Archive for August, 2016

Are we really your best choice?

“Are we really your best choice? Isn’t either X, Y or Z a better option for you? Why don’t you check with them first?”

Sometimes we give bizarre responses, like the above, when a client approaches us to do something outside of our focus areas. For many, it is a notion that’s a little difficult to comprehend, but this comes from our core values that guide us in what we do:

In particular a core value we have is we help all stakeholders make the BEST CHOICE, even if it is not with Frontier.

We believe it is the right thing to do, to help team members find better jobs, and our clients better business partners, if Frontier is no longer their best choice.

As our business grew, we have built our “brand” and “relationships”, not only about the specific work we carry out, but in a general perspective that we could be trusted and good at a variety of things. However, we don’t really want this developed comfort and familiarity to be something that wins us business. If someone is better than us at a certain job, we believe that we are only adding negative value by trying to do the same. We want to be the best. Ideally, “the only ones.”:

We also like to ask ourselves the question; ‘what valuable products/services are not being offered?’. This is the strategic ethic that has driven us since our inception, and as the market changed around us, we have so far been able to keep expanding into new areas, and hope to keep doing so.

Our values could sometimes be confused as “new-averse” due to our discomfort in robbing someone of business they do better.

We are, however, definitely willing to venture into unexplored waters looking for new things that no one else does.  We are experiencing change in the way we do things and we do not shy away from opportunities to rapidly experiment with new ideas.  But we do not take anything head on just because there is a simple opportunity for us when we are well aware that there is someone who could do it better.

We believe businesses are there to solve problems and if we are not the best choice to solve a problem, we think we are only demeaning the value of our stakeholders’ time and the work entrusted upon us.

We apply the same values to our internal stakeholders. Recruits and current team members are constantly allowed to question if, “Frontier is the best choice for them?” They could function better at a different environment or belong in an entirely different field altogether. We allow and often encourage and guide them to make that choice, providing direction into understanding what suits them best.

For us, it’s not all about saying “YES”, but to make sure the client chooses the most optimal solution possible – even if it’s not with us.

4 New Ways We Are Making Our Reports Time Efficient for You

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – Time is our most precious resource and this means that we’re all about efficiency!

And so, in another installment from our blog, we show you a few of the ways that we try to make our reports more efficient for you!

 

With regard to our Research, we have consistently attempted to present our products in a simple concise way and thus enabling time efficiency in reading our Research.

In our research reports, only some of the information might be of use to all the clients who have opted in for it, while many pages of charts/detail might only be of use to a few. To make it easier for all, and to help you choose if a particular report is worth digging into, we will be structuring it as follows in the future,

  1. First have a couple of very short essential bullet points capturing the most important points in a nutshell.
  2. Then a concise executive summary in the email text (so you don’t have to even open the PDF unless of real interest)
  3. The attached PDF will include further in-depth analysis and explanations supported by data and charts.  The email text will indicate the contents of the reports so that you can decide whether the full PDF is relevant for you to read.
  4. In the case of a chart heavy report, the PDF will be structured so that the most important 3-5 charts will be right up front, and then the rest for those who would like further information.

Our aim is to frame our products in a way where our clients could get to the core of what they need, without spending time reading beyond what’s needed for them. By this we hope to show you what to look for, what to avoid, and how to be selective and time efficient when using our Research.

 

And there you have it! We hope that these changes have provided you with a more time efficient read!

For more on Frontier’s way of work, visit our blog.

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

The Rule to Guide All Rules – Week 2

Last week, we gave you our thoughts on rules in the workplace – specifically, we don’t need to have so many of them!

This week, we’ll show you the one rule we do have – No bullying! This is how we view and deal with unacceptable behavior at Frontier.

 

Unacceptable behavior at Work is viewed in two main aspects:

First, discrimination based on stereotypes. Everybody has stereotypes, we agree, but we must not act on them, especially if it unfairly discriminates a few. What is important is that one must have the maturity to respect other people and accept them for what they are as individuals. Be it religious, sexual orientation, gender, other beliefs or lifestyle choices which can lead to people being categorized in a group (such as people who frequent night-clubs or even those that prefer to stay at home). Acts of discrimination or bullying must be avoided and are not judged by the perspectives of the majority but by that of the individual.

The other aspect is general nastiness, gossiping, backstabbing etc. Again, a lot of this also depends on context. Everything is subjective and a remark in a certain context may cause hurt, while in another context it could be joke that we can all laugh about. It could even have a different impact on different people.

The general idea is that if someone feels they are being harassed or treated badly by another team member (as outlined above), it is something that matters and should be dealt with in some way. This can be done either among the parties in question, with other peers intervening or by another senior member or Amal becoming involved. No one should feel that work is a place that they get bullied, harassed or discriminated again.

 

A broad understanding of differences, together with some tolerance, will ensure that your team stays coherent.

For more on Frontier’s way of work, visit our blog.

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

The Global Economy in July

In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, global market volatility has fallen and the global economy is now steadier than it has ever been. While not everyone will survive the fallout unscathed, Europe shrugged off the Brexit vote, as economic confidence in the EU rose during the month. However, despite the markets’ recovery, some say the uncertainty it created is still a concern. The Bank of England (BOE) cut interest rates for the first time in over seven years, while expanding its bond-buying program, noting that economic indicators had “fallen sharply”.

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) also announced further stimulus measures, albeit less than what was expected by markets. Some say the lackluster measures may mean the BOJ has acknowledged the limits on monetary policy. In addition, the Japanese government announced a 28 trillion yen fiscal stimulus package earlier in July, of which 4.6 trillion yen has been budgeted for the current fiscal year. Analysts say the modest monetary stimulus raises the pressure for the government to deliver on its promise of fiscal stimulus.

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) left rates unchanged last month, while highlighting that risks have diminished. Analysts say this could indicate that economic conditions could warrant further rate hikes in the US.

The constant flow of monetary stimulus has depressed yields in many developed nations, pushing investors to riskier assets in the search for greater returns. Investors have poured a record amount of funds into emerging market bonds and have even turned to emerging market stocks. Indonesian stocks, for example, have benefitted from the investor confidence, amid optimism for growth and reform. Yet, the Bank of America (BofA) notes that it may not be a search for yield, but a search for safety. They note the recent outperformance of government debt even as their yields fell as evidence of this phenomenon.

However, a failed coup in Turkey served as a reminder that the higher yields on emerging market assets come at the cost of greater economic and political challenges. The Malaysian Ringgit has also come under pressure recently, as the nation contemplates further rate cuts to boost growth, amid a political scandal and low oil prices.

Demand for commodities has grown this year, fueled by safe-haven demand, particularly with gold. Yet oil prices have fallen into bear market territory in July, weighed by a revival in concerns that the supply glut in crude oil has returned. While many expect prices to recover by the end of the year, some say they could fall as low as $30 a barrel again. The OPEC has scheduled an informal meeting in September, while stating that it expects the recent price drop to be temporary. Many do not expect much to come from the meeting.

Top Sources for Updates on Rio 2016

Rio 2016 will commence from the 5th of August, and given the need to be up-to-date with the latest news on this major event, we decided to give you a few of the top sources to stay ahead of the game!

Although there are plenty of News/sports websites which have dedicated websites/tabs for the Olympics 2016, we have selected a few sources which provide updates via email, social media and podcasts, to stay up-to-date without going out of your way.

Email based updates

If you just want the highlights, then what you’re looking for are email updates! These provide regular round-ups of all the news you need to know. Here are our favorites:

BuzzFeedRio Roundup Newsletter

“Rio Roundup is the best and easiest way to keep abreast of everything that’s going on down in Brazil. It’s all of BuzzFeed’s best Olympic coverage in one place — right in your inbox” – Source: BuzzFeed Website

So here’s what we liked:

  • Sent Daily
  • Easy registration, with only email address to be entered
  • Covers the biggest stories, most powerful photos and fun buzz
  • On-the-ground coverage from BuzzFeed staffers in Brazil
  • Links to watch video coverage and highlights
  • Good categorization with embedded pictures

And here’s what we didn’t like:

  • Format can improve, with fonts and links
  • Excerpts are too short and clicking links is definitely needed.
  • Can be a bit too much “fun buzz”, at least for the initial updates. (This would be negative only if the lighter side of news is not important)

 

FansidedRio 2016 Newsletter

“The concept is simple. Subscribe to your favorite topics (sports or entertainment) and then sit back while FanSided’s army of editors hand-pick the previous day’s best headlines and deliver them straight to your inbox every morning. Your topics. Your news. Your inbox. FanSided Daily” – Source: Fansided website

So here’s what we liked:

  • Sent Daily
  • Easy registration, with only email address to be entered
  • FanSided’s editors hand-pick the previous day’s best headlines
  • Can customize by changing preferences initially or along the way, i.e. can include specific teams or specific sports by a link sent within the email
  • Nice simple format

And here’s what we didn’t like:

  • Very few stories were sent (Only 5) in the initial updates, so we’re not sure if the coverage will be comprehensive and sufficient
  • Excerpts are too short and clicking links is definitely needed.

 

BBCOlympics newsletter

“We’ve revamped the BBC Sport newsletter to help you stay across all the best action from Rio. We’ll curate the best of the overnight action. The newsletter will have everything you need to know about the last 24 hours in Rio, plus some great moments to enjoy with a morning cup of coffee.” – Source: BBC website

So here’s what we liked:

  • Sent Daily
  • Covers the highlights, the funnies, the news and features

And here’s what we didn’t like:

  • Relatively long subscription process which requires you to register with BBC and then subscribe.

Social media based updates

If you prefer to be served up-to-the-minute updates on your favorite games, here are some social media sites to help you out, ranked according to our preferences. They will serve as an indirect source when logging into your favorite social media platform or can be used as an easier way to get all the news in one place.

By temporarily “following” and “liking” these pages, it will enable all updates to be viewed from your own social media profiles and a combination of 2-3 of these accounts should give you sufficient coverage of this world event.

Rio 2016Twitter & Facebook

The official page of Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (There is an official Instagram account as well, if you prefer pictures to words).

These provide unbiased and frequent updates on the event on both Twitter and Facebook with a mix of genuine news headlines and stories to read leisurely.

 

Sports Illustrated OlympicsTwitter & Facebook & Podcasts

These are the dedicated pages and accounts for the famous sports magazine “Sports Illustrated”.

It provides good coverage and frequent updates on both Twitter and Facebook, although it can be a bit US-Centric.

The podcasts seem very comprehensive, as they promise to cover every sport. However, they can be just a little long (each update is almost an hour or more) – perfect for those long commutes home!

 

OlympicsTwitter & Facebook

This is the official page and account of the Olympic committee, hence it can contain news on future Olympics and even the governance side of the Olympics (which is not exactly the need at this time).

It provides frequent updates on both Twitter and Facebook and there are a few updates on the previous Olympic games which are quite interesting.

 

NBC OlympicsTwitter & Facebook

NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through the year 2032.

They provide frequent updates on both Twitter and Facebook, but can be a bit US-Centric as well.

The Rule to Guide All Rules – Week 1

As a norm we curate and extract from other published articles for Friday Focus. However, this time around, we’ve got a few of our own thoughts extracted from our blog. This is the first of many to come and will explore Frontier’s way of doing things.

For many, maintaining law and order requires the existence of stringent rules. But do we really need that many of them?

Here’s why we think rules aren’t mandatory. 

 

Rules are generally accepted as a necessary evil, created to maintain order in the chaotic world we live in. This applies to the workplace, as much as anywhere else. However, in a workplace, these rules don’t always need to be written into a book that every employee simply must refer. At Frontier we don’t believe in setting up a rule book for two main reasons;

  1. You don’t need policies for everything. For example: at Netflix, a company whose culture deck gave us a lot of ideas says “there is also no clothing policy at Netflix, but no one comes to work naked”. Many rules are generally known and accepted; they don’t need re-stating.
  2. Simply because someone made a mistake years ago doesn’t mean we need a policy.We don’t penalize the many for the mistakes of the few.

Thus, we can reduce the number of rules to be published in an employee manual to the “golden rule” or the 3-word policy of Use Good Judgement. This can be considered the “rule to guide all rules”. It is expected that people working at Frontier would use their common sense and good judgement rather than having to refer to a list of rules every now and then.

In the event that someone does make some bad judgement, our response will depend on whether that mistake is “mission critical” or not;

  • If it is a mission critical issue or likely that many others might make the same mistake: We will talk about it so everyone understands and it could go into a process book (a small guide we use to support decision making in complex situations)to avoid any future confusion over the matter.
  • If not:

o   At times we will let it slide (to see if it repeats, in order to assess if it is bad judgement or carelessness)

o   At times it will be dealt with quickly, mostly individually.

Broadly, making “bad judgements” impacts perceptions towards one’s judgment/maturity. This is symmetric to Frontier’s relationships with its clients. What our CEO, Amal Sanderatne, says and does matters, in the context of how clients perceive Frontier. This is implicit in all firms; even those with big rule books still rely on judgment. It’s about demonstrating maturity and professionalism.

 

Not every action requires a rule to supervise. Next week we’ll show you how we judge conduct at work.

For more on the Frontier way, visit our blog.

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!