Tag Archives: Social media

IABC Gold Quill 2011 Lessons Learned – Change that didn’t hurt

In this past month’s issue of Communication World the focus was on change and the role of the professional communicator. The issue contained sage advice and examples of how to support and/or create change. In the light of judging at IABC’s Blue Ribbon Panel this weekend it was re-enforced to me that effective communication involves change. We seek to change attitudes and behaviours. Outcomes sought by Gold Quill entries this year included more votes, sales, saved lives, and ensuring human dignity.

The best and the brightest in the communication profession shared their work to be evaluated by peers. The entries were insightful, well measured and at times inspirational. Some took change resistant environments and effectively matched communication tactics with a process that ushered in new opportunities and achievements.

Our Leader

Other entries helped me think big and dream about what could be. Some campaigns really did change the world. When the winners are released these entries will inspire us all.

Providing communication platforms and being change agents with good research and hutzpah entrants charted new courses but they did not operate alone. Many of the successful communication campaigns were in partnerships with larger movements and other change agents. By listening to the needs of our audiences and our businesses many participated in movements. Communicators enhanced the positive sentiments while minimizing the barriers to success. Communicators were crucial leaders and implementers that led to great outcomes.

A memorable conversation
Blue Ribbon brings together communicators from around the globe. I find my colleagues challenges and insights invaluable. This weekend, I learned from an American adjusting his style to operate effectively in Hong Kong. His story unearthed some vital principles that will help me be successful in Canada. The conversation left me with some questions to contemplate.

  1. How and when should we adjust our approach to meet the culture we are operating in?
  2. Does the culture we are operating in need to be challenged so we can achieve our goals?
  3. Are we evaluating the positive and negative aspects of our own culture?
  4. How is our culture impacting our communications?
  5. Do we have overarching principles as professional communications that apply across cultures?
  6. Am I, North American centric and believe others should conform to my cultural beliefs?

Asking these questions will enable me to understand the needs of those I interact with and adjust or advocate depending on the situation.

Linking Communications to Leadership
Great conversations and great communication entries reminded me that transformational leadership is not asymmetrical. As communicators we have espoused two-way communication for decades as necessary for positive change. Recently, the topic has moved to three-way communication, where the audience communicates with the change agent and with others in the audience. Steve Crescenzo in this month’s Communication World stated this as a new responsibility for communicators to foster.
Interactive communication acknowledges that for leadership to be sustainable the leader and the led both need to change. With the increased emphasis on dynamic feedback and interaction this becomes more likely. Effective communication and leadership both seek to deepen relationships – relationships impact both parties.
My challenge for professional communicators and myself is to be willing to change as part of the communication process. When my audience shapes me, I am able journey into a deeper relationship. The relationship should grow the influence of all parties involved.

Thank you – IABC
To all the wonderful people and minds that make the Gold Quill experience possible, thank you for engaging in the profession and enabling our community of professionals to learn, grow and transform. This weekend many fun stories were told, collectively we encouraged passion and the food in San Francisco fed my growth.

I hope to see many of you in San Diego in June for IABC`s world conference.

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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

TUDOR WILLIAMS, ABC, MC, FELLOW
ASSOCIATE, TWI SURVEYS INC.

  • 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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Social Media will not replace the need to survey

Those in hungry need for budgets and time to access the thoughts and feelings of stakeholders are increasingly using social media. This is a vast new frontier for researchers. I am excited to participate in the innovation of new methodologies to interpret our findings.Yet, this exciting new area will not achieve what a survey does.

Most of the new processes like Ideation using tools like PollStream give us researchers new data sets. They allow participants to vote and comment. This is useful data but it must be put into context. It is not a survey that had distribution methodology. Surveys can potentially be generalized to the broader populations.  At their foundation these new tools are qualitative in nature and should be used as such.

In corporate communications research qualitative measurement is gold. They give us evidence and inform why people think what they do. The professional practices that communication and human resources professionals alike should resist is reporting these findings back to executives with the indication that they provide a predominance of opinion. Specifically, for engaging and informing employees the survey retains the position as the best tool to inform and track our progress. With more study, social media tools may emerge with some quantitative elements but we are not there yet.

The employee engagement survey best practices in 2010
To fulfill the objectives of the survey and enhance the value of the benchmark data, I construct a theory of business using leader interviews and organizational plans. A theory of business is a model that reflects the circumstances that organizations believe would bring about goal attainment. This theory includes the foundational measures used in the benchmarks that look at a variety of foundational engagement factors (I use the Conference Board of Canada`s 2006 Meta Analysis on Employee Engagement). The next two areas examined are focused around the mandate/values and the strategic priorities specific to your organization. The last section queries the ability of the participants to engage, innovate and inform decisions. The presentation of these elements in more detail can be illustrated with the following typical items in an engagement survey:


Surveys are powerful two-way communications. Anyone conducting an organizational survey should appreciate that the very act of surveying itself influences attitudes (Walters, 2002). The survey communicates what is important to an organization. What is asked and responded to will create a social contract between the organization and employees. The process can tell employees you care about their issues and that you are willing to do something about these issues (Church & Oliver, 2006). From a leadership perspective, the most powerful survey is one that enables a strategic frame and moves away from purely transactional relationships.

The survey sets the limits or boundaries for a creative and innovative discussion around continual improvement. The survey will be constructed to communicate an outcome focus, important values and supporting mechanisms that will enable goal achievement.

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Business Communication Tools We Can Use

I had a great time at the Delta Chamber of Commerce luncheon on January 21st sharing how social media can help enhance business relationships.

Here are some video clips shot on a Flip:

Langley small business example

Sharing documents

Connectivity

What is social media?

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In addition to – integration with social media is key

This short blog post is focused on the phrase in addition to.”

The first time I heard the phrase was when Shel Holtz used it on FIR.
Shel got me thinking and when I went to an IABC/BC social media meet-up this week, it reminded me that what we have always done is still very important – be face to face.

We are social beings. Blogs, Twitter and Facebook help connect some of our social bonds; however, we still need to sit down and share a drink, eat some food together and share stories.

Many organizations are setting up exclusive social media functions internally. This is short sighted. The effective social media function should be integrated with corporate communications. To build sustainable communities with a long term view (more than a fad or campaign) on how our efforts enhance sales, our brands, and employee performance etc. – our social media tactics will have to be in addition to many other traditional tactics that glue us together.

Personal Update:
My wife is 7 days overdue and I am a little distracted, so I hope this short post was a complete thought. Next week baby pictures – can’t you wait?

My new little one at 25 weeks.

IMG_0072

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Social media measurement and the ‘Hawthorne Effect’

This week’s video blog remembers the wisdom of Elton Mayo and applies his research to social media measurement.

Here are my two reactions when I think about the Elton Mayo’s Hawthorn Effect and social media measurement:

  1. Wow the possibilities!

  2. Oh no, we can really mess this up if we are not careful.

A resource for a more precise look at the Hawthorne Effect.

An example of the new powerful tools – Social Radar.

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Social Sustainability – Systems Thinking

I have been working on translating traditional community development principles into online environments. Peter Senge has me questioning my presumptions. I can create a short term phenomena – like a fad and measure short term behaviours as success or I can participate in the creation of a community that will grow and evolve.

What I realize is that my world view is one that does not value fads. I want my efforts to last. It will not be enough to have followers on Twitter if no relationships are formed. I do think fads can teach us many things. The early adopters that create fads provide the case studies and learning points that will impact the majority in the near future and a fad may be the launching point to broad based and long term behaviour change.

Senge used the analogy of a cake in a recent presentation to the Vancouver Board of Trade to explain the need for ecology to be in our planning view to create sustainability. It got me thinking about something that looks more like a cookie. Below are some of my thoughts around creating sustainable communities. Comments, additional thoughts and outright challenges to the premise are welcome.

senges-cake1

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