You want to have an impact.
I know this because you are a leader.
I also know that many of your achievements go unnoticed.
This I know because attention is a limited resource and it is hard to stand out in a crowd.
What if I told you that the tactics you use to direct attention - meetings, email, presentations, etc. - aren’t going to cut it?
What if I told you that you are over communicating and concealing your priorities in the process?
Would you believe me?
Or would you stop reading this article and go back to drafting an email about your latest decree?
Organizations have competing priorities. There is much to do and too little time.
Everyone wants you to communicate more. HR wants you to explain the new policy on workplace safety. The C suite wants you to communicate about the next big initiative. Your compliance officer is convinced that your organization’s code of conduct requires more of your attention and employees want you to explain your strategy.
The requests seem innocuous when isolated. When combined, they exponentially grow into information overload and confusion.
Emphasizing everything means you emphasize nothing. When everything is important, nothing is.
Information overload may be the plague of the 21st century but communication is the trojan horse. Excessive communication fuels the fire of overwhelm, creates burnout in organizations, and fills your world with weeds. It creates cognitive dissonance at the individual level and a lack of focus organizationally.
It’s time to realize that communication - and information for that matter - has a dark side. It can be destructive and it isn’t the cure to all ills.
What really matters to you? What matters to your organization? Can you answer those questions with the utmost of clarity? Clarity makes things easy to hear, see, and understand. It is the essence of effective communication.
Less is more when it comes to clarity. When you say too much you create noise. When you focus on a few important subject areas you create alignment.
Say less and convey what matters. Focus on the following six subject areas and you will have an impact.
No business plan survives first contact with the customer. ~ Steve Blank
Do you know your customer like you know your best friend. If you can’t tell me what your customer wants, how they feel, what they fear, and how they make sense of the world your communications will likely fall on deaf ears. Stop talking at people and start talking with them. Get out of solitary confinement, and ask your customers about their desires, frustrations, wants and aspirations. Stop broadcasting your message and start listening to theirs. You will gain valuable insights and stronger connections when you truly know your customer.
The secret to marketing success is no secret at all. Word of mouth is all that matters. ~ Seth Godin
Leadership isn’t a solo sport! Powerful partnerships are essential to your success. When you build and maintain partnerships you generate buzz around your value. Partners spread your message and help you have an impact. Their endorsements are priceless. Invest in powerful partnerships to stack the deck in your favor.
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. ~ Albert Einstein
Consider this. People don’t want to hear your elevator pitch! They don’t want to know what you are selling! They don’t have time for your story and they don’t care about your past successes!
People care about one thing over all others - Value!
When you solve a problem or create something that didn’t exist before you create value. When you bring something of value to the table you help others succeed. When others succeed you succeed - this is the essence of leadership and the essential if you want to have an impact.
The appeal of the wild for me is its unpredictability. You have to develop an awareness, react fast, be resourceful and come up with a plan and act on it. ~ Bear Grylls
At times you may feel like you are lost in the wilderness. Information surrounds you, most of it is unfamiliar to you, some of it is attractive, and some of it scares you to death.
Your survival depends on how resourceful you are in the chaos. Borrow from the playbook of Bear Grylls. Raise your level of awareness, be resourceful, come up with a plan and act on it. You are your greatest resource and you should trust your instincts. Your instincts are your greatest asset.
Never confuse movement with action. ~ Ernest Hemingway
The actions you take are very important. Don’t be a tumbleweed blowing in the wind. When the wind blows hard do not move fast. When the doldrums set in do not stand still. The winds of change do not direct you. You have the power to choose what you are doing right here and right now. Align your actions with your goals. Actions create outcomes.
If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation. ~ Don Draper
This one is last for a reason! It’s important but less important than the others. Presence is a popular leadership topic but it also has a dark side. When leaders are self centered, ego-driven, scattered or fearful; everyone notices. Communications are enhanced or distorted by the presence of the leader. Internal states manifest as micro actions. Micro actions coalesce into presence. If you want to be noticed, stand up and be someone worth noticing.