to collaboration will compensate to some degree for awkward processes and inadequate technology.  In contrast, a culture not conducive to collaboration will ignore, or in the worst case sabotage, even the most sophisticated technology and process approaches to open transparent sharing.”
 
The Chess Media Group has meticulously researched and produced a superb textbook for any CCO, CMO, CIO and CMO to assist him or her into implementing enterprise social software.   Morgan has delivered another crucial piece of the social business puzzle on how to prepare, organize, evaluate, measure and drive the adoption of social software tools.  Although Morgan has written a superb work, one frustration remains: the somewhat poor quality of the charts and figures as displayed by the publisher.  A little more effort could have been made in order to enhance this work.  The Collaborative Enterprise belongs to the text-books every social business strategist needs to own.  My personal thanks and kudos to Jacob Morgan for having published a wonderful book that greatly contributes to the new discipline of social business strategy.

(Part 2/2) Twenty Content Curation Tools For Your Inbound and Content Marketing Strategy

More curation tools will pop up as the staggering amount of data we produce increases.  Last month, in his article: “We are on track for 518% global growth this half-century,” Ross Dawson reports how the global economy has grown by 60.6% Bruno's.Curating.Tools.02from 2000 to 2012.  Consumerization of IT, mobile technology and broadband internet access give each of us the technical potential to become a media publishing house.  Blogging, vlogging and digital photography are three ways million of bloggers are contributing to the onslaught of digital information.  I remember my first 386 PC with the luxury of a “huge” four megabyte of RAM (Random Access Memory) and 45 megabyte of hard-disk.   À propos, twenty five years later, Yahoo’s Flickr offers one free terabyte of data storage to every account owner.  What an amazing technological step forward!   
 
Yesterday, we reviewed thirteen curation tools so let’s move on to the second part of the list.
 
14. Spundge
 
I recently read Christina Walker’s article “Best Content Curation Tools for Entrepreneurs and SMBs, and discovered a comment made by gregarious Facebook Queen Mari Smith mentioning SpundgeSpundge is a platform that helps curate information, collaborate and create new content.  I have already opened an account and this far, I am very positive about it, thanks to Mari’s recommendation.  
 
15. Paper.li
 
Paper.li is an interesting and somewhat serendipitous way to curate information.  As a publisher, you have the choice between Twitter accounts, RSS feeds, Google + sources of information.  You are not limited to one paper, but the consistency of the quality content cannot be guaranteed since the algorithm selects most bits and pieces for you while automating Paper.li‘s daily publishing.
 
16. Scoop.it
 
I don’t scoop a great deal of articles but Scoop.it is a great way to aggregate relevant information.  Search out the “Scoopers” who aggregate your topics of interest, and just start following them,   This will give you additional ammunition for your content marketing strategy and additional information for your Twitter followers.  
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17. Alltop
 
Guy Kawasaki created Alltop  a few years ago.  Alltop  is a platform that helps you personify your news-feed.  I use Alltop as a dashboard for local and international news from my favorite British, American, French and German newspapers.  Thanks to a great website layout, Alltop gives you an overview by just hovering the mouse over each headline.  This is an ideal way to catch up with the news without having to open every single link.  Unfortunately, the choice of topics is limited.   
 
18. Pinterest
 
Pinterest is the new social media kid in town and my favorite platform for infographics, video and images aggregating.  
 
19. LikeHack
 
LikeHack is a fairly new content curation tool that assist busy people aggregating relevant stories based on your topics of interest.  
 
20. If This Then That
 
At first sight, If This Then That (IFTTT) might not come across as a very “flashy” tool.  It does take a little bit of tweaking and getting used to it, but don’t underestimate this powerful tool and do invest time into getting to know it.  You will be very grateful because your invested time will surely pay off.  Under its hood, If This Then That  hides hundreds of possible recipes/combinations that can trigger all sort of commands combining more than fifty social networks such as Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Diigo, Evernote, Feedly and Youtube in so many ways:
Image Credit: www.ifttt.com
Image Credit: http://www.ifttt.com
Here are two personal examples of how  I use If This Then That
-        File every single tweet I make via Buffer to my Evernote account
-        File all other tweets (except Buffer) to my Evernote account
 
Buffer & Hootsuite
 
Buffer is by no mean a curation tool but a fabulous way to pace your messaging during the day.  I use Buffer on a daily basis and recommend it in combination with Hootsuite another heavyweight client that will assist you posting all your messages on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and Facebook while spreading them accordingly.  Hootsuite and Buffer can also be used as Social Media Measuring Tools (SMMT).
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If you have any additional tools you’d like to have mentioned please let us know and we will add them in an upcoming post.  Content curation is moving forward and more tools will pop up as the tsunami of digital data goes on.  I am looking forward to your comments and suggestions, but until then, I wish you happy content curation.
 
Twenty Content Curation Tools For Your Inbound and Content Marketing Strategy (Part 1/2)
11 Ways on How to Generate Twitter RSS Feeds For the Reader of Your Choice
How To Create RSS feeds From Your Favorite Twitter Hashtags and Tweeps
- Six Reasons Why Social Business Strategists should read Mark Fidelman’s Socialized!
Seven IT Eras Leading CIOs to Become One of the Key Evangelists to a Social – Business Strategy (1/2)
Seven IT Eras Leading CIOs to Become One of the Key Evangelists to a Social Business Strategy (2/2)
5 More Ways for SMBs to Establish a Social Business Strategy (2/2)
5 Ways for SMBs to Establish a Social Business Strategy (1/2)
 
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