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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 Organizational Culture, Leadership & Trust

  
  
  
  
  
  

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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 Key to a Successful Culture of Innovation
    By Doug Williams, Switch & Shift
    “In order for companies to develop a culture of innovation, the people involved in innovation (from the practitioners to the executives to the broader employee base) must be able to communicate effectively about innovation — and they aren’t…”
  • 3 Actions That Instantly Build Trust
    By Lee Colan, Inc. 
    “We live in an information-rich, time-poor world, with lots of inputs coming at us in any given moment.  Although it seems like our environment requires us to multitask, more and more research reveals that single-tasking is the most effective approach…”
  •  One Powerful Way To Control Your Reputation
     By Glenn Llopis, Forbes
    “Your leadership reputation is your most valuable asset.  A strong reputation makes it easier to earn respect from your peers and to advance your career goals…”
  • What Every Leader Should Know About Organization Culture
    By Mary C Schaefer, Lead Change Group 
    “Your behaviors are contagious.  Choose carefully.  Perhaps you are familiar with a popular insurance company TV ad based on the concept of “paying it forward…”
  • Are You A Leader, An “Inspirer” Or Both?
    By Gerry Michaels, #BeALeader
    “On last month’s #bealeader twitter chat we discussed leadership and whether the trait was learned or inherited.  During that discussion we talked about leaders that we ourselves would like to emulate…”

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

-          David Grossman 

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Check out our Leadership Toolbox eBook, filled with popular leadership posts and all of their actionable tips!

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Amazon Announces “Pay to Quit” Program for Employees

  
  
  
  
  
  

Amazon Blog Post

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced in a letter to shareholders last week that warehouse employees wanting to quit can receive up to $5,000.

Why pay your employees to leave your company?

The purpose behind such an offer, according to Bezozs, is to ensure that Amazon’s employees really want to work for them.  "In the long run, an employee staying somewhere they don't want to be isn't healthy for the employee or the company," said Bezos. Reports state that a small percentage of Amazon employees decided to act on the offer.  

The idea originated from Zappos.com, the online shoe and apparel retailer; others, such as Netflix, are have used similar tactics.  As more organizations move in this direction, it signals that there are opportunities to monetize the value of a positive, happy work culture.  We’re seeing once again that intangible benefits in the workplace outweigh the tangible.

Organizations make significant investments in training new employees - building their understanding of strategy, culture and priorities.  It’s worth making efforts to retain and re-engage employees when they are feeling disengaged.  Yet, after efforts at engagement have been exhausted, a win-win exit strategy, such as the one employed by Amazon and others, can be a positive solution to a potentially negative situation.

What do you think of the $5,000 exit strategy?

- 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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Starting Thought- Leaders and Communicators: We often get in our own way

  
  
  
  
  
  

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It’s a habit that’s easy to fall into – focusing on a communication opportunity from a tactical perspective.  The thought process is more about what to say than what we want to accomplish with an audience in the context of our larger business plans.

It’s often like we can’t help ourselves.  What we’re really doing is making a choice to not be as effective as we can be.  And to waste valuable time and energy.  Not to mention reducing the chances of us making the most of the communication opportunity at hand to get the impact we want.

 We move right away into talking points or messages rather than take a few minutes to plan:

  • What’s the business outcome we seek?
  • Who’s the audience and where are they coming from?  What do we want them to do?
  • How will we take advantage of this communication opportunity to be consistent with the main messages I want to get across at every opportunity?

Many who plan well create a one-page document that frames a communication opportunity, and answers the fundamental questions above.  This is done before starting to create the actual communication.

What’s getting in your way of being more planful and strategic in how you communicate?

Ps.  Our latest eBook, “Top 10 Barriers Communicators Face” covers more barriers and how to overcome them.

-          David Grossman

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New eBook—Top 10 Barriers Communicators Face: How to Get Your Leader on Board with Internal Communication

  
  
  
  
  
  

Barriers eBook

Helping leaders lead more effectively and courageously is one of the biggest challenges that today’s communication professionals face.

Those trained in communication know that all the benefits that come with effective employee engagement—shared understanding, productivity, innovation, achievement of business goals—can only become a reality when a leader prioritizes communication.

But the reality is that despite the tangible benefits, leaders often throw up barriers to effective communication. These barriers may arise because leaders buy into some common communication myths, or because they don’t see the value in communication—among other reasons.

This eBook will help communication professionals recognize the 10 most common barriers to effective communication that leaders construct. It reveals what communicators can say to their leaders to help guide their thinking and offers a host of actionable tips for moving leaders past these barriers, including what to say and what to do.

Learn how to break barriers from leaders who are:

  • Scattered; communicate reactively
  • Trapped in the tactical
  • Not engaged in communication planning
  • Don’t value communication
  • Providing you limited access to him or her

Today, the savviest executives are realizing the power and potential of communication to drive results.  Smart leaders know they need to connect the dots differently than before. 

This is an unprecedented opportunity for communicators.

The question is: Do you know how to set your leader up to succeed as a leadercommunicator? More importantly, do you know what stands in your way and what you need in your toolkit to impact decisions at the highest levels in your organization?

Download the Top 10 Barriers Communicators Face and get the tools you need to break down the barriers when working with your leaders. 

France Makes Move to Limit Work Email and Phone Calls After Hours

  
  
  
  
  
  

France labor proposal

Those lucky French workers.

You could just see the collective smirk – coupled with envy – on the faces of American workers over the weekend, in response to a French proposal allowing some technology workers to sign off from emails and smartphones after 6 p.m.

It seems like a dream; limiting after-hours work time and late-night requests from the boss so dramatically. And we all know France is the butt of many jokes when it comes to its seemingly lax worker rules, including a 35-hour work week and generous vacation time.

For now, the French proposal awaits government approval. And even if the measure passes, it’s just advisory. The pact allows a segment of technology workers to turn off if they want to, but it’s not required.

Yet before executive leaders here quickly dismiss the French as a bunch of loafers, they may want to take note: Many recent studies indicate that the always on, 24/7 workplace culture that much of the global workforce experiences today can take a serious toll on many workers, even the most dedicated staff.

A recent study published in the Harvard Business Review found that the average executive or manager logs 72 hours in an average work week, in large part due to the ability to connect online at any time of day.

And while some observers see the French approach – more government regulation – as a poor way to bring change, progressive companies are looking harder at a work-life balance that keeps employees engaged and productive. The Wall Street Journal reported that several major banks, including Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase now have rules encouraging or requiring junior staffers to take time off on weekends.

Some studies show that those workplace changes aren’t just about making employees happy, they also contribute significantly to the company’s overall productivity.

Our own experience also shows that employee engagement clearly pays off over time, in productivity levels as well as with overall financial performance.

In other words, burned out workers glued to their emails all night is no joke.

What do you think of France’s move to limit after hours work?

- David Grossman

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Suffering from email overload? Check out our free ebook, The Definitive Guide to Taming the Email Monster, today!

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Weekly Round-Up: On Leadership, Giving Feedback & Captivating Your Employees

  
  
  
  
  
  

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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.

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

-          David Grossman 

 _____________

Looking for ways to become a more effective leader?

Download our free eBook on good vs. bad bosses & get 6 must-do strategies to ensure you lead for good, not evil. 

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8 Must-Follow Steps For Bosses To Engage Employees

  
  
  
  
  
  

employee engagement

A leadercommunicator realizes that most problems in business today lie in the absence of real communication, and understands the need to facilitate dialogue and meaningful conversations with employees and teams.

Studies show that the number one reason employees leave their jobs is not because of their paychecks, but because of their boss. Although employees will always want to hear from the top, no one is more influential than an employee’s supervisor when it comes to information about one’s job.  Supervisors today need to be leaders and communicators, along with translators and meaning makers.

What’s the single most influential factor in driving engagement, according to Melcrum’s employee engagement survey? 48 percent of respondents said it’s the actions of senior and frontline leadership.

What’s on the short-list of what employees want?  To drive engagement, leaders must:

• Listen, ask for input and use it

• Be visible

• Communicate frequently and check for understanding

• Be honest, open, trustworthy and candid

• Understand that everything they say and do communicates something (including what they don’t say or do). 

• Answer questions employees have (ideally before they ask them)

• Be engaged in developing/planning communications (so they’re energetic and passionate about what they say)

• Engage the Communications function as a business partner for more complex communication challenges

How do you ensure your actions engage employees instead of cause them to be disengaged?

- David Grossman

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Weekly Round-Up: On Effective Speaking, Taming Email & Being a Purposeful Leader

  
  
  
  
  
  

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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.

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

-          David Grossman 

___________

Want more tips on how to make your communication successful? Check out our e-Learning modules to learn communication tips from real-life scenarios!

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Starting Thought: Leaders take note! Stories matter more than you might think

  
  
  
  
  
  

starting thought march

This was an Oprah-like Ah-ha! Moment.  One of those times where a light bulb clearly goes on.

Two senior leaders I’ve been working with recently have realized the power of storytelling, and especially with those stories that help others get to know them better.

One CEO was self-admittedly against sharing details about himself and his family.

“What does that have to do with business?” he asked one day.

“Everything,” I said.

People want to know who you are before they will listen to what you have to say.  And for new leaders in position, all stakeholders wonder, “Who is this person? And why should I believe and follow them?”

With all the slides and facts and figures and charts and graphs and commitments and acronyms and videos, it’s the stories that people remember and value.

On a recent town hall survey, about one-third of verbatims focused on the CEO’s personal comments.  Employees used words like “refreshing” and commented that what she shared was “very different than what I thought I knew about her.”  Another said: “How refreshing to have some human element tossed in with business-speak.”

And these weren’t any old stories.  They were stories with a purpose, and a strong connection to the needs of the business.

Hats off to these senior leaders for their willingness to be vulnerable and try something new.  You can be sure that integrating stories into their communication is now a standard operating practice.

What’s stopping you from sharing stories as a way to motivate and engage your employees?

-          David Grossman

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Se7en Deadly Sins Blog Post Series: Sin #1 Myopia

  
  
  
  
  
  

sin 1 

You? The company’s point person for vision, shortsighted?  Sadly, it’s true. Leaders who are great at keeping the big picture in mind and tending to the minutiae of the business are often too focused on managing these pieces to lift their heads to see what the people around them—yes, those employees who are essential to achieving every company goal—are doing, thinking, and feeling. And more important still, while you had your head down, your door closed, or were assuming your team would figure things out by osmosis, they were grasping at the few communications you did share—whether in the form of an email, body language, or a raised voice—to make their own inferences and assumptions about company values and goals.

Is that really what you want?  It’s up to you to break out of your own world. To reflect on the message you are sending to your team through your communication—or lack thereof. The reality is everything a leader does communicates a message—whether you want it to or not.

Innies, take note!

Here’s why this is especially challenging for introverts: Introverts think they’re communicating more than they are. The quality of their communications is sound, but the quantity is lower than needed.

Outies, take note!

Here’s why this is especially challenging for extroverts: The quantity of their communication is high, but the quality is low. It’s common for extroverts to talk a lot without saying much that’s meaningful and credible. 

How well can you connect the dots?

Specifically the role of a leader is to:

  • Seek out and provide context and organizational information to ensure your team clearly understands how its priorities and goals fit into the organizations and the workgroup’s overall priorities and goals.
  • Make information relevant so every employee understands how he or she fits in
  • Provide job-related information so your team receives essential information to help them do their job effectively and will advocate on behalf of the organization.
  • Provide information and feedback on individual performance and other employee-related matters (e.g., recognition of achievements and contributions).

Are you forcing others to interpret and create your message for you?

 -David Grossman


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