Not in the real world that is for sure. When you are in the middle of a problem the magnitude can easily look much greater than it is. This is certainly true when you are on a stage that is being watched across the world. Add to that, the world media pack, echoing and building on the mistake.
You can be mistaken for thinking it constitutes a crisis, at least for a moment. It is actually just a story that will sell, and that is the main driver for the media. When the media has an error combined with big business names and celebrities, they will milk it for all it is worth.
Before you think I am putting all the blame on the media I am absolutely not. We, the public are equally to blame. If we didn’t buy and stream and share the story the media would be far less interested.
Yes it was interesting that such a mistake can be made, however it is also easy to see how it could happen. Is it really big news? There is not even a theme of incompetence here, when you know that it is the first time PWC have made a public error in 80 years of running the Oscars!!!!
The facts are:
The so called damage to PWC was predictably nothing other than a little embarrassment. No business is going to cancel their contract because the wrong envelope was opened, no business is going to take them off the tender list. Mark Ritson from Media Week summarises some of the American media reactions:
While your crisis is unlikely to be on the same scale you can draw some lessons from this.
My view is that the damage from this error was all inflicted on Moonlight. The news headlines should have been all about this film winning the Oscar. Instead it’s news cycle was watered down, their acceptance speech was not shown, they didn't even get presented with the Oscar properly. Although they had more news cycles than they would have had and will of course be remembered for ever in pub quizzes.
So even when a crisis is not a crisis, there are circumstances when the media can create one. You would be foolish not to manage it and there can be unintended casualties who need to manage their position as well.
The best advice is to be prepared for a crisis by planning for one so you know the team to call on when you open the wrong envelop. If you would like to discuss how to get your plan in order contact Sarah for a chat.
We all have days (maybe especially when it is cold, wet and grey,) when the glass seems half empty. When I speak to clients it invariably happens when they hit a dead end but can’t see it.
Even the most experienced of us can lapse into learnt behaviour. Without thinking, following a process we have used before. Just like driving the car and realising you have arrived at work without recalling the last 10 minutes of the journey.
That is when we need to shake ourselves up and inject some new ideas and views. Social media is a great way to do this on a daily basis, packed full of things to make you raise your eyebrows and get your brain whirring again. Local networking can also be valuable, it can be colleagues in the office who you use as a sounding board or a professional marketing network. It is about the process of verbalising an issue and listening to other perspectives that gets your creative thinking going again.
CleeCo is putting the theory into practice this April with a day of putting the passion back into your marketing. Join us for a day packed full of practical information you can use in your business tomorrow. All our speakers and workshop leaders are professionals who know what will work, it’s not just the theory. See more detail. Tuesday 19th April 2016
Book before 29th February for your £25 early bird discount
Influence is THE measure of leadership. If you don’t have it, you will not gain the confidence of people to follow you.
Leaders can’t be identified from a list of how people look, how they speak, what they do or how they do it.
John F Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandella, Mahatma Gandhi.
These are all names people will give if you ask for an example of a great leader. If you ask some of the younger generation the names may be different. Perhaps Angelina Jolie as she influences governments and moves public opinion. Perhaps when you live in the world of social media it is Katy Perry with the highest number of followers globally.
They are not leaders I hear you say. Are you sure? A leader influences. In modern popular culture celebrities certainly do that. Leadership is after all, not defined by leading people in a direction that others view as right, sensible or serious. There are plenty of leaders who took many millions of people in directions that demonstrated the very worst humans are capable of.
Whoever they are if you have a group of people you can always spot a leader. They find a way to stand out. This may be deliberate or unconscious, some stepping forward to take the lead, others standing back observing.
It is about their ability to read the room, be sensitive to the situation and adapt to it. Judging the seriousness of the task. Knowing where the participants are in the emotional journey and understanding what they collectively need to allow them to move forward. Being able to read these indicators quickly and accurately is what defines the way a leader responds. We have all seen the ‘wanna be’ leader, who bounces into a sensitive situation, with too much of everything. Then the one who tries to lead in a highly charged situation but lacks any impact.
It all comes back to core communication skills and understanding that there is no formula to fit all. The next truly great leader is unlikely to be like any that we have seen before. So take some time to think about how your skills help you to influence?
This is a story about how the little things add up to make a big difference. How many board rooms don't expect enough of their Chief Executive or sadly let some things go, writing them off as 'that's just how they are' or 'that's not where their strength lies'.
All businesses know that they can not deliver without clear, strong and consistent communication. That needs good employee engagement and strong decisive leadership. It also needs leadership that is rooted in values.
The bankable benefits come when the values are authentic because they are lived by the whole business. They are consistent, well understood, constantly displayed and people are proud of them.
Ketchum Leadership Communications Monitor 2014 listed the attributes of a good leader as;
- leading by example
- clear transparent communication
- admits mistakes
- brings out the best in others
They also listed that where customers saw good leadership, there was an impact on buying.
- 50% of customers changed suppliers after seeing poor leadership
- 44% of new purchases were due to leadership perception
- 37% of customers purchased more, where they saw good leadership
These statistics impact on investor confidence. In the FTSE top 100 one third of the company value is attributed to reputation and that is all about leadership and values.
Even when things go wrong, if a crisis is handled well value grows by 10%. When it is poorly handled you can see a 15% drop. www.engageforsuccess.org is a helpful website to start assessing how good your engagement is and how your organisations leadership is helping or hindering that.
I haven't even touched on what this does for the workforce. Essentially the positive impact just snowballs and keeps going so long as the leadership is sustained and genuine.
The expectations of the leaders of today and tomorrow are only growing and they are all about values, integrity and clarity of communication.
Are you absolutely clear that your values are reflected in everything you? Does integrity and clarity feel at home in your board room, just as much as it does by the coffee machine or the smoking shelter?
Don't underestimate the impact on your business.
How often do you take stock of your marketing?
Most of us are guilty of pushing on to the next urgent job, allowing the maintenance tasks to slip further and further down the list. The summer holiday season gives most businesses a slight change of pace and for some some, willing volunteers on work placements. It makes it a great time to take a look at your marketing activity and be your own critical friend.
As I visit different organisations it is, more often than not easy to spot where the message has gone off track a tad. So, why don't you take over the board room table and fill it with literature, press cuttings, social media chatter, web pages........
Then ask yourself:
• How did we inform our target market about our business?
• What worked?
• What didn’t?
• Were our graphics coordinated and messages consistent?
• Who were our key audiences?
• What were our key messages?
• Were they the right messages and did they reach the right people
• What media coverage did we receive?
• Was it effective?
• Did we miss any opportunities?
Pretty quickly you will start to build a picture. Then see what your target audience thought. Ask them a few targeted questions, what their impression was of the marketing they saw, how you could improve. The same applies to your staff, their opinion counts, so don't forget them and the internal communication tools.
If the internal message is a mismatch with the external one customers will pick up on it very quickly and that is damaging.
So make the most of the summer and take a look at your last year of marketing.
Although there seems to be a universal addiction to getting more likes, follows, retweets, than the person you really don't like. Let's face it, we all have a sneaky look now and again.
The fact is that social media is evolving all the time, so there is always something new, something that has gone out of fashion (anyone remember MySpace? Launched 2003, sold 2005 and forgotten by 2008). We will always be learning, no matter how much of an expert we become. However, it is no great mystery. It evolves around us, just as anything else in life does. It is moulded around how we want to live our lives and engage with other people and companies. It is just that it does so somewhat faster than many people are used to.
Social media is already an integral part of our lives. Some of it we see, some we don't but there is no one and no business that is untouched by it. However the number of individuals and businesses that are fearful of joining in the conversation is still significant. As is the impact for businesses that don’t do it or do it very badly.
For those who include themselves in the above group I have some common themes I come across when talking to client that I can share with you.
What's stopping you?
Many don't really know why they have avoided online activity. My first challenge is. Work out what is stopping you and get past it. You and your business is missing out.
Don’t think you have to do it alone
Many confuse using social media with programming sites to do what they want. If you understand how you want to interact, you can find plenty of people who understand the mechanics of how to make it work, so don't let that hold you back.
It is just a conversation
People change how they behave. Remember, any interaction is a conversation. Treat it like you would if you were having a chat in a cafe over a coffee. If someone says hi, you say hi in return. If they give you a compliment, you say thanks. If they ask you a question, or need help, you tell them what you know and maybe suggest someone else who may be helpful.
As with any conversation you don't always talk, that switches people off. You can just listen and give the digital equivalent of a nod or a laugh.
Don't dominate the relationship
Any relationship that is all about getting what you can from the other person is doomed. Remember, if you focus on what you can put in, you will automatically get things back.
Remember your conversation is shared with the world
Unlike the cafe where it's just your mate and you, on social media you need to be happy that the world know what you said. If you have strong, values led leadership this will be reasonably simple anyway.
It is about more than sales
For businesses it is not an extension to your sales team. Yes of course you can offer goods online, but if that is all you do you have missed the point and so many benefits for your company. This is a relationship with your customers. When done correctly, it will reflect the values of the organisation. It will allow you to get to know your customers in a way you never did before. It will enable you to integrate into your community, in a more meaningful way and it will build long term relationships. All of which will impact on your business, with improved staff retention, greater customer loyalty, improved reputation and much more.
What about all the bad stuff I hear?
There is a sad side to social media which does make people fearful. I will never understand the aggression of a complete stranger to another.
There are relatively few people in the world who would walk up to a stranger in the street and subject them to aggression or abuse but the anonymity of social media seems to make some people think this is ok online. This should not be confused for passion for a topic, being challenged or holding different views. Social media is fantastic as a forum to hear different perspectives that make you really think. It is also an amazing arena where everyone is equal so all views carry the same weight.
Don't miss out on the overall benefits for fear of the minority. If it happens walk away from the conversation and think, don't just react. Do what you would do if it was face to face. If it is in response to something you said that was wrong, you apologise. If it is an extreme view, the fantastic thing is that the less extreme social media crowd around you will quickly balance the comments. You may need to do very little.
Planning is important
Businesses need to have considered possible issues as part of their crisis management plan, so staff are empowered to manage proactively. There is no time for prolonged meetings when an issue arises.
See the potential and be creative
This is a global conversation tool and we should use it as a positive for our amazingly diverse world, celebrate differences and bring as much creativity to the conversation as possible. If you engage in this freely sharing advice and knowledge you will see that you very quickly get the same returned.
I started to ponder this when a friend of mine had a problem with his leg and the GP said it is 'old age'!........ I waited for him to tell me what the GP had followed that with and it quickly became clear, that old age had been given as the diagnosis for the problem, and the reason to end the conversation.
I started to wonder at what age we decide that the real issue is not worth finding. Old age will cover it?
Why would it be acceptable to take no action if it was just muscular and a physio could help? At what point do we or others not deserve the same treatment we did last year or last week? It is not just about health. We also assume that because people are older, they won't want to go to festivals, jump out of aeroplanes, do a Bungy jump. These are the fun things in life and we should all have fun in our lives, especially when we finally have some spare cash and more free time.
Of course it is subjective. I clearly remember when I was 21 classing the majority of people I worked with as old. Looking back now I can't see that many of them could even have reached 50.
I thought about my amazing grandmother who lived independently until the day she died at 98. Yes, there is luck involved in keeping your health but is it all luck?
She never saw anything as impossible or out of bounds. She was incurably interested in everything, had theories on what was happening in the world, she was always busy with something and was an incurable giggler. At 80 she went on her first hot air balloon flight, at 90 she painted her conservatory. At 96 she pulled a muscle moving plant pots in her prize winning garden. She didn't see any rules. Come to think of it, I don't recall anyone telling her she was too old for anything or that old age was the problem.
When I had the pleasure of working directly with 'older people', it was clear how little it took to give people who had accepted the 'old age myth' a new perspective. That was swiftly followed by a new lease of life. Mostly it was about making something accessible, creating an opportunity and giving a little encouragement. This lovely film shows what a difference a little encouragement made to two lovely ladies.
This blog started out as a bit of a rant on a topic I feel passionate about, wanting to have a word with people who write off 'older people'. Perhaps I get more passionate as I head towards that category myself?
But I still don't know where the marker is that classifies me as old. Or do I? I think it may be the day that I stop learning, the day I stop trying new things or being interested in life and asking questions.
If that's true it is within my gift to keep the 'old age' label at a distance. It is also within my gift to help others to keep it at bay, by making sure I don't make assumptions about age. After all, my grandmother did it brilliantly, so I have a great example to model my behaviour on.
Actually, it all comes round to the behaviour we choose to display creating responses, that reinforce the behaviour and we get stuck in a cycle. Our behaviour is not just about work and family it's about our whole outlook on life and will shape the life we have.
Wow, now that's a bit deep for me, so I will leave it there with one of my favourite clips that shows having fun is contagious, even when you are hanging around waiting for an appointment.
In fact the online card industry was the one I saw but didn't! I was working in marketing using digital technology to create templates for the business I was in. The plan was to use these for teams to create their own literature for the repetitive items and get digital prints run overnight and posted via the mailing house. The same idea, applied to a modern day domestic problem of no time to get to the shop or post office for stamps is now a huge business (something to do with pigeons and pigs!)
I had been blinded by habitualisation. If I needed a card I went to the shop.
Actually I had noticed the problem but I had found a work around rather than applying what I knew from work.
Yes, I kept a collection of cards and some stamps at home ready for the 10pm realisation that I needed to send a card before work the next day.
Of course you need to be in a place to invest in a new business, and have the rest of your life supportive of this. But I never thought the final step, that there could be a better way to do this when applied to daily life. So it didn't matter if I was ready to set up a business or not. So near, yet so far.
Let's be careful not to think of habitualisation as bad. It is very good for us, as we would be overwhelmed by detail without it. Functional habitualisation can be good such as driving,walking, talking. Not so good when we just accept things that upset our rhythm. This clip from Tony Fadell explains the issue beautifully.
The trick is how do we as leaders encourage the good habitualisation? In fact, create it at times but help to interrupt it and build something new where it is holding use back? The answer is simple in its steps but hard to break the habits to allow the steps to work, it is the habit breaking that takes the time when I work with groups looking for new thinking in their business.
The common values and interests are all about your brand being well defined and the associated activity being well aligned. To some degree these are the easier of the 4 to deliver. The trust and equality is often where targets tempt businesses to compromise. This is not a dilemma that any business escapes. A well managed one may have fewer of them but I don't believe there is any business that has not been faced with a decision that made them think twice about abusing that relationship just a little.
A small and recent example I had was when I broke the catch on my bin. I could not work out the correct replacement lid so asked the supplier to advise. Instead of selling me a new lid they sent me a replacement catch for free. I was willing to buy a lid and did not know replacement parts were an option but the supplier showed they were worthy of trust by making sure I got the best option as opposed to them making some profit.
A certain online bookseller does the same if you try to buy a book you have bought before they remind you that you have it before you pay. Great news for the customer but it can be tough convincing the business to build into the sales process a way to avoid customers spending money.
Some online grocery shops now automatically deduct offers you are entitled to if you have forgotten to add in the voucher code to make sure you don't miss out.
Of course I have used minor dilemmas as examples. We all know that the significant ones that make us choose between potentially serious problems for the business and doing the right thing are the ones we loose sleep over.
What you choose to do with them comes back to the list we started with. What choice you make when the time comes defines you as a leader and if you use the sleepless nights to plan how you will manage the issues that come from that decision you will eventually come through the other side and be sleeping much better than if you had gone the other way.
All of it builds the relationship in ways that you would want as the consumer. They demonstrate that the business sees the customer as a long term friend and not just a way to make money. It also gives your staff and partners a signal that will pat dividends one day.
So how well do you understand your customer and what they want? How true to your values are the decisions you make? Engagement has very little to do with sending out surveys. No matter what the size of your organisation, getting out of the business and spending a day or two in your customers shoes learning how to inform these 4 key areas will never give you anything but golden nuggets of information. Get your back to the floor dates in your diary and don't let them be stolen.
New year resolution - to look with fresh eyes
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