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What does it take to be a leadercommunicator?

The Grossman Group CEO and communications expert David Grossman shares his insights on the importance of meaningful leadership communication in today’s business climate. With high level tips on engagement and connection, insights into employee motivations and behavior, and firsthand stories from the frontlines of America’s leading companies.

The leadercommunicator blog is instructive, entertaining, and a must-read for leaders, communicators, and leadercommunicators.

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Weekly Round-Up: On Getting Results from a Flexible Workforce, a Roadmap for Leader Effectiveness & Rediscovering Your Motivation

  
  
  
  
  
  

Weekly Round-Up: On Flexible Workforce

Welcome to my weekly round-up of top leadership and communication blog posts. Each week I read and tweet several great articles and on Fridays I pull some of the best together here on my blog. So in case you’ve missed them, here is this week’s round-up of top posts.

They’ll provide you with tips, strategies and thought-starters from many of the smart folks in my network. So whether you’re a new leader or an industry veteran there’ll be something here for you.

  • Getting Results from the Flexible Workforce
    By Comcast, Inc
    The concept of the 'anywhere office' fits into the growing trend of the flexible workforce and the idea of work being a thing you do, not a place you go. “For small and medium-sized business owners…”
  • How to Be the Best Boss
    By Tom Schulte, Linked 2 Leadership
    “Employers struggling with talent retention and motivation must reconnect with the fundamentals of good management.  It’s simple — keep your employees happy…”
  • Craft a Roadmap for Leader Effectiveness
    By S. Chris Edmonds, SmartBlog on Leadership
    There were 25 managers in a recent leadership program I facilitated. Part of the program included a pre-work assessment where each manager and their direct reports assessed the manager’s leadership behaviors and overall effectiveness.…”
  • Five Things Great Leaders Do Right
    By Rich Berens, Switch & Shift
    To state the obvious: Great leadership is vital to any organization. Great leaders set the direction for the organization and determine resource allocation to get it done. They create the tone by how they lead and make decisions…”
  • How to Rediscover Your Motivation
    By Gwen Moran, Fast Company
    Companies spend a lot of time and money trying to motivate their employees.  But when was the last time a mug with your company’s logo or a coffee shop gift card made you truly excited? Real motivation doesn’t come from external rewards…”

                                                                                                  

What were some of the top leadership articles you read this week?

-          David Grossman 

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Want more tips on how to be a more effective leader? If so, check out our CEO Resource Center, today!

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Online Employee Engagement Course – Classes Begin November 4.

  
  
  
  
  
  

iabc course

There’s more evidence than ever before that engaged employees can significantly boost a company's bottom line. Top employers know engagement is no longer just about work-life balance or employees feeling good about their jobs. Instead, it's a key strategy for strengthening companies and building profits.

Still, what's less clear is how organizations can actually impact engagement. High performing companies realize that boosting employees' sense of commitment and passion for their work doesn't happen overnight. At the same time, they know that there are proven strategies for building an engaged, committed workforce—and that effective communication is a cornerstone.

Communication isn't just about telling employees that they matter. It's about figuring out what employees want and need to do their jobs better, giving managers better tools for motivating their staffs, and aligning all employees around a shared purpose.

I hope you join me for this interactive course, where you will learn best practices for developing and managing an effective internal communication plan that drives engagement. Core content is consistent with the Certified Communication Management Professional Job Tasks Analysis, and will cover a range of critical topics, including research and analysis, communication strategy and planning, measurement, and engaging and equipping leaders.

Specifically, the presentations will cover:

  • The ultimate business case for engagement.
  • Engagement models that work
  • The essential role of communication in engagement.
  • Understanding employees' and senior leaders' needs.
  • Getting the budget you deserve.
  • Knowing your audiences.
  • Getting employees aligned on a strategy and their role in its success.
  • Picking the best communication tools and channels.
  • Engaging virtual and part-time employees.
  • Motivation tools for leaders.
  • Navigating employees through times of change.

This six-session course is ideal for communicators (with six to 10 years of experience on average) who want to dramatically advance their careers by mastering the tools they need to drive their organization's success.

For more on the course, scheduling and to register, click here: http://bit.ly/1uuxy5t

Going the Distance to Engage Remote Workers

  
  
  
  
  
  

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It’s a common concern we hear from corporate leaders: How do we consistently capture the attention of remote workers with no regular access to a laptop? If they’re on a factory floor, with customers, or out on a farm, what’s the best way to effectively communicate?

This challenge is clearly growing by the day. According to the Global Workplace Analytics and Telework Research Network, telecommuting increased 80 percent from 2005 to 2012, and that’s just one measure of a remote workforce.

A recent article for Ragan Communications highlights some of the encouraging progress some companies are making to reach – and engage -- a rapidly expanding remote workforce.

One of the companies Ragan featured was Land O’Lakes, Inc., a Minnesota-based, farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative. Roughly 40 percent of the workforce at Land O’Lakes works out of their homes or on work sites such as farms and research fields. The company is in the process of launching its intranet on a new platform so employees working with phones and tablets can get information faster.

While Land O’Lakes’ initiative seems like a no-brainer, the reality is that many companies have been slow to create better access to information in mobile formats. In many cases, employees are left to figure out how to access data on their phones in a piecemeal fashion, with no guidance or organized sites from employers.

Land O’Lakes leaders want to take their intranet work even farther and create a fresh and different mobile experience. This would allow employees to get just the amount of information they need on the road, instead of sifting through piles of links and documents that don’t apply to their work.

Other companies are taking related steps to engage employees remotely with separate sections on their internal websites. Those sections might allow employees in a particular division to share stories about their work, or they might track and highlight the successes of specific business units with feature stories and sales stats.

Based on our experience with companies employing high numbers of remote workers, here’s some other key tips for keeping your remote employees engaged and connected to the larger organization:

  • Use more file-sharing sites, web meetings and video conferences.
  • Regularly include remote workers in team recognitions.
  • Highlight the successes of remote workers via company communications and the intranet.
  • Email important company news updates to remote workers, including links to intranet sites that feature and compile the highlights in one place.
  • Plan regular shift meetings so supervisors can share company updates with employees.
  • Use group text messaging to your advantage to deliver critical or urgent news to highly mobile workers.
  • Train supervisors to improve their communication skills with remote workers. Wherever they are, employees need to hear important messages repeatedly for them to sink in.
  • Keep in mind that employees want visible leaders who listen to their needs. Employees need to know that their voices are heard, whether they work remotely or not.

What strategies will you employ to better engage your remote workers?

-David Grossman

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Weekly Round-Up: On Making Values as Important as Performance, Creating a Game Plan for Your Goals & Setting the Context That Fosters Collaboration

  
  
  
  
  
  

Weekly Round-Up

Welcome to my weekly round-up of top leadership and communication blog posts. Each week I read and tweet several great articles and on Fridays I pull some of the best together here on my blog. So in case you’ve missed them, here is this week’s round-up of top posts.

They’ll provide you with tips, strategies and thought-starters from many of the smart folks in my network. So whether you’re a new leader or an industry veteran there’ll be something here for you.

  • The Three Types of Feedback
    By Adi Gaskell
    n the early 20th century, psychologists discovered that your brain, just like your stomach, can get full.  The phenomenon was eventually called semantic satiation--where people got so tired of hearing a repeated word…”
  • Set the Context That Fosters Conviviality, Connection and Collaboration
    By Kate Anderson, Forbes
    “Want to become a sought-after, connective leader? Then become the glue that bonds others together around their most talented sides. Consider this approach…”
  • Make Values as Important as Performance
    By S. Chris Edmonds, Thin Difference Blog
    How do you gauge your team’s effectiveness? If you’re like most leaders, you monitor performance metrics closely. You have dashboards that show sales per week (or month or quarter), market share…”
  • CEO Presence Isn’t Style.  It’s Substance
    By John Bell, Switch & Shift
    Have you ever watched a charismatic person “work” a room? At the outset, they assess the collective mood. Then they advance to the gathering with a demeanor that suits the environment…”
  • How to Create a Game Plan for Your Goals
    By Aj Agrawal, Inc.
    We all have objectives we want to hit. This includes our personal goals and our goals for our companies. Unfortunately, most of us never draw up a roadmap for how we are going to reach our targets…”

                                                                                                  

What were some of the top leadership articles you read this week?

-          David Grossman 

___________

Download Cutting To Win and receive 6 steps for getting employees on your side during cost cuts!

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Guest Blogger Les Landes: Getting Value from Values

  
  
  
  
  
  

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It’s a rare organization that hasn’t gone through the process of defining their vision, mission and values at one time or another.  It just makes good sense to have a clear picture of where you’re heading and a roadmap for how you’re going to get there.  What’s more, it seems natural to assume that the impact of that process on employee engagement would be highly positive. 

Not so much according to a study of 5,000 employees across the country that reported only 4% are “inspired by values and a commitment to a mission and purpose.”  That’s not a typo – yes, I said 4%.

How can that be?  Well, another part of the study offers a good hint.  It states that “only 3% of respondents report they work for organizations whose purpose and values inform decision-making and guide all employee and company behavior.”

So 96% of the respondents say they weren’t inspired by values – and 97% say the stated values don’t guide decisions or behaviors.  Hmmmm … funny how those two things go hand-in-hand. 

Before losing heart, the study also revealed that companies that do govern heavily through values significantly outperform those who don’t.  It showed that values-driven companies “experience higher levels of innovation, employee loyalty, and customer satisfaction, and lower levels of misconduct, employee fear of speaking up and retaliation.”

So here’s the bottom line.  Companies shouldn't be discouraged from developing and deploying meaningful values. They just need to do it differently.

Here’s how the process often goes.  A small group of senior leaders go away for a day or two with a facilitator to put together a plan that includes vision, mission, values, etc.  The people who talk the loudest or have the most authority and influence are usually the ones whose opinions prevail. At the end of the session, they congratulate themselves, take it all back the corporation, send out an announcement about it, present it in a town hall meeting, put it in a binder, post it on the wall – and that's about as far as it goes.

So what's a better alternative?

You can use a Culture Assessment instrument that's designed to make values more meaningful, more reflective of the collective team’s views, and more actionable. It has 40 value statements that have been created and validated to reflect different culture types through a rigorous research and development process. Each person on the team completes the assessment, identifying their individual perspectives on the values that are most like and least like both the current and target cultures.

Then all of the individual score sheets are run through a computer program that provides a cumulative team score on each of the 40 value statements – for both the current and target cultures. The process is always enlightening for teams, and it points specifically at the areas where the biggest gaps need to be closed.

Then the team applies a process to begin closing those gaps – particularly where they have an impact on employee engagement. You do that by having each manager identify specific actions that he or she will start, stop, and continue to close the gaps. Then they review those actions with one another first.  Later they review the action plans with the teams of people who report to them. Then they periodically come back to their teams and review the progress that's being made on closing the gaps and achieving the target culture.

That’s just one way to make values more relevant and long-lasting for an organization.  Whatever approach you use, just make sure it doesn’t become a retreat exercise that turns into nice-sounding words on a poster that lead to 96% of employees being uninspired.

----

About Les Landes

Founder and president of Landes & Associates, Les Landes is the former head of communications for one of the world's largest food companies.  He speaks at conferences and seminars across the country, and is well known for his trademark message about the perils of the quality "program trap." Les’ areas of expertise range from communication to marketing to organizational development to employee engagement and hosts the WebTalkRadio program, “Employee Engagement: The Heart of Business Success.”

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Employee Disengagement and the Warning Signs to Look For

  
  
  
  
  
  

disengaged post

Disengaged employees have a staggering effect on business. Studies have shown that lower productivity has an estimated economic impact of $300 billion per year, while increased workplace injury, illness, turnover, absence and fraud have an economic impact estimated at $1 trillion per year, according to The Gallup Management Journal. This is felt around the world at a global level, but it also has very personal and immediate effects on organizations, departments, teams and, as a result, individual employees.

So as you consider the impact of disengaged employees on your bottom line, keep in mind these top engagement warning signs:

  • Information overload
  • No clear understanding of business goals and priorities
  • Leaders who don’t “walk the talk”
  • Communication is a “check-the-box” activity and doesn’t get to employees in a relevant way
  • Leaders who don’t see value in communication and don’t plan their communication
  • Communication that is reactive, scattered and not relevant to questions or needs
  • Withholding information or limiting information sharing
  • Limited access to managers, information and leadership
  • Being told to do something without the appropriate context
  • Hearing news in the media or community before hearing it from their employer

Seeing some of these warning signs, and want to address them?

Join me for a 6-week course sponsored by IABC: Driving Employee Engagement, beginning November 4.

In this interactive course, you will learn best practices for developing and managing an effective internal communication plan that drives engagement.  The online course will cover a range of critical topics, including research and analysis, communication strategy and planning, measurement, and engaging and equipping leaders.


For additional course information and to register click here: http://bit.ly/1vFabvE.

- David Grossman

Weekly Round-Up: On Staying Present as a Leader, the Secret to a Better Reputation through Better Storytelling & the Importance of Holding Others Accountable

  
  
  
  
  
  

Weekly Round-Up on communication and leadership

Welcome to my weekly round-up of top leadership and communication blog posts. Each week I read and tweet several great articles and on Fridays I pull some of the best together here on my blog. So in case you’ve missed them, here is this week’s round-up of top posts.

They’ll provide you with tips, strategies and thought-starters from many of the smart folks in my network. So whether you’re a new leader or an industry veteran there’ll be something here for you.

  • The Secret to a Better Reputation Isn’t Better Adjectives—It’s Better Storytelling
    By Ryan Clancy, Fast Company
    “In the early 20th century, psychologists discovered that your brain, just like your stomach, can get full.  The phenomenon was eventually called semantic satiation--where people got so tired of hearing a repeated word…”
  • Competitive Advantage for Leaders Comes From Surprising Trait
    By Zachary Feder and Khatera Sahibzada
    “In an age where authoritarian power is being questioned from the classroom to the boardroom, the emerging research is conclusive -- humility is a dramatically more powerful and effective way of leading…”
  • 3 Ways Leaders Stay Present
    By Dr. Anne Perschel, Switch & Shift
    Executive presence requires being present. Being present means being aware of what’s happening, in the here and now, the present moment. Being present is rarely mentioned when people discuss executive presence…”
  • Holding Others Accountable
    By Mary Jo Asmus, SmartBlog on Leadership
    When I was young and new to a corporate position, my manager, Karen, gave me an assignment that involved translating a confusing government regulation into a benefit that would be available for our employees…”
  • Top 10 Questions for Employee Engagement Surveys
    By Melcrum
    Employee surveys may range from annual "epics" to monthly pulse surveys, but there is no one-size-fits-all version. Your organization's culture, employee profile, leadership approach and even…”

 What were some of the top leadership articles you read this week?

-          David Grossman 

___________

Free eBook: Download the Top 10 Barriers Communicators Face, today!

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The Key to Getting What You Want

  
  
  
  
  
  

Avi Blog

I've been working with my 4-year-old, Avi, on a critical communications skill - how to ask for what she wants in a kind and caring way.

She can problem-solve in a variety of situations.

Avi: "If you hold (her sister) Noa, I can go with Dad."

She can be persuasive. Case in point: we bought some rainy day activities to have in thehouse. Here was the conversation the next day.

Avi:  "I think it's going to rain today."

Me: "Avi, it's perfectly sunny outside. It's going to be a beautiful day."

Avi: "Are you sure? Looks like rain to me."

Me: (finally catching on). "Avi, did you want to play with one of the rainy day activities we bought?"

Avi: "Can we?"

Me: "Yes. In the future, just be direct. Ask for what you want in a kind and caring way."

That's a much more challenging skill for her, and for many people.

Which is why I was so dismayed to hear how the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, answered a question at a women’s college event about how he’d advise women who are not comfortable putting themselves up for promotion or advancement opportunities.

He suggested “it’s not really about asking for a raise but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raises as you go along.”  In other words, don’t ask for what you want but rather trust that you will get what you want without asking for it.

He later said he was just wrong.

Indeed. 

Often the biggest barrier to getting what we want is ourselves.  That we can’t get past the fear of failure, or the thought that we don’t deserve something.  Others rarely care as much about our needs as we do.

Avi had several shots at the doctor’s office recently.  She was anxious about it.  Until she learned that her sister was getting shots, too!  When I asked her about it, she told me she “felt scared and then brave.”

To ask for what you want may take courage to get past a worry, but the outcome – getting what you want – is ultimately worth it.

What do you want that you haven’t yet asked for? 

-          David Grossman

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Se7en Deadly Sins Blog Post Series: Sin #7 Irrelevance

  
  
  
  
  
  

sin 7

Do you feel like people in your company are walking around with blinders on? Like every project exists in a bubble? Like no one has any idea how what they’re doing fits into the grand scheme of the company mission? That’s because leadership is guilty of our final Deadly Sin: Irrelevance, they fail to provide meaningful context for project and company goals and objectives.

The bottom line is this: If leaders aren’t providing relevance for objectives, employees are left to grasp for meaning in the dark.

Employees don’t need to know everything, but they do need to know the “WHAT” and the “WHY.” What are we doing, and why are we doing it? Without this overarching context, your team lacks the information to work with purpose and direction. Then, your team needs to know how it affects them, what’s in it for them, and its relevance.

Next time someone on your team makes a mistake or moves in the wrong direction, take a moment to look at yourself. You may be surprised to discover that you failed to provide context, thereby setting in motion further failures down the line.  Giving meaning to the work that your employees are completing on a daily basis could prevent errors by letting them in on the bigger picture.

When your team makes a mistake, ask yourself: What context didn’t I provide them that would have made the difference between a miss and a win?

Are you communicating the company’s goals and objective in a meaningful way to your employees?

-David Grossman

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Want more tips on how to be a more effective leader? If so, check out our CEO Resource Center, today!

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Weekly Round-Up: On Improving Your Employees’ Soft Skills, the New Realities of Employee Engagement & Leadership Accountability

  
  
  
  
  
  

Weekly Round-Up on Leadership articles

Welcome to my weekly round-up of top leadership and communication blog posts. Each week I read and tweet several great articles and on Fridays I pull some of the best together here on my blog. So in case you’ve missed them, here is this week’s round-up of top posts.

They’ll provide you with tips, strategies and thought-starters from many of the smart folks in my network. So whether you’re a new leader or an industry veteran there’ll be something here for you.

  • How to Do the Human Side of Business Right
    By Mark Lukens, Switch & Shift
    We live in a dehumanizing age. Electronic communication and the abstract commercial calculations of business are powerful and incredibly useful tools, but they also create a sense of separation between…”
  • 9 Essential Habits of Remarkably Effective People
    By Jeff Haden, Inc.
    “There’s a huge biggest difference between being efficient and being effective. (Just ask Stephen Covey.)  Efficient people are well organized and competent.  They check things off their…”
  • 6 Steps to Improving Your Current Employees’ Soft Skills
    By Daniel White, Fast Company
    Let’s face it: Soft skills like critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and adaptability are necessary for all employees to have. However, the majority of attention in the management world has been…”
  • Revealing the New Realities of Employee Engagement
    By Mark Royal, Tanveer Naseer Blog
    Leaders already know that keeping their teams motivated, engaged and driven to succeed is a demanding task in itself. But in today’s world it’s even harder, because leaders have to keep their people engaged while…”
  • Leadership Accountability — A Positive, Simple Approach
    By Paul LaRue, SmartBlog on Leadership
    Accountability in leadership is not a new mindset, as many books and schools over the years have presented. From J. Paul Getty to Rudy Giuliani, leaders of all backgrounds and intentions have attempted to define the subject.…”

 What were some of the top leadership articles you read this week?

-          David Grossman 

____________

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