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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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What's Your Internal Communications Elevator Speech?

  
  
  
  
  
  

elevator buttonsOne of the things that bring me great joy every year is teaching in the Strategic Communication grad program in the School of Continuing Education at Columbia University in NYC.  The students are smart, eager to learn, wonderfully diverse, and have my admiration for working full-time and going to grad school simultaneously.

One of my goals for the students is to find their “voice” when it comes to internal communications.  The students start the semester with varying perspectives on what internal communication is, and leave with a more accurate and richer perspective.  Their minds and hearts are opened to the great opportunity internal communication presents.

One of the assignments is to develop an elevator speech on internal communications.  It’s their take on how to talk about the power and potential of the discipline.

I thought you might appreciate their elevator speeches.  Many thanks to my students for their willingness to let me share their thoughts.  The elevator speeches are as diverse and creative as the students themselves, and all capture in one way or another the essence of what it means to move employees to action:

“Internal Communications is the art and science of engagement.  It's the science of understanding how and why employees engage with companies.  And it's the art of engaging people in ways that motivate and inspire action.  The stronger the engagement, the better the business results.”

“Internal communication is like religion. It’s omnipresent, it gives people meaning beyond the day-to-day, and everyone interprets it a little differently. Like religion, it can be used to control, enlighten or guide. Using it will give you power. But using it wisely will give you results.”

“It’s the foundation of every great brand.  It instills the mission and culture of the organization in all of its employees and ensures that they are tied to a common business goal.”

“Did you know that employee engagement directly correlates with a company’s financial health?  Studies show that the majority of today’s employees do not feel engaged at work.  This detachment leads to low productivity.  I know that this is a priority for you.  It’s proven that engaging employees through effective internal communications is the best way to motivate employees, drive business success and yield a high ROI.”

“Internal communications are strategic communications that build and maintain engagement between members of an organization, so they can understand and achieve the organization's primary goals.  How engaged are you?”

“I can help you take advantage of the secret of success that’s common among the top financially performing companies: high quality internal communications will help you increase engagement, motivating your employees to do more and better work each day. It will help boost you into the ranks of those top performing companies.”

“Internal communications is like the central nervous system of an organization, and internal stakeholders are like body parts and organs. When internal communication is handled well, it allows for a smooth transfer of information, with all stakeholders working toward a common goal. So basically, the overall health and success of an organization depends on sound internal communication.”

 “Internal communications refers to all communications within an organization.  If done effectively, internal communications fosters employee engagement, which leads to positive business outcomes.  Most people don’t know this, but there are key questions that all employees have.  If you answer these questions for them, it will increase the chance that they will go the extra mile for the organization.  If you would like, I can share these internal communication strategies with you at a later time.”

“Did you know that firms that communicate effectively to their employees are 4 times more likely to result in high levels of employee engagement? As a result, there is a greater sense of solidarity and better employee morale. It's all about having a common vision and making employees naturally want to work for you."

What’s your elevator speech on the value of communication? 

 

- David Grossman

 

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Download Our Newest Free eBook: The Greatest Mistakes (You Don’t Want to Make)

 

In The Greatest Mistakes (You Don’t Want to Make), communications experts share their knowledge for the ultimate resource of inspiring takeaways and actionable tips for effective leadership and communication for 2011...and years to come.

Millennials Are More Important Now Than Ever

  
  
  
  
  
  

millennials at workAs the workplace continues to evolve, and the estimated 64 million baby boomers reach their retirement eligibility, Millennials are inevitably making up a greater portion of most organizations. When tapped properly, they can add a competitive advantage to any business, making them more important now than ever. 

Here are four things you need to know about Millennials:

  1. Millennials act as change agents in organizations. To capitalize, leaders must know that they aren’t comfortable with the current workplace “status quo.” Millennials don’t expect to come to the same job for 40 years and do the same tasks every day. Unlike past generations, Millennials thrive in evolving environments. Consequently, Millennials generate change in organizations by continuously looking for ways to improve their work with a pioneering mindset.
  2. Millennials are technologically sophisticated and are able to adapt quickly to new digital tools. Millennials are comfortable leveraging technology improvements in new ways. They also help streamline technological transitions to maximize business results as new systems develop. Having Millennials on your team will help your organization pilot these business technologies successfully.
  3. Millennials are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in business today. Growing up in a multi-cultural world has naturally prepared them for globalization. Their approach as part of a global workforce is to offer new ideas and perspectives. As businesses grow, Millennials will be both eager and well-suited to contribute because they have an understanding of a variety of cultures and are both comfortable with and inspired by diversity.
  4. Millennials are excited by the idea of a challenge and flourish in an environment that pushes them to their highest potential. When coached properly with encouragement, Millennials will be there to help your business adapt to changes in ways you never thought possible. From challenges with technology, to global endeavors, Millennials will be on hand to further your business success.

Now that you know more about what makes a Millennial tick, it’s easy to see why they’re so important. Having team members who are flexible, with a strong sense of technology, will give your organization a smart business advantage for the future. Because diversity is key in a growing marketplace, having employees that support diversity will likely boost your business to the next level. Millennials love a challenge and will be there through these times of change to help your business succeed. 

 

- David Grossman

 

 

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Download Our Newest Free eBook: The Greatest Mistakes (You Don’t Want to Make)

 

In The Greatest Mistakes (You Don’t Want to Make), communications experts share their knowledge for the ultimate resource of inspiring takeaways and actionable tips for effective leadership and communication for 2011...and years to come.

New eBook: The Greatest Mistakes (You Don’t Want to Make)

  
  
  
  
  
  

describe the image“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” --Oscar Wilde 

One of the best e-discussions I’ve been part of recently happened in a LinkedIn group that was pondering the question, “What’s the greatest mistake(s) a leader can make?” It got me thinking about what we do, and the big no-nos you want to avoid. These aren’t the mistakes that can cost you your job, but ones that can cause unnecessary frustration, aggravation and reduce your leadership impact and results.

I’ve made my share of mistakes in my career and tried to learn from them. That said, there also were times that very “smart people” who “had been here before” saved me the pain and aggravation of screwing something up royally (or not so royally!).

While we can – and need to – learn from our mistakes; we also can learn from others when we’re open to new ideas and are willing to ask for help and guidance in unfamiliar territory. 

All of which gave rise to my newest ebook, “The Greatest Mistakes (You Don’t Want to Make).”  At first glance, the title might sound a little pessimistic—who really wants to focus on mistakes?—but the reality of each page is far more positive:  Communications experts sharing their knowledge to help their colleagues and peers, and ultimately a resource of inspiring takeaways and actionable tips for effective leadership and communication for 2011…and years to come.

So compiled here is wisdom from smart people that’s bound to save you time, energy and improve your results – not to mention win you applause from the leaders you support. I’ve seen these ideas work irrespective of the economy, industry or leader’s personality or style. You might even want to take a bow now…for how much smarter you’re about to become.

Download “The Greatest Mistakes (You Don’t Want to Make).” 

 

 

- David Grossman
 

Communication Planning for 2011: Resolve to plan purposefully for effective communication

  
  
  
  
  
  

2011When you set off to reach your ambitious business goals in 2011, remember that the most effective leaders distinguish themselves through communication.  Though it may seem like common sense to invest time in communicating effectively, our data show that it is not common practice.

Case in point: dozens of leaders used our QuickAssess Diagnostic last year to measure their teams’ performance and the importance they place on several critical communications skills. The aggregate results confirm what we see time and again – many leaders need to focus more on planning their communication to employees. 

Why don’t leaders devote more time to improving communication?  They say they are too busy, or feel they should focus on other priorities. Yet being purposeful about communication can unite employees around the company’s goals, build trust and increase employee engagement that is directly connected to business success.

When done effectively, communication can make a difference for every organization.  Especially at times of change, when motivators like compensation and benefits may not be as readily available, communication provides the intangible benefits that employees crave:  knowledge, support, recognition, a feeling of being connected at work.

Think about it – you have planning processes for all key areas in your organization – strategic plans for your business, succession plans for your leaders, and development plans for your people.  Why not communication?

This New Year, resolve to take time to plan each communication to employees, whether it is to an individual, a group or an organization. Think through what you want to accomplish, the people to whom you are communicating, the messages you want to deliver, the best tactics to deliver them, and how you will measure success. This process is outlined in our leadership tool, “Take 5™ to communicate well”  that helps managers at every level to plan, deliver and measure their communications effectively and efficiently.

Another opportunity for many organizations is in the area of continuous improvement in how they communicate with employees.  Just as you have an ongoing plan for continuous improvement in your business, you should have a plan to continuously improve communications.

You may be familiar with the Deming Cycle, the continuous improvement process that is the basis of Six Sigma and Kaizen improvement programs in manufacturing. It also has been adapted for use in driving business strategy and can work well as a model for increasing your communication effectiveness.  Consider these steps:

Plan – Establish business and communication objectives and processes to deliver expected results.  This includes a careful analysis to clarify how you define and measure success and what actions are needed (and by whom) to achieve it. Processes also include effective ways to inspire desired action among your target audiences, particularly through communication that helps them connect their work with the business objective.

Do – Implement your new communication processes, on a small scale first if possible, to test your assumptions and ideas and provide the basis for further improvement.

Check – Measure new communication processes and compare results against goals and expected results to discover any differences.

Act – Analyze the differences to determine their cause and apply changes for continuous improvement.  Repeat the process and apply the model continuously to achieve your intended business and communication objectives.

As a leader, you set the tone for how information flows and how employees work and interact together in your organization.

What are you going to do this year to improve your communication – and through it, your business?

For some more ideas on communicating your strategic plan, click here.

 

- David Grossman

 

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mastering messaging small

Download Our New Free E-book: Mastering the Art of Messaging

Great messages aren’t the result of momentary inspiration or a rogue creative genius.

They’re the product of a comprehensive vision that encompasses leadership insights, employee needs, company priorities and business goals.

Simply-Communicate.com: Internal communication consultants forecast for 2011

  
  
  
  
  
  

simply communicate logoThis forecast originally appeared on Simply-Communicate.com. To read the original, including all of its forecasts for the new year, click here.

David Grossman, Founder and CEO, The Grossman Group:

“We're already seeing a greater realization and need to train leaders on communication skills, as well as to hold them accountable for communicating more effectively.  The global research we do with our clients, along with the internal research I see regularly, demonstrates significant gaps in communication, especially when it comes to two-way communication.  Training leaders can have a significant impact on improving those scores and driving further engagement.
 
Since engagement is fluid - it's a gift that can readily be given and easily taken away - I predict we're going to see more companies with regular polling of their staffs regarding engagement.  The result will be a more accurate temperature check and sense of engagement, which will allow leaders and communicators to adapt their communication strategies more regularly.
 
I sense we're going to see some backlash by the use and abuse of technology to support communication on the inside.  Top of the list is email.  E-nough already, I say, when it comes to poor use of the vehicle.  When I mention my wish to stop ‘reply-all’ when I speak to large audiences, I often get applause.  How full can our inboxes get before we start to change our behaviors, and hold others accountable for their poor use of email?  My sense is 2011 will be more about getting smarter about how to use technology to get work done, and I hope more people will pick up the phone and share feedback with others when email was used inappropriately.”
 
What won’t change? Grossman says:

“Leaders will continue to hide behind technology when dealing with tough issues.  Our ego and desire to stay away from conflict will mean we continue at times to choose a method of communicating that feels better, but won't be as successful, and in the end, will waste valuable time. It might feel good to send off an angry email, but conflict on email escalates faster and lasts longer, research shows.”

Your Votes Are In: The Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2010

  
  
  
  
  
  

thumbs upSince The Grossman Group launched the new yourthoughtpartner.com in March of 2010, I’ve been sharing my thoughts on and experiences with internal communication here on this blog.  Though I had not had experience with blogging in the past, I have discovered that I enjoy it immensely for two primary reasons:  1) It challenges me to work through my daily experiences and shape them into cohesive material with valuable (I hope!) takeaways.  And 2) It affords me an unprecedented opportunity to engage with other leaders and communicators, to get valuable feedback, and to feel how what we do at The Grossman Group is connected to an extensive community of professionals, all of whom are working daily to master and advance communications best practices. 

As I reflect on 2010—and think about new and continuing directions for 2011—I find that there are certain posts that have really spoken to readers, who, in this age of web analytics, made their approval known through page views, links, and time spent on the blog. I know it was elucidating to me to learn what topics resonated the most, and so I thought I would revisit with all of you the most popular blog posts of 2010.  So, without further ado, following are The Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts from 2010, counting down from number 5…

#5

Start Here:  A Dozen Skills You Need for Two-Way Communication

Last week I talked about the nine fast (and not so fast) fixes for two-way dialogue.  This week, it's time to think about the actual skills you need to improve that same kind of dialogue. So just what are these skills?   Don't worry, following is the list of 12 must-know, must-master abilities that make for good communication.  (read more)

#4

7 Actionable Tips for Leaders to Build Trust That Lasts

In the graduate course I teach at Columbia University, my students thirst for practical ideas and insights on ways to build trust.  The burning question I often hear from them—and just as often from senior executives—is, how can I get employees to trust me? (read more)

#3

Top 10 Must-Do Strategies for Persuasive Presentations 

Prepping for an important presentation? As you’re purposefully planning, think about the following 10 criteria of a successful presentation.  These are best practice strategies that can help you turn any presentation into a great conversation, and get what you want in record time.  (read more)

#2

The Four Fs of Feedback 

If you were to give yourself a grade for how effective you are at giving feedback, what grade would you choose?  Many of the executives I work with are brutally honest and give themselves an F. (read more)

And the most popular blog post from 2010….

#1

Communication Techniques 101:  Communicating your strategic plan 

You spend hours as a management team working tirelessly on your organization’s strategic plan.  Data is reviewed, the future envisioned, and words are put onto paper. You leave your two-day meeting confident in your strategic plan and energized about your path forward. What do you really have?  A piece of paper.  (read more)

Is there a post that spoke to you that didn’t make it into the Top 5?  A topic I haven’t covered at all that you keep watching for?   I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

- David Grossman
 

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