I’ve taken Roger Edwards’ CMA Live 17 and called it Keeping Leadership Simple and Being Accessible
This is the second of my Content Marketing Academy Conference or CMA Live 17 articles.
It’s three weeks since the conference and I’m still seeing the links between leadership and / or organisation development and content marketing.
This week I’m going to focus on Roger Edwards talk. Roger is a marketing expert. Essentially his talk was about keeping your message simple as businesses often lose perspective of what clients want as they grow and become more complex in structure.
So not only keeping it simple but also listen to your customers were key features of his message to the audience. He went on to give three important marketing messages:
- Lose the silly rules
- No jargon – Roger calls this the curse of knowledge. As we grow in knowledge jargon creeps in
- Only engage with customers.
So let’s start to make the links with organisation development and leaders
Let’s think about either when a new leader joins a company or start-ups. They both work hard to develop shared vision and values that everyone can understand and buy into. Particularly with start-ups, we’re so busy doing business, creating a brand and our place in the market, we’ve no time to make the organisation complex because we’re focusing on product, customers and sticking to the original vision.
So what happens when businesses grow?
- Sometimes ambition takes over
- We lose the personal touch
- We develop complex structures
- People stop talking
- People stop listening.
So how do we solve these things?
Back to basics or as Roger did, he took us to Goa!
Goal – Offer – Activity! – Goa!
Goal – in marketing terms Roger described this as conversion into sales, market share, clients etc.
In organisations our goal is an employer brand that attracts and retains the best staff resulting in low turnover and absenteeism, engaged and committed employees, and strong outputs (whatever those may be for your business).
Offer – Roger describes this from his marketing perspective as:
- Who is your customer?
- What’s their problem?
- How do you solve their problem better than anyone else i.e. What’s your competitive advantage?
What can organisations learn from this?
- Who is your ideal employee?
- What are they looking for?
- What makes you the best employer?
- The employer they’ll choose above all others in times of full employment?
Make your employer brand so clear that people will know exactly what to expect. Live your vision and values. Vision and values should be like a stick of candy rock, the message goes through each and every part. Team members should be ambassadors, bought in. This then has two results, one, people self select so decide for themselves if they are right for you. Secondly, the right people will perform and sell your organisation for you. To do this we need to communicate as a small organisation, we need to ensure employees are heard in the same way when the organisation grows as they were when it was a start-up. We need to keep structures and communication simple too.
Activity – Roger talks about this as our content, the message we put out via Twitter, emails, the internet etc.
I would talk about this in terms of our core communication. How are we communicating with and engaging prospects, current staff, and how do people feel about the organisation when they leave. So our activity as leaders will be actively seeking feedback on the organisation as an employer and on customer service. After all, our customers could be our future employees. If they don’t have a good experience, they’re not going to join us. Seek feedback from staff exiting the organisation, undertake annual engagement surveys and feeding back on the results, together with the changes leaders are going to action as a result of the feedback. Be seen to respond.
We as leaders need to ensure everyone is clear about business objectives, vision and values. Communication needs to be clear and simple, using as many channels as possible, intranet, briefings, meet and greet sessions, staff forum, etc.
Growing companies tend to lose their Goa. Structures become complex, the senior leadership team become more remote, that’s when Chinese Whispers start, vision and values become diluted and people begin to operate under their own agenda or in silos. Structure often become so complex decision making becomes cumbersome and we find what I call,
checkers checking checkers
rather than empowering and trusting people to do the right thing. Trust then erodes completely.
Concluding My Take Aways from Rogers’ talk
The Key Message For Leaders – Keep it Simple, Listen and Be Accessible!
So Rogers concluding message courtesy of David Ferguson, Nucleus –
Think Big – Act Small – Be humble.
My message inspired by Roger:
Be ambitious – Keep grounded and on message – There’s no room for ego, so be accessible!
If this article resonates with you and you feel your organisation has lost perspective give me a call and we’ll have a coffee.
Next week it’s the third in my articles inspired by CMA Live 17. I’ll be looking at how leaders can deepen their relationships with staff from what I learned from Stefan Thomas in his talk about networking.