Given the Trust Barometer’s findings that the general public is (re)turning to the business sector to solve “big problems” it might not be surprising to discover that having the right focus matters for both a business and its leaders, for action impacts trust. 45 percent attribute a business’ contribution to the greater good as the reason that their trust in business has grown. Conversely, of those whose trust in business decreased, half cited a business’ failure to contribute to the greater good as the main driver.
I think there is a strong impetus for brands and organisations today to tap deeper into their brand purpose and corporate narrative – and communicate this through their leaders and employees. The Barometer’s findings reinforce this: The public is responding positively to CEOs trying to realize the dual mandate of profit and societal benefit, as CEO trust has risen substantially in the past five years to 48 percent.
At the same time, organisations and leaders need the help of their employees, whose trust levels (52 percent) are on the rise. Respondents are more likely to trust an employee compared to a CEO for information on treatment of employees (48 percent versus 19 percent) and information on business practices and crises (30 percent versus 27 percent).
A strong brand purpose and corporate narrative is also valuable for internal engagement and morale. When business—and more speciﬁcally when the CEO—is involved in societal issues, employee advocacy and engagement increases. When a CEO is engaged in addressing societal issues, an employee’s motivation to perform escalates by 22 points. Similarly, an employee’s willingness to stay working for the company climbs by 22 points, and inclination to recommend the company as an employer grows by 25 points.
According to Kathryn Beiser, global practice chair of Edelman’s Corporate practice, “Business can be a big part of the solution because it is apolitical, fast, and tracks its progress. Now is the time to lead from the front with the support of their employees and passionate customers. No longer can business leaders focus on short-term goals. The new model CEOs are taking action by addressing the issues of our time, and taking a personal interest in the success of society. Stakeholders expect business to have a solid and steady focus on financial returns, but also on actions around key issues such as education, healthcare and the environment.”
Never underestimate the importance of Vision… and, even more so, how to effectively communicate it. The greatest, most dynamic companies that I have seen tend to be those who have a clear vision that is easily articulated and shared by everyone – akin to a mantra or mythos for the organisation. Heck, I’ll go as far as to say that even the Bible considers having a Vision vital to the survival of a team: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
So, the Harvard Business Review highlights 3 ways to more effectively communicate your vision:
- Repeat yourself. To rally people around your vision, you need to remind them of your message and reinforce what you are trying to achieve. Don’t worry about sounding like a broken record. In fact, I will go on as far as to say that – even though it sounds like “old news” to you – someone, somewhere may need to hear it yet again to spur them on.
- Make it two-way. Don’t pick up a megaphone. Be sure to create dialogue around your message so that people hear it and understand it. Not only that, as I mentioned earlier, an easily articulated vision that people are engaged with eventually becomes a mantra or mythos that everyone participates in and owns collectively.
- Put out calls to action. Don’t just tell people what you imagine for the future, ask for their help in making it a reality. Be specific about what you want people to do and why. This is, to me, one of the most important steps that leaders often forget. Many people listen to a vision-casting speech and end up enamoured by the charisma of the leader – but often walk away wondering just what in the world are they supposed to do to pitch in.
As a self-proclaimed student of “influence” – I always enjoy articles like this, “5 Powers That Get Ideas Off The Ground” via the Harvard Business Review. The article talks about 5 important powers that a person needs in order to kick start their idea – so that it is adopted and implemented onwards to success.
Although they may seem quite self-evident, I think the reality on the ground is that they are often overlooked or even ignored – to the detriment of the initiative mooted.
From the article, the 5 powers are:
Continue reading “5 Powers That Get Ideas Off The Ground (via Harvard Business Review)”
Jim Collins and Jerry Porras introduced the concept of a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (or BHAG) in their 1994 book Built to Last. According to Collins and Porras:
A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as a unifying focal point of effort…It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal. It is tangible, energizing, highly focused. People get it right away; it takes little or no explanation.
BHAGs are more than just the set objectives or goals that describe what companies hope to accomplish over the coming days, months or years. While these goals help align employees of the business to work together more effectively, often these goals are very tactical, such as “achieve 10% revenue growth in the next 3 months.”
BHAGs define visionary goals in a more strategic, in the form of a vision statement “…an audacious 10-to-30-year goal to progress towards an envisioned future.” According to Collins and Porras:
A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.
Set correctly, BHAGs work – where it can even change the very nature of a business’ existence. And get this, I believe BHAGs work great in a branding and marketing context as well.
But what makes a good BHAG? From Collins and Porras, a good BHAG has four qualities:
Continue reading “Do You Have a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal?”