About Charlie Nordblom

Communicative leader focused on building employee engagement, cohesive culture, and commitment to strategy and vision.

The three options

How do you coach upward? How do you get into the ring, when the manager who needs to be coached keeps staring at you like a crocodile, ready to pounce at the first wrong move?

Bengt walked into my office a late Friday afternoon. He was the HR manager at the high-tech company where I worked. “Do you mind if I come in?” he asked. I was puzzled.

“How do you feel about your new manager?”

“Well, she’s really focused on the business admin side of things…”

Bengt cut me off. “You don’t think very highly of her, do you? And maybe she’s out of her depth and a bad fit here. She certainly doesn’t understand the importance of market communications, right?”

I shook my head as he sat down at the small side table. He looked worn down and tired to the bone. I knew that he had a 5 hour commute every Monday morning and Friday afternoon.

Yet he still had this passion for people in business. He really cared about the Human Relations, making sure that things worked out inside the company.

“You have three options for dealing with your manager,” said he.

“First choice is for you to throw her under the bus. You can make her trip up, and look like a fool. But be aware that you she will lash back and may take you down too.”

“Second choice, that is to take a step back. Try to fly under the radar, and to avoid causing any waves. I doubt that you would be able to do that,” he chuckled.

“Third alternative is the real challenge. You figure out how to support and complement her. Try to make up for her weaknesses. Make her look more professional and knowledgeable.”

“She may not pay attention or listen to you, but that’s her choice. And don’t ever expect that you’ll get any recognition or credit from her. If you want to do this, you should do it because it’s the right thing.”

“I suggest that you spend the weekend thinking hard about this.” Bengt got up with a smile.

The next morning I walked down to the local book store to buy a large drawing book, crayons and pencils. I spent most of Saturday writing a very short shortlist of her strengths and a very long list of areas where improvement was urgently needed. Next, I wrote a shortlist of my strengths and an equally long list of improvement areas.

On Sunday I began matching my possible strengths to support her development. It was more difficult than I had anticipated. At nightfall I had identified a few areas where maybe I could help broaden and deepen her grasp of our business.

No matter what I said at the Monday morning meetings – she would be staring at me like a crocodile, waiting to pounce. It took me more than two months of pitching brilliant ideas, promoting possible actions, and softly suggesting different options before she even started to listen.

I really struggled to understand how she was thinking about things, until one day when she suddenly looked down. She didn’t agree or disagree with whatever I had just suggested. She just scribbled something in her note book. It was the very first ripple.

Rusty beartrap

Another two months went by until the company president stepped into my office. He closed the door and turned on me.

“So how do you feel about your manager? She really doesn’t understand the importance of market communications, right?”

In the attic of my grandmother’s house I had once seen an old and rusty bear trap. This was it. I instantly recognized that once again I was given the same three options. Throw her under the bus. Fly under the radar. Or make her look good and become more successful.

“I think she’s done a great job introducing this new business management system. She’s really collaborating well with everyone on the team.”

The company president smiled at me. “I know what you’ve been doing to support her. I really appreciate that.”

That first conversation with Bengt became a lesson for life. Over the years I have shared his three alternatives with many colleagues. Only one figured out the fourth option – to leave the company.

Fulfilling the trust

”Do not ever try to become friends with the people that you have been asked to lead. Keep your distance, and don’t get too close. If you do, some people will take advantage of you and others will believe that you have favorites. Listen to what they say, but keep your own counsel.”

My father was very serious as he handed out this advice. I had just announced at the Christmas table that I would become a communications manager and lead a team of five.

His advice made me uncomfortable. This was not how I wanted to behave as a manager. At that time I had worked almost twenty years as a journalist, editor at the news desk, and author of several books. I realized that I had to make up for my lack of experience as a leader, quickly before I hurt someone.

Eighteen years after that Christmas conversation I know that I should have listened more closely to my father’s advice. But, I have learned from some of my mistakes.

As a manager you always walk the line. You must enable and empower your team; stand up and speak for everyone on the team; take all the blame and hand out any praise. To really build confidence and trust all around, you must have the courage to stand up to your team. Make the important decisions, and hold on to your convictions.

Of course there are things you can never share with your team. Jeff Haden is a columnist for www.Inc.com and he has compiled a list of 10 things that business owners sometimes wish they could say to their employees. He has kindly permitted me to republish this:

“I care about whether you like me. I want you to like me. When I come off like a hard-ass who doesn’t care about your opinion of me, it’s an act. My business is an extension of myself. I want you to like it, and me.

I don’t think I know everything. A few people stepped in, without being asked, and made a huge difference in my professional life. I will always be grateful to them. I don’t offer you advice because I think I’m all knowing or all-powerful. I see something special in you, and I’m repaying the debt I owe to the people who helped me.

I think it’s great when you’re having fun. You don’t have to lower your voice and pretend to be working hard when I walk by. I know it’s possible to work hard and have a little fun at the same time. Before I got all serious, I used to work that way.

When you enjoy what you do, it makes me feel a little better about my company and myself. I get to feel like I’ve created something more than just a business.

I want to pay you more. I would love to be the employer of choice in the industry or the area. I can’t, mostly due to financial constraints but partly because the risks I’ve taken require a reasonable reward. If I go out of business tomorrow, you lose your job. That’s terrible, I know. But I lose my business, my investment, my credit, my house… sometimes I lose everything.

Someday, when you start your business, I promise you’ll understand.

I want you to work here forever. Job-hopping may be a fact of business life, but as an owner it’s a fact I hate. I don’t see you as a disposable part. When you leave, it hurts. A part of me feels like I’ve failed.

I want to own the kind of business people hope to retire from.

Sales don’t appear by magic. I know you despise filling certain types of orders. They’re aggravating, they cause you to fall behind… they’re a pain. You wish we would sell other work. Unfortunately (from your point of view at least) sometimes the orders that take the most time are actually the most profitable.

And even if they aren’t, sometimes those orders are the only thing we can sell. Sometimes I even take terrible work because it’s the only way to keep the lights on.

I would love to turn you loose. You can’t stand to be micromanaged. That’s good because I hate micromanaging. But freedom is earned, not given. Show me you can fly on your own and I’ll gladly focus on something or someone else.

In fact, if you feel I’m micromanaging you, step forward. Say, “Jeff, I can tell you don’t quite trust me to handle this well. I understand, so I’m going to prove you can trust me.”
Do it and I’ll get off your back and respect you even more.

I notice when others don’t pull their weight. I’m not blind. But I won’t discipline those individuals in front of you. No employees, no matter how poorly they perform, lose their right to confidentiality and privacy.

And sometimes I won’t discipline them at all, because occasionally more is going on than you know. You wouldn’t realize that, though, because oftentimes…

There are things I just can’t tell you. Even though I would love to, and even though you and I have become friends.

Ownership is the smorgasbord of insecurity. I worry about sales. I worry about costs. I worry about facilities and employees and vendors and customers and… you name it, I worry about it.

So occasionally I’m snappy. Occasionally I’m distracted. Occasionally I’m tense and irritable and short-tempered. It’s not your fault. I’m just worried.

More than anything, I’m worried about whether I can fulfill the trust you placed in me as your employer.”

Parting words of wisdom

What is your best piece of advice to a new CEO? What would be your parting words of wisdom to the next generation of leaders?

In most large companies you will find some old “silverback.” It’s a grey haired leader with decades of experiences who is acting as senior advisor or counselor to executive management.

Björn Edlund was my boss at the ABB global headquarters in Oerlikon outside Zürich, Switzerland. After working with Sandoz and Novartis, he was and still is considered one of the foremost experts on crisis communication.

During his tenure as head of corporate communications at ABB Ltd, he saw at least four CEO’s walk out the door. In the autumn of 2005, Björn also left ABB to become EVP Communications at Royal Dutch Shell.

While still proud of his background as practitioner and hands-on communicator, Björn is at his very best when supporting, counseling and sometimes guiding the senior executive management.

“We don’t want to be in the middle of crossfire between senior executives. So it’s important to be able to have quiet, one-to-one conversations with senior leadership. You have to be close to the top but you also have to keep your distance. If you’re too close, if you become someone’s guy or gal, you’re no longer independent, and your judgment and your counsel may become suspect,” said Björn Edlund in an interview for Minding Gaps before retiring from Shell.

Björn Edlund

Björn Edlund

 On behalf of Juergen Dormann, CEO at ABB between 2002 and 2004, Björn penned 112 so called Dormann Letters to all employees and published on ABB Inside in twelve languages. The very last Dormann Letter, distributed in December 2004, outlined ten leadership principles. Björn Edlund has kindly given me permission to republish these final words of wisdom:

1. Operate with complete integrity. Keep your word, and do the right thing – even if you are the only one who knows you are doing it.

2. Become an expert in your field. “Expert power” provides one of the major sources of authority because people follow those who “know their stuff.”

3. Tell people what you expect. Use clear language to describe goals, values and expected behaviors. Develop a plan, and act on it. Listen for feedback that may signal the need for a change in tactics, or even in strategy.

4. Mean it when you commit. You’ll inspire people if you show them you accept the risks that commitment brings. You do that by sticking to your path in adversity and solving problems that seem impossible to others.

5. Expect the best. Maintain a self-confident vision of what you want – success – not a negative view of what you don’t want – possible failure. Positive thinking has power, but only if you fuel it with enthusiasm.

6. Care for those you lead. Put their needs at the top of your priority list. If things go wrong, “take” two things – charge and responsibility. And when things go right, share two things – the recognition and the rewards.

7. Put others first. Think of those you lead before yourself. Celebrate their success by giving them as much credit as possible. And share their pain even if it is inconvenient, difficult or costly in time, money or other resources.

8. Do what the word “lead” implies – get out in front. If you’re not willing to do what you ask your people to do, don’t ask them to do it.

9. Play to your own strengths. Learn how to compensate your weaknesses. Let your team members understand how you rely on them, and why. Don’t assume you know everything, or that you are always right.

10. Keep a sense of perspective. Strive for broad-based solutions. Take the time to resolve differences. No one gains if you leave only wreckage in your path.”

Please read Björn Edlund’s most recent posting at the Arthur W Page society blog.

Future leaders with a calling

Looking into its big crystal ball, General Electric has discovered that “tomorrow’s leaders want more than a career — they want a calling. They want to do things that matter, and they’re passionate about making a difference on the job and in their communities.”

This really connects back to key drivers for building engagement and a high-performing organization at the New River Valley Plant, which I described in “Any black sheeps.”

According to Susan Peters, chief learning officer and responsible for executive development at GE, who is blogging about this at Harvard Business Review, “a more collegial and personal view of leadership and business [is] now rising through the workforce.” GE also found that companies are “embracing a new paradigm that is more collaborative, creative, and focused on delivering local solutions.”

What kind of leaders will be most effective in this new business landscape? Susan Peters believe that tomorrow’s leaders share five common characteristics that predicts success:

“Tomorrow’s global leaders possess an exemplary external focus — they collaborate not only with customers but with a wide range of stakeholders including governments, regulators, NGOs, and community groups.

Leaders are adaptive and agile, clear thinkers who are not only decisive but able to connect strategy to purpose in a way that fosters commitment.

Leaders possess both the imagination to innovate and the courage to implement — they’re willing to take risks to champion ideas.

Leaders are inclusive — it’s the only way to build great teams.

Leaders constantly seek to deepen their expertise and motivate others to do the same.”

“Great leaders never stop evolving,” says Susan Peters. “In the end, they do the one thing that makes the biggest difference: They help others thrive.”

Read more about GE’s report on future leaders.

“Great leaders fuel the passion of others”

“All successful leaders enhance and enable others,” says Dan Rockwell. He’s a well-know blogger about leadership at leadershipfreak.

A recent posting by Dan about leadership visions caused an interesting discussion. Dan has graciously allowed me to republish this post:

“We say leadership is all about others and then hypocritically say, follow me!

Leader-centric vision casting captures and dominates current leadership thought. From Moses to Martin Luther King Jr., stories of leaders with captivating dreams fill leadership literature. I love it and hate it.

We’ve made the exception the rule.

How many Moses’ are there? I’m betting you and I aren’t the next Martin Luther King Jr.

Sorry to burst your bubble.

Self centered dreams last as long as you last. Vision centered on others, however, has legs.

Universal vision:

Here’s a universal vision every leader must embrace:

“Passionately helping others find and execute their passion.”

Stop convincing others to follow your dream; call them to follow theirs.

Get real:

Limited time and resources demand selection. You can’t help everyone. Additionally, you have organizational concerns and responsibilities.

1. Focus on those who share your values.
2. Walk alongside those who share your destination.
3. Enable those who embrace organizational mission. The more fully aligned they are the more you give. Send the rest elsewhere.
4. Go with high potentials. Remember, however, that flashy personalities and high intelligence may not indicate potential.
5. Alignment, character, passion and initiative are key high potential identifiers.

Yes, but:

Vision centered on your passion not theirs is essential in several situations. Someone must boldly point the way during:

1. Start-ups and in entrepreneurial situations.
2. Innovative transformation.
3. Social movements.
4. Crisis.

Finally:

Every organization needs a mission and vision point-person; someone who embodies the heart of who you are and hope to be – that’s you. Organizational leaders can’t go around randomly saying, “Follow your dream,” regardless of the circumstances.

All successful leaders, however, enhance and enable others. Great leaders fuel the passion of others. This is the universal vision for all leaders all the time.”

Blue sky between clouds

The new head of research & product development was seated in front of me. I noticed that he was taking notes in a very strange manner. He would write a keyword or random comment into clouds or leaves that branched out from a thick oak tree. It looked very weird.

Suddenly he raised his hand, and said: “I believe that we’re missing the point here. We need to differentiate between local, regional and national customer segments in key markets. They have different expectations on capacity, performance, financing, service and maintenance. Yet I don’t hear that we’ve recognizing these important differences.”

First day at work for this guy and he tells everyone the emperor is naked? A great start in his new position, or maybe he was trying to show off?

Afterwards I asked why he was taking such weird notes, and how he had managed to discover our blind spot?

“It’s called mind mapping,” he said. “Write down the keywords, and position them closely together when they’re connected. Add drawings and symbols, and draw branches or lines between different groups of keyword to indicate cause and effect, dependencies or importance.”

I looked closely at his one page summary of three hours discussion about our commercial strategy.

“Always leave one area wide open, like the blue sky between clouds. This leverages how our brain works. Whenever there is an empty space, your brain will try to fill that void to complete the picture. Focus on that empty space and let your brain discover what should go there. You will be amazed. Suddenly you will clearly see what needs to go where only a few minutes ago there was nothing.”

This conversation took place in the early part of 1997. I worked at Adtranz Signal, a global joint venture between ABB and Daimler in the rail transportation industry. Later the company was sold off to Bombardier.

During the next few years I learned to use mind maps to capture the essence of a complicated briefing or meandering discussion. I used mind maps for charting the future, identifying problems and understanding new challenges. This often helped me to discover new opportunities, hidden dependencies, different perspectives, alternative structures and possibilities.

Most importantly, I learned that leaving a space empty is crucial, because this is what allows creativity to kick in. It’s the blue sky between the clouds.

Now let’s fast forward a decade. I am at another company interviewing a senior executive in charge of research & product development. He’s an engineer to the bone, knowledgeable and competent. He’s also very outspoken and opinionated.

“Every leader must have a clearly formulated vision,” says he with great conviction. “I have worked for months on developing my clear vision for this company.”

Suddenly he unfolded a large sheet, the size of a magazine spread or 12 by 16 inches. It was completely covered with scribbled words, boxes and strange abbreviations.

“Here’s my vision,” he said proudly. “My operational development coach helped me a lot, but I did most of the work myself.”

I sat there and stared at that sheet of paper for maybe ten minutes. It was impossible to interpret or understand all these scribbled words as something intelligible. I could not discern any patterns, goals, processes or structures.

I was stunned. I knew that he had some great ideas but this vision didn’t make any sense. He tried to explain key concepts and initiatives, but never managed to connect this with any of these scribbled notes, boxes and call-outs.

I leaned back to look at the whole as a picture. At that moment I realized what was wrong with his vision. There was absolutely no white space, and no way to insert a different idea, perspective or creative thought into this clutter. You couldn’t even find enough space to enter the word vision.

Powerful questions

There is a very romantic image of the inspiring charismatic leader who manages to mobilize the whole organization behind a compelling vision. How useful is that image really when you’re a first line manager caught in the cross fire?

Elaine Kamm is president of the EKG Group and an experienced coach. She is also an instructor at Rutgers Center for Management Development.

Elaine has written a counter-intuitive piece on the Rutgers CMD blog about how powerful leaders have mastered the art of asking powerful questions. She and Rutgers has kindly granted me permission to republish the first few paragraphs here:

“When you think of a good communicator, what are the descriptors that come to mind? Compelling? Convincing? Good presentation skills? Ability to have conversations with many types of people? Clear and concise? 

Such communication attributes help to establish personal credibility and influence others, which is important for many types of professionals, and absolutely critical for leaders. Yet, they are most certainly not the only types of communication that are essential and there tends to be an over-reliance on their importance.

“In many types of business situations, being a truly powerful communicator means just the opposite of trying to project confidence in a position or point of view. Powerful leaders also know when it is appropriate to enter a conversation from a position of humility and curiosity: to focus less on ‘telling’ and more on ‘asking.'”

“Why is this so?  Because taking on the mantle of leadership, which is by its nature about influencing the actions and decisions of others, comes with a huge responsibility.

  • Leaders need to be sure that they are using their influence wisely, which means giving proper consideration to the ideas they will espouse and the direction in which they will attempt to lead others.
  • Leaders need to be open to new ideas, different ways of looking at things, and differing perspectives.  

This requires a type of communication whose purpose is to ‘learn’ versus ‘tell’ or ‘convince.’ In other words, the willingness and ability to engage in ‘learning conversations.'”

Now I strongly urge you to read Elaine’s full article to find out more about powerful questions and to join the discussion about her ideas.

Culture eats strategy for lunch

“A strong culture flourishes with a clear set of values and norms that actively guide the way a company operates,” writes Shawn Perr, CEO of Bulldog Drummond, on the FastCompany blog.

“Employees are actively and passionately engaged in the business, operating from a sense of confidence and empowerment rather than navigating their days through miserably extensive procedures and mind-numbing bureaucracy.  Performance-oriented cultures possess statistically better financial growth, with high employee involvement, strong internal communication, and an acceptance of a healthy level of risk-taking in order to achieve new levels of innovation.”

Here are some of the significant benefits and business outcomes from a vibrant and cohesive culture:

Focus: Aligns the entire company towards achieving its vision, mission, and goals.
Motivation: Builds higher employee motivation and loyalty.
Connection: Builds team cohesiveness among the company’s various departments and divisions.
Cohesion: Builds consistency and encourages coordination and control within the company.
Spirit: Shapes employee behavior at work, enabling the organization to be more efficient and alive.

Building a strong culture takes hard work and true commitment. Please read more about the building blocks to consider: http://tinyurl.com/7qcl8vb

Improve the workplace diet

“Many of us are making resolutions for the New Year – whether to get in shape, complete more tasks on the Bucket List, or lose those holiday-induced pounds. I thought it would be helpful to share a different kind of diet to address no less weighty challenges. This one is for the workplace.”

David Grossman is one of America’s foremost experts on strategic internal communications. He is the founder and CEO of the Grossman Group, focusing on strategic leadership development and internal communications.

“The workplace diet is designed to help conquer confusion, apathy, lack of motivation, and the increasing cost of ineffective communication. There’s no celebrity spokesperson or meals to buy. No magic pills to take. There’s just some simple yet powerful actions that can make this year your best year yet. And your employees and family will thank you for it.”

Courtesy of David Grossman, here is the Workplace Diet for 2012:

Share your expectations – People rise to the expectations set for them. Create a list of your expectations and share them with your staff. Be as specific as possible so people know exactly what you mean and what you want to see. When your expectations are met, say something to reinforce the positive behavior. Otherwise, give feedback and coach around alternative behaviors you want to see.

Plan your communications – If you take a few minutes to plan your communication strategically (instead of wing it), you will be more purposeful, and increase your chances 100-fold of being effective. 

Listen more – Stop talking so much. Really. Look directly into people’s eyes. Relax and breathe as you listen. Resist the urge to jump in.

Diet for communicative leaders

Ask for input and feedback – Resist the urge to ask closed-ended questions, which shut down communication. Instead, ask open ended questions: “Help me understand how you are thinking about this?” or “What ideas do you have to resolve this?”

Take action on employee suggestions – The action might be to loop back with the employee to share appreciation for their thoughts, and help them understand why you’re not implementing their suggestion for an alternate approach. The action is closing the feedback loop, which can be as worthwhile as implementing a suggestion an employee has. Both tell the employee that he or she has been heard and input was valued.

Show you care – Find out what’s important to your employees on personal level and remember that information.

Empathize (more) – Pause and imagine how someone else is feeling. Learn how to make a reflective statement, which validates someone else’s feelings and shows you care. The workplace needs more humanity and less BullS.

Share recognition and appreciation – Say “thank you” for a job well done with specific details about what you appreciated. Reinforce what you want to see more of.

Ensure your employees can articulate how they fit in – All employees want to know that they’re contributing to something larger than themselves. Talk with your employees to ensure they can articulate how they specifically contribute to your goals, and the goals of the organization. If they can talk about it, they’re more likely to feel connected to the organization and be engaged.

Measure your efforts – Most of the clients we work with have a number of in-house tools such as a 360 degree or employee engagement survey where you can get data on how you’re doing and where to focus your efforts. Alternatively, you can ask your staff: “What 2-3 things can I do this year to make me more effective in how I communicate with you?”  Or, give them the list above as thoughtstarters.”

For communicative leaders, that’s your get in shape plan for 2012. The Workplace Diet was first published here. Republished with permission from David Grossman.

Commitments for 2012

A wise person once told me that when we want to change a behavior we only have three days window of opportunity. If we fail to start making small changes within three days, any resolution to change will instead fade away and turn into a broken resolution. “Do you really want to stop smoking?” he asked. “You stop smoking tomorrow morning and every morning after that.”

It really doesn’t matter if you try to break a habit or aim at a smaller improvement. The main thing is that you need to start making the change, now. Not next week or early in March when the gym is less crowded.

How could you kick start a different way of working with internal communications? Sue Dewhurst is suggesting eight resolutions for 2012 that could make a difference. Sue is a seasoned internal communications practitioner and much appreciated Black Belt trainer.Sue Dewhurst

1. Think of outcome, not output
Focus on business outcomes, not simply on producing communication collateral. Use communication as a means to an end, not an end in itself. There’s a big difference between saying “who’s got some stories for this month’s team brief?” and asking “what’s the most important challenge for our organization this month? How can we use the team-briefing time to address it?”

Resolve to ask your internal customers what their most pressing business goal is for 2012. Next, ask what employees need to know, feel and do differently to help meet that goal. Then, work out what you as a communicator can do to help increase people’s knowledge or understanding, influence their opinions and motivate them to take action.

2. Be a better business person
Find out more about your industry, your organization’s plan for the coming year and the opportunities and challenges that may lie ahead. Get to know the most important performance measures and make sure you’re up to date on the results. Increase your business knowledge and you’ll enhance your credibility too.

3. Choose tactics that’ll actually work
Think about the last time you changed your opinion about something. Or a recent occasion when you were motivated to take action. Were you prompted by reading a web article? Or were you influenced perhaps by conversations with trusted friends or colleagues? Perhaps you heard a personal story that made you think? Next time you choose the tactics for a communication plan, don’t just fall into your usual habits. Think about what you can do that has some chance of impacting attitudes or behaviors.

4. Get to know employees better
This year, resolve to spend less time at your desk and more time out there understanding what employees care about, who and what they listen to and trust, what’s getting in the way of them doing their jobs and how you can help. Ask their advice when you’re choosing communication tactics. Test out approaches before you put them into action. And get to know when a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t good enough.

5. Speak like real people
Please let this year be the one where we stop spouting meaningless corporate jargon. Talking about “streamlining operational propositions” or “moving forward with world class efficiencies” will only serve to drive a bigger gap between leaders and employees. Be the person who asks the stupid questions about what things really mean. And be aware when you really are becoming a spin doctor, in danger of fudging the facts and trying to put a positive slant on events, when the right thing would be to tell it as it is.

6. Measure something that matters
So employees like your newsletter and you know what the hit rates were on your last intranet article. What difference does it make? Go back to the business goal you were trying to achieve. What actions were you trying to influence people to take to move the organization nearer to the goal? In what way were you inviting them to reconsider their attitudes? Where were you aiming to increase their knowledge? Find out whether you succeeded and how much of a difference you made. Measure activities that actually have an impact on business results.

7. Ask what you can do differently to increase your influence
Next time you find yourself complaining your leader isn’t listening to you or won’t do what you want, don’t focus on that list of 10 things you wish they’d do differently. Ask yourself what you’re doing that’s contributing to the situation. Find at least one thing you could do differently to improve it. Start by looking at things from their perspective. If you were them, why would you be behaving this way? What would be leading you to think as you do? And what could that person in the internal communication team do to help make things easier?

8. Make this year count
Probably the biggest thing I’ve learnt over the years is that there’s a difference between “being busy” and using communication to achieve a result and actually getting a result for your organization and the people in it. If your leaders question whether you’re adding value, to be honest, there’s probably a reason for it. Make this the year you can say you made a positive difference.”

This blog posting was originally developed for Melcrum’s internal communications hub.