“Communication is the real work of leadership.”
Dean, Harvard Business School
As a leader, as the head of a team, as a director, manager or simply as an employee, how do you communicate? Is your style compelling? Conscious? Connected?
We spoke with three professionals who have made communicating clearly and effectively the key to what they do.
Martha Pease is the founder and CEO of Ozz Consulting, a world-class growth strategy development partner for consumer products and business-to-business clients. Martha builds communication by bringing objectivity to her clients, exposing information and bringing insight to it.
According to Martha:
- Hierarchical ways of communicating are over
- Power language doesn’t exist any more
- Objective information is central to decision making
- Be clear, be transparent, be accountable as an individual
- Millennials will shift the way we communicate and bring people together through consensus
Martha talked about how fast communication mediums have mushroomed in the last few years versus the last 25. Using the example of the US Airways plane crash-landing on the Hudson River in New York City in 2009, Martha pointed out that eye-witnesses were twittering photos of the accident before anyone else—and many minutes before the mainstream media had the images. To her, that’s a perfect example of how communicating breaking news happens from a crowd-sourcing perspective—the veracity of it was vetted by the crowd that was sourcing the news.
So what does this all mean? According to Martha, how we judge communication has shifted—the crowd-sourcing phenomenon has been elevated by access versus traditionally vetted sources of information. And what does this mean for corporations today? Simply that there are many different ways for people focused on a common goal to communicate now.
- Michelle Jordan founded Jordan LLC in 1998 to specialize in issue and reputation management. She assists CEOs, senior executives, and other leaders with their strategic communication needs. According to Michelle, “Today, your reputation and how you manage it is more important than ever before because we’re living in a world of instant and immediate communication.”
Michelle talked about the “old days” when communication was only about how we talked to people and wrote a letter. “Today, the golden rule is to never send anything that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to read or that you don’t want to see as a headline in The New York Times.”
While we all know that men and women communicate differently, Michelle believes that:
- Before anyone enters the workforce, he/she should be trained in the different communication styles between men and women
- Men and women need to truly appreciate that one style is not better than the other—just different
Michelle’s final words of advice:
- Know what you want to accomplish before engaging in any conversation of consequence
- Steer the conversation so that you accomplish your goal.
- Remember, the more casual and informal the communication device (i.e. texts, tweets), the more likely you are to say something you shouldn’t
- Beware—what goes up [in cyberspace] stays up—and could be subpoenaed.
Gary Lim is an author, entrepreneur, consultant, and keynote speaker. He created ActionPronto.com, and is president of Aurarius LLC, a strategic and management consulting firm.
We spoke with Gary about the ingenious iterative leadership cycle that he calls FORE TM :
- F is for “Focus”
- O is for “Offload”
- R is for “Review”
- E is for “Encourage”
Using each phase of the FORE TM cycle, Gary teaches professionals how to communicate clearly and consistently with their employees:
- Make sure you communicate in writing what the big picture is—what’s the vision of and direction in which the company should be headed
- Communicate key objectives to your team and then delegate
- Criticize like a pro—be constructive and concise with your remarks
- Speak to your teammates with trust and respect—infect them with enthusiasm, hope and ambition
Gary pointed out that “if you build a culture of trust and respect in an environment of open communication, your company or organization will soar.”
The Team at “Producing Your Career”
Producing Your Career is a division of Bedlam Productions Inc.