Tag Archives: Communications

What is your message?

Tudor Williams, TWI Surveys Inc Associate was interviewed by the Globe and Mail for a business article on February 28, 2011.
They talked about the effective use of social media. Tudor had some great points:

  1. How you communicate builds or takes away from you message
  2. Your business operations have to match your messages
  3. You need to be able to respond where your customers are
  4. Social media is a dialogue – you will pose questions, make statements and respond to what you are hearing
  5. You have to be authentic in your communications

    Tudor and Ryan at a Delta Chamber Event

Globe and Mail article


  • Management consultant, Tudor Williams, ABC, is recognized internationally for his communication research and modeling, change management strategies and strategic communication planning. He has over 30 years of professional wisdom earned in research and communication management.
  • His communication career began with eight years in corporate public affairs management in the energy industry. He has led the Canadian communication practices for two international consulting firms, Towers Perrin and The Alexander Consulting Group (now AON). Tudor has led his own consultancy in Vancouver for the past 15 years.
  • He conducted his first audit as manager of internal communications for Syncrude Canada in 1981. Since then he has become a recognized world leader in communication measurement and the translation of audit data into the development and execution of communication strategy and tactics.
  • In 2004, he and business partner Ryan were recognized by the International Public Relations Institute in New York City with the Golden Ruler Award of Excellence for Measurement in Communication for the research conducted for the Alberta Medical Association.
  • Tudor is an IABC Fellow, the highest honor IABC bestows upon a member. He received the award at IABC’s International Conference in Los Angeles in June 2004.
  • Tudor is the recipient of many national and international awards including six IABC Gold Quills for communication planning and research. He is an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) and was named a Master Communicator by IABC Canada in 1989.
  • He is a frequent speaker at international conferences including the Conference Board of America and the June 2008 IABC World Conference in New York City.

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SAS Uses the fundamentals and gets great results

Leadership does not have to be complicated. Asking and responding goes a long way to developing a relationship. Relationships are founded on trust and in an environment of trusting relationships people preform better. It creates great business results and a great place to work.

SAS Tops Fortunes List this year – here is how they survey employees

Regan Interview about survey results

From Mat Wilson’s Regan article

Karen Lee, senior manager of internal communications at SAS, said the #1 spot reaffirmed the role of communications in creating a stellar work environment:

“In an  era of social media where communication is critical, transparency within internal communications at SAS reflects the trust our employees have in our leadership and in one another,” said Lee, who was celebrating the selection with team members before dawn on Thursday.

Every year, managers/clients expect a complicated process or survey. The fact is a simple survey that is discussed, turned into action themes and acted upon creates a positive momentum. Surveys are the most scalable and demonstrable activity an organization can do that proves they are listening and that they care. Today, social media can also do this but the advantage of a survey is the legitimacy that the methodology brings to the conversation. Both should be used and likely in combination to enable a dynamic conversation with employees that encourages innovation and creativity.
Employee Survey Process Achieving Leadership Results Ryan Williams Oct 2007 http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf

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Filed under Communication, Employee Surveys

IABC World Conference in Toronto

What a great time with old and new friends at this years IABC World Conference. Some speakers were great, some good and one dud. Free the Children was inspirational and Guy Kawasaki was motivational. I enjoyed engaging colleagues from Tanzania, Poland, South Africa, Brazil and the US. What a bunch of great people. My presentation was well received and I would love to get more feedback. My slides are below. You would have had to been there to hear the story. So as IABC seeks to enhance value, be vital and increase its visibility how do you think the profession will change or should change?

Short version in Prezi

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Filed under Communication, Planning

Genius is not required for great leadership – learn how

I love the game of football and I am not the only one. I work with a group of men who feel the same way. We love the process, the practice, the games and the social aspects. For those who really love the game it is the purpose that young men find in the game that really motivates us and as coaches we have the opportunity to impart values, work ethic and show young men what love looks like.  The touchdowns are fun but it is the changed lives that create passion.

Learning how to deal with disappointment and victory offers coaches the chance to grow with their team. We dedicate countless hours with game plans, practice plans, breaking down film and professional development to be the best. This desire comes from the belief that we can win and that will change lives. We are not that smart but we work hard, we are organized and we have passion for what we do.

I write this blog to share the leadership lessons I learn on my journey as a consultant, a coach, father and husband. I have a belief that good leadership is good leadership. With this belief, I go as often as I can to the annual University of Washington Huskies football clinic. Some of the most inspiring and insightful leaders I have met and listened to have been at this clinic. Some of these leaders were 40 season high school football coaches, legendary college coaches and NFL greats.

This year, a former NFL coach made an impression on me. Jim Mora coached both the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons. He is a ‘loose cannon’. He is the type of speaker that makes you nervous, like the nervousness you get when you watch the Office television show. You really don’t know what he is going to say. He knows this and warns you for this eventuality. This is one of the reasons he is a former coach. So with his lack of brain filter how did he become a head coach in a competitive profession – the answer is he has some great leadership practices.

  1. He sets the big picture for his players in terms they can understand. His premise for all his drills and systems are used to increase turnovers for other teams and reduce their own. He has the stats – 62% of teams with a +1 turnover ratio will win. This is the focus around which all other activities are based. We will win when we cause turnovers and when we protect the football. To do this he has to encourage specific player and coach behaviours.
  2. He clearly defines what bad behaviour is and what good behaviour is. Bad behaviours are ‘Loafs.’ He breaks this out into observable activities like accelerating out of every move on the football field. That acceleration is termed a burst. The absence of this burst is call a’ Loaf ‘. Good behaviours have themes. Competitions are created to have winners and losers for protecting the ball. If you cause a big play or turn the ball over it is acknowledged.
  3. When everything is defined it can be measured. The team films and counts everything they do. This information is aggregated and tracked individually, by units and as a team. They track and trend and relate those measurements back to what they do. In business planning terms their outputs.
  4. When measurement happens accountability is possible. Football teams watch a lot of film and everyday Mora’s teams will get the ‘Loafs’ posted by player number for all to see on the film room door. Along with the Loaf, great plays are celebrated and posted.

Players know why they are doing what they are doing, they know what is expected of them, they know it is being tracked and they know that it will be reported. Now think about your work day – can you say these same things. These practices drive performance and yet in business the planning and measurement budgets may be the first things to be cut. I think we can all learn a little from a fired NFL coach.

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IABC Gold Quill Blue Ribbon Panel 2010

This year has been a pivotal one for corporate communications with the speed of technological change and global economic turmoil. The work that came in from around the world to be judged at IABC headquarters in San Francisco reflected that turmoil. Crisis plans that managed H1N1, companies struggling to do more with less, non-profits getting amazing results with limited resources and the continued integration of social media characterized the work we reviewed. Work plans both challenged the judges to contextualize the results and to be critical where little strategy was in place and when excellence was found we celebrated. A cow bell from Vancouver was the sign of exuberance inspired by the world’s best communicators.

The judging panel was made up of some of the best minds in the communication business and the best personalities. We had representation from Russia, India, South Africa, Argentina, Australia, China, Belgium, England, Canada and the US. Collectively, we represented all aspects of the communication world from technical to written, and creative to management. Together, we looked for winning entries.

The IABC staff did a great job acting as a host and a resource. Thank you for your efforts and the instant creation of a spell checker (which I should always use).

Entry Highlights

Great work seemed to always follow a good understanding of the business need and some solid research of the audience.

One area that seemed be weak in many entries was the audience description. Note to all who enter in the future, everyone is not an audience you should program for. A great example of a description is one that lets us know the primary audiences demographic details, and provides an evidence based assessment of their behaviours and attitudes.

One trend was an increased number of entries for micro sites to support organizational programs. I am not sure if this was a reflection of smaller budgets or the ease of implementation when we do not have to attach our efforts to our corporate websites.  I was surprised to note that many of these sites did not integrate social media options for feedback or sharing.

What a great time to learn and improve my own professional practice. To give you a flavour of the process above is a short video with Tim Buckley finishing strong with an original Gold Quill anthem.

A special thanks to:
Julie Freeman, ABC, APR for the use of her office.
Paul Matalucci, ABC for opening his home to us and being such a great host.
John Finney, ABC for his wisdom and good humour.
Stacey Thornberry for getting us there and making us feel so welcome.

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Filed under Communications, Leadership, Public Relations

Being an effective leader – Fair does not need to be equal

Many parents I know try to treat their children the same. Christmas presents should cost the same and if one child has a hockey lesson the other should get equal opportunity in another pursuit. This seems only fair. Is this common sense cultural norm good for our kids, our work teams and our organizations?

I have a few clients that use the survey question “The same rules are applied to everyone equally.” The result of a negative finding is a dialogue that ends with “Of course they are not applied to everyone equally, the situations are different.” The result is managers become more aware of how they do not treat everyone equally. Frontline employees regularly agree that rules should be applied differently. They recognize that we are all different and our collective goal is the point. We are not trying to achieve equality unless it is a means to our end.

I have coached football for eleven years at a high school in Vancouver. We coach football. That does not change. Our offense and defense have minor changes each year. Our team is trained with incremental improvements in content and style. Our boys are the same age and in the same school setting. This year, I was reminded once again that the individual players change everything. Creating a high level of performance changes every year with the players. As coaches, we need to get to know our players as individuals and as a group.

Kendra watching the post game prayer.

We have the same team rules for everyone. These rules are simple and universal. They cover the obvious things (i.e. don’t be late). Some rules are never used and others have to be frequently applied. When applying rules we must ask ourselves, what is best for this person and what is best for the team? Our goal is to transfer our discipline to their intrinsic motivation. We desire every player to submit to the rules so that our team can function and perform. To get there, our players are on individual journeys and this requires a variety of interventions to progress. Our principles and rules do not change; however our ability to achieve growth collectively depends on our ability to apply the rules with wisdom and grace.

The process our team takes to be self determined has multiple stages. We seek to create a community around the common goal of winning a championship. We start soon after the ending of the previous season with off-season training sessions. Before we get to training camp the next year we have two off site events, one is a tournament and one is a football camp. These activities work on football skills and build personal relationships.

When fall camp starts we have a two day retreat where we facilitate a team charter. This charter is created by the players to determine who and how they want to operate for the season. At the end of this session we have a ceremony to celebrate the official formation of our team. This year we had each player sign an axe handle as a commitment to themselves and each other. At the end of the regular season, the handle was awarded to the player that most resembled the attitudes and behaviours the players decided they wanted to achieve.

Charter created by the players during unity camp

Rules are the norms we aim to follow. We need to work together so we can perform. The rules are not the purpose and should only act to facilitate our growth and protect our ability to operate. At work we need a process that enables employees to intrinsically apply rules. Fairness comes from our responsibility to each other and our collective goals. Applying rules need to facilitate individual and collective success. How are you preparing your people to do this?

Tony Dungy in his biography talks about having to treat his players differently. It is a good read and has some memorable quotes.

The first step toward creating an improved future is developing the ability to envision it. VISION will ignite the fire of passion that fuels our commitment to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to achieve excellence. Only VISION allows us to transform dreams of greatness into the reality of achievement through human action. VISION has no boundaries and knows no limits. Our VISION is what we become in life.

Tony Dungy


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Well meaning leaders, need to pause and pay attention to the needs of followers

Every once in a while you see a great illustration of a concept that is hard to communicate. Leadership should be about walking along side people and progressing together. Far too often it becomes a well meaning person dragging others behind them.

It has been hot here in Vancouver and we have been spending the evenings outside with friends watching our kids play. Keon, the little boy in the picture below,  is a great big brother. He watches out for his little sister Mya and tries to keep her safe. He knew she was suppose to stay on the grass and off the road. He went over and said “Mya we need to stay on the grass.” She knew that, but has a mind of her own. Keon ever so gently took her arm to lead her to the grass. Then he pointed his eyes to the goal he had in mind and dragged her there screaming. When this happens and it happens often, she is likely to fall on the pavement and scrape her knee. The other thing she is likely to do is go the opposite direction when she sees Keon the well meaning leader coming. IMG_0181

So how often when you intend to be a leader, do you engender this response from would be followers?

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Filed under Communications, Leadership