Everyday we have the chance to do something very special. Something that will cause ripples of influence across our world. In a day 4 people will influence you and you in turn will influence 4 people. In a lifetime over 100,000 people will be touched by your deeds. Just think of the power you have when you smile, when you give encouragement...as one quote says if you think you are too small to make a difference....think of the power of a mosquito!
We have launched our new pod cast today - how scary is that!..it has been uploaded to podcast alley and Itunes but will need a few days for clearance. In the meantime Podcast FM have it available, or you can click on the link below.
The first one is a little shaky! A little outside the old comfort zone and all that but already looking forward to next weeks which is on values. This week we introduced the concept of an Employer Brand and the questions you need to ask yourself. Here is the link to the show and I hope you enjoy it. I am just working on a feed for all of those who want to subscibe.
Take a look at AIAALONE. It looks at the difficulty faced by creatives getting their work recognised. My comment on the site illustrates the importance of making sure your values fit with your company. Especially in the creative industry. If you are risk taker you will just get frustrated in a process by process company. A great book to read on this is Orbiting the Giant Hairball - on my favourite list on this site. It really is a great insight into how you can survive in the corporate world and keep your creativity.
Empowerment is a critical part of business. It allows the company to use the full intellectual power of the organization to solve problems. It also engages people - showing that you respect their views. If you want to achieve an employment brand then this needs a commitment from leaders to work with everyone in the organization.
This is frightening but ask - "Is it frightening because they do not gunderstand the issues?" If that is the fear, then you need to concentrate on your dialogue with the company. Are you articulating the vision, the market forces clearly to them or are you just cascading information?
A company needs ongoing involvement from their employees to grow in the long term. Remember they are front line, they are speaking and dealing with customer issues on a daily basis. They are an invaluable source of customer feedback. Without dialogue with them you are missing out on a core resource. So spend time with them understanding the issues they face in delivering customer satisfaction...then ask how they would address it. This helps the self motivation of employees. Remember motivated employees who feel valued, are much better in dealing with the customer.
When I go round companies, I am often faced with people thinking they are coaching when in fact they are inspecting their teams work. Ask yourself do you or your managers inspect or inspire? Do they point out the flaws and remedy them...with the ultimate phrase...mmm I wouldn't have done it like that.....if so here are some tips on how to move from inspection to inspiring
Celebrate the good in the work. Value the aspects that are right, don't ignore them.
Listen completely to their update. Do not form any conclusions or thoughts in you head until they have completed their update.
If possible read the work ahead of the meeting (this allows the session to be looking forward rather then seeing the work) then give them balanced feedback, then you can ask them how they would do it differently based on your comments. Don't solve it for them, work on them finding the answers....
If they are struggling - ask what resources/training/ they believe will help them. Are there any roadblocks which you need to find away around - again ask them how they would approach these issues.
If the work is off course, check their understanding of the requirement, and if need talk it through again
Repeat how this work fits into the overall vision and what they will gain from the completion of it. Your job is translating from company request to "Whats in it for me"
Be honest. Empower people. Relinquishing control, or not using your system is hard but you never know you may actually learn something. If it doesn't work at least they know and have grown from the experience.
There is a great conversation going on at Neville Hobsons site on how people seek the truth.Is it different to different people? Does it depend on your belief system? The comments are worth reading to understand the complex nature of communication with your employees. Well worth a read!
Many people talk about how the world is becoming "flat". But in truth it centres more around the information. Companies spend a lot of money on creating the flow of information and the information is visible to all, and at the same time. But do we spend as much on knowledge?
If you are a service company - if you concentrate on the process or processing the information, then be scared. The Far East, India etc can process at a lower cost. But anyone can do that...you need to create an experience for the customer, one that leaves the customer feeling valued, feeling loved! To do this you need more than information - you need knowledge of the market, of your customers, of your company. This is built through constant learning and coaching internally. The emerging markets do not have that knowledge - but they soon will. I am not saying no to outsourcing, I am saying outsource the right part and then build the capability in the company of how to make an awesome experience for the customer. Building knowledge is time consuming but it really is the way to retain talent (in so doing retaining knowledge) and to gain competitive advantage. For anyone unsure - try having issues in linking to the Internet and phone the customer service lines - AWFUL. People read from scripts...that's not a customer engaging experience!
According to some recent research 85% of a company's market capitalization is determined by its intangible assets. This includes brand and talent. For me brand and talent are inextricably linked. Look at Adobe, in a lot of ways a potentially "uncool" brand vs Apple, Google etc but they invested in both external and internal communications. The internal explained the values of the brand to the employees and how their work contributes to the growth of the company. This is a great example of building self esteem within the talent pool - the aim being people are proud to work for the company and not afraid to say so. People crave meaning and also the sense that they deliver value to the world. By linking this to the brand can be very powerful. People stay with organizations that build their self esteem and growth. Too often companies spend a fortune on external advertising and ignore their internal brand champions. The people are your touch point with customers - they need to understand the values and see leaders day in day out living and breathing them. So if I came to your company would people at all levels understand the values, would they have a higher self esteem because they feel that they are contributing to the vision?
A great post at Pig Wisdom looks at commitment - well worth a look, as is the site. Commitment is so fundamental to the success of the organization. A company only has one competitive advantage - and that is its people. The competitors can copy designs - look at all the IPOD copies - but they cannot copy the focus and talent of the people. The number one focus for any leader is on talent management. This includes getting them to think in a wider context from their insular role. This means cross functionally, market trends, the customer, the competitors, learning, globalization. Do you hold seminars in your company to stretch their minds? If you can combine this "mind fitness" with how we exploit these trends then you will have the makings of a robust strategy....