Facing uncertainty can be challenging – being a business owner facing uncertainty is tougher.
Red Direction helps you [fast track and] grow your business – authentically, pragmatically, and resiliently.
Starting the conversation:
What are overlooked aspects of a company’s communication that cause unexpected problems?
Host: Jessica Dewell
Guests: Margaret Watts Romney, Christopher Wallace, Michael Obrien
What You Will Hear:
Be aware that there may be weak areas in your company’s communication process.
The problem is that we’ve learned to live with the problem.
Feeling behind before we even get out of bed.
Shift communication to focus on a team-based challenge.
Make the brand story identifiable internally to employees, too.
Use meetings wisely, get the 411.
The most important part of a meeting is usually rushed through.
Create a process to get feedback and be able to analyze the strength of how your company communicates.
The power of awareness.
Two more important core-competency (aka soft skills) necessary for intentional communication.
The impact and effectiveness of communication takes consistency over time.
Questions to consider THE ONE idea to get across.
Cutting through the noise is not easy.
The way we use what we know (and think we know) impacts the outcome.
Preparation is the most important part of creating the message you want to convey.
How communication happens and the process of how feedback is received is something to consider carefully.
Connection is something we crave, and that cannot be taken for granted.
Move the needle toward your goals.
The connection we make within our companies has tangible outcome: increased ROI.
The depth of connection through communication can be explored a long time.
It is BOLD to be vulnerable and talk about the things we don’t really want to talk about.
Notable and Quotable
Michael Obrien 00:00
I think boldness and vulnerability and courage hang out together.
Trust is built with three pillars: Empathy. Logic and Authenticity.
Christopher Wallace 00:08
It becomes a lot less expensive and a lot less hard if you know where to go instead of just trying to push out a whole bunch more information and hope that solves.
Michael Obrien 00:16
We want to have these conversations because it makes us better together.
Jess Dewell 00:21
Welcome, friend, I’m glad you’re able to join me today. e’re talking about overlooked aspects of a company’s communication process and strategy. The overlooked pieces are what caused problems. And today, the three guests that I have to talk with us are Margaret Romney, Christopher Wallace, and Michael O’Brien. Each of them share their experience, their expertise, and tips that we can use right now to analyze what’s going on in our company’s communication so that we can strengthen it, so that we can make greater positive impact for what we’re doing. The first thing that we must do to be able to address this particular problem is recognize that there are areas that we’ve overlooked in the communication that we have and that our company has to each of its stakeholders.
Welcome to the Bold Business Podcast. Your business has many directions that can travel. The one true direction towards that new, exciting level we call the Red Direction. In this show Jess Dewell tells into one question that will add clarity to the big questions you face in business today, including how to stay competitive in a changing market, how to break through business plateaus, and how to respond to changing expectations of today’s customers. Jess Dewell brings you a 20 year track record of business excellence where strategy and operations overlap.
Jess Dewell 01:53
And we’re going to jump right in with Christopher Wallace who is the co founder and the president of interview a marketing consulting firm that helps companies align their brand and product stories with their customer facing teams. He’s going to talk about the pain that we experience.
Christopher Wallace 02:08
Chronic pain that companies have, that they’ve just learned to live with. People are telling the same story. People are off message. You’ve got the marketers and the brand folks who really want to have people on message and telling the same story consistent. Consistency is the word we hear all the time. We’re not consistent in the way we tell our story. They sort of learned to live with that pain and just assumed that it’s always going to be there. When we talk about sort of being overlooked. I think it’s that idea of sort of chronic, it’s been there. They know it’s there. They’ll acknowledge it, they have pain around it, but they’ve just learned to live with it.
Jess Dewell 02:42
Are you doing that? Are you just living with it? Whatever this pain is in the communication, trying to bandaid it and move forward, limping along, recognizing that there’s a problem but really not understanding how to fix it. Michael O’Brien is the chief shift officer at peloton coaching and consulting elevates successful corporate leaders by preventing bad moments from turning into bad days. And here’s what he’s got to say about our problem of overlooked communication.
Michael Obrien 03:11
Don’t sleep with your phone. It frames our day even before we really wipe the sleep out of our eyes. And we have this sense right off the rip before we shower before we dressed before we’ve had our coffee that we’re already behind.
Jess Dewell 03:24
Bank of America did a mobile consumer report and 35% of respondents said that their first thought in the morning is about their smartphone.
Michael Obrien 03:32
And now the chase happens. And that’s why we’re checking the phone on our commute. And then we get into it. We have all these meetings and we’re going coast to coast throughout the day we get home, we crank out our email and then we pour ourselves into bed and rinse and repeat. Part of the upstream issue is that we’re not being smart enough about what truly matters to our business and being strategic enough of making a choice.
Jess Dewell 03:56
When we have a drive to do more when we want to burn form and we want to add value. And at some level, maybe we’re insecure about how much value we’re actually adding and creating for our organization. That insecurity erodes our brand. it erodes our company, it erodes the foundation with which we are working together. A big part of organizational communication are the values with which the company stands on because those values determine the way we work together. And when you understand the way you work together with your peers, communication increases, doubt decreases, and we see more impact.
Michael Obrien 04:35
You mentioned, Jessica, the whole budgetary process that it sets up a whole lens of scarcity because there’s only So to your point, only so many scraps to go around, and then we’re fighting for it. And then that can trigger the conversation like well, if we don’t have enough scraps, then we’re not a value that gets into the personal conversation. I think for leaders it’s taking a more holistic approach. more of an enterprise level approach,
Jess Dewell 05:02
Regardless of the size of our company, getting out of the business enough to be able to look and see the entire forest instead of one or two of the trees and bushes and creatures within the forest is a necessity. It’s a skill that we’re not necessarily taught, but we must strive for. Are you ready? Listen to more of what Michael is saying.
Michael Obrien 05:24
Listen, each department ripples to the other department and eventually ripples out to shareholders, stakeholders and customers having a collective ownership and a broader perspective of the overall business and then orientation to say, hey, whatever I do, it says a cascade somewhere. Yes, our budgetary process could be less than ideal, but how do we make the most of it in terms of our contribution to send our ripple out there to the greater purpose of the organization? One way leaders can also flip the script or flip the narrative and say, Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we could be the team that could do the most with the least flip the script, figure out how to turn something into a challenge, something that people can come together around and work on and create momentum to achieve as a group, we now have a challenge, it gets to the whole concept that everything is neutral until we label it, which is a hard one sometimes for corporate leaders to understand. But when we have an event, like how much money we get through the budget, it’s a neutral experience until we put a label on it, whether it’s good or bad, or the right amount or not the right amount and all that jazz in between is we can be the team with a little bit more tenacity, a little bit more resiliency, maybe to make the most of that budget as a way to show our overall value and make a contribution to the greater good. You’re an influence.
Jess Dewell 06:51
And I’m an influence. And we must remember that because as the person to flip the script as the person to hold the story. We now are accountable. To that, and how we show up to that and how we accept that accountability is going to be how people show up to us to the situation into the goal that we are going toward as a team. Let’s take a look at the inside workings of our company. Now with Chris,
Christopher Wallace 07:15
The internal support mechanism is typically they take all of the information that they would push out to the customer, the ads, the one sheets, the pamphlets, and that becomes the version of the story that they hand to the people internally. At the end of the day for our entire company. We say we’re professional translators, we translate that story that you’re telling the customer to optimize it for the internal audience, how do you need to tell that story to them so they understand what role they play that everybody has to tell the whole brand story, every single interaction.
Jess Dewell 07:47
It’s missing something that allows them to understand what they can actually do and how they can actually do it to the best of their ability and live up to the mission and vision and values that you have set out. It comes down to the communication, just like Chris is talking about.
Christopher Wallace 08:04
What part of that story are they responsible for telling? And how can we feed it to them in a way where they can digest it, they can understand it, they can internalize it. And then they can play their part and tell their part successfully. We always say we’re internal translators. And we’ve done it both ways. We’ve translated where the organization is really pushing it out. This is how we do it. We’re going to impose that on customers. But the one we see more frequently is that agencies are developing this brand story, and they’re just repurposing everything. They’re telling the customers and handing it to the teams internally. And that’s where we see the biggest breakdown.
Jess Dewell 08:37
I’m all about repurposing. You’ll hear me talk about it. It’s all about efficiency as well. Yet the frame with which you tell the story means everything. And if it’s the wrong frame, it creates confusion, instead of understanding
Michael Obrien 08:50
How many people attend meetings and they have no idea what we’re actually speaking about. So there’s a lack of clarity at the humans seek clarity. So what’s this meeting for? What are we We’re talking about I have a little thing called 411, which basically, it’s not grandstanding in a meeting, which sometimes happens. So it’s no more than four sentences at a time, no more than one speaker at a time and no more than one question at a time. And we do that a lot. You know, somebody will ask like three or four questions, they’ll stack the questions and then you don’t know which question you’re supposed to answer. And I understand the intent behind the question or they got all this goodness that they just want to share, and they get all their questions out, and then that creates a lack of clarity. So there’s also something going back to breath call grabbing a PBR which does not stand for Pabst Blue Ribbon, but rather pies breathe and reflect.
You were listening to the ad free listener supported Bold Business Podcast. We’ll return to the show soon, but first, we’d like to take you behind the scenes to give you a peek into what goes into the production of each episode. Again, here’s your host, Jess Dewell.
Jess Dewell 09:58
I’d like to take a few minutes and tell you why we do not run ads on the Bold Business Podcast. We’ve chosen to rely solely on you, our listeners for support. If you’re listening to this, you probably already know what I care about most. I care about the space between you and me, and you and your colleagues. And I care about the work that you do together and the impact that it makes for your business and for your community. The work I do comes from a deep curiosity about what makes businesses work, what makes high functioning teams, and what elements truly shapes success. I’ve seen firsthand how information can help people make better decisions and change their results. curating and presenting this information, though, is not easy. The vast amount of information out there and the overwhelming amount of stuff that demands our attention and time, makes finding useful information, firsthand experience that is actually inspiring, that can help you with the big problems that you’re grappling with. It’s really hard We do the due diligence for you. I am fortunate to have a great team to help me research and to share this information. And one example is the preparation that it’s done for each program. We choose a question to explore, we look for people with the relevant information and experience. We do research for what the current trends are. And then we put it all together into a well produced program. And then we repeat, and then we repeat. The production of the show notes and supporting information is also comprehensive. This shows in the positive response that we’ve received, people like to see our notable and quotables they like to see the links that we have to the transcripts, and they like to have links and research to resources and we bet I bet you do too.
Lot of work and preparation goes into each podcast. We’ll return to this topic and discuss exactly how we fund necessary work to support and continue our efforts. But for now, let’s get back to the show.
Jess Dewell 12:06
Here’s another tip that will allow us to be focused and really take a moment to gather our thoughts and speak with purpose and communicate with intention.
Michael Obrien 12:17
The PBR thing of Pabst Blue Ribbon makes it easy to remember grabbing a PBR is basically pausing long enough, connect with your breath, just a simple box breathing technique, and then thinking about how do I want to go into this meeting? Or how do I want the rest of the meeting to go, and we can do that eyes open, eyes closed, it doesn’t matter. And that can help.
Jess Dewell 12:37
And the third tip from Michael about how we may show up to meetings.
Michael Obrien 12:42
There’s one other piece, Jessica that I talk a lot about is first mile last mile. So it’s sort of akin to thinking about a running race or a cycling race that the first mile of every race isn’t the first mile after the green flag. It’s the mile leading up to it. So it’s all your practice. For an endurance athlete, it’s the hydration sleep and the nutrition and all that jazz for corporate executive. For a corporate leader, corporate athlete, it’s all the prep common definitions with this for maybe the agenda, getting all the i’s dotted and T’s crossed. Before we go into a meeting before we start a project. The last mile is not the last mile of the race before the checkered flag. It’s the mile after the finish. And that’s for an athlete, its recovery. Its hydration, its rest for us Incorporated. What could work better and doing that post mortem, which I don’t really like that term. But it gives us a chance to set up the race well reflect so we can build into the next one, the next project and getting smart about those first 10 minutes and last 10 minutes of every meeting. That last tip about meetings is incredibly important. The more intention we have going into a meeting, the better we can be the more stringent We are around the expectations of timeliness and order. And committing to the beginning of time is important. More important is committing to that end time so that people don’t run a little long so that people don’t feel a little rushed. And they have time to pause and breathe. And use that PVR that Michael shared with us with time being money and wanting to be as efficient as possible to make sure we’re as streamlined as we can be as agile as we can be. If we flip that script, and we talk about expensive being relative,
Jess Dewell 14:34
Chris shared with me on tha.
Christopher Wallace 14:36
Expense is all relative, right? And sometimes things are expensive, but they’re worth it. This is a good part of our brand story. We met some folks from a market research company, they call themselves a voice of the customer analytics company. They were out working with agencies and working with brands to identify what consumers what buyers thought of that and they would come back and even give them very detailed analysis of here’s what your customers think of you. Here’s what they Think of your competitors, so on and so forth. And we’re talking to them. And we said, Why couldn’t you use the same process only with an internal audience?
Jess Dewell 15:08
Intentional communication, understanding the mission of the company, understanding the current goals that we’re working on, allowed that specific question to be asked. That was an opportunity question. Listen to what Chris says next.
Christopher Wallace 15:24
And they said, well, it’s not completely optimized for that. We said, Well, what if we optimized it, we sort of retrofit it for the internal audience. And the big thing that they told us was that you can do that if you’ve got big enough sample sizes. And we said, well, we work with big companies with lots of representatives. So we worked with them in conjunction with them to develop the brand transfer score. And it’s a survey based tool I we don’t usually use the word survey, we call it a study. We deploy this to the internal teams and what we’re able to do is analyze the way that they basically rate and score their brand. We have them rating score, their brand and certain key aspects. We then have the leadership team score the company on those same aspects. In theory, the corporate team is going to score based on Well, we have market research that tells us this is important to the customer, we then do a comparison between those two things. We have a statistical analysis that’s done that says you are x percentage misaligned from your frontline team. So when you’re pushing out your brand story, the way you see it in the way they see it is 31% off or 46% off. So we come back to them. And we’re able to diagnose to use a different analogy where the Bloods not getting through, where’s the blockage in the artery? And how big is the blockage? And then we can tell them? Well, now we know what the problem is. Right now we’ve been able to diagnose it, then it becomes a lot less expensive and a lot less hard. If you know where to go instead of just trying to push out a whole bunch more information and hope that solves it.
Jess Dewell 16:48
The more data we have, the better we can approach any problems that we are ready to face and that we are willing to face in addition to the data piece, how we show up to that data. How we show up to the problem itself matters. Michael shared with me a little bit on that.
Michael Obrien 17:05
One thing that we start with is awareness. We work a lot on hard skills in business, but this soft skill of awareness around what mindset blocks that we have, because ultimately athletics as well, so we can train our body to get faster and stronger. We can develop skills, we can train on skills, so we can get better at public speaking or Excel or project management, what have you. The other thing that we tend to forget to do is we can train our mindset, those three body skill and mindset. It’s really personal. Most corporations don’t want to go there. But as any leader, we have to start there. We have to have awareness that these stories happen for all of us acceptance that they do. And now once we can see it, we can take different action.
Jess Dewell 17:52
Most companies don’t want to go there. I know it’s hard, it’s messy. My life can be messy. Your life can be messy. And the people around us also can have messy lives. And when they’re all messy, and they’re overlapping messiness, then we have this thing that we don’t want in our business, we want our business to continue. Yet it’s in those moments where it’s the greatest where it’s the chubbiest where it’s the hardest to navigate. Sometimes that’s where the reinforcement of our personal value that we actually bring value that somebody sees the value in us to just let us have something that’s out of the norm. Let us have something that can’t be pushed into a system and work on our life and work on our role so that we can better our skills because it’s only when we have messy that we become better at anything. Margaret watts, Romney, coaches, Speaker leaders and leads workshops across the US. She is also well known for coaching over 100 TEDx speakers, nationally and internationally, and she’s going to expand on soft skills. There’s so many there’s an intentionality there is empathy. And like in a really Western way of thinking it’s goal oriented, but that feels rather stiff. Hmm. goal oriented, driven, getting achievement, right? All those things, they are stiff, but guess what they are outputs of developing and honing those core competencies, the soft skills that Margaret mentioned, intentionality and empathy. So let’s talk about some of this mess.
Michael Obrien 19:30
I think we do a fairly decent job of telling our stakeholders, our customers, hey, here’s who we are, here’s where we’re going. But we don’t remind our employees enough. Hey, remember a greater purpose? Remember where we’re going? So all the what we’re doing and hopefully doing it how in the right way matters.
Earlier we talked about some of the work that goes into producing the Bold Business Podcast, but why? Why is it so important to Jess and the rest of the team to make these people podcasts ad free and listener supported? Once again, here’s Jess.
Jess Dewell 20:06
So this brings me to the question that’s been contemplated. How do we fund the necessary work to support our efforts and continue this work? Well paid advertising and sponsorship spots are common. It doesn’t fit our model here. And here are just a few reasons why the first, quality programs are important to us. I want you to know to really know that I’m telling you the whole story. when money is exchanged to talk about a product or service and I feel there may be some miscommunication, and the quality of our content could be diluted. The second reason is being an advocate is who I am. I’m an advocate for your success for your team success and for your business’s success. If I’m focused on numbers and listeners and ways to generate more views that generate ad income, my attention is split between you and great content and tactics to increase our ad revenue. And then I would not be doing my job as an advocate. The third reason is to fuel my own curiosity continuously. My eagerness to do this work is here, it’s ready. Yet it is dialed when I’m doing something that I don’t like as much or really that I’m not excited about and that I don’t think is exciting for you to know about. So this led me to choose the path less traveled. listener supported programming has been proven to work over time. And it allows me to keep my focus on the content, and it allows me to have a relationship with you that is direct and straightforward. listener supported is a clear answer to the question we’ve been pondering. How do we fund the necessary work to support our effort and continue providing quality content to you? The simplicity of a listener supported model ensures clarity for you and for me, I value honesty and honesty is it a two way street. So if you get something out of what I’m doing, you can become a supporter and contribute at whatever level works best for you. In exchange, you’ll get benefits above and beyond what is available for free right now. It’s my goal to ensure that you get more than you give no matter what level you support at.
1So far, we’ve talked about what goes into the production of the Bold Business Podcast and why we feel it’s so important to be ad free and listener supported. Let’s get back to the show now. But later on the podcast, Jess will share how you can support this podcast, along with the extra benefits you can expect to receive in return.
Jess Dewell 22:39
A consulting firm by the name of neuro business group found that three of the top causes of burnout were work overload, which was 69%, powerlessness and insufficient reward.
Michael Obrien 22:51
Maybe an employee meeting we talked about the where and then we just get busy on the what the what becomes the message, and then we get stuck and we’re like, why am I doing This. And that can lead to burnout. When we lose that sense of personal and corporate purpose, we can decide what we want to prioritize and how we want to prioritize it.
Jess Dewell 23:10
And it’s not instant gratification, it’s months long. Listen to what Chris says about it.
Christopher Wallace 23:16
If you are structured and consistent over the course of six months, we really see things really sustain. I mean, we have a great client example that we worked with where we tracked their results over the course of about 10 to 12 weeks, really started to reach a new a new milestone, a new plateau of performance, they sort of reached a steady state and looking back over that six month period, we saw that now it becomes institutionalized. Part of what we institutionalize is people participate in their own journey of change. It’s not a do this do that it is how can you help them participate in that journey. So they understand not only understand they helped shape, the path that they’re going to take and what they’re going to be comfortable with, and you give them the space within some guardrails to do that, but after six months of institutionalizing this feedback loop, we saw this organization plateaued, they sustained at a dramatically higher performance level than they were at before and they haven’t dipped below it, they just continue at that higher plane than they were at before. This is part of what they do now. It’s part of their standard operating procedure.
Jess Dewell 24:22
How do you track your communication intentionally? What are the elements that you will bring into every single conversation? And maybe the question is a little different. What are the elements that I want to bring into every conversation? And what are the elements that I actually have in every conversation, now we have a gap analysis, my ideal my reality, and then being able to figure out how to increment toward the ideal and add more and be intentional about that communication to see what that means in terms of how the results of each of those interactions with Those core elements that you’ve decided are important shape the outcome. So when you allow somebody to see who you really are, it can be scary. And it does take courage. Here’s the thing, though, there’s also an element of ruthlessness in it. Because when we choose to let somebody see who we really are, we choose to show all of us. And our greatness is in both the weaknesses that we have and the strengths that we have, in the knowledge that we have, and the knowledge we don’t have. For about 10 years, I studied with master teachers who had all dive deep into a philosophy based out of Japan, and we only studied about 40% music technique and the rest was all about communication. How do we break this down into a smaller concept? How do I give time to this relationship? How do I listen to how my words are landing with my audience and most important, what is my future vision? Where do I want to lead this conversation? Where is this going? What is this student? What is the audience going to walk away with at the end of this when we recognize the need for taking more time up front, to save us time later to have more intentional conversations so that more work gets done. The common piece that common pieces more more work can get done more questions that move toward the goal, get done brainstorming and throwing spaghetti against the wall to brainstorming to decide a path to then take action and move toward that path. And then be able to evaluate ideas and opportunities that come up against that path along that path does what comes up fit where we’re going. It’s ongoing internal work, Chris shares a story about his company facing these same types of questions. And
Christopher Wallace 26:51
We’ve done brain transfer studies internally with our team. We’re not as big of an organization as the ones that we work with. But we’ve identified some really important data And things in our story that needed to be clarified for our team, the information was really quick to discern and looking at it. So we do use the tools internally, the other thing that we do is we really try to pull a lot of the things that we’re doing to market ourselves a lot of the tactics we use to market ourselves. And we are pulling those into be the internal tactics that we do with clients. We have marketer that we work with who has a really good idea. And we think it’s something that would resonate with internal audiences as well, that goes in our toolkit, really trying to push the boundaries of what people are willing to accept. And we’ll ask them we’re like, when we go to build a proposal for somebody will say, one on a scale of one to 10 is super conservative, we’re going to just send emails can is we’re going to have sky writers and people jumping out of planes. Where do you want to be on that spectrum? And we get a sense for kind of how big they want to be. But we have solutions and tactics all along that spectrum. Because again, cutting through the noise isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to push the limits to push the limits.
Jess Dewell 27:58
Are you willing? Are you willing to look at what’s around you and see where you can push limits. And it’s not always to improve and make things better. Sometimes we go backwards to go forward. Listen to what Michael shared with me.
Michael Obrien 28:11
We were going through a change. And the first time we went through a change that was similar, we really dive the i’s and cross the T’s. We had to go through a reorganization, which is common in today’s world, I want to say flawless because there’s nothing flawless is no perfection, but we handled it very well. And I think the feedback from folks that were impacted, because everyone was impacted in one way or another, was positive. We made a very hard thing. And we treated people with dignity along the way. The second time, we had to go through it, which was about 18 months later, we got and I would say that we as me Got a little arrogant or cocky with our ability to handle every work. And I’m like, yeah, this is fine. And some of that discipline that I just talked about. That’s so important. I didn’t practice it this time. Second time, I was like we got this weekend, that first one, that really well, this is hard work. And we hit it out of the park based on the feedback. So this one easy, and we got a little lacks with some of the finer points, some of the landscaping, if you will, and the feedback in the early phases of it suggests that people were not clear as to why we had to reorg again,
Jess Dewell 29:22
We reach achievement, we reach a goal, we get a good outcome, and we think we can repeat it and we just move forward. Part of communication is definitely this concept of looking back. So if we just go out and try and repeat something and expect the same kind of success again, but we haven’t done the pre work for the next situation. By looking back at what we did not know and what we muddled our way through before how we solve those problems, we will be unable to repeat the success. Next Michael shares the downside of not being as thoughtful and expecting Repeat success
Michael Obrien 30:01
That causes fear and anxiety. And I could tell just by doing some town halls and just feedback you get from a variety of different sources that we had a problem on our hands. And it was really related to the fact that we took our success the first time around for granted, we got a little lazy, we got a little lacks or a little too arrogant and how we handle the second one. So what we did is we call the timeout, we hit pause, if you will, and we recasted out there The reason the rationale why we had to do it, and we made a stronger commitment to communicate and go back to the basics that we did so well in the first time. Now, the project ended up going well, the feedback wasn’t as strong as the first time because we had caused an injury we had caused some harm with how we handle the initial phases of it. And that left a mark with some people. So I wasn’t expecting the feedback to be as strong as the first time but I think at the end people Still had trust in the organization that were making the right decision. And the rationale was sound, even though they were probably more hurt feelings a second time around in the first time because we started off without the right type of discipline. For me, it was a very hard thing to process to because I was at the company for a long time. And I knew the team really well. I knew them. I knew their spouses knew some of their kids. And even though it was the right business decision, personally, it was a hard hit because I knew everyone will go through a corporate restructuring, everyone gets impacted. It’s not just the people who lose their jobs. When I realized that my lack of discipline and how we handle that my lack of leadership, to be quite frank in that moment was causing them more pain. That was emotionally tough moment for me easy to have a lot of regret about.
Jess Dewell 31:57
The more awareness we have, the more prepared we are One of the things that Margaret shared with me is something that I think you know, and I know, I know. But my question to you is, do you practice it? Starting before the start line? I think we have a myth that speakers just speak and leaders just leave. And the truth is, you need so much preparation beforehand. Oftentimes, we’re such a doing culture, well, I’m, I’m in action. I’m busy, I’m busy. I’m making this and and really, to get that vision in your mind to listen to what your community needs to hear from you. It takes some quiet time, it takes a moment, you need to take the time to listen to your own vision so that you can communicate it. Oh, oh, that thing called time. That thing called stepping back that thing called thinking just like Margaret said, We’re going forward. We’re going forward yet. If we don’t know where we are in going forward. We’re no longer part The action or responding to the action. And it comes down to awareness, awareness of our self awareness of our relationship to others, awareness of our relationship to our company, and awareness of other people’s relationship to the company.
Michael Obrien 33:14
It’s exercising that muscle of awareness. Like the first time you go to the gym, you really don’t know what to do. And then you realize after your workout, ooh, I’m sore. Oh, I did something. I found a muscle I didn’t realize I had then the second time you go to the gym, you’re like, Oh, I can feel that muscle I’m working out and then you’re in the workout and exercise. Third time. It’s like, All right. Now I know what I’m doing. I can perform at a higher level at that point in time, but we don’t look back on it in a reactive way. So it’s good that we get there, right? Because a lot of people walking around, they don’t even realize that there’s too busy spending on their hamster wheel. So that first step is so critical and that’s the love it when the light bulb goes off with my clients to say, hey, oh, wow, I noticed a pattern. This is what’s happening. And then you talked to him, you know, after a few more sessions of MONTH goes by, you’re like I was in this moment. And here’s what I did.
Jess Dewell 34:07
I love it. I was in this moment. And here’s what I did. That is our ability to then recreate the outcome that was good. It’s also the moment in which we can say, Okay, now I know where to try something different. And the reason to try something different to get to the outcome I want. And then we add on communication, lots of communication. Here’s what Chris shared with me.
Christopher Wallace 34:31
As soon as you start building that dialogue with your internal audience, you’re automatically ahead of the game, you’re winning. Again, you have to be really careful how you do that, because a lot of organizations go down the path of what we’re going to do town halls and things like that. And what we find is, a lot of times when you start doing that, they become great sessions, for lack of a better word. People start complaining and you’re not really driving things forward. There needs to be structure, there needs to be definition, there needs to be a regular interval. The best company that we’ve ever seen with this is I’m going to call them out by name Rogers Communications up in Canada. Rogers is the largest cable and wireless provider in Canada, out of Toronto. They have a team there, they have a whole program called voice of the frontline. And they have a team in place that has this two way dialogue with the people who are out representing their brand every day call centers, retail with a technician, whoever it might be. And they’re constantly gathering feedback on what people think of their products and services. And if they find gaps, they have like this rapid response approach, where you’ve got a gap in your competence around representing our product, we want to know what it is. So we can help fill that gap and get you back out there and feeling strong about it right away. They’re the best we’ve ever seen. Because there’s structure to it. They ask on a regular basis. They ask it in a structured way people know what’s going to happen after they provide feedback. Too many organizations will do a survey monkey or they’ll do an annual employee survey, and nobody ever really knows where that goes. It’s sort of died on the vine and they never see a response.
Jess Dewell 36:02
When we go back to that simple gap analysis that I shared with you, we can see the impact and the change that we’re able to invoke with that little bit being consistent just on that will create a ripple. And the more of that ripple that you will see the more opportunity to add structure to other places that can happen. Margaret adds to this by sharing with me, this is what we’re hungry for. We’re hungry for this humanity. And I think that’s why what I see as a public speaking coach, I think that is why there is I’m feeling this shift and attention, culturally across the board to the importance of public speaking to the power of public speaking on Facebook, it’s counted as a win if somebody watches your video for 10 seconds, 10 seconds, but if I want to stay, and I’m telling a story, and you’re listening to me, and hearing me and feeling me, I’ve got 20 minutes 13 minutes, you’re not going to swipe left. There’s something that we’re hungry for in this person to person interaction and what that’s why we need to so carefully be aware, what is our message? How do we connect with the audience? And how do we want to all feel at the end of consistent consistency. And knowing what we want to communicate, closing that gap analysis to make sure we’re communicating it the way we want to see the change that we want. It sounds simple to say, as you’re hearing, it is more difficult to implement.
It’s time to take another brief break from our program. Earlier, you may recall, we talked about what goes into each podcast and why we feel it’s so important to be ad free and listener supported. But why? Why should you consider becoming a supporting listener? With an answer to that question, here again, is your host Jess Dewell.
Jess Dewell 37:59
As a supporter, you receive full access to expanded show notes including formatted transcripts, links to all the resources, full uncut interviews with each guest, by the way, which also have their own transcripts and email notifications of new resources as they become available to you as a supporter and supporters also receive exclusive access to a platform where you can ask your specific business questions to me. And you will receive a link to the bold business supporter podcast, which does not have a support or call out any other content that we decide to publish in that channel as a value add, as well as access to carefully cultivated playlists that focus on key business and leadership topics. The Bold business podcast is a resource that helps you and will remain free to you and to all. I do hope you find enough value in the podcast itself and the additional exclusive benefits are worth To become a supporter at a level that reflects its worth to you, as an investment to your personal and your professional growth, the value you receive from our podcast is how we fund the necessary work and continue this work.
And now, let’s return to the Bold Business Podcast for the rest of the show.
Jess Dewell 39:19
When I was talking with Chris, he brought up a great question clients want to know, why do we get to this spot in the first place? Well, here’s the answer he shared with me.
Christopher Wallace 39:30
I think to understand why the challenge exists in the first place is to talk about how do they show up now? How do most organizations show up now, and the way they show up is typically we know what the two most frequent vehicles are for how they show up. It’s product training, and it’s emails, product training and emails. When you think about getting somebody energized and excited and motivated and confident in telling a brand story are the first two things you would think of to build that confidence email and product train. Those are the two most frequently Use pieces of communicate. That’s how they’re showing up. So when you think about how to move people from one place to the next, most of the people we work with are in the marketing department. Think about how they market to their customers, you don’t train your customers, and you don’t just send your customers an email. It’s part of an overall campaign. They want to move people to behavior. How do you do that? You can’t just do it by hitting send out an email. It’s not just what you say when you show up. But it’s how you actually present yourself when you’re there. And email is not the way that we’re finding companies moving the needle.
Jess Dewell 40:30
So the delivery of the communication is as important as the intention behind the communication and the elements that you want it to strengthen the dialogue, to open the dialogue and to find the nuggets of greatness within our organization, as well as the increasing the capacity for our teams to think and recognize and discern what information and opportunities help us get to the goals that we’re working on right now. That leads me to this place of connection and Margaret Shares about that.
Margaret Watts Romney 41:01
Where can we connect? That’s an essential part, especially right in the beginning of whatever it is. You’re saying whether it’s your elevator pitch or Keynote or presentation or team meeting. Where are we right now? Can we all get on the same page with the ideas and we know where we’re going, we’re like, oh my gosh, let the horse out of the get go. And instead of pulling it back, like where are we now? Here we are, oh, we’re all here together, taking the time to reflect back to the audience. Here’s who we are. And here’s what we’re doing. telling a story so that we all have that mirror neuron, shared experience, whatever it is taking the time to connect, Okay, I see you, I know who you are. Here’s a little bit of me. We’re starting from a common ground. Now you’re ready for me to take you to a new place.
Jess Dewell 41:54
This is what ongoing communication provides a place of commonality and When I talk about momentum, building the next set of goals from the momentum of the past set of goals, the past set of actions comes down to, here’s what we connected on. To achieve what you want to achieve, to create the impact that you are looking to bring into the world. You have a responsibility. And considering this and listening to this podcast today, my friend, you are intentionally saying I want to be better at which idea so far shared? Well, you want to use to make incremental small change and build up your own confidence in your ability to communicate differently and more effectively, and fix communication problems as soon as they start to appear. Instead of figuring out how to work with them. Margaret goes on to share.
Margaret Watts Romney 42:48
So what we’re talking about here with feelings and crying and empathy and space and listening and presence sounds, some could say no, that’s not gonna increase my bottom line. Oh, yes. It will. Oh yes, it will. If you can navigate that space with your client, with your team there with you for life, that loyalty, there’s no ad out there that can buy that kind of loyalty.
Jess Dewell 43:14
It’s up to you to be the guide. It’s up to you to find the simplicity, you can create more value in the role that you’re playing right now in the development of your employees. And the the output of the business. By focusing on communication, taking time to distill down everything that there is to get to the core nugget and do one thing at a time, share one thing at a time, think about one thing at a time, use that tool, expand your awareness, see how working on one thing at a time, communicating one idea at a time, focusing on one idea at a time and a meeting changes the amount of work that gets done and the impact that is made quicker in the relationships and the change The relationships of the people working together. There are a couple of key factors that go into this. And Chris shares that with us.
Christopher Wallace 44:09
When you start trying to find out what they think what they want to consume, the challenge that we find is the top down approach. And most corporate structures is really the core of where the problem starts. It’s, we have information, we are the smartest people, we are going to take it, we’re going to push it down at people, and we’re going to overload them with information, but we’ve got the answer. So if they just take it and do what we say, they’re going to be in good shape. If you start from a place of thinking of trying to convince them that they should do it, rather than a place of trying to force them to comply. That’s where we see the breakthroughs. You need to see this on every call or whatever the case may be. That’s different than asking them a lot of questions, engaging them in a dialogue and letting them draw that conclusion for themselves. Everything we do is about helping them make it the people in the field making You get their idea. As soon as it’s their idea they’re attached to it, that’s how we drive alignment is we have to take that message and feed it in a different way. So it becomes something that they’re attached to, that they can see themselves in, as opposed to another thing that corporate wants me to do or set and that’s how most organizations approach it.
Jess Dewell 45:18
So get consistent, choose the path.
Margaret Watts Romney 45:20
So what you’re asking is for clarity around stuck places, from leaders, to their organization, leaders to their teams. They’ve got a stuck moment. What do we do, first of all, is to gather information, what has been going on where have we been take a real Look, what has been working, what has been not working? There’s one leader that I was working with. He was a great public speaker, and he was specifically with his team. He’s like, the numbers are good from them, but I know there’s something missing. I know that there’s more I see other leaders out there and they’ve got a great Culture and I know there’s a deeper level of trust that we can come up with that we can create here. What can we do? And so he stopped and he started asking questions.
Jess Dewell 46:11
He stopped. And he started asking questions. He knew there was more. And he wanted more here the questions he asked.
Margaret Watts Romney 46:19
He actually asked his wife, like, super trusted, and she was not going to be SM and she knew enough of him on stage. And she’d seen him with his team. And she said, it’s emotion. You’re not tapping into what other people are feeling. You’re a little bit avoiding it instead of learning how to sit with it or be with it or express it. Like when someone’s expressing an emotion they have you are trying to connect by saying, Oh, I know what you mean. I know what you mean and then going on and solving the problem. She’s like, that’s there’s something more and so he and I worked on that specific moment where empathy was needed, whether it was with his clients, or his team members or the other agents in his organizations, looking at that specific moment, how can you connect with more empathy? How can you slow down? What does that feel like? And and it was a slowing down and it was actually going back to the body. So when someone says to you once like a client, he was a financial advisor, and when a client start a couple times, and finances are big, and they’re scary, and the future is big and scary, and when clients would start crying D. scary scary, shut it down. You’ll be okay. You’ll be okay going on. And now he was like, okay, he and I went through some techniques so he could slow down so he could have he could get curious about what was going on was watchful, Oh, their body language is doing this. You got watchful inside of himself. Oh, I’m feeling that tightness in my chest. I’m about to have an emotional reaction to Okay, I can take a breath and let go and you were Done physical techniques for him to slow down physical awareness so he could see what was going on with other people. And also some strategies, this phrase works. Save this. And pause, say this and pause, use techniques from Bernie Brown and nonviolent communication. I think a lot of it starts with empathy.
Jess Dewell 48:24
Ah, not only does it start with empathy, there’s an element of anticipation. When we know we have a problem, we can figure out how to shape it. Chris shares with us one example of a tool and how it could be used.
Christopher Wallace 48:39
The good thing is about the diagnostic that we do the brand transfer score. It’s not terribly invasive. It doesn’t take too awful long in order to do it. And you know, a lot of times we’ll have organizations say, No, no, we know we have this problem. We know our score is going to be bad. Can we skip that step? And our feedback to them is no and the reason why we don’t skip that step is because As you may know that your score is going to be bad, but that doesn’t tell us where it’s bad and why it’s bad. We work with big companies that may have call centers, they may have retail stores, they may have technicians who drive around in bands all day, we’re able to come back to them and say, here’s what this group thinks, here’s what that group thinks, here’s what that group thinks. And then what comes after that is really a targeted messaging campaign. If we know what they’re hanging up is, then we can build a messaging strategy to target that hang up, as opposed to just trying to tell the whole story and really bury people under a whole bunch of information, it’s more surgical and becomes a lot less expensive than trying to retrain everything becomes more surgical.
Jess Dewell 49:39
We always like less expense. And the longer we let communication problems go, the more expensive they are to fix, because it does impact our culture. And culture tends to be the afterthought. So this concept, focusing on overlooked aspects of communication will help us identify the parts of our culture that are weak. So the real change comes when we put attention on our communication. It’s bold to take a look at this. And Michael shares his take on the importance of being bold, and looking at overlooked aspects of communication.
Michael Obrien 50:15
I think boldness and vulnerability and courage all sort of hang out together. Someone’s bold This is someone’s courage. But the first step is that vulnerability. And I think to get into a conversation where the elephant in the room, the thing that we don’t want to talk about, we need some vulnerability because we don’t know how that conversation is going to flow, how it’s going to roll. But if we can be presence and be curious with one another, I think we’ve lost some of our ability to be curious and say, Hey, I’m curious about that elephant that’s staring at us in the corner room. Can we talk about it? And how do we want to talk about it? We all know what we need to talk about that a lot of people are a little nervous about going first. So whether it’s the leader by title or the leader by spirit side, One has to make the first move, which is vulnerability and courage all in one to say, Hey, I really would love to talk about this particular thing. I’m going to be bold. Sometimes we use the company values because like companies have courage and bold as company values, I want to lean out there and have this conversation, because it’s important enough for our business. And it’s important for us in this room to be able to put out the emotional labor to have it. Once we do, it gets easier to have these conversations, then result is is we have more trust, because we know that we’re all sort of coming into it together with a greater purpose that we want to have these conversations because it makes us better together, and therefore we can deliver more value to the people that we need to deliver value to.
Jess Dewell 51:45
I’m glad you stopped by today to take a listen and share in these few moments with me. When we really take a look at the overlooked aspects of our communication and our company’s communication. We can start to get to root, the real root instead of symptoms for the problems that our company is having right now, going back to that one simple tool, amidst all the questions throughout this gap analysis of what is the reality of the way I communicate today? How can you bring in that checklist of elements to keep more emotion to keep empathy and intentionality at the forefront, that’s going to be the key in making change to increasing and deepening communication for greater results.
The Bodl Business Podcast presents the one true direction toward that new exciting level we call the Red Direction. It’s up to you to be the spokesperson for the vision of your business and guide your team to success. Jess Dewell is the outside perspective you need to achieve your business goals. Use hashtag #boldbusiness to follow the conversation and add your voice to what it means to be an effective leader today. Special thanks to The SCOTT Treatment for technical assistance.
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