Archive for August, 2011

Often, as leaders within an organization, you are asked to lead a team of people in a certain direction and you do so to the best of your abilities

Often, as leaders within an organization, you are asked to lead a team of people in a certain direction and you do so to the best of your abilities. But then, you get a call from the powers that be requesting that you change the direction your team is headed and to do it quickly. This can be a very tough position to be in. After all, your team has probably spent a lot of time, effort, and energy on the previous project and now they instantly need to switch gears. Frustration will quickly seep into the minds of your team members.

So how can you communicate with your team in such a way that it will diminish any frustrations or concerns? You can accomplish this if you simply relay, relate, and rally. 

Relay: First you obviously will need to relay the message to your team. Be direct when you relay the message. There is no need to “huff and puff” out your personal frustrations with the decision when you share it with your team. If you show your own frustration, you open the door to a whole mess of complaints and whines from your team. You are the messenger; relay the message clearly and concisely. Also, be as neutral as possible when sharing the message. You don’t want to fall into the trap of bad-mouthing the person who made the decision or make them out to be the bad guy. Don’t play the “victim card” either. Yes, you and your team have to deal with the consequences of the decision, but painting you and your team out to be the victims of the evil higher-ups will not get you anywhere. Your team will quickly take your emotional lead, so be aware of your tone and attitude. 

Relate: Once you have shared the decision with the group, now you can relate to their feelings. This does not mean that you open the flood gates by saying, “Oh, I know how you guys are feeling. I can’t believe they’re doing this to us. I mean, who was the idiot who came up with this idea? Do they know what we have put into this project already?” This kind of talk will only create more anxiety and stress for you and your team. Instead, let your team know that you understand what they’re thinking and feeling by relating it to a previous, outside situation. That means you should share a story about a time in your life when something similar happened, when you were forced to take an unexpected turn. You felt what they are feeling now, but everything turned out okay in the end. It is best if you can choose a story about a similar situation but is not about your current company. This way you are able to relate to their feelings by describing a past situation without sounding like you’re being passive aggressive to your current employer. 

Rally: Lastly, you want to rally your team into feeling better and more proactive towards the new change. You do this by laying out the next action steps in a positive manner. You also want to use a concentrated amount of “we statements”. This means that instead of saying, “So all you guys need to do is….” or “And your next steps are simply….” You should rather say, “So all we need to do is….” or “and our next steps are simply…” This way you are keeping a strong sense of “team” within the group rather than separating yourself from the team. 

Facing a quick and sudden change within an organization can present many difficulties and quite a few headaches for a leader. However, if you use the relay, relate, and rally method, your stress level and frustrations will diminish because you’ll have your team in gear and on your side.

There is a well known philosophy that has been adopted, translated and passed through many countries and corporations known as the fish philosophy

There is a well known philosophy that has been adopted, translated and passed through many countries and corporations known as the Fish Philosophy. It was conceived one happy day when on a visit to Seattle, a man by the name of John Christensen observed how positive and enthusiastic the employees of a run down fish market were. Here the fishmongers spent stinky, grueling 12 hour shifts stocking, packing and selling fish, in an environment that would have made even the most tolerant of us squirm.

Yet in an unlikely manner, these workers carried out orders by flinging fish to each other and to the customers – which kept the employees on their toes and the customers entertained. The fishmongers gave their full attention to each customer and made sure that they were involved and walked away from the shop feeling positive about the experience. Christensen, as a new witness to this unique workplace, realised that not only were the workers making their own day fly by, but they were also selling a great deal of fish!!

It is a very simple idea, yet one that is not always realised by workplaces today. Clouded by stress and deadlines we can all to often forget that remarkable results can occur when workers accept the invitation to: 1) Be there for their coworkers and customers; 2) Combine Work with an equal level of Play 3) Make the effort to make someone’s day, and; 4) Choose an attitude about how they will show up for work., and stick by it. It’s not as slippery and slimy as it sounds and in fact, when you think about it, though your work place may more closely resemble an office decked out with new carpet, air-conditioning and all of the latest technology, it is really not to far off from the working environment of the spirited folk at Pikes Place Fish Market.

Understandably, before employees can dive head first into this pool of fishy job satisfaction they need to get to know each other on a level that extends beyond email and phone calls. Workers need to grow and bond as a team before they can experience true enjoyment and efficiency in the workplace. If each of the workers at Pike’s Place were not in tune with each other, there would be a very smelly disaster – fish all over the place!

Corporate Team Building days are the best way to bridge the gaps and give your employees a greater sense of team spirit in their working environment. Activities like Scavenger Hunts, Nature Walks and Survival Training offer the chance for employees to interact and work together on an intellectual level that encourages team building. Or you may wish to lead your company down a more active path where they can bond over a rush of adrenalin while they tackle White Water rapids, Fast Bikes or the High Seas. There are loads of options to suit each individual workplace and its unique dynamics. Companies like Weekendbreaks.com.au are there to organise your day for you and ensure that the energy of planning a perfect event can be better spent getting productive in the workplace.
If anything, a corporate team building day may be just the thing to show your company and its employees that having an accepting attitude and open mind really will make the days more fruitful and the stench much easier to bear. Just ask the fishmongers.

There was an interesting article in pr week last week, on the subject of leadership communication

There was an interesting article in PR Week last week, on the subject of leadership communication. Entitled ‘Get the best out of your boss’ it outlines six of the most common leadership styles and suggests how communicators can best play to the personalities of their leaders. It’s a nice reminder of the breadth of styles we have to work with and provides some useful pointers on how to play to your boss’s particular strengths.

The six leadership styles – and the supporting descriptions (I’ve paraphrased) are:

  1. Visionary leader – the classic rock star CEO who sets the big-picture and excels at moving people towards a shared vision. These leaders are superb public speakers and enjoy life in the spotlight. Barack Obama is a good example.
  2. Affiliative leader – this type of leader wants to be your friend. A collaborative figure, the affiliative leader focuses on emotional needs and is most likely to ask ‘how are you?’. Angela Merkel is held up as an example.
  3. Coaching leader – holds long conversations that often extend beyond the work place. Good at helping employees identify their strengths and weaknesses and linking these to career goals. Step forward Dr Who.
  4. Democratic leader –these are the great listening leaders, though this is sometimes at the expense of decisive action. Favorite catchphrases include ‘what do you think?’. They like to show the way without pushing people in a particular direction. Lord Sebastian Coe is a good example.
  5. Pacesetter leader – most likely to say ‘copy me’, these hard working leaders never shirk a challenge and lead by example. One downside is that they often expect employees to automatically get the picture. Step forward Margaret Thatcher…
  6. Commanding leader – an old-school taskmaster who brings the dynamics of the playground into the boardroom. Very command and control in style they stick to one clear direction and refuse to consider an alternative routes or messages. Montgomery Burns is a good example.

The communicators quoted in the article, among them David Ferrabee and James Harkness, provide lots of useful advice on working with these types, including:

  • Providing visionary leaders the right platform and sufficient time to explain their vision to others and gather feedback. High profile tactics like webcasts and regular publication profiles go down well with these types, but they may sometimes lack an eye for detail and require specific IC support in this area.
  • Identifying opportunities for affiliative leaders to show their steel. Tactics like back to the floor are useful here, as are structured team meetings which focus on sharing constructive feedback. One classic issue with these types is their desire to communicate only the positive messages.
  • Playing to the strengths of coaching leaders by encouraging them to host small, intimate sessions and focus on helping people turn strategy into action. These types are not great at big picture, but excel at one-to-one.
  • Creating high-involvement forums for democratic leaders – workshops, online forums and blogs are particularly powerful. Clear, decisions communications help overcome this leader’s tendency towards indecision. Arm them with insights and intelligence about the workforce and they should respond well.
  • Encouraging the pacesetting leader to be more inclusive, more considerate of the feelings of others and creating plenty of listening opportunities. Inclusivity is key here and tactics like recognition programmes and use of social media channels can be useful.
  • Context is critical for the commanding leader. Rather than just explaining what to people, they need to focus on building understanding around the why. Big picture strategy is important here – and tactics like learning maps and visuals and strategy toolkits can be very handy.  Listening channels are important too – and employees may require anonymity as commanding leaders can breed distrust and fear. Coaching in body language is also useful.

Now a lot of shopping centers has become a unique emerald landscape, a variety of styles, a variety of colors, various shapes, all kinds of dazzling decorations

Now a lot of shopping centers has become a unique emerald landscape, a variety of styles, a variety of colors, various shapes, all kinds of dazzling decorations. Each brand have launched multiple series and multiple models of products, but the difference is not too many products, or even similar products of assimilation trends are becoming evident: First, raw materials, convergence, similar-priced products in the selection of raw materials, basically the same; Second, the convergence of technology, most brands do not have their own factory, traditional methods of processing customer orders; 3 is designed to convergence, in general have adopted the way of imitation and plagiarism. Jade industry has more than half of the brand product design convergence, few brands can be especially prominent people left a deep impression, can provide a sense of the brand’s unique personality.

Why are some jade can sell for several million, while others can only sell a few dollars? Tracing the source, not just materials, manufacturing technology differences, also reflected in the gap between the brand, this is the era of winning a brand! The implementation of brand operations, take the road of brand development is the emerald business inevitable choice. Among the many brands but also very difficult to achieve a breakthrough, especially in the motley profusion of pirated Promise of the market environment. China Jade industry has been facing the brand to survive, then the jade how “walking” the market?

After a lot of market research, Lam Chui Xuan Fei carried out careful research and concluded. At present, the jade market development constraints reasons: First, intense competition in the market, and mutual strife, price competition; second is the design development level is not high, compared with the mature brand of diamonds and gold far behind; 3 is the brand influence is small, well-known is not high.

Creating famous brand, brand personality to resolve the issue and improve the brand value is the current Jade brand “to go” market fundamental way. Lam Chui Xuan Jade attaches great importance to innovative design, Lam Chui Xuan Jade All products are from Myitkyina in northern Myanmar, mining, product design and development of continuous innovation, and integrate into the Western classic design concepts, will the East and West, ancient jade culture of advanced the perfect integration of design concept, creating a unique fashion Xuan Lam Chui-design style, well received by consumers and fashion urban youth’s affection. Homogenization for the emerald industry, the phenomenon of the brand, industry status and development trend, as well as the pursuit of individual consumers, Lynn Xuan Fei Tsui most innovative development of brand personality jade products, Zhang Yang personality, a unique taste, to show themselves and reject similar, to create high-quality fine emerald advantage of the brand.

Currently Lynn Xuan Fei Tsui development ideas is to use personalized brand means, vigorously promote the brand, and comprehensively promote the work of investment process. Let franchisee understand the brand, choosing the right brand to join, but also shows the Lynn Chui Xuan great confidence in their own right. The face of increasingly fierce market competition, Lam Chui Xuan growing brand awareness and striving for famous brand, on the one hand and vigorously promote brand and advertising efforts to increase investment on the other hand, a national investment, the image to open stores in major cities, and strive to increase the pace of implementation of brand building to further improve the overall image.

Jade market from the current point of view, take the road of brand development is still very necessary. Only bigger and stronger the brand will only be in the same product, obtain an absolute advantage, to upgrade their social status. Brand winning, and only the brand in order to enable consumers to be convinced, recognition and confidence to buy. The final competition will be jade industry, adhering to the brand and channel competition. Companies within the industry should have a clear brand positioning, competitive strategy and long-term promotion and operation of the mechanism, if an enterprise lack of brand awareness and long-term strategic planning, will eventually lose their channels and consumers, the eventual loss of the market.

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