Communication is the heart of all human endeavour.

Posts Tagged ‘Management’

Weasel words and the failure of leadership: we get what we accept

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm

By Geoffrey Rowan
 
TORONTO, March 20, 2012 — Short-sheeting your brother’s bed is a dirty trick.(“Ohh, you brat!”)  Impersonating a government official to rig an election is a felony.
 
But the sad truth is most of us don’t care. We don’t expect any better from our leaders. We don’t believe what they say, and who can blame us. In the political arena, at least, we have been conditioned to ignore all the faux wounded hyperbole and ersatz indignation of our leaders. Every day someone in government does something so egregious it can only be fixed by his or her resignation, or the prime minister’s resignation or someone’s ceremonial disembowelment. Who’s to know when something serious actually happens?
 
Many if not most business leaders are just as disingenuous, obtuse, evasive and self-serving. Leadership in the worlds of religion, not-for-profits and at the local community level is no more inspiring. If perception is reality then we are one sorry family of man because around the world we perceive our leaders as a dismal lot.
 
You know this because you are aware of the U.S. race for the Republican presidential nomination, or our own robo-call scandal, a dysfunctional city council and mayor’s office or countless other examples that range from bumbling buffoonery to malicious malfeasance. I know it because my colleagues in research at Ketchum surveyed people in 13 countries to find out what they think about leaders. The results were dismal. (Here’s the link to the results media release – http://bit.ly/GCotzV)

There is a huge gap — a 28 percentage point difference — between what we expect from our leaders and what we think they deliver.

Business leaders were the best of a weak lot globally, with a little more than a third of respondents giving them an excellent rating of eight or above on a scale of 0-10. (In Canada, not-for-profit leaders were best.) Even more surprising, among businesses, leaders in banking and financial services rated near the top of the pack. (Leaders of tech companies were rated highest by 44 per cent of respondents for effective leadership, compared to consumer packaged goods firms at the opposite end of the spectrum, cited by just 20 per cent for effective leadership.) 
 
As jaded as we are in our view of leaders, we’re still hopeful. We want good leaders and believe that we need them to guide us through these difficult times. And we don’t seek the impossible in leadership. Around the world, across many countries and languages, people were pretty consistent about their expectations in response to this survey.

1. Close the Say-Do Gap — People aren’t as stupid as our leaders seem to think. If you say you love people and then you bomb them, or take away their jobs, or their health care, or abuse their trust, they will grow cynical. We want more from our leaders than catchy slogans and lyrical sound bites. We want people who lead by example, who have the courage and commitment to act, and who keep a level head in a crisis.
2. Strong, Silent Types Need Not Apply — As important as it is to act decisively and with integrity, leaders also must keep people informed. In the absence of clear communication – whenever there is ambiguity – we will assume the worst. So, no to slogans and sound bites but yes to clear, consistent communication, with a little humility. Be willing to admit mistakes. Be aware that different situations require different leadership styles, and different leadership styles require different communication styles, but they all require good communication.
3. Don’t sugar-coat it — The survey was decisive on this. Speak the truth with purpose and without ambiguity. We can handle a challenge if we understand it and if we know what our leaders are doing to address it.  
4. The way to be seen to be trustworthy is to be trustworthy — (See No. 1, Close the Say-Do Gap.) For organizations to be seen to be leaders, nothing rated higher in the survey than trustworthiness, including quality of products, services or management, financial strength, or innovation.
5. Let Them Look You In The Eyes — Face-to-face communication is by far the communication channel that creates the greatest sense of leadership credibility. The lack of credibility given to some digital communication channels was surprising given their fast proliferation, but we believe Twitter feeds and social media were useless for leadership is because most of the content doesn’t meet the other criteria for effective leadership. It’s usually bland marketing speak and sloganeering, and it’s rarely actually written by the leader. Does anyone believe Stephen Harper writes his own Tweets?

The bad news is that we have grown so cynical that we expect our leaders are going to be even worse in 2012 than they were in 2011. There is such a powerful hunger in so many to be anointed “a leader” and then to hang onto that perceived power that they have forgotten the fundamental tenet of leadership – that they work for the people they are leading.

And so cynicism grows, and alientation, and disengagement, until we end up with leaders no one listens to, or until a new kind of leader emerges — one who leads instead of manages. That’s where leadership opportunity exists now.

 

Lions, Saints, Builders and Masters on Prowl at Ketchum Public Relations Canada

In Uncategorized on August 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Jim Black wins 2011 Summer Ketchum Vision Award

Preeminent Canadian

PR Pros Honour Each Other

TORONTO, AUG. 12, 2011 – There are lions, masters, builders and saints in the offices of Ketchum Public Relations Canada, and Canada’s preeminent PR professionals put them there.

Twice a year, Ketchum Canada employees give special recognition to their colleagues for doing the things that help us achieve our vision of the organization we want to be. From all-staff nominations, the senior management team picks four individuals – one each for the Lion, Saint, Builder and Master Awards. Last night, Jim Black, Dina Stolyarova, Erin Manning, and Kristin Mills were selected as the most recent winners, respectively.

But it wasn’t an easy selection process. Here is a summary of the nominations, which we hope tells you a great deal about what kind of professionals are working at Ketchum, and what kind of culture we have.

The Saint:

This award acknowledges those who do things for each other, not because it’s their job but because that’s who they are. Also known as the Random Act of Kindness Award, it honours someone who has gone out of their way to help a colleague on something – maybe not even related to Ketchum.

Finance Admin Assistant Dina Stolyarova is this season’s saint. Some of your feedback:

Whether it’s help with something work related, or advice on a good trip to take, Dina goes all out.

  • She always takes the time to sit with you, talk you through something and take it over if you need a hand … she has talked me through the payment system way too many times for her liking, but still, she does it patiently and always offers to help.
  • She is always kind and considerate and never gets frustrated when we make mistakes with anything accounting-related … always has a smile on her face.
  • Plus, anyone who cleans out the fridge for us should be highly awarded (have you seen the things that are growing in there?!?).

But there were other great nominees, such as:

Lisa Perruzza – Lisa is always willing to help no matter how busy her schedule is. She always makes an effort to help you out with a question you have and will make sure that your question is answered, even if she has to go through a million people to find the answer.

(She helped me with something not Ketchum related.) Her kindness makes working here better because you look forward to spending time with people who will go out of their way to help you.

Charmaine Khan –  She always goes out of her way to help me with my account work.  Whether it is just letting me bounce ideas off of her or offering to read over something, she embodies the spirit of teamwork.

 Sydney Dare –  has the most positive intentions for her teammates … She’s truly a silent saint and a generous co-worker.

Linsey Flannery – is always willing to help, even when it’s out of her comfort zone, she’s willing to chip in and help.  It doesn’t matter what it is, do you need PR help, Admin help, or someone to run errands she’s there!  A genuinely nice person, who only sees the good in people, and she’s not in it for personal gain, a true saint!

Erin Manning  does things ‘that you do for each other that you don’t have to, but you do them because that’s the kind of person you are.’ Erin is a very caring, thoughtful and helpful person.

Charlene Magnaye:  Once folks found out about Charlene’s amazing graphic design abilities, it wasn’t long before everyone was blown away by her eagerness to help out and the great quality of her design work. I’m thrilled to have this talent in the office and grateful that Charlene is so willing to help out and contribute above and beyond her day to day responsibilities.

Kathy Khamis is always the first person to arrive in pod 2 every morning and welcomes people every morning with a huge smile on her face.  Kathy is the type of person who is always thinking of others.  I often get emails from her at night or during the weekend with articles or deals that she thinks might be of interest to me or my family members.

Barb Langille genuinely cares about staff and will go out of her way to get them things to make their lives easier …   She coaches people on the best benefits of the admin functions and she does a lot behind the scenes to make sure everyone in the office is healthy and happy.  She is great.

The Master Award goes to theperson demonstrates excellence in the professional skills required of them, whether that’s extraordinary account management, media relations, business management, office operations support, new business development, content expertise, digital, crisis, research, relationship building, or otherwise demonstrates passion for and mastery of a skill important to our profession or our success as an organization.

Kristin Mills is this season’s winner. Here’s what her colleagues said about her:

Kristin shows excellent account management … She is great at delegating all account work to teams while also stepping in and helping out on the little things wherever necessary.  She is very flexible and allows her team members to try new things and always takes the time to talk things through.

Kristin is one smart cookie! My work with her showed me firsthand what an amazing team leader she is. Even when stressed and busy with work of her own she took the time to guide me through a lot of firsts for me. No matter the questions she had a well thought out and timely response for me. I think she is great.

There were other great nominations for Master, such as:

Tricia Weagant — Tricia displayed extraordinary account management of (this account.) She kept the entire team on schedule and was flawless with the entire project execution.

Charlene Magnaye has the golden touch when it comes to media outreach.  And we all know the golden touch is actually really, really smart outreach combined with dedication and effort.  I absolutely LOVE having her on any account because she is so thorough and it always pays off for our clients.  She gets results when no one else can and I think she should be recognized for it.

Nicole McKnight I witnessed how she graciously tackled all kinds of crisis issues that were arising leading up (to a client event.)  I was most impressed with how she quickly responded to the frantic client … Nicole worked with the client to make arrangements (needed to save the day.) She was calm and represented Ketchum well in her communication to the client during all of this and handling media relations.

Katie Zier-Vogel really knows her stuff. She has precise attention to detail and always executes events flawlessly. She’s a fantastic teacher and a pleasure to work with!

Erin Manning builds client business, and has extraordinary account management skills, and business management!  Not only is she able to keep the clients happy, she is able to build on those accounts.  She’s an expert on budgeting and … is also a great mentor to junior staff.

Debbie Boyce has demonstrated real professionalism from the moment she joined the Ketchum team. She takes ownership for everything she touches and delivers exceptional work consistently. She is keen to take on more responsibility and is always the first to put up her hand to help out. Debbie delivers time and time again. I’m thrilled that I have the opportunity to work with Debbie and excited for her bright future in PR.

Laura Jeffery truly embodies the attributes of The Master in that she consistently demonstrates professionalism and expertise.  She has a solid understanding of the client’s needs and ensures that the whole team delivers nothing but the best. Often, I approach Laura to vet an idea or advice that I want to parlay to the client and she is always able to instruct me on how to position it to meet (the client’s) expectations. She advocates for the team to continuously build relationships with key media and influencers, encouraging us to go for coffees/lunches with editors and bloggers. Because of this support, I have been able to meet prominent …  journalists and foster strong relationships with them.

Sherry Boisvert is a great resource to her team. She is constantly willing to share her past experience with account management, media relations, content and relationship building which has helped me transition into the world of technology and corporate affairs. If I have a question, I know Sherry will know the answer (and have a story to tell relating to it).

 

The Lion Award goes to the person who demonstrates courage by daring to be creative and/or innovative; by willingness to take smart risks and learn from them; by willingness to be different while still a committed team member; by exposing themselves to new ideas, new possibilities, new experiences and new learnings and sharing that knowledge; by being willing to speak the truth respectfully, ask tough questions thoughtfully, and accept challenging information openly and graciously.

This season, the Lion goes to Jim Black. Here’s what his colleagues said:

JIM is a true team player.  He isn’t fazed by difficult tasks, hard work or being very much the gender minority in the office.  He will accept challenges willingly and will learn from his mistakes.  He takes feedback well and is always striving to be a better professional.

Other nominees for the Lion were:

Erin Manning, for her leadership (on client account teams.)

Linsey Flannery — I appreciate Linsey’s efforts and commitment to exploring new realms for Ketchum, particularly her involvement in creating the Social Media committee. Her ideas are not only creative but beneficial to our everyday PR work.

Laura Watts – Laura has a thirst for knowledge and learning.  Always makes the effort to be creative or innovative .. not knowing the ramifications of some of her suggestions …  does not stop her from continuing to think, and suggest new ideas, always with good intentions in trying to create new concepts or better ways of doing things for Ketchum Canada.  Laura always speaks the truth, ask questions and accept challenging information openly and graciously!  Yes, a Lion!

Sherry Boisvert is a strong, fearless leader, who almost always demonstrates courage and creativity. She is never scared to voice her opinion in a group, and in fact, I think she purposefully brings this bold energy to meetings and brainstorms because she knows it’s for the greater good of the agency … Sherry is a dedicated team member who is always willing to learn something new and share what she knows.

Lisa Perruzza is always sharing learning’s, eager to try new things, excited about taking risks and a great member on the Not Carol committee. I’ve found her passion and enthusiasm contagious and I think she sets an amazing example within the office.

Charmaine Khan always brings creative and fun ideas to team meetings. She looks outside of the box and finds creative ways to fit trends into effective PR strategies. Charmaine constantly pushes her teams and the agency to pursue new tools, techniques and campaign ideas that are unfamiliar, has a pulse on new/emerging industry trends and is always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to tell client stories … is never afraid to speak her mind or to throw out a suggestion, even if she thinks it might be risky.

The Builder Awardgoes to the person whodemonstrates an impressive ability to build teams, to build relationships, to build careers, to build our industry’s best professionals, to build respect and inclusiveness, to build our business, and to build the kind of workplace that we all want to be a part of.

This season’s winner is Erin Manning. Here’s what her colleagues say:

Erin has impressed me with her commitment to building our teams, ensuring each person on the teams is treated with respect and has the opportunity to learn and grow in their careers.

Erin –Erin is a great leader who constantly inspires her team and everyone who works with her. She is always encouraging and always gives praise where praise is needed. She makes everyone in her teams feel important and shows sincere care in helping others build on their skills.

Erin —  This isn’t just a job for Erin.  She feels responsible for the people she manages, works herself into the ground (when needed) to make her clients happy and she thinks about the bigger picture of Ketchum Canada, always brainstorming ways to make this a better place to work for the people who work here.  She has tremendous pride in what she does and we all benefit from it.

Other nominees for the Builder Award were:

Tricia Weagant – Tricia wears her heart on her sleeve and always seems to find a common ground with her co-workers and clients. She’s a natural people person because she keeps it real and genuinely has a passion for making friends. She makes our pod a happier place!

Sydney Dare – Although she flies under the radar, Sydney might secretly be Ketchum’s social convener. Who would have thought that sweet little pipsqueak was the president of her sorority, on the cheerleading team at Western (the best in the country), and a pro water skier? …  Sydney is the type of person who builds extremely strong relationships one at a time, and then before you know it, she’s the most popular person in the office and we’re all looking to her to find out what we’re doing on Friday night. She rocks.

Kathy Khamis – All in all a really great partner. Further, Kathy has already made meaningful contributions to the CSR committee, coming up with great ideas that inspired the team and reminding everyone why it is so important to give back.

Linsey Flannery – One of her greatest strengths is her ability to build teams and foster relationships.  Though Linsey is extremely busy with client requests and new business plans, she always takes the time to help junior staff build on their skills and further their careers … Linsey really listens and actively pursues opportunities to help me reach my goals … She has also been a key player in building the Ketchum business.

Laura Jeffery leads her teams with confidence and understanding. It is clear that she understands the abilities and strengths of each member of her team and provides opportunities for everyone to succeed in their roles. Laura has also spent countless hours building relationships with top tier media and influencers and is happy to share her knowledge and learnings with the team.