Starting Thought: The One Thing Only Leaders Can Provide

Posted by David Grossman on Wed, Feb 25, 2014


At a recent leadership team meeting, a senior leader shared an insight that resonated incredibly well with the group.

When discussing how to accelerate the organization’s ability to deliver on their strategy, and the support leaders needed, he said:

“You provide the information, and I'll provide the inspiration.”

Now that’s what I call leadership!

Here’s what he knew (that every leader should know):

  • He’s accountable to communicate with his teams and to help them translate strategy into action -- as a team and as individuals.  He’s not waiting for someone else – whether it’s a member of senior leadership or the communications team – to do it for him.
  • Organizations aren’t great at inspiring people; leaders inspire.  He’s best equipped to motivate his people.
  • Moving people to action takes creating an emotional connection with others.  In this case, he realized the importance of painting a picture of the future and encouraging his team to join him.  Facts and context are important, but it’s tapping hearts that’s most powerful and meaningful for employees. 

If I could have given him a standing ovation, I would have.  As it were, I already was standing, facilitating.  Needless to say, I was beaming because I knew he got it.  Then the CEO chimed in to reinforce this mindset and approach.

In what ways are you providing not just information but inspiration for your team?

- David Grossman


Want more information on leadership? Sign up for eThoughtStarters, our free newsletter!

ethoughtstarters, e thought starters, thought starters, communication newsletter, leadership newsletter, email newsletter communication

Tags: Starting Thought

New Tip Sheet: 10 Tips for Guiding Culture Change

Posted by David Grossman on Tue, Feb 24, 2014


Culture change is a journey that takes time and effort at every level in the organization. 

A strong corporate culture is necessary for strong company performance.  And if you are going through or planning a culture change in your organization, know this:  Organizations with effective change and communication are 3.5 times as likely to significantly outperform their peers but only one in four change projects are successful in the long run.1

With that in mind, we’ve put together a tip sheet, 10 Tips for Guiding Culture Change, to help you set up your organization’s culture change for success.  Each of the 10 tips provided include a brief description on how to achieve them.

Some of the topics include:

  • Set your sights on long-term success, not just quick wins
  • Create a guiding coalition of “change agents”
  • Ensure leaders are able, ready and accountable
  • Listen carefully and respond religiously
  • Assess and create communication channels

And 5 more!

The desired culture is formed when words get translated into daily actions, and actions inside the culture reinforce the words.

You can’t achieve your goals unless employees understand where they’re going.  They want to know what’s expected of them so they can make a meaningful contribution. Use this tip sheet to help you get there and keep everyone up to date on your company’s changes.

Download—10 Tips for Guiding Culture Change— and get insights to help ensure your organization’s culture change is a success.

12013-2014 Towers Watson Change and Communication ROI Study Report

Tags: Tip Sheet

Weekly Round-Up: Why Everyone Is Talking Values, Employee Engagement 101 & the Importance of Listening to Your Employees

Posted by David Grossman on Fri, Feb 20, 2014


Welcome to my weekly round-up of top leadership and communication blog posts. As many of you know, each week I read and tweet several great articles and on Fridays, I pull some of my favorites together here on my blog.

This week you’ll see articles on becoming a better listener with one simple change, the 3 essential business elements needed for excellent results and creating a company culture that’s authentic to boost employee engagement. These articles will 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 One Simple Change Can Make You a Better Listener
    By Art Markman, Fast Company
    “Next time you’re at a meeting when you are not a central participant, take a couple of minutes and watch some of the other people at the table. Most of them won’t even look like they are listening carefully. Some are fidgeting in their seats.  Some are checking…”
  • The Importance of Listening to Your Employees
    By Entrepreneurs’ Organization
    I am a lucky man. I have the privilege of working with people and on projects I love. I was recently at the wedding of my first employee and could not help but reflect on the past five years. This year was a hallmark year for…
  • 3 Business Elements Needed for Excellent Results
    By Mark Lukens, Switch & Shift
    In the 1980s we were told that profit was king. The whole economy was restructured to put this focus before all else, on the basis that if we did that right then everything else would follow. But the reality is very different…”
  • Why Everyone Is Talking Values — and Why They Should Be More than Buzzwords
    By Asher Raphael, SmartBlog on Leadership
    Lately, I’ve noticed everyone seems to be talking about “values.” From major brands such as Whole Foods, which launched its first national advertising campaign featuring a “Values Matter” tagline, to…”
  • Employee Engagement 101: Does Your Culture Value Humans?
    By Meghan M. Biro, Forbes
    What’s the distance between your company culture and your brand? Answer: There shouldn’t be any. A company culture that’s authentic and deep will translate through the employer brand, conveying the same tone, the same mission, the same values to…”


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

-          David Grossman 


Download, Our Top 14 Blog Posts of 2014, and get the strategies you need to elevate your leadership and communication!

Our Top 14 Blog Posts of 2014

Tags: Weekly Round-Up

Taking Action on Feedback from Employees

Posted by David Grossman on Tue, Feb 17, 2014


Being a good leader doesn’t happen by luck. It happens because those individuals have a strong sense of self-awareness, and seek input and feedback from not just their boss and their peers, but even more importantly, their employees.

I always urge leaders to try this if it’s not part of the way they work, and they’re often surprised by how honest and considerate the feedback is that they get.

But the work doesn’t stop there.

As a leader, when your employees share their thoughts, your work is just beginning. 

This is the time when you need to take action on their feedback.  No matter whether you plan to implement their suggestions or not, you need to close the loop with employees to let them know one of three things:

  1. You’re implementing their solution, and the rationale
  2. You’re implementing a modified version of their suggestion, and the rationale for that
  3. You’re not planning to implement their solution, and the rationale for that

In all cases, you cover the “what” – what you plan to do, and then the “why.”  This helps employees know how you think (what guides your decision making), which allows them to think more like you in the future.  It also might open a conversation for how others might ask you to think differently about a specific problem or opportunity.

Finally, when you communicate about the solution, don’t forget to mention where the idea came from and recognize the employee for their valuable perspective. 

When employees know their input is heard and valued they will be more willing to share their feedback in the future. They will also feel more engaged when they know their thoughts and insights are valued.

Put yourself in your employee’s shoes. If you feel like your important thoughts are being heard and making a difference, wouldn’t you be more likely to give a little extra effort, to be more loyal? Wouldn’t you be a bit more engaged?

Soliciting employee feedback is one thing, but the proof that you take it seriously comes from taking action.

What opportunities do you have today to listen and take action on employee feedback?

- David Grossman


Want to lead in a way that engages and motivates employees? Check out our ebook that provides high-level tips and tools to equip your leadership toolbox.


Tags: employee engagement, feedback

Weekly Round-Up: 6 Ideas for Creating a Culture of Transparency, Leadership Lessons from Lincoln & Businesses' Billion Dollar Mistake

Posted by David Grossman on Fri, Feb 13, 2014

Weekly Round Up

Welcome to my weekly round-up of top leadership and communication blog posts. As many of you know, each week I read and tweet several great articles and on Fridays, I pull some of my favorites together here on my blog.

This week you’ll see articles on encouraging transparency in the workplace, the importance of being mindful to better navigate your daily life, and inspiration from one of America’s great leaders, Abraham Lincoln.  These articles will 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.

  • You Can’t Advertise Your Way to a Great Customer Experience
    By Jon Picoult, Carrier Management
    “What would it take to convince people that your business delivers a great customer experience? For tech giant Microsoft, the answer was more than $1 billion.  That’s how much the company reportedly spent on its Windows 8 marketing campaign…”
  • 6 Ideas for Creating a Culture of Transparency
    By Avi Singer, Switch & Shift
    You might have heard how Google provides transparency reports showing open information about laws and policies affecting its users.  Some companies take transparency a step further, providing open access to…
  • How Bosses Can Encourage Transparency in the Workplace
    By Robert V. Keteyian, Fast Company
    Professional development conversations are an important part of any company culture, but how do you create an environment where everyone is eager to engage in these high-value conversations…”
  • 7 Life Changing Leadership Lessons From Lincoln
    By Lolly Daskal, Inc.
    Abraham Lincoln's life and presidency are a lesson in great leadership qualities.  Some of his abilities were natural; others were consciously developed over the course of his life. Many are still relevant today…”
  • Success From the Inside Out
    By Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey, Melcrum
    Mindfulness. If you’re still thinking this is merely a touchy-feely trend practiced by yogis, creatives and the business elite – you’re way behind. Thousands of people in organizations around the world are now benefiting from…”


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

-          David Grossman 


Discover the best practices to connect directly with employees for a motivated and inspired workforce. Download our ebook, "The A List Part 1: Communicate Your Way to Great Leadership" today!

The A List

Tags: Weekly Round-Up

Communication Breakdown: Are You Thinking About Your Audience?

Posted by David Grossman on Tue, Feb 10, 2014

Communication Breakdown Blog Post Image

Over the course of my career many leaders have lamented this: “Little I say seems to be resonating!?!?”

Although this can be very frustrating, it certainly does not mean that you should just stop communicating (as I’ve also heard…)

Knowing Your Audience


Most likely, the failure to communicate effectively an indicator that you need to take more time to find out what makes your audience tick, and how and when they’re most receptive to information.


Think about any questions and concerns they might have that will impede their ability to hear you. By anticipating audience needs and concerns, you can ensure that you shape your message in a way that will resonate with your listeners.

The Real Communications Challenge

As challenging as it can feel to state your thoughts clearly and concisely, the real challenge is shaping those thoughts clearly and concisely for your audience.

Employees (and any audience) want you to appeal to them in terms that speak to them and their needs, often on a personal and emotional level—yes, even if you’re just talking about work.

Especially if you’re talking about work.

When leaders don’t understand their audiences’ needs or perspectives, they make these two common missteps:

  • They mistake any communication for good communication
  • They communicate from their perspective instead of the audience’s

Your Communication Role as a Leader

As a leader it’s your job to use communication to help your audience make the connection between business objectives and their role in helping you meet them. But it’s important to understand that before you can get to the business big picture, you’ll need to address employees’ personal needs first.

At the end of the day, employees want to know “What’s in it for me?

They might articulate that need in any number of ways:

  • “How does this affect me?”
  • “What does this have to do with me?”
  • “What should I be doing?”
  • “Does anyone care about me?”

The Solution: Know Your Audience

Know your audience and speak to them. There’s real magic in addressing your audience’s needs first. When you do your audience is more likely to trust you, and as a result be more generous, open and receptive to big-picture, strategic communication.

All communication should always be tailored to the specific audience to make them aware of their role in the organizational whole.

That’s what leads to engagement and the discretionary effort all of us want.

Then, you can truly inspire employees to action as only a great leader can by giving them feelings of significance, community, and excitement through your communications.

Specifically as a leader you should:

  • Contextualize organizational information to ensure your team understands how it fits in.
  • Craft information so that it’s relevant to individual employees and teams.
  • Provide job-related information so that individuals and teams can do their jobs effectively.

When it comes right down to it, it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s whether you can make it relevant to your employees.

Have you developed the right mindset to serve your audience in a way that will work with them? 

-David Grossman

Originally featured on Linked 2 Leadership, May 2013


Learn more communication skills and learn how to lead better than ever before. Download The Courageous Communicator Quest, today!

communicator quest, communication challenge, communication expert, leadership expert, free ebook, communication ebook, the grossman group, david grossman

Tags: leadership communication

Weekly Round-Up: On How to NOT Motivate Employees, Superpowers of Public Speaking & Building Trust

Posted by David Grossman on Fri, Feb 06, 2014

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 Intentionally Build Trust
    By Dianna Booher, Switch & Shift
    You’ve probably gone to great lengths to surround yourself with honest people. They don’t lie, cheat, or steal. But trust involves much more than honesty. More frequently in the typical workplace, trust means consistency…”
  • What Really Matters to Potential Employees  
    By Steven Parker, Fast Company
    I like money. You probably do too. But I’m willing to bet money isn’t everything to you.  While "money can’t buy happiness" is an almost universally accepted value, I find it strange that so many organizations think…
  • 5 Things Smart Leaders Do to Empower Employees
    By Minda Zetlin, Inc.
    How much does it matter to have engaged, empowered, enthusiastic employees? It can make the difference between success and failure, says Hossein Kash Razzaghi, founder of Fancred, a social network platform for…”
  • 3 Superpowers of Public Speaking
    By Stephanie Scotti, SmartBlog on Leadership
    It’s no secret that being confident in your message will make you a more engaging speaker and increase the impact of your presentation. But occasionally we all need some tools to increase our presentation prowess…”
  • How NOT to Motivate and Reward Employees
    By Bernard Marr, Ragan Internal Communication
    When a newspaper company had to cut costs it made their entertainment writers redundant. To fill the entertainment review columns it came up with what it thought a novel way to deliver reviews and motivate the remaining employees…”


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

-          David Grossman 


Download—Cutting to Win: 6 Steps for Getting Employees on Your Side During Cost Cuts— and start communicating changes in a way that builds trust and retains your workforce.

New Call-to-action

Tags: Weekly Round-Up

5 Benefits of Having a Strong Internal Communications Strategy

Posted by David Grossman on Tue, Feb 03, 2014


Whether you are just beginning to think about the importance of internal communication, are in the midst of an existing plan, or fine-tuning a well-oiled communications machine, the bottom line is that this is all about the bottom line.

At its core, communication is an instrument of strategy as well as a strategy in itself. It’s an instrument of strategy because it helps you share your mission, vision and values with employees. It’s a strategy because it will help you achieve specific goals. It creates a sense of community and trust with employees, creating a line of sight for them and engaging them to make the business successful.

So what’s the payoff?

  1. Employees understand the big picture and how they fit in. They feel valued, listened to, and like an important part of the team and the organization.
  2. Employees are more productive and there is meaning to their work. As a result, they contribute more and feel better about their contribution and the organization so they stay on the job and help move the business forward.
  3. Better leaders. Communication isn’t just tactical anymore; it’s about strategy. In this context, leaders are better able to understand employee needs and how to meet those needs to motivate, inspire and engage them.
  4. Vigilant managers who have an ear to the ground. For managers and organizations to attract, create and retain an engaged workforce, they must be committed for the long haul. Building the trust and credibility to keep employees engaged requires effort, but it’s worth it. It takes only seconds to lose employee connection and interest.
  5. A culture of communication. The employee engagement journey is a continuous one. Communication is not an “event.” It is a continuous process. You must work every day to ask the right questions, answer others appropriately, and communicate openly and honestly with employees. When they see you making that extra effort, they’ll do the same. By moving away from lip service and toward positive action, you drive positive business results.

Organizations that understand, prioritize and constantly strive to achieve better internal communication are a breed apart. They achieve trust and credibility. They enable employees to do their jobs better. They create a constructive workplace that encourages growth and a common sense of purpose.

 From all this, there can only be one result: higher levels of performance and better business results.

In what ways do you see strong internal communication paying off in your organization?

- David Grossman


Learn from real-life scenarios how to deliver effective communications to your employees. Check out our Take5 ™ to Communicate Well e-Learning course!

New Call-to-Action

Tags: internal communication, Strategy communication

Weekly Round-Up: On 7 Things Employees Never Say to Their Bosses (But Should), Fostering Success in the Workplace & Learning to Tell a Great Story

Posted by David Grossman on Fri, Jan 30, 2014

Weekly Round-Up, Best of 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.

  • 7 Things Employees Never Say to Their Bosses (But Should)
    By Jeff Haden, Inc.
    Your employees have a lot of thoughts. Most of those thoughts they don't share, especially with you.  At times their silence can be a good thing, especially where your ego--or their employment status--is concerned, but their silence also may…”
  • How Forethought (Not Intuition) Separates the Good from the Great
    By Jeff Stibel, Harvard Business Review
    What is your No. 1 time waster? Without question, the task that consumes the most time each day for most people is email. Some people receive as many as 300 emails in a single…
  • Fostering Success in the Workplace
    By Lisa Shelley, Switch & Shift
    Your employees not only want to succeed, they need to feel successful.  Contrary to the premise behind many traditional management approaches, people want to contribute – we all have a basic need to be productive…”
  • How to Engage with Your Employees as a Collective
    By Mark Lukens, Fast Company
    We often talk about engagement in terms of individual employees and how we encourage them to engage with their work. But there’s another form of workforce engagement that is also important for businesses and particularly important…”
  • Learn to Tell a Great Story
    By Naphtali Hoff, SmartBlog on Leadership
    Now more than ever great leaders are great storytellers. Storytelling helps executives weave rich narratives that inspire their organizations, set a vision, teach important lessons, and define the culture and values. Perhaps most importantly…”

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

-          David Grossman 


Get essential tips for connecting and communicating with employees to achieve measurable, meaningful growth.  Download The Leader Differential: Five Steps to Thrive (Not Just Survive), today!

Ebook on Five Steps to Thrive as a Leader  

Tags: Weekly Round-Up

Starting Thought: Awaken the Full Leader Within You

Posted by David Grossman on Wed, Jan 28, 2014

Develop Leadership Skills

I was privileged to work with an amazing senior leader recently and her team, and she said something I thought was hugely profound about leadership and being a leader:

“Leading is not something I do; being a leader is who I became.”

What she meant was that she can’t separate getting work done from leadership.  It’s not something to be scheduled but part of how she operates every day. 

She talked eloquently about striving to make the most of every moment to lead.

Over time, it’s become part of her DNA.

While this might not be possible for all of us today given where we are in our leadership journeys, it’s sure a wonderful aspiration, and a very worthy goal.

How are you making leadership more of who you are?

-          David Grossman

Tags: Starting Thought

    About leadercommunicator blog

    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.

    Subscribe by Email

    iabc on demand employee engagement webinar  

    In the News:


    You can also find us here:

    Featured in Alltop

    Leadership Digital

    NSA Speaker Info

    Daily Dog

    Linked 2 Leadership

    Business Management Blogs

    NSA Speaker Info