How to Get the Pulse of Your Organization – Part II

Back in May 2014, I wrote a blog post entitled How to Get the Pulse of Your Organization. In this post I described two techniques that can be used to effectively communicate and lead your organization; “Did You Know” emails and a web based employee feedback system. In this week’s article, I will introduce two other techniques that I used to communicate and keep my finger on the organization’s pulse.

  1. Monthly lunch with the leader – Pick a random set of employees each month to have lunch with you. Do not repeat employees until everyone in the organization gets a turn. A group size of 10 to 20 works best. Use these lunches as open mic sessions for employees to ask you whatever questions they may have. Be open and honest with your answers and wherever possible tie the answers back to the organization’s vision, mission, values and goals. Above all else, listen intently to the feedback, take notes and never get defensive. These sessions are your opportunity to hear what your organization is thinking and talking about. If the conversation starts out slowly, you can prompt discussion by asking questions like;

Communicate Your Brand Promise Like An Industry Leader

A few weeks ago I introduced a tool called the Business Compass. This tool provides the means of visually communicating your organization’s vision, mission, values, brand promise, leadership behaviors and strategic and operational priorities. I have previously blogged about vision, mission, values and strategic and operational priorities but what about Brand Promise?

Brand Promise is simply what the company promises to the people who interact with it. Companies that are able to follow through on their brand promise, create real brand value with their customers. This brand value can be measured in a number of different ways (see the Forbes article “Worlds Most Valuable Brands – Behind the Numbers” for one example) but essentially it comes down to how well known and respected the organization is and how much revenue this notoriety brings in. Forbes also rates the Valuable Brands with Apple, Microsoft and Coca-Cola right at the top of the list for last year.

The important thing to remember is that a brand isn’t what you say it is unless your corporate actions, services and products align with the brand promise. The litmus test for this is to ask your customers. They are the ultimate judge for a brand. Ask your customers what your organization means to them and you will get a excellent picture of what your brand is outside the walls of your organization.

Did Your Organization’s Vision Leak?

Last week I posted an article on organizational vision entitled “What Is Your Company’s Vision and Why Should You Care?” Besides defining what a vision statement is and providing some examples, I stated that an organization’s vision must be “clearly articulated, consistently modeled and communicated”.

Why does the organizational vision have to be clearly articulated, consistently modeled and communicated? Because vision leaks!

I first heard the “vision leaks” phrase during a leadership training class led by Andy Stanley and then I noticed it was included as axiom number 13 in Bill Hybels’ book Axiom. I am not sure where it originated from but it is an extremely important concept for business leaders.

How to Get The Pulse of Your Organization

In several past posts, Do You Suffer From Continuous Partial Attention Syndrome? and Focused and Clear Communications, I wrote about the speed of communications and how complicated everything can be in today’s “over-connected’ world. As a business leader, there are a number of techniques that can be used to cut through the noise and effectively communicate and lead your organization. I am only going to talk about two techniques here in this post but I will add others in the future.

The first tool that I have found to be very effective is something called “Did you know . . . “ emails.

Are Your Customer Loyalty Programs Driving Customers Away?

How are you treating your customers? Do you have open lines of communication with them so that you really know how they feel? Are your customer loyalty programs attracting and retaining customers or driving them away?

On a recent trip from Calgary to Houston I was bumped out of the Air Canada “Elite” line because my ticket didn’t show my Aeroplan flight rewards status. My wife and kids categorized this as a #firstworldproblem but for those people that travel a lot, not having the loyalty status you have earned is a big deal for quite a few reasons!

For example, I use my status to get into the airport lounges between flights. Besides food and beverages, there is usually a nice place to work complete with free, high speed internet. This means I can usually get a few hours of productive, uninterrupted work completed at each connection and this means less work when I get to my destination. This one feature is really important to me!