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Communicating Change in a Small Business Work Environment

Your employees continue to resist change.
This article explains why.
 
Basically, it’s because they don’t care. Or, at least they
don’t care enough to make their life more difficult and
uncomfortable.
 
Add to that the fact that you, the business owner, know
how important implementing this change initiative is to
the future of your company.
 
So, it’s no surprise that the real issue, is communication.
 
It’s both what you’re communicating and how you are
communicating it.
 
Chances are you are trying to sell the benefits of the change.
 
That makes sense, right? That’s what everyone wants to know,
isn’t it?
 
NO. That’s not.
 
As a matter of fact your employees don’t care about the
benefits.
 
And, I don’t mean just the benefits to the company.
 
They don’t even care about the benefits to them.
 
They’re not listening.
 
They’re tuning out to your proclamations about all the great
benefits they’ll receive from implementing this change.
 
Why are they tuning out?
 
Because you’re not speaking to the frequency your employees
are tuned into in times of change.
 
Even the smallest change like just using a different software
program on their computer.
 
You’ve probably been taught to speak to the WII-FM.
You know, “what’s in it for me?” from the employees’ perspective.
 
Yet, this is ALL wrong!
 
People won’t listen to the WII-FM until you speak at some other
frequency they need to hear first.
 
You see, there is another “radio frequency” people are tuned to
when it comes to change initiatives.
 
If you want your employees to embrace change and actually help
you initiate the change you need to speak to the WIM-FM.
 
WIM-FM is an acronym representing “What’s It Mean – For Me.”
 
You see employees don’t care about any benefits, no matter how
great they may be, until they understand “what it means for them.”
 
If the effort is too hard, or the change is too complicated, or it’s
going to turn their world upside down, the benefits DO NOT matter.
 
Before you ever try to sell the benefits, the WII-FM, you MUST
assess what the change will mean for each employee and customize
your communication so that each and every employee understands
what it means for them.
 
You also need to let them know you’ve thought about what it means
for them and how you are going to mitigate and minimize the difficulty
they will experience during the implementation.
 
Until employees understand what the change means for them, and
that you’ve thought compassionately and empathetically about it from
their perspective, they will continue to resist your change initiative.
 
That’s true no matter how large or how small a change.
 
Remember, speak to the radio station WIM-FM
“What Does it Mean – For Me” from the employees perspective.
 
And you’ll get employees to listen to you, and buy-into what you’re
asking of them in times of change.

If you’d like additional help communicating to motivate employees
in your workplace I have a FREE resource for you.

Go here to learn about how my FREE, no obligation Workplace
Communication Assessment Call would benefit you and your
company.

Go here to learn about how my FREE, no obligation Workplace
Communication Assessment Call would benefit you and your
company.

More to come next week, stay tuned.

‘til then, Communicate With Power!

 

 

 


The Road to High-Trust Workplace in Small Business

In the last article, you read that the ultimate goal of any small
business owner should be to create a high-respect culture.

This is where each employee respects his or her co-workers as
professionals.

The path to a high-respect workplace is through trust.

You may have read my statement in the last article that…

Trust is the currency of respect.

And, that there can be no respect without trust. But you can have
trust without respect.

So to get there you have to first commit to trust.

How important is trust?

Well, in Stephen M.R. Covey’s book The Speed of Trust
his research shows very directly how important trust is.

My favorite quote from The Speed of Trust is;

“As trust goes down, speed goes down, and costs go up.”

And,

“As trust goes up, speed goes up, and costs go down.”

The same is true for respect but you can’t get to respect
without establishing trust first.

What is trust?

I define it as, “the absolute belief that you have my best
interests in mind.”

Or it could also be the team, the organization, the company,
the project, etc.’s best interest in mind.

There are 5 different contexts that need to be aligned between
individuals for high levels of trust to be in place that leads to respect.

The 5 include, each person believing the other:

Always has their, or the organization’s, best interest in mind;
Always communicates and acts with the best of intentions;
Can do what they say they’re going to do (capability)
Will do what they say they’re going to do (willingness)
Will be non-judgmental and helpful when they go to them in
a state of vulnerability.

If those five components are aligned you have a high-trust
relationship.

Consistent communication with the seven critical communication
skills that overcome the seven communication sins will allow the
mutual respect to manifest.

That starts you on the trust road to respect.

How far down that road is your company?

Or…

Is it stuck on the side of the road waiting for roadside assistance?

If you’d like roadside assistance to build that high-respect
workplace I have a FREE resource for you.

Go here to learn about how my FREE, no obligation Workplace
Communication Assessment Call would benefit you and your
company.

Go here to learn about how my FREE, no obligation Workplace
Communication Assessment Call would benefit you and your
company.

More to come next week, stay tuned.

‘til then, Communicate With Power!

 

 

 


The One Thing Employees Most Want in a Small Business Workplace – RESPECT

R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

Since 2002 I’ve facilitated multi-dozens of strategic planning
sessions for small businesses and not-for-profit agencies.

I can’t think of one of them where RESPECT was not on the
final list of core values.

At the end of the day RESPECT is what all people want in
their interpersonal interactions and communications.

RESPECT should be on the list of inalienable human rights,
if it’s not already.

Thomas Jefferson did not include it directly in America’s
Declaration of Independence.

I would argue that it is sort of implied in the “life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness” clause.

The problem, though, goes back to Article 1 in this series
(go here to read it if you missed it, or want a refresher).

You may remember that’s where you learned about the two
types of core values companies have in their workplace:

  • Professed
  • Perceived

Remember, “professed” core values are the ones that come
out of those strategic planning sessions I’ve facilitated.

They are the ones on the posters plastered on the walls.

“Perceived” values are the core values everyone actually
experiences people in the work environment through actual
behaviors in the halls.

Typically, there is a HUGE discrepancy between the professed
core values and the perceived.

You see, the main problem with respect as a core value is
that it is so very hard to define.

It’s like the definition of obscenity that the US Supreme Court
Justice Potter Stewart in 1964 explained, “I know it when I see it.”

Everyone in the work environment has a different definition for
what respect means.

More importantly, everyone has different rules for how they expect
respect to be delivered to them.

That’s the power of this model, and how the three fundamental
values of Clarity, Responsiveness, and Respect work so well
together to create a championship work environment.

But first, let’s revisit our two fundamental questions here:

  • How is your work environment lacking in respect?
  • What part of your company’s operations would benefit the
    most from greater respect?

What answers come to mind?

Respect, more than the other two values, impacts not just every
aspect of your company operationally.

It impacts every single person on your staff.

Imagine if everyone in your company truly felt respected?

The way you create that type of work environment is by
committing to clarity and responsiveness, first.

You see (and you can see it for real in the infographic here)
once you…

  • commit to clarity, and
  • raise the standard of communication so that it leads to
    greater clarity building credibility and trust.

Once you commit to responsiveness after clarity, credibility, and
trust, will rise at an accelerated rate.

And, it’s that high level of credibility and trust that will build the
respect throughout your work environment.

Trust is the currency of respect.

There can be no respect without trust. But you can have trust
without respect.

And, as you learned in Article #4 (if you missed Article #4 or want
a refresher, go here) “without clarity there can be no trust.”

So, again, imagine if everyone in your work environment
committed to raising the standard to first give the respect
everyone desires?

What could that do to your work environment?

So, today’s tip for leading your championship work
environment is…

Commit to Respect.

You have the roadmap to respect in these articles.

And, as you’ve learned in those other articles,
it is easier said than done.

If you’d like to learn more about how to build that workplace
with a foundation of high-respect through overcoming
The 7 Deadliest Workplace Communication SINs
I have a FREE resource for you.

Go here to learn about how my FREE, no obligation Workplace
Communication Assessment Call would benefit you and your
company.

More to come next week, stay tuned.

‘til then, Communicate With Power!

 

 

 


Responsiveness Can Differentiate You in the Marketplace & Help Your Small Business Beat the Competition Pt. 3

So did you commit to greater responsiveness as a core
value for your work environment?

In my last article I began to make the case for it.

(If you missed it you can read it here)

Responsiveness, is going to become the currency of the century.

Technology is making it so.

What is the expectation for responsiveness today?

How has it changed in the last 20-years?

That’s not going to change any time soon and my fear is it
is definitely going to get worse before it gets better (and that
may never happen).

As the youngest generation begins moving into the workplace,
look out!

As organizational leaders we need to adapt and overcome,
as they teach in the military.

And, as organizational leaders we need to train and coach our
teams to raise the standard for responsiveness now.

BUT, you don’t have to stress over it because there is an
easy remedy most people ignore or forget about.

The key to winning the responsiveness game is simple…

Manage expectations on the front end.

Instead of leaving that responsiveness expectation to chance
get ahead of it.

Give people clarity around what they can expect from you and/or
your people for responsiveness in any situation.

If you are proactive and assertive in proclaiming your response
time, most people will accept your terms.

If you are not, one of two things will happen, you will either:

  1. Surely disappoint them, or
  2. Be at the mercy of their response time demands
    and expectations.

Something to think about?

One of my core values for my business is responsiveness.

The way I stay out of disappointing others or playing their
game for responsiveness is to…

Proactive manage their expectations.

You can do the same.

Clarity with a commitment to communicating to manage other’s
expectations will allow you to take control of your responsiveness.

But first, let’s assess your work environment for responsiveness:
(Grade your organization on a scale of 1-10 in each of the five categories below,
10=can’t get any better)

  • Responsiveness to customers?
  • Responsiveness to coworkers?
  • Responsiveness to cross-department inquiries and requests?
  • Responsiveness to direct reports?
  • Responsiveness to superiors?

Imagine if you were to raise the standard for responsiveness how
would it make a difference?

When committed to and engaged in consistently, and you and your
people master the art of expectation management, it will lead in
to what we all really want…

RESPECT

See the diagram that explains this entire model from my new book here.

Stay tuned for more in two days!

‘til then, Communicate With Power!

 

 

 


Responsiveness Can Differentiate You in the Marketplace & Help Your Small Business Beat the Competition Pt. 2

This article is on a topic that most small business
owners take for granted.

Taking this concept for granted will slowly kill your business.

Step up this approach to doing business and you will beat
your competition, becoming the “go to” company in your
community for what you do.

Take it for granted and you risk defeat.

What is it?

Responsiveness!

In this 21st Century smartphone incessant, instant gratification
world, responsiveness is the currency of business.

Thinking about responsiveness from the perspective of instant
gratification is probably stressing you out already, BUT that
is the wrong way to look at it.

You can be the most responsive company/person in your
industry and community…

You see, The 7 Deadliest Workplace Communication SINs are
getting in the way.

(If you’re not familiar with The 7 Deadliest Workplace
Communication SINs go here to download the guide now.)

The communication sins most impacting your company’s
lack of responsiveness, whether for internal customers or
external customers, include:

  • A Lack of Specificity
  • A Lack of Desirable Behaviors
  • A Lack of Directness & Candor
  • A Lack of Focused Attention
  • A Lack of Immediacy, Urgency, & Promptness

The other two communication sins are peripherally involved, and
the five above are your biggest direct culprits.

If you’d like to learn more about how The 7 Deadliest Workplace
Communication SINs are impacting the lack of clarity in your
organization, and how you can reduce the friction in your work
environment, I have a resource for you.

Go here to learn about how my FREE, no obligation Workplace
Communication Assessment would benefit you and your company.

That’s all for now, next time you’ll learn how continually building
the values of Clarity and Responsiveness into your work
environment will lead to the most important value of all!

 

Stay tuned!

‘til then, Communicate With Power!

 

 

 


The Importance of Responsiveness in Small Business Work Environments – Pt. 1

This article is part one of a two part series on how raising the
standard on the expectation for “responsiveness” can separate
you from your competition, because…

One concept my small business consulting clients and audience
members in my keynotes complain about is…

a lack of responsiveness in today’s business world..

Now, thanks for technology the expectation for responsiveness
is at all time high.

That’s not going to change any time soon and my fear is it
is definitely going to get worse before it gets better (and that
may never happen).

As the youngest generation begins moving into the workplace,
look out!

We need to adapt and overcome, as they teach in the military.

That’s why it’s vital to raise your standard for communication in
your work environment now.

One of the things causing friction that is preventing better
responsiveness is what you learned in my last article…

…a lack of clarity.

So, the power of this model, is explained by this infographic
from my recently published book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greater clarity that comes from conversations with specificity that occur
with focused attention and are direct and candid about desirable behaviors
(those are 4 communication skills that breakthrough the communication sins
directly impacting
clarity), drives responsiveness.

There are other factors impacting responsiveness in your work environment,
but when you commit to clarity it will solve 80% your responsiveness issues.

I’ll ask the same two fundamental questions here:

  • How is your work environment lacking in responsiveness?
  • What part of your company’s operations would benefit the
    most from greater responsiveness?

What comes to mind?

Responsiveness, just like clarity, permeate every aspect of your
company operations.

Imagine if everyone in your company committed to raising the

standard for responsiveness, such as…

  • Responsiveness to customers?
  • Responsiveness to coworkers?
  • Responsiveness to cross-department inquiries and requests?
  • Responsiveness to direct reports?
  • Responsiveness to superiors?

So, today’s tip for leading your championship work environment is…

Commit to Responsiveness.

This is easier said than done.

Again, there are some of The 7 Deadliest Workplace Communication
SINs
getting in the way.

(If you’re not familiar with The 7 Deadliest Workplace
Communication SINs go here to download the guide now.)

The communication sins most impacting your company’s
lack of responsiveness:

  • A Lack of Specificity
  • A Lack of Directness & Candor
  • A Lack of Desirable Behaviors
  • A Lack of Focused Attention

The other three communication sins are also peripherally involved,
but those four are your biggest culprits.

If you’d like to learn more about how The 7 Deadliest Workplace
Communication SINs
are impacting the lack of clarity in your

Organization, and how you can reduce the friction in your work
environment I have a resource for you.

Go here to learn about how my FREE, no obligation Workplace
Communication Assessment
would benefit you and your company.

That’s all for now, next time you’ll learn more about the power
of Responsiveness that will add a perspective for you.

Stay tuned!

‘til then, Communicate With Power!

 

 

 


The Power of Clarity in Small Business Work Environments

Full disclosure, this is not an original idea of mine.

The credit goes to Ann Latham an internationally recognized
Expert in strategic clarity, Her website and brand is
Uncommon Clarity.

Ann’s book The Clarity Papers is a must-have for developing
clarity across every aspect of your organization.

It’s her work that has inspired me to bring clarity into my
work around communication, because clarity comes from
communication.

In the last email article I asked you to ponder two questions:

  • How is your work environment lacking in clarity?
  • What part of your company’s operations would benefit the
    most from greater clarity?

What answers come to mind?

Stephen M.R. Covey wrote a book, The Speed of Trust, in which
he points to his research on the importance of trust for moving
things forward.

My favorite quote from his book is “as trust goes down, speed
goes and costs go up,” and conversely, “ as trust goes up,
speed goes up and costs go down.”

The same can be said for clarity.

I’d argue that without clarity there can be no trust.

And, yet, as Latham’s work shows, organizational lack of clarity
is at epidemic proportions today.

Which means, the speed of getting things done is much slower
than it should be.

The 21st Century buzzword for this is friction.

Friction is a great term with regard to a lack of clarity in a work
environment.

Think about it.

What happens in your work environment when there is too much
friction?

Friction creates heat, doesn’t it?

Work environments that lack clarity are prone to heated
conversations, aren’t they?

Heated conversations caused by friction slow things down,
meaning its raising the costs of getting things done
(see Communication Cost Calculator in Article #2 in this series).

So, today’s tip for leading your championship work environment is…

Commit to Clarity.

That’s often easier said than done.

You see, The 7 Deadliest Workplace Communication SINs are
getting in the way.

(If you’re not familiar with The 7 Deadliest Workplace
Communication SINs
go here to download the guide now.)

The communication sins most impacting your company’s
lack of clarity:

  • A Lack of Specificity
  • A Lack of Desirable Behaviors
  • A Lack of Directness & Candor
  • A Lack of Focused Attention

The other three communication sins are peripherally involved, but
those four are your biggest culprits.

If you’d like to learn more about how The 7 Deadliest Workplace
Communication SINs
are impacting the lack of clarity in your
organization, and how you can reduce the friction in your work
environment I have a resource for you.

Go here to learn about how my FREE, no obligation Workplace
Communication Assessment
would benefit you and your company.

That’s all for now, next time you’ll learn about the core company
value of Responsiveness.

Stay tuned!

‘til then, Communicate With Power!

 

 

 


The Only 3 Values a Small Business Needs for Success

There are two types of values in all small businesses.

Professed values and perceived values.

Here’s the difference:

  • The professed values are those written on the walls.
  • Perceived values are what people experience in the halls.

When the two are in sync.  It’s magical!

Those are the type of work environments that I call “championship.”
Others might call them “high-performing.”

I’m confident you’ve worked in companies where the professed
values DID NOT match the perceived values.

I hope you’ve also had the opposite experience, too of working
in a championship work environment.

I’m less confident in the latter than the former.

There are an infinite number of potential corporate values so
I won’t bore you with them all here.

I’ll make it easy.

Your small business needs only three core values.

When your company integrates these three core values
nothing else will matter or need be done.

The three are:

  • Clarity
  • Responsiveness
  • Respect

The reason those three are all you need is that living by
those three will get you all you need for your company…

Greater positivity and productivity in the work environment,
which will lead to greater profitability for your company, see
diagram:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll leave it there for now and let you ponder those three fundamental
values and how they might make a difference in your company.

Here are two questions to ponder until next time:

  • How is your work environment lacking in those three values?
  • What part of your company’s operations would benefit the
    most from greater clarity, responsiveness, and respect?

Stay tuned!

Next time I’ll explain more about Clarity and how by raising
the standard for communication in your company’s work
environment will get you greater clarity.

I’ll also share some ideas on the many facets of your
business that will benefit from greater clarity.

Stay tuned!

‘til then, Communicate With Power!

 

 

 


The Hard Cost of the Poor & Ineffective “Soft Skill” of Communication for Small Business Workplaces

As I mentioned in my last article, there is a hard cost
to the “soft” skill of communication in the workplace.

All the problems small business owners struggle with
regarding employees stem directly from communication,
what too many people call a “soft” skill.

This soft skill causes real hard dollars and cents cost!

Are you tolerating the hard and soft costs of communication in
your workplace?

What are they and how can you calculate those costs so you
know where to look to raise the standards?

The soft costs lead to the hard costs.

The soft costs include:

  • Low employee morale
  • Low employee motivation
  • Low employee engagement
  • Passive-aggressive behavior
  • Employee conflict
  • Lack of follow-through on internal projects
  • Lack of responsiveness in customer service

The hard costs include:

  • All the wasted time each employee accumulates because
    of the soft costs
  • Loss of potential new customers
  • Lost of current customers who find other resources
  • Loss of opportunity for expanding existing customers
    beyond present levels


(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)


It’s impossible to calculate the hard costs of the bottom three
listed above unless you have a real anecdotal story of a
customer who went away.

A recent new client of mine just lost a $50,000 client. For some
companies that’s not a big deal. But, for a company generating
only $1.2 million in annual revenue, that’s significant.

We’re meeting in a few days to debrief the situation so they can
learn from it without blaming anyone or anyone losing their job.

But, for the first one on the list “all the wasted time each
employee accumulates because of the soft costs,” that is
easily calculated.

In my book A New Standard for Workplace Communication:
Overcoming The 7 Deadliest Communication SINs I’ve included
a Communication Cost Calculator worksheet you can use to
calculate the cost of lost productivity in your work environment due
to the soft costs caused by a low standard for communication.

If you’d like the worksheet that is included in the book, buy the book!

Just kidding! 😉

If you’d like it, simply email me at
Skip@WorkplaceCommunicationExpert.com and put
“communication cost calculator” in the subject line.

It’s pretty easy, though, you can do it on a napkin, just do this:

  1. Estimate the number of hours you think the average employee
    wastes each day.
  2. Multiply that by the number of days they work each year.
  3. Multiply the sum of 1 & 2 by the number of employees at
    your company.
  4. Multiply the sum of that by the average employees’ hourly
    salary and benefits package.
  5. Whatever number you get after the calculation I would then
    add 50% because you’re probably underestimating.

The reason this is so important is because small business
owners, and others in their work environments, typically:

…take communication for granted, and think its just something
that has to be tolerated.

Don’t you think that’s sad?

I do!

Workplaces could be so much more positive, productive, and
profitable if there was a higher expectation for communication
in the small business work environment.

When the standard of communication is raised and people are
provided with guidance on how to communicate with higher-level
interpersonal communication skills results rise.

It impacts your work environment in three ways and in my next article
you’ll learn about those three contexts and how they impact.

Stay tuned!

‘til then, Communicate With Power!

P.S. – Remember, if you’d like a copy of the
Communication Cost Calculator that’s in my new book,
simply email me at Skip@WorkplaceCommunicationExpert.com
with “communication cost calculator” in the subject line.


(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)


 


It’s Time for Small Business Leaders to Set a New Standard for Workplace Communication

When it comes to communication in the small business workplace, you need to
stop tolerating and start initiating.

What I mean by that is most small business owners are reactive
and on the defensive when dealing with how their employees behave
and perform on the job.

The more small businesses I become more intimately involved
with helping improve communication in their work environments
the more appalled I become at the low expectations business
owners have for communication at their companies.

Small business owners tolerate a lot.

What are you tolerating in your workplace?

What I mean by that is that you probably don’t realize
how low expectations for communication in a work environment
impact your employees and their ability to do the best
job they can.


(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)


It’s time to stop the insanity and get serious about communication
in the workplace, the good, the bad and the ugly.

First, there are three contexts of communication that impact your
small business, you must pay attention to:

  • IT Communication – are the hardware devices able to facilitate the flow of information effectively. Is the software 
compatible with the devices and whatever other software 
pieces that need to interact? Are the devices as up-to-date 
technologically as they need to be (you don’t need the 
latest and greatest but it should be relatively current.).
  • Process and Flow – does the company have a system for 
disseminating the right information to the right people at the 
right time so they can do the best job possible and put out the 
best impression for themselves and the company out to the
community?
  • Interpersonal communication – what is communication like 
between co-workers and colleagues in the workplace and
 between company leaders and managers and their direct
 reports? Is it positive and productive? Is it civil? 
Does it allow people to feel supported and respected, etc.?

Typically, my audiences tell me the context that causes the biggest
frustrations, challenges, and issues is interpersonal communication.

That context also seems to be where most small business
leaders struggle, too.

It’s the place where the low standards of expectations lie, and
where the tolerations of the impact are most felt.

This manifests in many ways, such as employee conflicts with the
manager or business owner expected to play “referee” to “make the
call” for one side or the other.

This is not where you should be because, you know, the person most
booed in an arena or stadium is the referee. You don’t want to be
booed in your own company.

I also frequently hear how passive-aggressive behavior is pervasive
today’s workplace.

Many small business leaders struggle with how to address it.

They wish they could get people to follow through and be responsive
to requests from their colleagues, co-workers, bosses, and customers.

What about you?

There is way too much chasing and waiting, waiting and chasing.

Communication comes with real costs to a business’ bottom line.

What do you notice regarding communication in your workplace?

If you were to set a new standard for communication in your
workplace, what areas would you choose?

My next article will discuss the real “hard” costs of tolerating a
low standard of communication in your workplace.

Stay tuned.

 

 


(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)


 


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