This blog is about the relationship between organizations and the people who work for them. And, it’s dedicated to the millions of people around the world who go to work every day wanting to do a great job.
So, what’s a good question? ¬†Today I’m going to share with you what I think is not just a good question it may be the best question: ¬†”Why?”
Yes the question is: “Why?” ¬†And if you’re asking me “Why?” Here’s why.
The answer to the question “Why?” will get to motivation. ¬†And motivation in leadership and communication is everything. By asking “Why?” until you get to the motivation you will find that the answer is either to:
- Make something go away? Problem-solve.
- Bring something into being? Create.
Problem-solving and creating are fundamentally different. ¬†They have different energy. ¬†Creating will always allow you to build momentum toward the thing you’re creating. ¬†Problem-solving will not.
“Why?” you ask. Well that’s a very good question…. ¬†For leaders and communicators knowing the difference is fundamental.
Have you ever asked yourself what a great communicator looks like in your organization?
Are there any? ¬†If so,
- Why are they great?
- What characteristics do they have?
- What impact do they have?
- What can you learn from them? ¬†What can the rest of the organization learn from them?
If not, why not? And what can you do about it.
Great communicators may just happen, but the ones I know are very disciplined about their communication. ¬†It’s not something they pull out at the last minute – “Oh now I guess I better speak to my folks!” It’s something that is absolutely build into everything they do and how they do it.
What is your organization doing to build communication mastery? I’d love to talk.
There’s a lot of interest, OK hype, around Google Glass. Let’s face it, the futuristic glasses are pretty cool looking just as a fashion accessory, but add in all the power of a smart phone and well it’s a pretty compelling offer.
Here are some of the features in the current prototypes:
- Responds to voice commands
- Answers questions [since it syncs through the net it means you can search the net - it's a Google product after all]
- Has GPS
- Takes and shares¬†photographs and¬†live video
- Sends and receives text messages and emails
- Provides digital voice assistance that is customized to your personal habits [e.g. weather, traffic]
All this in a range of fashion colours!
At least one of ¬†my luckier, dare I say it geekier, friends [Mitch Joel] has already had a chance to try the Glass. ¬†His take: ¬†”I think this will blow people away.” ¬†I’m pretty sure we can expect that¬†by the end of 2013 we’ll start seeing the Glass on others if we’re not lucky enough to have one ourselves.
So, here’s my question:¬†What impact will Google Glass have on the workplace? ¬†You know it will, so it’s definitely not too soon to start thinking about the potential and planning for the future!
I’ve been struck in the past few weeks by the number of times I see communications go wrong because of one thing. Little or no thought was¬†given to the “audience” for the communication. No one is asking:
- if or how the ‘news’, information, change will impact them;
- what they need or want to know from their point of view;
- how they might feel about it; and
- what they might do with it, or, even
- what the communicator wants them to do with it.
It’s as if communicators are on automatic pilot. ¬†No human empathy or understanding at all.
Unfortunately, internal communicators are especially guilty. ¬†After all of the executive inputs, edits and reviews it’s very easy not to remember who you’re trying to reach.
“All employees” is often the answer. ¬†But not all employees are created equal when you’re doing internal communication. ¬†Some will be affected directly by the thing you’re communicating, some indirectly and some not at all.
Understanding these differences and framing the communication based on impact is one way of increasing meaning. ¬†And, today it’s something we don’t do very well. ¬†It’s got to be the #1 failure of internal communicators. What do you think?
According to “Engage for success“, a government initiative designed to increase employee engagement across the UK, ¬†there are¬†four enablers of employee engagement:
- Visible, empowering leadership providing a¬†strong strategic narrative¬†about the organisation, where it‚Äôs come from and where it‚Äôs going.
- Engaging managers¬†who focus their people and give them scope, treat their people as individuals and coach and stretch their people
- There is¬†employee voice¬†throughout the organisation, for reinforcing and challenging views, between functions and externally, employees are seen as central to the solution.
- There is organisational¬†integrity -¬†the values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviours. There is no ‚Äėsay ‚Äďdo‚Äô gap
Each of the four enablers is, at its core, a question of communication:¬†The ability of leaders, managers and employees to communicate in a way that involves.¬†
The UK figures they’re losing¬†¬£25.8bn¬†[that would be¬†$40.25 billion!]¬†in GDP annually. ¬†Why? ¬†Employee engagement. Or rather the lack of engaged employees. Now if that doesn’t wake business and government up I don’t know what will.
Employees want to go to work to do a good job. ¬†They want their work to matter. They want to feel involved. ¬†They aren’t. Or they aren’t enough.¬†Shouldn’t encouraging and building the capacity to communicate be a priority? If not, why isn’t it?
First it was the Berlin wall. ¬† Now it’s the cubicle wall. ¬†Workspaces even in the most traditional environments – banks, insurance companies and law offices are changing. And they are changing in pretty radical ways. ¬†Shared work stations, open space and windows, tables, couches and banquettes instead of cubicles and enclosed offices. ¬†Even though the initial motivation of these organizations is cost cutting, according to an article in today’s Globe and Mail employees report an overwhelmingly positive experience and increased productivity.
Perhaps even more interesting, given the focus of this blog, is the implication for communication and change management. ¬†One would hope that there would be something equally inventive, but when faced with some issues “10% of negative comments are about noise and work behaviours that become distractions, the bank is doing training and distributing tip sheets about having consideration for others.” ¬†Good grief! I think the walls just went back up.
“Traditional marketing ‚ÄĒ including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications ‚ÄĒ is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.” ¬†
Once you move your marketing away from “interruption and manipulation” and you design it around “the success you create for your customers… the value you are creating for you customers…” ¬†everything changes. ¬†And you can’t fake it anymore.
You can’t fake it anymore with your customers for sure. ¬†Which means you can’t fake it with your employees, the communities you work in, the suppliers you work with. ¬†
As communications professionals and leaders are you ready?
I’m cleaning out my files and came across something I think you’ll like. I’d discovered it when Montreal’s Musee des beaux arts hosted a fabulous show on Catherine the Great a few years ago. ¬†There in the midst of ¬†all of the 18th century luxury and over the top opulence of the show was a humble plaque which posted the¬†Code of Behaviour for the Winter Palace. ¬†Here, in translation, is what it instructed:
- All ranks shall be left outside the doors, similarly hats, and particularly swords
- Orders of precedence and haughtiness, and anything of such like which might result from them, shall be left at the doors.
- Be merry, but neither spoil nor break anything, nor indeed gnaw at anything
- Be seated, stand or walk as it best pleases you, regardless of others
- Speak with moderation and not too loudly, so that others present have not an earache or headache
- Argue without anger or passion
- Do not sigh or yawn, neither bore nor fatigue others
- Agree to partake of any innocent entertainment suggested by others
- Eat well of good things, but drink with moderation so that each should be able always to find his legs on leaving these doors
- All disputes must stay behind closed doors; and what goes in one ear should go out the other before departing through the doors
If any shall infringe the above, on the evidence of two witnesses, for any crime each guilty party shall drink a glass of cold water, ladies not excepted, and read a page from the Telemachida out loud. [apparently the Telemachida is a very boring and long winded poem about Ulysses that was contemporary with the rules]
Who infringes three points on one eveining shall be sentenced to learn three lines from the Telemachida by heart.
If any shall infringe the tenth point, he shall no longer be permitted entry.
I think we can learn much from the clarity on both the behaviours and the consequences of breaking the rules. How does your code of conduct compare? ¬†Does it clearly articulate both behaviours and consequences? ¬†
[I can think of at least a couple of corporate off sites and holiday parties that would have benefited from these rules.]¬†
Converged media is the new marketing sweet spot.¬†I first heard Jeremiah Owyang¬†talk about it and the implications for institutional branding in spring last year on Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation Podcast.
The idea is that converged media is the proactive, integrated management of three types of media:
- Paid media. This is what we used to think about as advertising. The institution pays a third party to carry their message – newspapers, magazines,¬†television, radio, cinema, direct mail, and paid search.
- Owned media. This is anything the institution carries in it’s own channels – brochures, signage, point of sale, retail outlets, websites, microsites, Facebook fan pages, mobile apps.
- Earned media. This is what happens when the brand experience generates word of mouth discussion – virtual and not. Letters to editors, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Youtube, Flickr, blogs, forums.
It’s a simple and elegant way of looking at the new world of media:
Paid + owned + earned = reputation
Since then I’ve heard and read others on the topic. But, up until now something pretty key seems to be missing. Do you see it?
- Paid media – focus on potential and current customers
- Owned media – focus on customer-focused and
- Earned media – ¬†the objective is to have customer ‘fans’ who love the institution, its products or services so much that they talk favourable about it.
We all know that brands and reputations are built and can be destroyed by employees. Imagine if the integrated media strategy was built with an intentional focus on employees:
Paid media – involving employees¬†and other key internal stakeholders [e.g. strategic suppliers]¬†- as an source of insight, a reality check, pre-launch.
Owned media – including internal communication channels – intranet, town halls and other key institutional meetings, internal micro-blogging [e.g. Yammer], instant messaging, blogs, wikis, sharepoint, orientation programs, feedback systems, newsletters, management, etc.
Earned media – was designed to support and encourage employees, suppliers and their families in being part of the discussion – good, bad and indifferent – and we had a way to learn from the conversation.
Imagine the amplification effect that would happen by including internal stakeholders!
The case for investing budget in internal communication has never been clearer. ¬†What will it take to get internal communicators into the planning, implementation and evaluation of converged media strategies? ¬†¬†