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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Communications for Strategic Advantage: The Voice of Leadership

                          The art of communications is the language of leadership.    
                                                             James Humes, author and presidential speechwriter.  

I was always taught as a youngster that if you are smart people will listen.  How UNTRUE.  Certainly being smart is important but it is the tone, tenor and communications style you use that makes you real powerful and a person to whom people want to listen.  Think about the people in your life – be it at home or in the office- and see how you react to them in different situations.  Learning the key traits to communicating is both an art and a science.

I had the privilege of listening to Victor Dominguez, Managing Partner of Ligature Group provide a keynote talk at a recent Masters Lunch.  Victor is a communications pro and a “creative” with an advertising background. His consultancy focuses on building authentic communications with people and to move relationships from the initial stages of building trust to forming strategic partnerships.

Here are some of his pearls of wisdom from his talk.  Frankly I wish I learned this as a first time executive as I would have been able to build relationships faster.

      1. There are 10 cultural conflicts which undermine a  company’s success
            a.      Fear
            b.      Blame
            c.      Workaround
            d.      Assumptions
            e.      Backsliding
            f.       Lack of Accountability
            g.      Organizational Silos
            h.      Gossip
            i.       Disrespect
            j.       Chronic Dysfunctional Behavior
    2. Employees can resolve conflict  without special training by focusing on
           a.       Respect
           b.      Trust
           c.       Listening and identifying shared goals
           d.       Advise
           e.      Change
    3.  Align communications with ethics and actions
           a.       Do the right thing
           b.       For the right reason
           c.       Do it the right way
   4.    It’s not about the words you use; it’s about what people hear
   5.    Build trust and respect by
           a.       Asking questions
           b.       Listen actively and purposefully
   6.    Communicating with Millennials seems to be hard but is really easy
           a.     Millennials don’t like BS!
                        i.      Avoid corporate talk
                        ii      Say it straight and don’t talk down to a millennial
           b.   Focus on the end goal to solve a problem
           c.    Recognize them for their results- then again, who doesn’t like kudos and recognition?
   7.    The ability to learn faster than your competition may be the only sustainable competitive                advantage.

Of the 7 items listed I know that early in my career I violated several of these tenets.   Thankfully I have learned from my mistakes.  The good news is that many younger executives and even more “mature” ones should pay attention to these pearls of wisdom as the combination of smarts and communications skills will make you more effective faster.

Do you agree or disagree with this blog?  Let me know and please like it and share it as you see fit.

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