Archive for October, 2010

Can Your Employees Handle the Truth?

Can Your Employees Handle the Truth?

Employees say they hunger for truth. They claim to plea for transparency. Many assess an organization’s credibility by its willingness to say what they don’t want to hear. But how prepared are employees to hear the truth? Just as Jack Nicholson accused Tom Cruise, in A Few Good Men, that he “could not handle the […]

What Do Negative Political Candidates Teach Us?

What Do Negative Political Candidates Teach Us?

Linda McMahon may have the perfect background for politics in 2010. She ran World Wrestling Entertainment. Everything that McMahon learned from professional wrestling – such as the authenticity of competition – must come in handy as she campaigns for the US Senate in Connecticut. Because politics, in 2010, has entered a new era of “shock” […]

What Happens When Free Speech Takes Sides?

What Happens When Free Speech Takes Sides?

The controversy over NPR’s termination of Juan Williams reveals how branded our media landscape has become. Many are outraged that a media organization would fire someone for expressing opinions in a land of free speech while others contend that any organization can fire anyone it believes speaks carelessly. As communicators, our profession is based on the […]

What’s the Power of Leader Symbols?

What’s the Power of Leader Symbols?

I once advised a CEO who proudly parked his new Cadillac in the front of the headquarters building for all to see. He had a difficult time realizing that, when employees face layoffs and financial security, the last thing they need to see is the CEO’s new car. My client never agreed to suggestions that […]

Are You Ready for “Gotcha Communication” to Hit Business?

Are You Ready for “Gotcha Communication” to Hit Business?

They eagerly sit in audiences – at speech after speech, event after event, with Flip Cams and i-Phones in hand – simply waiting for candidates to say something worth a clip on You Tube. They hope, as they listen, to record the gaffe that shakes the political world, that breaks through the noise, that changes […]

The Curse of the Open Microphone

The Curse of the Open Microphone

In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan ignited a country’s fears by declaring, by mistake on an open microphone following the recording of his radio address, that the US had declared war on the Soviet Union. The President apologized, of course, and the White House apologized, of course, but years later, Reagan still maintained an image as […]

How Bill O’Reilly Frightens (And Why We Should Care)

How Bill O’Reilly Frightens (And Why We Should Care)

As communicators, we should study fear. We need to know what scares the people we try to reach and how manipulative words can frighten. Otherwise we may never know how people will bring their fears inside an organization when they listen to their leaders. And that impacts our work. Today, of all the voices that […]

It's a Small(er) Communication World

It’s a Small(er) Communication World

As we sat with coffee at the Face 2010 conference in Warsaw, communicators from several countries reconfirmed how much we have in common despite our geographic and cultural differences. No matter the time zones that separate, and the realities unique to each locale, the challenge to engage stakeholders is universal. When it comes to the […]

How Should Carl Paladino's Messages Alarm Us?

How Should Carl Paladino’s Messages Alarm Us?

Every microphone a political candidate uses to frighten puts our work to communicate social fairness at risk. A candidate who garners media attention – no matter how limited a perspective or negative a view – automatically becomes an authority figure with a capability to influence. Even if only a few people respond by asking, “will that […]

Is Employee Engagement in Meltdown?

Is Employee Engagement in Meltdown?

The workers I talked with have little to complain about. They have jobs. They work for a company that inspires, recognizes and cares. Their CEO tries to connect. They like the work. But as they describe life in 2010, they feel they are victims of a war with the economy. They are defeated. They feel […]

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