IMPACT:  Now

IMPACT: Now

The roles of Corporate Communications and Human Resources are SHIFTING – and increasing visibility along with demand TO DELIVER for the business.

What is the difference? IMPACT is delivered and quantified. For example:

  • $14 million saved through engaged employees at the frontlines
  • $725 million in cost reduction through Human Resources process improvements
  • Three plants changeover systems at the same time, on the same day through clarity of personal expectations, defined roles and responsibilities, and active leadership

First, what is driving this demand for impact from Communications and HR and the need to shift?  The lineup of drivers includes:

  • Digital and social media
  • Reputation management
  • Employee engagement

Next, what do you do?  Look at your world from a simple 20-60-20 perspective:

  • 20 percent of activityeliminate activity that is not measured or build processes and tools to shift implementation to other functions for self-service
  • 60 percent is for excellence executionkeep those initiatives where measurement is currently used or can be implemented to illustrate that projects of Communications and HR are moving in the right direction, e.g. surveys, feedback
  • 20 percent for impactidentify the one-to-three areas where you can have an impact for the business in terms that can be translated to financial gain, e.g. cost out, productivity improvements, customer fill rates

Third, where do you start?

  • Make a best friend in finance.
  • Be sure your team clearly understands what is important to the business. This means the approach needs to shift to excellent execution with an operations mindset for delivering impact.
  • Determine together where the team can define and deliver impact! A sense of collaboration working across functions is an interesting byproduct and builds more impact… followed by more impact!

Who to contact for building your impact model: Connect with On the Same Page by contacting Tracy.

The Ultimate Balancing Act

The Ultimate Balancing Act

Messages about cost out and growth may seem contradictory. They’re really not – if the company and its leaders are extremely clear in communicating the direction and they see the link in freeing up resources from one area in the company in order to fund growth initiatives in others.

Communicate openly – employees deserve it…and they can handle it. The most successful leaders practice three simple and fundamental principles when it comes to engaging their employees around these priorities.

While these practices are always important, the complex and sometimes confusing dynamics operating within most organizations today make them downright indispensable. We find that while employees may not agree with all of a company’s decisions, particularly the ones that have a negative impact on them and their co-workers, they’re far more likely to respect their leaders and do what is asked if they understand the basis for the actions. Leaders often forget that employees are adults who in many cases run their own households. They understand the basics of revenues and expenses, and most are actively involved in addressing their own life challenges while balancing their household budgets.

For more information, feel free to email me at tracy@on-the-same-page.com.

Can you hear me?

Can you hear me?

For many U.S. voters, today (Inauguration Day) is a day of reckoning. Depending on your perspective, it’s the day you’ve been longing for or the day you’ve been dreading. If there is one thing to be learned from this past U.S. Presidential election, it is this: As a society, we haven’t been listening. And, as a result, we also haven’t been heard.

Business leaders have noted that election results have fragmented their companies. PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi said that her employees were “crying.” Some CEOs have even encouraged such division; GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney said Trump supporters weren’t welcome in his company. Now that the outcome is a done deal, what can CEOs and other business leaders do to heal such divisions and move their companies forward?

When people are denied a voice, for whatever reason, they begin to feel marginalized. That feeling of being unseen and taken for irrelevant, can build in intensity, and over time, lead to hostility or worse. PepsiCo’s Nooyi said that the real issues that face us as a country “such as technological unemployment, global trade, immigration” were not addressed in the lead-up to the election. Instead, the focus was personal and emotional.

Lacking dialogue about meaningful, substantive topics that affect us all has created a deep divisiveness that is not surprisingly finding its way into companies and other organizations. Unmitigated, leaders risk this deeply personal and vindictive energy overtaking the corporate narrative. In that kind of environment, divisions run even deeper and lead to employees becoming disengaged with their company’s purpose, strategy and outcomes. That’s not good for their customers, their shareholders, or our economy.

The most important lesson we can take from the surprising outcome of this election is that open, civil and thoughtful consideration of divergent perspectives is the glue that binds any society – be it a country or a company. And that presents a spectacular and critical opportunity for today’s business leaders.

Strategy #1: Dust off some fundamental communication skills

The road to healing requires leaders to practice four skills as part of their everyday interactions with colleagues:

  1. Active listening: Make a choice to listen for understanding rather than simply listening to hear. This means clearing your mind of your own thoughts, preconceived ideas and agendas in order to thoroughly consider what is being shared.
  2. Model constructive dialogue: Repeat key ideas that you are hearing in your own words to confirm alignment and ask probing questions to dig for deeper understanding. Adopt the mindset that you are studying for an exam rather than ramping up for a debate.
  3. Provide context: When sharing your thoughts, decisions or direction for the business, frame the issue thoughtfully. Many leaders forget that employees have not been immersed in analyzing an issue as thoroughly or for as long as they have and jump straight to the punchline. This robs the workforce of the opportunity to make the mental journey with you, arriving comfortably (or at least rationally) where you have.
  4. Create forums for open, hierarchy-free dialogue: Activate a mix of contemporary, digital platforms and traditional, in-person ones so that employees across the demographic and preference spectrum have opportunities to participate. Participate regularly in these forums, and clearly share with direct reports your expectation that they do so as well.

Strategy #2: Check your ego

Participating in the respectful exchange of views and ideas is one of the most humbling activities a leader will undertake. To be genuine, you must relieve yourself of the notion that you have all the answers. Isn’t that how we got here in the first place?

Thank You: Why These Are Two of the Most Powerful Words

Thank You: Why These Are Two of the Most Powerful Words

thankful-for-teaser-image-2Google “gratitude in business” and you’ll wind up with thousands of results. And not just because it’s November – a month in which the topic is top of mind for Americans preparing to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s because, as it turns out, gratitude is good for business. And that is because, as neuroscientists have discovered, gratitude actually changes our brains.

According to a Huffington Post round-up on gratitude and the brain, here are three of 10 ways gratitude affects our performance at work:

  1. Gratitude improves social behaviors which makes it easier to network. Studies show that those who are 10% more grateful than average had 17.5% more social capital.

  2. Gratitude stimulates goal achievement. In one study, participants instructed to keep a gratitude journal for two months reported more progress toward their goals.

  3. Gratitude enhances decision making.

Expressing gratitude in the workplace helps leaders create connections (between actions and outcomes, effort and performance) and build relationships (among team members and with others more far-flung in the organization).

Like working any muscle, with repeated practice, the behavior becomes more natural. Here are three ways to make the most out of the gratitude you offer every day – in person, by phone or via a hand-written note:

  1. Be specific about what you’re thankful for, e.g. “Thank you for taking the recent uptick in cost of quality so seriously, and for the focused analysis you provided in your process review.”

  2. Explain what you liked or the next steps, e.g. “I learned two things from the perspective you provided and believe we can make significant progress in reducing defects.”

  3. Continue to build the relationship, e.g. “I’ll take this work forward to the Quality Council and let you know what next steps we put in place.”

Research shows that those who practice gratitude every day live longer, sleep better, experience increased productivity and live happier lives.

We could all use more gratitude in our lives, and especially in the workplace. My challenge to you… smile more and thank someone today.

Here’s a look at what some of our team members are thankful for:

kim-hanson thankful-for-tracy thankful-for-kerrigan beth-swanson natalie thankful-for-elizabeth