Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

All good things must come to an end. And Great Things must begin!

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
Sean's career in summary

What a long, strange, wonderful PR trip it has been!

For eight wonderful years, I rode the wave of the entrepreneur. Communication AMMO is my second-longest tenure of employment in my near 30-year career in Public Relations and communications. Beginning next week, CommAMMO becomes part of True Digital Communications, a Greater Cleveland-based communication agency, that focuses on the digital world, including advertising, marketing, PR and content.

In my new role, I will lead the education practice that Communication AMMO and True Digital have partnered on for several years, and will also establish a new internal communications practice, which will include the Face2Face Communication Learning Program that CommAMMO acquired two years ago.

I’m thrilled to have the chance to cross-train people on conducting both the Face2Face and AMMO programs. As part of the firm’s leadership team, I’ll also have an operational role for True. As an educator, helping others learn is a critical part of who I am.

This is a terrific opportunity — only such a great one could get me to move on from CommAMMO — and I’m looking forward to working even more closely with True’s principal, Chris Baldwin, and being part of the True team!

This post also appears on LinkedIn. 

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Leadership relies on communication

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

That's crazy talk! Our friend Google defines leading as a physical act, as in leading an animal, or as a demonstration — showing someone the way. Business management started with the former — Theory X, where employees are like children who require strict discipline — and began taking the latter approach — being more human and treating employees like adults and “leading by example” in more recent years.

Management, on the other hand, has a different set of definitions: The process of dealing with or controlling things or people; the responsibility and control of an organization.

Note that control is implied in leadership, but explicit in management. The question of control in an interconnected age has become rather fraught of late. We’ve long observed that employees are smart, that control is illusory, that we must enlist people rather than merely command them.

In organizations where leaders respect employees and seek to recruit them to the business purpose, mission, values and vision, there’s sustainable success. In others where those precepts do not hold, success may come, but not be sustained.

In successful organizations, employees buy in. They understand their role in organizational results, they feel a connection to the organization and they act accordingly. Internal communication strategy should support the effort to create appropriate context, foster identification with the organization, and demonstrate the behaviors necessary for the organization to thrive.

In organizations where there is an uneven distribution of communication skill, where communication capabilities vary according to the individual leader, process is essential. Leaders must have access to a toolkit that helps them be effective. Ideally, the toolkit should recommend what to communicate, how to communicate, and provide some sort of mechanism to create discussion.

A few recommendations:

  • Conduct a leadership communication audit. Discover to what extent leaders are doing communication well. Holding staff meetings, asking questions, engaging employees in planning and tactics are three areas that tend to work to improve communication in teams. This audit should be a combination of self-reporting, peer-reporting and employee feedback – a true 360 degree view.
  • Establish processes for leadership communication that start with audience analysis rather than “messaging.” Leaders should ask, “who is my audience? What do they know now? What are their current behaviors? What do I need them to think, feel or do differently?”
  • Help leaders think through the communication implications of their business strategies and objectives. This thinking is the cornerstone of an effective communication process. During this discussion, ask questions regarding the changes, objectives, reasons and effects. That’s what forms the content of the communication action.

More communicators could embrace the portion of their job that’s about communication itself — no one else can accurately call themselves experts in that discipline within your organization. If not us, whom?

Tell me what you think!

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12 statements to ‘tick’ you off

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Grrrr. I’ve actually heard people say these things.

  • Communication isn’t important to leadership, or to management.
  • Leaders who communicate well do so because they’re born that way.
  • You cannot teach communication to people, because it’s an art, not a science.
  • Communication is all about getting your message across.
  • All that needs to happen is that a communication is sent. It’s up to the receiver to take responsibility for what happens next.
  • Listening is overrated. All employees want to do is complain.
  • Employees aren’t interested in the business.
  • Change is constant, so there is no point to talk about it.
  • Facts and figures are more important than trying to get people engaged.
  • Employees don’t understand business, so why bother telling them about it?
  • Internal communication is just a warm, fuzzy for the employees.
  • Employee communicators just don’t know the business, so they can’t help me with my issues.

Thoughts?

 

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HBR covers employee complaints about managers

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

It’s almost a cliche, so much so that some don’t even believe it.  Employees have certain expectations about their managers, and too many managers totally #fail at meeting them.  In the Harvard Business Review, Lou Solomon hits the high (or low) points.  Read the article, then see http://bit.ly/CommAMMOF2F.

 

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You are the expert in communication

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Does that headline make you nervous? A lot of corporate communicators (public relations, internal comms, etc.) don’t embrace the full extent of their capabilities. Your organization has internal experts in finance, law, accounting, operations, supply chain, marketing, public relations, etc., but you might not be seen in the way that could be most valuable for your organization.

What sort of impact would improving communication among managers and employees yield? If you seize the mantle of “expert in communication,” you can move into new territory beyond being the tactician, and have great impact on the functioning of your organization.

There is no one better qualified than you to take this on. Your friends in HR may “own” training, but you’re the best judge of the state of communication among managers and employees. You can be the sponsor for improving it.

When I ran the Face2Face Communication Learning Program for Joe Williams Communications, the people who typically brought us in to train their managers were communicators. Companies like John Deere, Lucent, Merck and Prudential had communicators who saw the effort to build communication capability in their companies as crucial, and they made it happen.

Now that I’ve bought the F2F program from Joe, I’m once again beating the drum for a more strategic view of communication that includes this type of training. Sure, I’m a capitalist – but this happens to be intrinsic to my purpose in professional life: To help people and organizations communicate more effectively.

This purpose gets me going every day. It’s a passion — because I see the impact in real terms. Companies that communicate, perform. People who communicate well foster and maintain better relationships with everyone.

I can help people, teaching them these tools, sharing my own experiences and setting an example to others.  Communication can change peoples’ lives for the better, and it starts with someone declaring that more effective communication is something the organization deserves, wants and needs.

Can we start with you?

 

 

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