Performance Matters: Telling Your Story

“What’s your story?”

It’s a question that’s pregnant with possibilities.  It can be posed as a accusation or as a sincere expression of interests.  But when it comes to telling their “story,” many leaders find it hard to express stories about their organizational culture, mission, challenges or victories.  Such leaders often fail to see the value of a well-told tale when it comes to engaging an audience, resorting to email as a means of so-called “communication” with their stakeholders.  They miss the primary value of story-telling when it comes to communication.  So what’s that?

It’s the opportunity to, as one writer puts it, to “make me care”  as a part of your audience.  When we coach leaders about communication we often have to remind them that they are on a quest to win both the  hearts and minds of their stakeholders.  As leaders, we have to find what is important to our stakeholders and connect with the passions, concerns, fears, or hopes,  and dreams in meaningful ways if we want to engage an audience, a customer, or an employee.  In short, great communicators make people feel a connection with the message they’re hearing.  

Over the years, we’ve asked leaders to share a story about something about their organizational values and mission.  We normally hear vague references to integrity, or hard work, agility, or even how much their organization values people.  But when asked to share an example of how that value has been born out in their organization in the last 30 days, we’re surprised at how few can do so.

So the next time you’re about to write that email, address that audience, or meet with that client, ask yourself one question.  What do they care about?  Whatever message you’re trying to craft will be far more likely to connect if you begin there, rather than if you lead and discuss only what you care about.  We will talk more about this in our next few blog posts as we address how it can help create change in your organization, building your strategic plans, or even how it will improve your sales effectiveness and customer satisfaction.  

Until then, if you’d like to know more about our executive coaching, strategic planning, or leadership and sales process consulting work, email Principal Consultant, Jim Owens, at jim@psghsv.com.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard

Performance Matters: Acting Like a Leader

What makes a great leader?

According to many of you, it’s the ability to communicate at both an intellectual and emotional level. There’s a theory among scholars that communication is essentially a theater. Think William Shakespeare’s line:

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;”

So what’s the leader to do if he or she is but an actress on a stage?

First, it seems wise for them to be mindful of the emotional connection between an actor and her audience. Leaders, like actors, need to connect with their audiences on a visceral level—and they need to know who it is that’s in their audience to do so. How one addresses the finance department might be different than how one addresses a team of sales people. Their skills are different, as are their motivations and their expectations. So using the one-size-fits-all approach might mean something critical to motivating a particular group of people gets missed if the leader isn’t aware she’s being heard by an audience. And if the conversation is one-on-one there’s even more reason to attempt to share both the facts of a situation but to attempt to harness and emotional connection with a teammate.

Second, it seems wise to recognize the importance of the medium a leader uses to communicate. With his audience in mind, the leader should consider the impact of conveying the message in-person, by email, in a group setting, or even by video or social media. Based on the feedback we’ve had, and the implications of some academic research we’ve reviewed, it appears the best leaders recognize the importance of setting a proper stage to communicate their vision, tactics, and own expectations. Wise leaders recognize how different generations value different forms of communication. And they work to use all of them, sometimes making their messages available via a variety of platforms.

In short, the most effective leaders seem to realize they are always on a stage. And they know that building the most productive teams means winning both the hearts and minds of those they would ask to follow them.

If you’ve found this information useful, encouraging or might see a way we can improve it, please let us know. And if you thought it was encouraging, forward it to a friend so they can subscribe. If you want to find out more about how Performance Strategies Group helps organizations sharpen their sales skills and processes, builds more self-aware and resilient leaders, or equip more productive teams, find us online at http://www.psghsv.com, or call Principal Consultant, Jim Owens @ 256-426-0305.

Standard

Performance Matters: Communication and Motivation

So we’ve been talking about productivity, focusing on your big three (things that really move the dial) every day how doing things differently can help you accomplish more.  Let’s flesh that out a bit. Much of this is seemingly common sense, yet being reminded of what’s important is important for all of us.

Being a great communicator is an essential part of leading teams and being and rock-star sales advisor.  But in our hurry, we often fail to think about the form of our messaging and how to get people to respond to it.  So what do we do?

First, consider your medium.  Email is great for communicating data, documenting important matters, and for quick “go-no go” actions (if the recipient watches email carefully).  But if you want to motivate someone to take action (change behavior, buy something, negotiate, etc.), it’s far better to do it face-to-face or by the telephone. There is no substitutefor the power of the human voice, eye contact, and body language when it comes to communication. In my experience, it’s a differentiator—if your message is clear.

Remember, what you want to communicate or motivate people to act upon is only as effective as their confirmation of their understanding. Confirming your expectations by asking “Does this make sense?” “Do you understand what we need to do?”and “Are we clear on what to do next?” and “Can you repeat to me what you think I’m saying?”is essential.  If you’re leading someone, make sure they can confirm what, when, and how you are expect of them.

If you choose email,remember one of the biggest challenges is just getting people to open it!  (Don’t forget to use the “read” receipt request when you send important or prospecting related emails.  Your subject line can be very important.  Sometimes simple subject lines like, “Please call me,”or “Code Red” or a humorous approach can move someone to open an email.  I’ve used subject lines like “Who the heck is Jim Owens and why is he emailing me?” and “Would smoke signals be better?”  Obviously, using humor is dicey.  But if you’ve repeatedly emailed someone and aren’t getting a response, you may have nothing to lose!

Next week, we will explore some more ways to write effective emails.

If you’ve found this information useful, encouraging or might see a way we can improve it, please let us know.  And if you thought it was encouraging, forward it to a friend so they can subscribe. If you want to find out more about how Performance Strategies Group helps organizations sharpen their sales skills and processes, builds more self-aware and resilient leaders, or equip more productive teams, find us online at www.performancestrategiesgrouponline.com, or call Principal Consultant, Jim Owens @ 256-426-0305.

 

Standard