Archive for September, 2013

React or Respond? For Goodness Sake, Choose Respond! on Managing Americans

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in Blog

Sherri Petro, President and Chief Strategy Officer of VPI Strategies, represents VPI Strategies on the Expert Panel for Managing Americans. ManagingAmericans.com is a management blog with more than 140,000 readers. Sherri contributes monthly to the Workplace Communication Skills Blog and is one of the most highly read columnists.

This month’s post explores reacting vs. responding.

Here is a preview:

Instructions to create messages that destroy value: Open mouth, insert foot.  Instructions to create positive messages that create value: Open mind, open mouth.

I know the former sounds familiar to you.  Have you ever thought about the latter?  That’s the difference between REACTING and RESPONDING.  Responding takes a little time to plan and process, reacting takes no time at all.  Just feel free to pop off!   I’d be realistic and reduce my expectations about making a connection with the person you are communicating with or achieving the results you want, however.

R and R

We are, unfortunately, very used to reacting.  We react since time is often not on our side as we bark orders that have come down from above or conduct “dump it delegation” as we run down the hallway to yet another meeting. We get a weird vibe on that email we just read and send off our reaction without thinking. We bring our baggage from our last boss’ communication style and react the way we always have since “everyone communicates like that.”

Read the complete article here.

GET ‘EM ONBOARD: ENGAGE EMPLOYEES BY BEING REAL

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in Blog

Sherri Petro, President and Chief Strategy Officer of VPI Strategies, represents VPI Strategies on the Expert Panel for Managing Americans. ManagingAmericans.com is a management blog with more than 300,000 monthly readers. Sherri contributes monthly to the Workplace Communication Skills Blog and is one of the most highly read columnists.

Businessman speaking on presentation

Here is a preview of September’s article:

Much is being bandied about on how to best engage employees. We have employers who want engaged employees and employees who want to be engaged. From the employer side, research shows us engaged employees lead to better results. Kenexa reports that engaged companies have five times higher shareholder returns over five years. From the employee side, one of the many insights in a Towers Perrin 2009 report is that employees want to give more.

Okay, then. We have both sides wanting the same thing – engagement. But Gallup continues to report in their annual survey that we have a problem. In 2012, only 30% of employees were engaged, 52% were disengaged and 18% were actively disengaged. And Gallup estimates that the latter category costs the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year. Ouch!

How are we so badly missing the boat? Maybe it’s because we are keeping it docked in the kiddie pool instead of the big ocean. Our communication strategies onboarding people to new ideas and changing conditions need a serious overhaul.

Why Engage Employees?

Author and Columbia faculty, Simon Sinek, has popularized the concept of The Golden Circle. The inner bulls’ eye of his concept is asking the question, “Why?” As a kindred spirit, I subscribe to Simon’s concept that engaging people requires sharing the back story on why we are doing the things we do. We don’t have to write a novel but we do need to share why we are making the decisions we make from the options available. In any communication strategy, we need to explain why we need to change.

The reason, by the way, has to make sense. No half answers. When we think we are especially clever, we are usually more transparent than we realize and employees can see right through the story. The object is engagement — not breaking off the engagement.

Read the full article here.