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C-Suite Radio Adds 20 New Podcasts

C-Suite Radio will add more than 20 New Business Podcast Programs — New Premium Content for Business Leaders

 

New York, NY, February 1, 2017C-Suite Radio, the premier source for the world’s leading business podcasts for c-suite leaders, business executives, and entrepreneurs, announced an expansion of its radio platform by adding more than 20 new programs to its 2017 lineup, making C-Suite Radio the first business only podcast network.

 

Featuring premium content from top thought leaders, designed to increase knowledge, deepen understanding, and build skills to enhance listeners’ personal and professional lives.  Shows have been selected to be part of C-Suite Radio by an editorial review team and will be categorized by Headliner, Feature, and Showcase, based on show exclusivity, quality, and more.

 

“As a sought after educational platform for executives, we’re thrilled to be expanding C-Suite Radio and growing our library of content,” said C-Suite Network Chairman Jeffrey Hayzlett. “Each of the shows and their hosts are very talented and provide top notch business content that will be an asset to our audience.”

 

The following shows will join C-Suite Radio this year:

• Absolute Advantage hosted by Kelly Hatfield

• Accelerate hosted by Andy Paul

• All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett

• Amazing Business Radio hosted by Shep Hyken

• The Avanti Entrepreneur Podcast hosted by David Mammano

• The Bell hosted by Adam Johnson

• Bizcast hosted by Kevin Craine

• The Bob Pritchard Show

• Business Builders hosted by Marty Wolff

• Business Matters hosted by Thomas White

• Businesses that Care hosted by Julie Ann Sulivan

• Conversations with Phil hosted by Phil Gerbyshak

• Crack the Customer Code hosted by Adam Toporek and Jeannie Walters

• The Female Insight Zone hosted by Maribeth Kuzmeski

• Marketing Today hosted by Alan Hart

• The Maximum Impact Podcast hosted by Allan Isfan

• Mere Mortals Unite hosted by Julie Ann Sullivan

• Mind Your Business hosted by Yitzchok Saftlas

• Nice Guys on Business hosted by Doug Sandler

• On the Schmooze hosted by Robbie Samuels

• SaaS Insider hosted by Shira Abel

• The TalentGrow Show hosted by Halelly Azulay

• The Top 1% Sellers Factory Podcast hosted by Ash Seddeek

• Uncopyable Ramblings hosted by Steve Miller

• Up or Out with Connie hosted by Connie Pheiff

 

Business radio hosts can submit their program to C-Suite Radio for review. Please visit the contact page at www.c-suiteradio.com.

 


About C-Suite Radio:

C-Suite Radio is the premier source of the world’s leading business podcasts for C-Suite leaders and business executives, featuring shows covering a range of topics, including sales, marketing, leadership, social media, finance, and management. C-Suite Radio features premium content from top thought leaders, designed to increase knowledge, deepen understanding, and build skills to enhance listeners’ personal and professional lives. Visit C-Suite Radio online and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

For more information, visit http://www.c-suiteradio.com.

Executive Briefings: How to Double the S&P 500

The C-Suite is a vast audience of leaders who all have a little extra insight into their industry and the current business world. Thomas White sits down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to share that insight and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

 

Thomas White is a co-founder and CEO of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders. Prior to C-Suite Network, White started 10 companies in the fields of technology, publishing, market research and corporate consulting. He also holds four patents and is co-author of a book on business process technology, executive producer of a syndicated radio program, and professional speaker.

 

Mr. White had the opportunity to interview Adam Johnson, Founder and Author of Bullseye Brief, an investment newsletter which presents thematic and actionable ideas for business leaders.

 

To hear more about their discussion, read more from this interview HERE.

 

 

C-Suite Network Brings Its Trusted Community of Executives to New York City

July 14, 2016 09:00 ET

C-Suite Network Brings Its Trusted Community of Executives to New York City

Registration Is Now Open for the C-Suite Convene in New York City From September 12-13

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – Jul 14, 2016) – The C-Suite Network, the world’s most trusted network of C-Suite leaders, will gather executives from across the country at TheTimesCenter, located in the heart of New Yorks’ vibrant Times Square district, from September 12-13. This is the first time the event will be held in New York City. The exclusive convene will showcase top C-Suite leaders and business school thinkers as they share ideas and gain valuable insights to build their own leadership and strategies.

Registration is now open for the two-day event, which connects attendees with industry experts, who share their wealth of experience and knowledge through keynote speeches, panel discussions, and interviews. New York’s convene will feature an exclusive lineup with content geared toward C-Suite interests.

Past presenters have included Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari Corporation & Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater and CEO of Brainrush; Kevin Jonas, musician and start-up founder; Beth Comstock, Vice Chair of GE; Paul Carbone, CFO of Dunkin’ Brands and more.

Content includes:
•Technology impacting how we relate to customers
•C-Suite secrets for protecting, growing and expanding your brand
•How to radically improve collaboration across your company
•Spotlight on technology that is boosting customer loyalty and its ability to deliver revenue growth
•Being the best leader of a diverse team

Networking and an engaging speaking program allow attendees to gain a competitive edge, incredible knowledge and key insights to bring back to their companies for continued growth and operational excellence.

“I’m thrilled to be bringing our C-Suite Convene to New York City where the company was founded,” said CEO and Co-founder, Thomas White. “The C-Suite Network strives to give its members exclusive access to their peers where ideas can be shared and invaluable business deals completed, there is no better place for that than New York.”

For more information about the upcoming C-Suite Conference or to request an invitation visit http://c-suitenetwork.com/conference/.

About C-Suite Network
C-Suite Network is the world’s most trusted network of C-Suite leaders, with a focus on providing growth, development and networking opportunities for business executives with titles of vice president and above.

C-Suite Network brings leaders together through C-Suite Collective, a private online community for executives. C-Suite Network also offers invitation-only conferences held three times per year, custom-tailored content on the C-Suite Network blog, C-Suite TV, C-Suite Radio, C-Suite Book Club, and educational programs from C-Suite Academy.  Learn more at www.c-suitenetwork.com, or connect on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Contact Information

Media Contact
Gena Larsen
TallGrass Public Relations
Email Contact
732-330-5145

Executive Briefings: Drama in the Workplace

By Thomas White, CEO of C-Suite Network

In my work, I meet business leaders from all over the world who have advice, stories and personal tips to provide. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to provide current business advice and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

I recently interviewed Diedre Koppelman, Founder and CEO of PEAR Core Solutions. Since founding PEAR in 2003, Deidre has worked closely with senior level executives, business owners and organizational teams, providing strategic management counsel and solutions across a variety of industries. Deidre puts her focus into organizational development, leadership development and behavioral analytics for her clients.

Drama has been with us a long time. Drama has been depicted in the arts, movies plots etc. How does a psychiatrist by the name of Steven Karpman illustration depicting drama explain the Drama Triangle?

The Drama Triangle is an inverted triangle with the three corners illustrating the dynamics of drama. Once we can understand what role we play on the triangle, the triangle can provide us with a map on how to get out of the triangle, and basically end the drama. Here is a breakdown of each of the roles:

  • The Victim – The victim’s stance is “Poor me!” The Victim feels victimized, oppressed, helpless, hopeless, powerless, ashamed, and seems unable to make decisions, solve problems, take pleasure in life, or achieve insight. The Victim, if not being persecuted, will seek out a Persecutor and also a Rescuer who will save the day but also perpetuate the Victim’s negative feelings.
  • The Rescuer – The rescuer’s line is “Let me help you.” A classic enabler, the Rescuer feels guilty if he/she doesn’t go to the rescue. Yet his/her rescuing has negative effects. It keeps the Victim dependent and gives the Victim permission to fail.
  • The Persecutor – The persecutor insists, “It’s all your fault!” The Persecutor is controlling, blaming, critical, oppressive, angry, authoritative, rigid and superior.

We often might see ourselves playing these different roles in different situations. Does this mean these roles are interchangeable?

Yes, these roles are interchangeable. Here is an example of how we go through and interchange these roles. You may be a victim of someone or something so you go to a Rescuer and ask “Please help me, I can’t get this done.” If the Rescuer cannot help the Victim, The Victim will move into the Persecutor or Bully role and will start to bully the Rescuer, who now moves down to being the Victim. The movement on the triangle can happen in minutes. As we keep going around and around, the drama escalates.

Drama is all around us, every day, is there anything we can do to eliminate drama?

There is definitely an antidote to drama — the power of TED. TED is the acronym for “The Empowerment Dynamic” which was formulated by David Emerald. The basic concept is that you are going from an anxiety-based and problem-focused situation, which is drama, to a more passion-based and outcome-focused dynamic, which is the empowerment dynamic.

It is important to know, for those who have control in their organizations, that establishing a zero drama tolerance is really important and that you will not accept drama. To remove drama from the workplace it involves removing one role from the drama triangle. By eliminating the victim, the drama is gone. Here is where “The Empowerment Dynamic” can come into play. The victim can become the creator. They become accountable, confident, and they know that they have choices in any situation and can envision different outcomes. This also applies to the rescuer. When a rescuer is approached by a victim, the rescuer will assume the role of coach, they do not see the victim as a victim, but as someone who is capable and resourceful. They empower the victim to make choices, to come up with solutions, to take action. The antidote for the persecutor is to really spark growth and challenge the victim with the intent to help them grow. By changing every single role, you are ultimately empowering the victim into the role of creator.

Is there an assessment you can use to help identify which role you or your employees are playing?

A good place to start is to set up a workshop on the drama triangle. This will allow for everyone to understand the different roles and to help identify, through self-awareness, when they are in one of these roles. Once you can identify if you are in the triangle, you can identify at any time who is in what role.

If someone comes to you, and they are helpless, they feel powerless, they have no control over a situation, they would be identifying someone who is in the victim role. When this happens, you can understand that they are looking for help, you can then jump into a creator, or coach role and ask them “What do you think we should do?” or “Why don’t you think about it, come back, and let’s discuss it.” You always want to empower someone to be resourceful and to look for the answers, to give them control and the power to get over their situation.

How do you be a good, empathetic listener but also try to be encouraging at the same time?

Once you identify when you are switching from a coach to a rescuer, you will want to be empathetic, want to help, want to listen to the victim. This is where you’ll want to set limits to your listening. If it is something that the victim is complaining about over and over again, then you are just enabling them, and that is not what you want to do. But if the victim comes to you and they have an issue, listen and then automatically switch to the coach role. There is always the balance of listening to what challenges someone is having, and being careful that you are not going to solve that person’s problems. You want to enable them and empower them to come up with solutions and support them.

 

The Truth: Performance Review Transformation is Not Over

By: Wally Hauck

“Wisdom is found only in truth.” – Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

It is difficult to find the truth especially in complex situations.  It can be elusive. It is often influenced by changes in our environment.  It can shift dramatically when we change how we think about the problems we are seeking to solve.  For example, some advertisements for cigarettes in the 1950 made claims that smoking was safe.  Some claimed even doctors enjoyed them without concern, they could keep you slim, and/or they could help relieve your asthma symptoms.  Today, those messages would be considered lies.

Are performance reviews effective or not?  According to some research (SHRM) 58% of managers say no and of course 42% say yes.  Jack Welch still defends the forced ranking of employees using the performance review (rank-and-yank). Steve Ballmer at Microsoft “yanked” that policy out of Microsoft because a large percentage of employees claimed it was one of the worse policies on the planet for engagement and innovation.   Who’s right? It depends!  How you think about people, problems, and the root cause of poor performance will influence your answer. 

There is a transformation occurring in the performance review process now.  Many large organizations are the early adopters of that transformation.  These include Adobe, GE, Deloitte, Google, and a few others.  Still nearly 85% of organizations continue to use the typical performance review model.    Yet many of those are now motivated more than ever to consider a change.  According to a recent survey by Bersin, 70% of the organizations surveyed reported either recently changing their performance management system or were seriously considering it.

What’s the motivation to change?  It’s the usual reasons and some additional new ones too.  For some it’s the need for speed.  The truth: annual reviews just don’t allow people to respond to the accelerated change in the marketplace.  Customers’ needs and desires change frequently and employees must be in a position to respond. The annual typical review stymies an organization’s ability to respond.

Still others are interested in improving employee engagement.  The typical review is notorious for damaging engagement.  Ratings are often seen as biased or manipulated. This is especially true of forced ranking systems.  Yahoo is currently facing a law suit brought on by their forced ranking system. 

Still others have come to realize their corporate values are being contradicted by their typical performance review process.  The truth: this contradiction with values has damaged productivity of disgruntled employees who are receiving the mixed messages.

On a more practical note, some of these early adopters of the transformation have finally come to realize the internal costs of conducting the typical review.    The time spent by managers to “do them right” far outweighs the benefits.  This is especially true when one calculates the loss of engagement, loss of productivity, and damage to the speed of response to changing conditions.

But, there is one more reason to transform the typical review.  In my opinion this reason is the most compelling of all because it gets to the very heart of the root cause of the failure of the typical review.  All the other reasons are symptoms.      When one finds a root cause it’s time to celebrate because you know you are close to a breakthrough in performance improvement.  As Dorothy Thompson once said, “There is nothing to fear except the persistent refusal to find out the truth, the persistent refusal to analyze the causes of happenings.”  The truth: the typical review has the wrong focus.  Its focus is on individual improvement and not on the quality of interactions. The early adopters are still making this mistake.

There are two ways an employee can obtain feedback, interpersonal interactions and system interactions. Interpersonal interactions concern behavior which the employee has total control.  System interactions involve other factors outside the control of the individual.

In most organizations it is the employee’s manager who is formally responsible for giving feedback to the employee.  The truth: this is a manager dependent process that can contribute to a sluggish bureaucracy.  As mentioned earlier, one of the major complaints of the typical performance appraisal is that feedback occurs infrequently and that infrequent feedback damages employee engagement which damages performance.  Why can’t everyone be allowed and/or obligated to give feedback when appropriate?  Few of the transformations allow feedback from anyone including co-workers.

Employees need to understand how their behavior impacts the performance of others. Every employee needs to behave with respect and integrity at all times or performance suffers.  Interpersonal interactions enable people to communicate with each other effectively as long as it is with integrity and respect.  When people are disrespectful they need to realize it and they need to change and they need to know immediately.  When they break integrity they need to know it and they need to change and they need to know immediately. 

Managers can influence the quality of the interpersonal interactions.  They can make them easier or harder. They can make them functional or dysfunctional.  When an employee’s behavior is discussed the influence of managers must be discussed as well.  The truth:  the transformation continues to point mostly in one direction i.e. toward the employee.  Few of the transformations encourage feedback to the manager from the employee.

System interactions, the second type of feedback, provide information about how well employees are working with their processes.  Employees influence their processes but they don’t control all the inputs.  The quality of the inputs to their processes will influence their performance.  An organization must recognize this and enable employees to communicate immediately when the inputs are not optimal. The current transformations are not clarifying this.

Employees should be able to receive frequent feedback from their processes.  Their manager and co-workers may need to give them feedback on the quality of their interpersonal interactions but feedback from the processes should not be fully dependent upon the employee’s manager.  The employee, if they understand how to study a process, can arrange to collect their own data.  The transformations are not addressing this concern. 

The truth: the transformation continues to focus on individual performance instead of the quality of the interactions therefore the transformation is not yet over.  I am hopeful the transformation continues to evolve in this direction otherwise performance improvement will continue to suffer and frustrations will continue.

Wally Hauck, PhD has a cure for the “deadly disease” known as the typical performance appraisal.  Wally holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Warren National University, a Master of Business Administration in finance from Iona College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.   Wally is a Certified Speaking Professional or CSP.  Wally has a passion for helping leaders let go of the old and embrace new thinking to improve leadership skills, employee engagement, and performance.

When It Comes To Your Brain, “Use It or Lose It”

By Dr. Tony Alessandra

Let’s explore some ideas for improving brain function by actually using your brain. This is very beneficial because the saying “use it or lose it” is definitely true where the brain is concerned.

Like it or not, the human brain starts slowing down at about the age of 30. At one time, it seemed like nothing could be done about this, but new research shows you can train your mind to work faster and better — and you can do this at any age. With the right tools, you can re-condition your brain to work as it did when you were younger. What’s needed is a clearly defined regimen of brain exercise. Just as you can plan to walk or run a certain number of miles every week, you can also commit to workouts for your brain in the same period of time. The key finding in modern brain research is that the brain at any age is highly adaptable. It’s “plastic,” as neurologists put it. If you ask your brain to learn, it will learn. Moreover, you can speed up the process.

Let me give you an example of something I’ve been doing along these lines. I had never been very interested in crossword puzzles. I’m not sure I had ever actually completed any kind of a difficult

crossword puzzle at any point in my life. Then I became aware of some research that seemed to show how doing puzzles could have benefits for brain function. So I tried it and some interesting things happened.

I found that it was definitely an enjoyable activity. I gave myself some freedom in how I did the puzzles, and I think this made it more fun. I tried not to approach it as if I were taking an exam, or as if I were trying to do some serious activity that was going to benefit my mind. I was just very open to it. I didn’t tell myself that I had to complete the crossword in any specific period of time. I would just get started on it and leave it out on the table, and then over the course of the day I’d add things. I was actually very surprised by how this worked. I would feel like I couldn’t possibly do any more on the puzzle, but then when I looked at it a few hours later I would see something that I had missed — and it would actually seem very obvious. Another thing that surprised me was the way a crossword puzzle could actually be a social activity. My wife and I could do them together, or she would add some words when the puzzle was left out and then I would add some different ones later.

The truth is, it hasn’t been established in any rigorous way that crossword puzzles benefit brain function. As I mentioned, there has been some study of that question, but a convincing answer hasn’t emerged yet. The same is true of the Japanese puzzles called Sudoku, which are basically crossword puzzles with numbers instead of words. What has been established, however, is that introducing new forms of mental activity can strengthen the brain and for me a crossword puzzle was a new form of activity. If people have been doing puzzles every morning for their whole lives, there probably is not much benefit. That’s especially true if doing puzzles has become a habitual behavior in which you’re mindless while you’re doing them. However, that wasn’t true for me. Instead, I was doing a mental activity in which my brain was asked to create new connections and to operate in new areas. I can’t document that this has had benefits, but my sense is that it has. So here’s what I urge you to do: whether it’s crossword puzzles or Sudoku or chess or bridge, challenge your mind to try something different.

Executive Briefings: Intersection of Leadership and Social Media

By Thomas White for Huffington Post

In my work, I meet business leaders from all over the world who have advice, stories and personal tips to provide. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to provide current business advice and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

I recently sat down with Rob Harles, Head of Social Business & Collaboration at Accenture Interactive. Rob joined Accenture from Bloomberg LP in New York where he was Global Head of Social Media responsible for developing and managing Bloomberg’s social media strategy and initiatives worldwide.

As a leader in social media for a long time, both at Bloomberg and now Accenture, what changes do you see in what expectations customers have of companies?

Customers have higher expectations than they’ve ever had. Social has acted as a catalyst for people to express their views, support, lack of support for brands, and what they expect brands to do, to live up to their promise. Only ten to fifteen years ago you wouldn’t have been able to do that. Brands were lucky enough to be able to tell you what they stood for and hope you believed it. Now you have to prove it, and social is acting as that catalyst.

We call it the ultra-transparency situation, and it affects how companies engage with customers. How would you describe this phenomena?

The phenomenon with social is really about people wanting to feel that they matter, and they want to be able to express that. It’s been around since the dawn of time, when we were just a nation of shopkeepers. As we grew and had to come to terms with the challenges of scaling businesses, we got more and more distant from our customers. The result was that we had to do standalone market research at a set point in time just to see where people’s needs or demands were going or how they felt about us. Now that’s changed. It’s 24/7. They’re telling you exactly what they need. They’re telling you exactly how they feel. Sometimes they’re telling you the extremes of that because there is less of a filter.

What do you see in the next five years? How is social media going to change as a medium, and how is it going to change the way we do business?

The advantage of real-time information is that we are addressing people’s issues faster. We are being more responsive. Organizations and brands are using the insights that come out of social to improve themselves, and that’s a good thing. But with that always comes challenges. This is where organizations go off the rails. At Accenture Digital, what we’re seeing is that companies are almost too ready to take data and do something with it and not really think about the implications. Also, it comes with the challenge of where do you draw the demarcation line in terms of privacy? How do you think about protecting the rights of your employees or the rights of your customers? There isn’t a day that goes by when there isn’t a headline about something like this. It’s creating great opportunities on the one hand, but it’s also creating a lot of challenges in terms of sensitivity and the law. Eventually we find our path. Eventually we figure out the right way to do something and sometimes we only do that by making mistakes. Sometimes the consequences of those mistakes are actually quite precious, but it still makes us better.

Let’s shift gears. As a leader, what are the traits that you most admire in other leaders?

Everybody is different. That’s the thing that I’ve recognized, and good leaders recognize that. We’re a little bit more open than we’ve ever been and don’t self-edit as much. Great leaders are ones who have a vision and are willing to be tenacious enough to drive that forward. An example would be if you say you want to have an innovative culture. It’s another thing to actually create an innovate culture. Great leaders are ones who are a little more flexible than they’ve ever been, but have great vision and can really motivate people to bring more than what they’re just asked to do. It’s like a puppy dog scenario. I love it when people come to me and they have an idea, it might not be a perfect idea, but it’s a start. They’re thinking. The worst situation is where you stifle that.

Along your way to becoming the leader that you are today, who has inspired you, and what about them inspired you?

I have to pay homage to some of the great thinkers and entrepreneurs that we’ve had in just the last few decades. Whether it’s Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs, or Steve Wozniak and many more. In so many ways they represent the unique American spirit of trying to do something that no one has done before. It’s high risk. I admire the people who are the unsung heroes who have tried something and it hasn’t worked. Most entrepreneurs, if they’re really honest, will tell you, “So much of our success is built not just on hard work or creativity.” But their little secret is luck and being able to see it and take advantage of it and run with it. Not everyone has that luck, but they have all the other things. Sometimes those unsung heroes drive us forward through the missed opportunities and the failures just as much as those who we venerate. I like to see people, generally, who try things and are okay with failing and picking themselves up, learning from it, and moving to the next thing.

Difficult Doesn’t Have to Be So Difficult: How to Turn Challenging Conversations into Trusting Relationships at Work

By Judith E. Glaser

No one could believe it – Radio Shack let thousands of people go and they did it through email!  Most people dislike delivering bad news in person, and will find any way to avoid it.

Making eye contact with another person who you care about, and with whom you need to deliver a difficult message – probably creates disappoint, upset or hurt – and is one of the most difficult things for human beings to do. So, rather than confronting these challenges, we often take too many alternatives which at the time seem to be less challenging or hurtful but later turn out to cause more pain.

Discussing/Delivering/Moving Through Bad News

Clouding the Issue

Two years ago I was asked to coach a CEO who was one of 6 reporting to a chairman. The difficult message the chairman wanted to give the leaders was that if she didn’t raise the performance of her team she would be asked to leave. Rather than giving that message, the chairman wrote a 6 page report that provided feedback and 98% was about how good the leader was. Embedded in the document were 2-3 lines, which briefly stated that the chairman expected a higher level of performance from the leader. When I asked the leader what this document communicated to her and what she would do as a result, she said she was doing everything right and therefore was on the right track for her bonus.

Failing to be candid with others is one of the largest reasons why people ultimately leave companies. When we think we are doing the right things, we keep doing them. When key messages are embedded into larger messages, they get lost, are “sandwiched in” which means we can easily discount them or deal with them as less important.

Candor is Golden 

People do care about outcomes, but they care more about the processes that produce those outcomes. People want to know where they stand and why. If there is a difficult message they need to hear, employees would prefer to know the truth rather than a watered down or clouded version of it.

Candor supersedes fluff in situations where truth is the medicine needed. Fear of telling a person they have failed, or are about to be fired, or they didn’t make the cut are realities in life. We all know this. Yet we do more harm to an individual by trying to soft pedal our way through a difficult conversation.  When people are candid with us – and do it in a caring way – we are open to building trust with them – it’s as simple as that.

Turning Difficult Conversations into Trusting Relationships at Work

How should a leader address customers; shareholders; the press; employees? Are there different components of the message that should be shared with one group and not another? Who needs what type of information? Most of all, how can you set the context for difficult not to be so difficult. The best strategy is to be specific and clear about what is happening, rather than clouding the message with hyperbole.

  • Unmet Expectations: Most difficult messages come from a very common origin. Unmet expectations. I failed to deliver the results you expected. You failed to deliver the results I expected. It is difficult because it contains embarrassment and disappointment – two things human beings dislike the most. It is a social embarrassment and when this is the core of the context, then people want to deflect the message, minimize it, blame others, avoid it – or any other tactic they can think of.Every difficult message has some dynamics that are unique to the situation. And each group of people may have different messages that are required to share, however there are a few things in common with all. These are all people – and in each case they are important relationships that you want to preserve and sustain even thought the message you need to discuss or deliver is different.
  • If you don’t care about the relationship then you can say anything you want. In this case you can “data dump” or get the situation off your chest and act mindlessly about how you say it. Sometimes this can be venting or letting it all out if the issue is about your relationships with them.
  • Caring: However in most other cases, if your goal is to share something that is considered “difficult” and you want to sustain the relationship, you need to set the context for a sustained relationship up front so the person knows that this may be difficult for both of you… and that you care about them regardless of how difficult the message will be.
  • Candor: In addition you want to be explicit and honest about what you are sharing. Candor communicates respect, and that is what people want most. Not candor that looks like blame, or anger, but candor that looks like the real truth…

Example:  Failure to Deliver Results on Your End
For example, your company failed to make its numbers this quarter and it’s because of a delay in the launch of a product. There will be an impact on stock price, or deliveries, on employee bonuses – so the impact is across the board with employees, shareholders, press and even customers. Identify where the impacts lie, take responsibility for the event, ask people to accept your apology, explain your new strategy for making it better, and asking for their on going support or help in any way that is needed.

Understand How to Address Fears, Concerns, and Worries:

  • Triggering:    ‘Feared Implications’

Very often just the thought of having a difficult conversation causes anxiety and fear. Our minds quickly create a movie of what might happen, and our minds are quick to imagine the worst. I call this ‘feared implications.’ Feared implications are the worst-case scenarios, and when our minds imagine the worst, the neurochemistry of fear takes over. The clinical name for this is Amygdala Hijack, named after the part of the brain, which is the seat of fear.

  • Priming:
    Do have the conversation in person
    whenever you can. When you talk with someone face-to-face, it primes the way for an honest and caring exchange and it does make a difference. People experience a great level of trust and openness when they see someone face-to-face and see the look in their eyes of caring and concern for their well being.
  • Refocusing & Redirecting:
    Do focus on outcomes
    and especially those that may be good or better for the person down the road. A person receiving bad news will be focusing on the loss and you want them to focus on how to use this situation to grow and to gain something better than what they had before. Redirect and refocus them on how to use this situation as an opportunity for change and growth.
  • Reframing:
    Do focus on development and growth not punishment and blame.
    Most people feel shame and embarrassment when something goes wrong. When you reframe a discussion from ‘criticism’ to ‘development’ it shifts the person from thinking, “I was bad” to “here are new ways to be successful.” This creates a new energetic shift in their brain from the fear state to being open to learn something new. The Heart-Prefrontal Cortex will start working together and become in sync to create a healthy state of mind – open to learn.
  • Co-creating:
    Fear closes down conversations. When the boss is afraid to talk, it amplifies the fear and feared implications. Instead, be open to discussing the impact and implications of the news. People will always say after the fact, that when a leader was open to discussion, it makes them feel that the difficult news was palatable. They feel if the process of exchange is fair and open, with candor, respect and caring, then they can accept the news. Also, if there is dialogue they may come up with other ways of handling the situation that had not been revealed before.

Judith E. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications, Chairman of the Creating WE Institute, Organizational Anthropologist, and consultant to Fortune 500 Companies and author of four best- selling business books, including Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (Bibliomotion). Visit www.conversationalintelligence.com; www.creatingwe.com; email jeglaser@creatingwe.com or call 212-307-4386.

Are you ready for the 21st Century Enterprise?

By Matt Preschern, CMO – HCL Technologies

Think of a national bank. Can you name its main competitors? If you simply listed rival banks, think harder. It has to fend off threats from Paypal, Square, SoFi and several lean start-ups that could jeopardize its business model with a cool, user-friendly app. And that’s not all. Threat looms from Apple, Amazon and Google, who are changing customer expectations dramatically with their digital and mobile payment services. Similar seismic shifts are playing out in virtually every business, from car manufacturers to airlines to healthcare companies. New digital rivals, epitomized by Uber and Airbnb, are derailing revenue and cost structures across industries. Not every industry is equally impacted by this disruption, but everyone is seriously concerned. Talk to any business leader across the world, and you will see these disruptive digital lean start-ups are a hot button issue. And they sparked some of the most invigorating discussions, while I was at the C-Suite Network Conference in Boston earlier this week. 

Millennials in the driving seat

Let’s step back a little and try to understand the forces shaping this massive wave of disruption. Millennials, the first generation of digital and social natives, are at the forefront of the action. Probably influenced by their always-on, multi-tasking, multi-device lifestyles, the digital-savvy cohort wants instant and personalized experiences. And they don’t shy away from sharing their brand preferences via digital and social channels. This generation is expected to spend $200 billion annually by next year and a whopping $10 trillion in their lifetime. That could motivate several companies to completely change how they interact, engage and address queries from customers.

Disrupt or get disrupted

This is a huge shift. How should you respond, if you are facing this volatility? Here is the mantra: Disrupt yourself and transform into a 21st Century Enterprise (21 CE) or get disrupted. Embracing digital, mobile, cloud and analytics is part of the picture, but there is more. To remodel into a 21 CE, your company needs to transition to a customer-centric and outcome-based model and adopt an agile and lean structure to continually adapt to a dynamic market. These multi-pronged transformations are not easy for large well-established companies with thousands of employees and assets worth billions of dollars. They need to completely overhaul their customer experience, operational processes and business models. Take outcome-based model, for instance. Companies that sell products will instead offer subscription-based services around their products. Their revenue won’t depend on the number of units shipped but on delivering solutions that directly produce quantifiable results. In the new business landscape, the transaction doesn’t end at the checkout or after a social media review of their experience.

Uber-proof your company

In an era where the relationship with your customers, employees and ecosystem is continually evolving, it’s important to lay focus on ‘how’ to make yourself uber-proof. Let’s take some time to look at few important changes one needs to embrace in adopting the 21 CE company culture and model:

 1.       Balance new power structures: Digitalization and other tech initiatives need a lean and agile structure that could break down silos and short-circuit lengthy corporate processes. This could rejig several departments and power structures.  

2.       Focus on experience: It’s not enough to give customers the product they want and when they want. Brands need a strong emotional connect that sets them apart in customer’s minds and hearts.

3.       Be consistent across touch points: A 21 CE organization needs to go beyond digital and provide their customers the same, consistent experience across channels, from web to social media to physical stores.

 4.       Personalize Interactions: It’s crucial to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. This requires advanced digital marketing tools and predictive analytics models that collect information, extract meaningful insights and then convert them into real-time and tangible business actions and outcomes in line with shifting market trends.

 5.       Reorient and Reskill: To survive and thrive in this environment, everyone in the team must ‘up their game”. This new age environment demands us to reskill for all key characteristics of 21 Century Enterprise across aspects of  economics, human experience, design, unified ecosystem and the 21st century buyer journey.

So, it’s a tough re-alignment. But make no mistake. It’s not optional. Since 2000, 52% of the Fortune 500 companies have merged, been acquired, gone bankrupt, or fallen off the list as competition intensified and business models got disrupted, according to Constellation Research.  So, don’t be afraid to break things in order to make them better. There’s no other way to keep pace with today’s fast-changing world.

The Humor Advantage: Five Keys to Effectively Using Humor That Can Help You Laugh All the Way to the Bank.

Can more funny equal more money? Without question. There truly is a bottom-line advantage to leveraging your humor resources and branding your business with humor. Here are five guiding principles to help you and your business laugh all the way to the bank.

1. First, Do No Wrong

Great advice for doctors or would-be corporate jesters. Make sure the humor you use in your branding laughs with people, not at people. Laugh at yourself, not in a, “I’m a loser” kind of way, but in a way that lets people know you don’t take yourself overly seriously. Stay clear of political, ethnic, gender or sex-based humor. Remember that having permission to use more humor at work is not permission to act like a jerk. It doesn’t give you license to offend or humiliate people, or disparage their character. It’s about being more human, having a bigger heart, and demonstrating greater humility.

The number one fear corporate clients express about using humor at work is that it will invite all manner of obnoxious behaviors eventually leading to lawsuits. Yet, companies such as the Las Vegas based online shoe retailer Zappos, that embrace an enormous amount of fun and humor in their workplace, rarely – if ever – experience anyone crossing the proverbial humor line. Why? Because the style of humor employees use reflects their culture. If you create a respectful workplace culture, as Zappos has done, then the humor will remain respectful.

2. Be Authentic

Humor can break down barriers and build trust, provided the humor used creates and reflects authenticity. As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “The whole object of comedy is to be yourself. The closer to that you get, the funnier you will be.” This applies at a corporate level as well. Customers are savvier than ever and more cynical than ever. They’ll see through half-hearted attempts at humor that seem to be nothing more than manipulative and insincere window dressing. The need for authenticity applies to leaders and employees as well.

The Canadian airline WestJet, modelled after Southwest Airlines, understands the importance of authentic humor. As with Southwest Airlines, flight attendants and pilots at WestJet Airlines are encouraged to bring their personalities to work and to use humor when delivering announcements, but with one large caveat: Be your authentic self. The last thing WestJet wants (or their passengers, for that matter) is a flight attendant pretending to be funny or feeling forced to sing a rap song when they aren’t comfortable doing so. But allowing employees to be their authentic selves and use their own style of humor while delivering great service is what has helped WestJet and Southwest Airlines soar to success.

3. Be Congruent With Your Brand

The humor you use at a corporate level must fit your style. It needs to be congruent with your brand. if you have a classy brand, then your humor, for the most part, should be classy. If you want to be known as an edgy company, then use edgy humor.

Kentucky’s Big Ass Fans, for example, uses a fair amount of edgy humor on its website, which seems appropriate given their name (even though the ass they speak of is a donkey). Their name generates controversy, which Big Ass Fans uses to their advantage by including some of the hate mail they receive on the kudos section of their website. They even have a hilarious video that pokes fun at the entire controversy. It’s edgy humor befitting a company that has embraced an edgy name, but the humor they get away with wouldn’t be appropriate for a more family-friendly or conservative business. Make sure the humor you use contributes to and reflects the brand image you want to project.

4. Be Relevant

The more the humor you use at your workplace is relevant to your business, the more memorable and effective it will be. Humor for the sake of humor can be a fabulous tool, but relevant humor that ties into your unique challenges, issues, products, local attractions, branding, and industry is far more effective.

The Dirty Laundry winery is one of my favorite wineries in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. The name comes from an historic Summerland laundry that reportedly housed a brothel, earning the business the nickname “The Dirty Laundry”. It’s a playful, fun name that invites a lot of humor – and the key to their branding success is that they keep the humor relevant to their name and theme. So the winery’s logo features a red-hot iron with images of women in the steam; their tagline reads: “The Okanagan’s Dirty Little Secret”. Their newsletter is called Laundry Lines, and their welcome sign resembles a giant sheet hanging on a clothesline. The entrance gate posts are giant clothes pegs. The tasting room/gift shop is reminiscent of an old-fashioned bordello (not that I’d know what one looks like) complete with lingerie strewn about the display cases. They sell products such as pink stiletto wine bottle holders. And of course their wine names include such gems as, “A Secret Affair,” “Naughty Chardonnay,” and “A Girl in Every Port.” Even the descriptions of the wine are playfully suggestive.

The more relevant the humor, the more likely it is to reinforce and strengthen your brand, your image, and your products.

5. Embrace a Spirit of Fun

Beryl Health is a call center company that has built a wildly successful business with an employee turnover rate that’s the envy of their competitors. The key to their success has been to focus relentlessly on nurturing a positive and fun culture. Who, after all, wouldn’t want to work in a company where the human resources manager has the alternative job title The Queen of Fun and Laughter? Beryl embraces a fun culture that starts at the very top, with CEO Paul Spiegelman. And yet, Spiegelman admits to being an introvert, and not a particularly funny person. “I’ve come to learn that it’s not about being funny, but about encouraging and creating a culture that embraces a spirit of fun.”

Ultimately, using humor effectively to brand your business is about embracing a spirit of fun rather than trying to be funny. Embracing a spirit of fun suggests a lightness, a willingness to play, and a spirit of inclusiveness.

Michael Kerr is an international business speaker who travels the world researching, writing, and speaking about inspiring workplace cultures and the use of humor in business to drive success. His latest book is called, The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank