Posts Tagged ‘Danielle Jones’

What happens after the storm?

August 26, 2016

So your company has been through some “ish. That’s no surprise, no company becomes great without facing the storm. But when the fan has been cleaned and  the clouds start to clear, its the communicator’s job to help a company deal with what happens after the storm.

My answer is simple: The focus needs to be on the survivors.

No leader with a company that had offices in NYC’s Twin Towers for the attacks of 9/11 focused on anything other than employee health and wellness in the aftermath of the attacks. When the ash clouds covered the city, the focus was on those directly affected and survivor well being. The best leaders know that this focus should never shift – no matter how bad that last round of layoffs was – the people you chose to keep need to be reminded that they = company success. They matter. The company HAS to care.

As companies struggle to deal with the changes of a slumping economies and profits, the focus must be on those staff members who are still at work.

So how do you focus on the survivors? The rainbows that come in the aftermath of Corporate slaughter are generated from the passion and dedication of a workforce that feels cared for. Expressing care is not just in the form of yet another “feel good” email. Leaders must walk the talk. Here are some tips.

My tips:

  • Keep it real:Sugar coating a situation to employees = lying = distrust = demotivated employees. Who wants those around right? Be honest about the state of the company, explain the reasons for cut backs (please ensure they are legal) and employees will be more likely to stay on the bumpy ride with you.
  • Say Thank You: I’ve written a bit on this before. A recognized employee is a motivated employee which means, they’ll likely stay around. Recognition need not always be tied to money. As increasingly generation X & Y prefer flexible work environments and millennials just want time off, consider giving a day off, early dismissal on a Friday etc to recognize staff. Hey, even a hand written thank you card is awesome – who writes anymore right? Whatever you do, say thank you, make it meaningful and tie it to what matters to the employee.
  • One on One 911: A leader I look up to in the energy industry makes time each quarter for one on ones with all staff in his organizational chart. A L L. Over 40 people report to this man indirectly – he meets with everyone from secretary to manager. Why? Time = interest = increased motivation = increased productivity. I have tried this approach and it works. Giving employees the time to speak through their challenges and to again, recognize their achievements one on one definitely bears the fruit of increased productivity. #tryit The August 8 2016 Harvard Business Review wrote a great article on the importance of one on ones and, of course, tips on how to make them happen. 
  • Train to Retain: When financial times are tough, training and travel are one of the first two line items to be removed. My views on this one are very strong. Investing in the capability of your people is some of the best money you will ever spend – just ask the now Amazon effect proof Home Depot whose founder One of the easiest line items to cut is employee training. Not investing in training is a mistake says Bernie Marcus, the billionaire founder of The Home Depot in an Inc 2009 article: “Training sometimes seems like a small thing, but it is actually the first step in empowering people to do their jobs well,” Marcus says. “No matter what an employee’s position was within the company, he or she could make a contribution by being creative or working hard. Training combined with providing employees a sense of belonging and rewarding them for results were the keys to our success.”I’ve left roles when I felt my development was not being given significant attention by the company. Yes, staff development costs is not the sole responsibility of the employer, but indeed, not all development is classroom based either. Mentoring, on the job training, hell, even exposing high performing staff to senior level meetings, etc are all great ways of developing in role. But, employer be ware, if you won’t invest in your people, another company will.

Hopefully these tips will help your company’s survivors. Know of course, that these approaches can’t live on paper or email – you will note, many require actual conversations. Help your leaders through the process by preparing key messages and talking points on your company’s way forward. Then give it a few months for things to get better. And, of course, when they do, send me a thank you for these tips. 🙂

 

Tech addiction.

January 3, 2012

So you got that device you wanted this holiday season. So did your mother, brother, cousin, aunts and scarily enough your children, nieces, nephews and cousins new burns all seem to have as well. The result? Tech addiction. What are the symptoms?

1. Long periods of silence when two or more are gathered for alleged social activity (offline socializing)

2. Being asked to “hold on one sec” while your companion checks their device – more than three times in an hour.

3. Said device, or worse devices, become your new alarm clock/ sleeping buddy/ last thing you check at night/ note book/ main communication tool. If you find yourself using said device in the bathroom…you may have an advanced case of tech addiction.

Tech addiction can have pronounced negative impacts on life. Indeed a diagnosis for tech addition is usually swiftly accompanied by:

1. The afflicted individual having few healthy off line activities. Activities such as hiking, biking, skiing or…worse…swimming have all ceased to even be considered.

2. Real life relationships have been diminished. Afflicted person blames the world’s lack of understanding of the importance of these tech devices as the reason.

3. Multiple device syndrome…person has more than 3 devices always connected to the web and always within 2 feet of individual. Person may also have financial trouble due to incessant app purchases…

Save yourself now! Pick up a hobby for every device you own…and make it an offline one. Have an offline conversation with those showing signs as soon as possible…sending them a message online may not be as effective as an offline hug…

Save yourselves!

*closes ipad…heads to bathroom to get ready for day…turns on Ihome to accompany getting ready…ensures mobile is charged…*

Don’t Make LinkedIn another Facebook

January 2, 2012

Happy New Year. I’ve bitten the bullet and begun to dig deep into my new year’s resolutions. High on the list was updating my LinkedIn profile – a task I highly recommend to all but rarely get the time to do myself. As I sorted through well over 300 connection requests, I realized how many people miss the importance of LinkedIn. They confuse it with Facebook. They mistake connecting for “friending” and thus potentially derail their professional online presence. Thus, my decision to blog today came naturally. Facebook is about friends. LinkedIn is about work and connections – don’t mix the two.

My inbox was riddled with great requests from colleagues in my field and in fields I interact with. Co-workers with whom I have met and worked with and even the odd consultant with whom I have done business. The decision to connect there was easy. Their networks will likely have future business leads for my consultancy and, chances are, we may have tips and advice we can swap digitally should we never be able to make it to the next “networking” meet up. But to the sad few that sent messages about appearance, who admitted to wanting to connect to get access to my contacts to “promote their business” or “link up for drinks”. Alas, with a furrowed brow, I clicked ignore.

In a world where lines are constantly blurred, the decision to keep your online life “professional” is hard enough. Why dilute the one site that can really help with that (LinkedIn) with watery connections? If you are connected on LinkedIn, see it as a professional link. Not all these folks may be drinking buddies, but chances are, your LinkedIn connections are people you may want to work with again.

Just my two cents. Happy New Year. Look out for more frequent blogs – that too is on the new year’s resolutions list (along with drinking more water and finding a way to be successful without working as hard…wish me luck on that last one!).

Hugs! (Professional ones).

Does Prepared beat passionate? In Communication YES!

May 28, 2010

Polished and Prepared Trinidad and Tobago PM Bissessar Speaks from Manuscripts

How refreshing it was this afternoon to see Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Persad Bissessar speak from a prepared speech at the swearing in of Trinidad and Tobago Cabinet (full list) on May 29, 2010. There is something about a head of government speaking from a prepared speech instead of from the heart.

Reality check Bissessar haters – Obama has teleprompters so he always seems to have perfect eye contact even though his speeches are prepared – let the hating stop there. He has even been called the teleprompter president.

When a person of significant importance has a practiced and prepared speech, it communicates a level of respect to the audience. The words were thought out prior to the occasion and, given Prime Minister Bissessar’s inflection and stresses, were undoubtedly read BEFORE hand. Ah the lessons many an Executive could learn from this.

No one is saying an honest statement does not add to the message. In fact, today, Bissessar did that as well – her comment about the various religious texts used to swear in her cabinet APPEARED not to be scripted and definitely added some colour to an already good speech. Was it prepared before hand? Maybe. But the practice and eye contact allowed it to appear genuine.

Is a passionate non scripted speech a good thing? Sure. If you’re a priest, making a toast or manage to be unlike most human beings and be adept at avoiding the “foot in mouth syndrome”. When you are prepared, you cover the salient points. When you are prepared, the members of the media can be treated with respect and obtain advance or “as you are talking” copies of the speeches delivered at a NATIONAL event. When you are prepared, you are polished and your speech will be the icing on the polished presentation you put forward (her silk Shantung suit was stunning AND appropriate).

Additionally, the Prime Minister was so prepared she CLEARLY had talking points excerpted from her speech to rehash to the media in a orderly interview.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is early. We have no firm proof the country will be governed flawlessly but so far, the approach to public meetings is refreshingly polished and prepared. That, my dear friends (he he he), is something that impresses me, a communicator at heart and patriot.