You’ll Find Our Company Is Different

Looking west to mountains in the spring
Photo by Garth Roberts

It’s a phrase I hear in almost every company I work, “you’ll find our company is different”. I hate to burst your balloon, your company isn’t different. Your work may be different but the operation of all companies relies on one common denominator, people. The success or failure of your operation is directly related to the effectiveness of your people and how you, as a leader, treat them.

Common denominators for all companies are:

  • if you’ve hired correctly, your people are motivated
  • employees want to do a good job
  • everyone wants to know what’s happening in the company
  • people need to know what impact their jobs have on the company’s success
  • employees want to be recognized for jobs well done, and held accountable for ineffective performance

In turn, employees get turned off when:

  • lack of shared plans leave them wondering what’s going on
  • there is limited or no communication from the top down or from the bottom up
  • there was no follow-up on projects
  • no one is held accountable

These realities about employees are universal. It doesn’t matter if you are making widgets, building bridges, mining for gold, selling goods, or working in the service industry. Pay attention to the needs of your people and your business truly will be different; it will be profitable, leading-edge, and a great place to work.

Garth Roberts

Are You Writing For Yourself?

My colleague, friend, mentor and coach, Betty Cooper, always tells her clients, “Write to express, not to impress.” How about you? Are you writing to impress or express? Too much of what I read seems to be to impress. Let me show you how competent I am! Let me tell you how much research I’ve done! Let me demonstrate my brilliance!

Frankly, I don’t care how brilliant you are. I care about how your writing can help me. In this case, it is all about me … your audience.

To write for your audience requires focus on action. In business we communicate to get action from someone else. So, your first step in writing is to determine what action you want your reader to take. If you don’t know what the action is, don’t write. Save yourself and your reader some time. As a first step, put a plan in place so the outcome is of value to you and your reader.

The next step is to communicate in the way your reader wants you to communicate. If your reader, your audience, wants an e-mail, send an e-mail. If your reader wants a person-to-person connection, connect via phone or in person. Don’t default to the easiest method … for you! An e-mail or text may be quick but if it’s not getting results, it’s a waste of time.

The third step is to follow-up. “Well, I sent you an e-mail and you didn’t do what I asked!” Are you sure I got the e-mail? Did your subject line get my attention over the other 200 e-mails I got yesterday?

It’s not my responsibility to follow-up to ensure you communicated well. It’s your responsibility, if I haven’t responded to your request, to follow-up to make sure the communication loop is complete.

Back to my original question, are you writing for yourself or your audience, the person or people you want to move to action?

Garth Roberts

Would Whistleblowers Have Helped Avert the 2009 Financial Meltdown?

Why do we call someone who follows their ethics, a whistleblower? Let’s look at the situation. You witness an act you judge as wrong — again and again. Enough! You speak out. If you’re speaking out gets someone in trouble, especially if it’s in politics or the executive level, you’re branded a whistleblower. Regardless of the infraction, in our society, the person who points out incompetent or unethical behavior is branded a whistleblower. When was the last time being a whistleblower was considered positive?

In all the financial institutions and related business that contributed to the 2009 melt down, there must’ve been some people who saw the crisis taking hold. If they had known there was a resource for whistleblowers, do you think they might have come forward? If they had been leaders instead of managers, would they have come forward? Leaders are prepared to go against the grain and suffer the consequences of honesty and integrity, as lonely as the journey may be!

Would you have come forward?

Garth Roberts