What keeps the PR Pro Up at Night?


So what does keep the CEO up at night? And is she/he the only one not sleeping? Really? No doubt, you’ve probably read a story or been asked to consider that age-old business question before.The idea is really to know and understand the challenges of the leader. There’s certainly merit in that. And yes, an argument could be made for trumping that sentiment by considering what keeps the CUSTOMER up at night. But I thought it might be fun to consider what makes your PR person bolt up in the middle of the night.

That’s not to say PR is or should be the be all, end all. If you work in public relations, you already know it’s not about you. Everything we do is in support of someone or something else.That’s our job. We help others tell their story. I like to say we make great first lieutenants. You know the type, expertly advising confidentially and planning strategically, but nary an unnecessary peep out of them unless the situation truly warrants it – like mutiny on deck or unforeseen absence of the subject matter expert. If you’re the leader, PR’s got your back. And we don’t look for any big recognition of that.

Still, just for fun, let’s hear the PR voice on the “up all night” theme. Just as those C-suite stories are trying to give us insight into the life of top leaders in order to work with them better, let’s consider what you may or may not do when working with your PR support that results in our sleepless nights. My PR friends can just shoot me now – or chime in!

So, what keeps a PR pro up at night? Here’s my top 5. What are yours?

1. No coverage
Your boss and the boss’ boss and everyone else is expecting pick-up of that story, release or pitch and you don’t have any confirmed interviews – yet. It doesn’t matter that “editing by committee” means the words barely resemble anything you thought would work but you did what you could to rescue and save the day.

Advice to PR: If you were smart enough to make a last-ditch save when presenting to your media contact, or had enough finesse to lower internal expectations, get some shut eye. Miracles have been known to happen and relationships count. If this is happening day-of, better start dreaming about a new way to tell the story – pronto!

Not in PR: You hired for their expertise. Listen.

2. Preempted coverage
Darn that news cycle but it really is all about timing and relevance. A big national story that rocks all the outlets or even a local disaster that prevents a TV crew from attending your event will likely knock your story off the play list. This is the “no fault” zone. Don’t lose sleep worrying about what might happen.

Advice to PR: Okay, you may have picked the date. We usually do get asked when is the best time to issue – unless it’s a major company-wide item like a product launch or acquisition that may be dictated. Hopefully you did your homework about other events and even competitive or national announcements expected on your date. But let’s be honest. You probably won’t know when something that big is going to happen. Now’s the time to think fast about how to tie to that national trend. If you can’t, make a call about going to plan B – like how to still get the story out without the event. Then go to bed. You will need your rest for tomorrow!

Not in PR: Some things really are beyond control. Embrace plan B.

3. Little coverage.
It happens. We may not bat 100% every time or live up to that oft-felt expectation of outdoing the amount of coverage received prior. Still, a story should get more than one piece of coverage (unless only targeted to one, of course). IMHO this most often occurs when the PR pro gets a reputation for providing “junk” stories or spokespersons. Either the story doesn’t work for the audience or the pitch is bad or you are hitting them up too often (likely with junk) or the media contact is simply tired of interviewing spokespersons that can’t tell a differentiating story.

Advice to PR: Your relationships are bad. Maybe that’s an internal issue that you can’t get approval and traction for a message that will actually work or your spokespersons need training – or it could be that your external relationships need work. You have likely become the PR pest, probably because of the internal pressure you’re under, but nonetheless, you or your story just aren’t hitting the mark. Stay up all night! Regardless of where any fault may lay, it is your job to figure out how to research and rock a pitch.

Not in PR: Don’t force non-newsworthy news and marketing speak. The reputation of your PR person becomes your company reputation. Cry wolf and the pack won’t cover.

4. Early coverage
This is another “what if” dream PR will have all night or for several nights before a big announcement. What happens if someone leaks the news early? It’s enough to send PR into a frenzy, despite the 99.999% chance that it was someone outside of PR. Or perhaps you actually have an embargo on an announcement and someone didn’t honor it. In that case, call them on it. Most outlets will take down early news if they were in error. But first make sure it wasn’t your mistake of assuming they would honor an embargo (fewer are these days).

Advice to PR: Try candles and a hot bath or meditation. Whatever outside method you can use to get those thoughts out of your head. You can’t control it. BUT, you can plan for it. Build a what-if scenario plan into your strategy upfront, especially if this is a major announcement. Then relax because you have done all you can do.

Not in PR: Leaks do happen when you work with humans. Remember that. PR will do all humanly possible to prevent it.

5. OMG, coverage!

Sometimes you just don’t want it. Could be any number of reasons, including SEC regulations on preemptive disclosures. Of course, I’m not talking about hiding or anything immoral, inappropriate or illegal – in that case stop dreaming and start reporting! This is another what-if scenario that PR will worry about. It can also be our reaction when a spokesperson is screaming about being taken “out of context.” That is OMG coverage, too.

Advice to PR: This one is truly all about planning. If you haven’t done that, you will lose sleep. So prepare and get your zzz’s. This may be very similar to the early coverage scenario (hence a leak), but it could also be that you are getting coverage on something unanticipated that went public. Either way, you will sleep better if you play out the scenario possibilities in your strategic planning and not in your nightmares. For the case of an “out-of-context” screamer, keep calm and let them spout. IMHO, most likely the reporter got it right. Tomorrow, you can start planning more media training sessions. Tonight, sweet dreams.

Not in PR: Remember there are three sides to every media story. Yours. The reporter’s. And the PR expert. Learn to understand all three. You’ll sleep better, too.

Night, night.


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What if Business Took Personality Tests? Would you want a Pizza this?

Ah, football, pizza, personality tests, brand, business. Not much in common? You’ll see. Chances are, at some point in your career you have filled out a personality test. Some companies even give them as a basis for employment. Back in 2008, 40 percent of members responding to an American Management Association survey indicated that they use testing to hire. (Imagine that’s even greater today). Much of that was about thinking skills and job aptitude but even then personality testing was on the rise.

During the same timeframe, another survey found that 40 percent of the Fortune 100 used some form of psychological testing. (Whew, makes one glad to have passed the test, huh?) Today, Wharton professor Adam Grant claims that 89 of the Fortune 100 all use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Some people can rattle off their MBTI  at will. It is the most widely known of all the tests, but it’s not the only one. When I was in grad school, we were all schooled in Birkman. Yet another version in a leadership course had each of us pegged as animal types.

I don’t know about you, but no matter what the test, it never ceases to amaze me how dead-on they can be – even the shortened, quick quiz versions currently making their way around Facebook. From what Disney character you are (uh, the grown up one, I think), to what character you are on any number of popular shows. While there have been arguments against the use of personality tests for employment, when the stakes aren’t so high and/or choice is involved, people do seem to have fun with them.

Maybe it’s the whole “New Year, New Beginning” state-of-mind that is drawing so many to take, repost and report on those quizzes lately in the very public social media world, but there it is, your quick-look personality compilation staring back at you like the whole world knew before you did. Okay, yes, I admit it can be intriguing. I actually did the MBTI quick quiz recently and posted the result. For me, the fun part was finding those kindred spirits with the same traits, not so much thinking how I might manage a relationship differently due to the newfound wisdom about someone who apparently doesn’t fall in the same sandbox. I mean, I don’t know what to do with a guy who claims to be Chewbacca.

But this all makes me wonder — what would happen if we were able to turn the tests around? Would you want to know the unofficial, official “personality” of your company or one you want to join? Would the world of work be any different if businesses had to do personality tests? And who would do them? I mean, the leadership team might have a different perspective than, say, the new hire; the HR team different than the frontline; and we all know Marketing somehow manages to see the world differently than Sales, right? But those darn tests have found a way to be incredibly accurate so some smart researcher could surely figure this out.

Of course, there are firms that conduct surveys of various businesses and get a pulse for how in-tune the top is with how the employees are feeling. And people like me regularly consult with organizations who want consistency in their brand, particularly from a message perspective. And others do study corporate cultures. And brand firms get a lot of money to help you figure out your brand personality. But, hey, why keep that to yourself? Shouldn’t there be a free, quick-test for company personality? One that they can’t wait to share on their social media sites?

So while we are all having fun with those silly yet insightful personality tests, I thought I’d have a little fun with one for organizational personality. Which brings me to pizza. Did you know Super Bowl Sunday is one of the 5 best sales days for pizza, according to Pizza Today? So maybe a little comparison to pizza brands would be fun.

Lookover the list below. Which one most sounds like your company? Are you brave and proud enough to repost? Join in. Chow down. Sure, get a beer if you want. Maybe you’ll even come up with the questions we would need to ask in such a test. Or for now, just figure out which pizza brand your company is most like.

Who knows, maybe someone will actually come up with a quick business persona quiz that we all want a ‘pizza.’

If Our Business Were Like Pizza, We Would Be:

  • Papa ain’t on the Prairie – At our company, we go big or go home. Our CEO is the brand. We are the rest of the team. If it is worth making, it is worth fighting for. This is family and our secret sauce is thicker than water. We have a right to believe our product is and always will be #1. We’ll bring it home! Go team!
  • Don’t Tear Down the Roof – Sure, we’ve seen competitors come and go. But if it’s under our roof, we got it goin’ on. Even when the rain must fall, we’ll be here. I mean, haven’t we always been? You don’t come to our house looking for anything different, do you? We’re the sure thing. Come on over!
  • Hey, no more 30 or free from me – Yeah, your org has made mistakes. Probably incentivized some practices that just didn’t pan out, but we’ve got a new flavor of the month for you and we’ll guarantee the quality this time, not the speed. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll just keep adding on the goodies until you can’t resist the price per temptation. Ah, sweet!
  • Two-fer, two-fer and cheap, cheap – Hey, we don’t claim to be the best, but we’ll make sure you don’t part with too much of your hard earned dollars. We can get you all the product you need, heck we’ll give you double or nothing. Little man will spin around thinking there’s two of you coming and going. And that cheap, cheap just keeps repeat, repeat!
  • Papa don’t preach, we can catch you with raw talent – We’re the new guy on the block, relatively speaking. And we’ve got a novel idea. We can make just as much by serving up our product in its unfinished state. Let someone else do the thing that’s not central to our core. We’ll rake in the dough with half the reach of the big boys. Ah, innovation!

So, what will you be serving up this year?

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Cha-cha-cha-Changing: Do your prospects know you’ve changed?

Black Biz Woman thinking

Which do you think is harder … making a change or getting people to realize you have? Granted, some of us may seem like change addicts to those who hang on to the familiar for long periods of time, but everyone – and every company – faces change at some point in their lives and their career.

As someone who could be seen as a bit of a change aficionado, my oft-mentioned joke is, “I love change … as long as I’m driving it.” But I may be a bit of an exception.  Research has time and again confirmed that people resist change (and I have certainly had my moments as well). Despite all the constant change around us, especially in the work environment, McKinsey & Company reports that about 70% of all changes in organizations fail. And that’s been consistent for decades, even during and post-Six Sigma.

So whether you like to change things up or want to run the other way, the New Year is a good time to think about change and how it is communicated.

Which brings me to a recent experience and interesting consideration regarding the whole change mode, especially as it relates to organizations and brands. I recently had the opportunity to observe a group of individuals who were strangers to each other yet treated the entire group like a loving, supportive family. They were all there to talk about a common challenge. The surprising factor was that over and over again, individuals expressed that while they felt they had come through the challenge, they were convinced the hardest part was getting acceptance that they had changed.

Hmmm.  Which made me think. In this world of constant workplace change, be that downsizing, upsizing, outsourcing, insourcing, innovations, incriminations, reorganizations, disorganization, market shifts, product upcycles, market down cycles, branding and rebranding – how many people actually “get it” that you or “it” has changed?

I have been surprised on more than one occasion to run into someone (especially when that someone is connected to me on LinkedIn), only to get a comment about how’s it going with a position I held, not currently or last but even two positions prior.  And it wasn’t until very recently when reconnecting with a former colleague that I was shocked myself to realize it really wasn’t all that long ago time wise.

That’s how it is with change. You get caught up in it. And you keep moving. Quickly. To the next project, the next promotion, the next big event in your career timeline. And despite our ever connected world, your “people” aren’t always keeping up with you. They are busy doing their own thing. They are managing, ignoring or driving their own change.

So it certainly is within the realm of high probability that the same is happening each time you make an internal change that the external world doesn’t catch. It can happen when you downplay an underperforming product and introduce a new version that seems perfectly different in your eyes. But does your customer see it that way? Has the outside really caught on to what has changed on the inside? Have they heard you? Same goes for renewed branding. Brands are living breathing change mongers, too – and it can take the world a while to catch on.

The point is, it’s all about communication. Unfortunately, in this day of content driven marketing, we are actually communicating less. We think more content means more of our “people” – the customers, prospects, employees, connections, reporters, bloggers, analysts, friends and well, strangers that review our content – will hear us even better.  In reality, they are hearing less because everyone is shouting out their changes at rapid fire. There is so much content today, it is increasingly challenging to hear above the noise.

And every expert wants to sell you the golden ticket for cutting through the clutter. I suppose I’m no different.  I believe by coupling today’s communication techniques with the wisdom of experienced learnings, my clients can be heard. I certainly love the challenge of it anyway. But I don’t need to sell you on the need for communication because really, it is just common sense.

So I leave you with these reminders about communicating any change. It’s not rocket-science. Never was. It is what we all know but don’t apply. The New Year would be a great time to remind ourselves of that.

5 Common Sense Reminders about Change Communication

  1. COM 101: Sender/Message – Receiver/Acknowledgement. One continuous circle. If you aren’t hearing any response, your message isn’t resonating.
  2. Really know your audience – Sure, we all know no one can afford to market today without segmentation, but there’s still a lot of room to actually understand the nuances of the individuals within that segment and what makes them tick.
  3. Match your message to the listener – You naturally use different language when you explain what you do to a prospect than say, your mother-in-law or the kid next door. Take a tip from PR: know multiple ways to deliver the same message in a different way (and while you’re at it, match the channel you will use, i.e. video, mobile, social media, print, etc. to the target, too).
  4. Content must be valuable to the listener – Duh. Despite all our blogging and wisdom sharing, it’s still not about what we want to say. It’s about what will be the most valued by the listener.  Match the content to where they are on the cycle of change (particularly for internal change communication). If you’ve done your research on #2 and #3, you will build better content.
  5. It’s storytelling that draws us in. Content management isn’t all that different to other in vogue processes of the past (remember IMC?). Beyond greater measurability, the real difference today is the acknowledgement (finally!) that delivering an honest and interesting story is the caveat to engaging communication.

What other common sense approaches do you use to dialogue about change?

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A Twisted Thanksgiving: 5 Ways to Get Your Giving On!

English: Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Resized,...

English: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Resized, renamed, and cropped version of File:Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs.svg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey, I knew there would be a barrage of posts and blogs this time of year touting how thankful someone is for every precious thing – and rightfully so – but I thought it might be an interesting twist to think about the other half of ThanksGIVING. Yeah, folks, the giving part.

Sure we are all full of thanks. I am, too. I can’t begin to tell you the boatload of incredible moments I am thankful for – I prefer that to being thankful for ‘things,’ by the way. Which I am – I mean I sure do like the new things I was able to get for my new house – but when it comes right down to it, it is the memories, the relationships, the moments that we’re really thankful for, isn’t it? Experiences make a difference in everyday life, and work life, too.

So enough about being thankful. Let’s move on to giving and take it up a notch or two on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Here’s what I – oh one of periodic, momentary infinite wisdom (okay, yeah, I’m LOL with you) – want to tell the world, and particularly business about GIVING this Thanksgiving.

  1. Giving starts at home. We learn from our family unit what it means to give. On the job, your employees and leadership are like one big family. (I know, some of you think that is a stretch but you sure spend a lot of time together. And I bet you’d find the bratty little sister, bully brother, overly huggy auntie, distant weirdo uncle … etc., etc. at any work ‘family’ gathering, but I digress). The point is show by example. Big business, little biz. It doesn’t matter. Start a tradition of being a giving role model for your community and for your employees.
  2. Giving doesn’t always mean money. Sure, we all like it. Employees love that bonus money any time it makes its way past the taxman. But studies have shown (I read that somewhere) that the glow of getting money is very soon forgotten. (That is, as long as you have enough to meet your basic needs). Revisit Maslow’s Theory. What we all want is to be respected, to be included, to be acknowledged for the work we do. Figure out what you can give that will be more or at the very least as valued as cash.
  3. Look to Millennials for inspiration. It is so true that the impact of a small deed on one person may have exponentially greater impact than you will ever know, but as a business you should be thinking biggest impact ever! How innovative can your business be? What can you give – (talent, resources, connections, to name a few) to address an issue that needs attention? Will you start a new collaboration for greater impact? The Millennial generation already gets that – hence the growth of so many social media platforms for collaborative giving. What do they know that you don’t know? How to be innovative and respond to a spark that can start a fire for a cause!
  4. Figure out why you give. As a former corporate Foundation administrator, I will always remember being barraged once by an employee who wanted to tell me why he didn’t want any part of a certain annual giving campaign. My answer? Everyone has different passions, different interests and different reasons to give (or not). It is up to each of us to know what that means for us, personally, while respecting the decisions of others. As a business, you also need to know what makes sense for your company. And company giving absolutely must match your passion for business. Huh? Business is in the business to make money. Yes. And giving can in the long-term enhance your business prospects – and in the short-term enhance your tax write-off. (And thank goodness, most businesses know it is way more than being about the write-off!) But if your company giving doesn’t match in some way to the business you are in – whether it is supporting aligned causes, laying the groundwork for future employees or customers, keeping current ones engaged or meeting a major need where you are based – then you are throwing away a valuable part of the giving equation. For it is an equation of equal value (albeit not always readily apparent) but equal for the business and the recipient.
  5. Don’t shout it from the Mountaintop. That may seem odd for a public relations pro to say.  After all, it is often my job to help business’ tell their stories and a story of good deeds is a nice warm & fuzzy. But there is a time and place for everything and there’s a fine line between doing good and exploiting. Generally speaking (and there are exceptions), don’t jump on the bandwagon of announcing your latest donation to the pot that everyone else is filling. Or at least, be the one to start a new pot. But don’t shout it out from the Mountaintop. If your reasons are valid, the echo will shout it out for you.

And with that, I am off to GIVE to the terrific people who have made a difference in my business and my world this year. And yeah, I will thank them, too.

What will you be doing this ThanksGIVING? I’d love to hear.

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Don’t You Dare Spin This: Media Prep for Execs

exec speaking

If there is one thing I don’t like about public relations (PR), it’s the perception of spin. Sure, I have on a few occasions laughed along with the hints and winks because, well, it is the point of reference for so many and in an odd sort of way it helps them grasp what I am trying to relay about staying on message. I have had bosses and clients alike tell me to ‘spin’ this or that.  But what I and they typically mean is to  ‘do my magic’ and write it better. Or at least I hope that’s what they meant.

Regardless, PR isn’t nor should it be spin. Despite some perceptions, you simply cannot spin a lie. You will get caught and it is just not worth it.  If you want to work in PR, you do indeed need to live by the PRSA Code of Ethics.

For many corporate clients, the ‘aha’ moment comes when they think of PR messaging as similar to sales messaging. While It isn’t exactly the same (there are very important differences), it is helpful to think of certain aspects of the typical sales approach ‑ you listen first, put your best foot (features) forward and you don’t dwell on any lacking qualities. But number one, you are always prepared to respond to questions with a circle back to your best features.

As a matter of fact, one of my favorite roles in PR is preparing executives for media interviews. Just like any sales interaction, you really do need to be overly prepared. Your PR counsel should anticipate the questions you are likely to receive and when possible, role play the responses.

Is that spinning? No. Is that positioning? Probably. Is that an attempt to deceive? No! Getting the attention of a swamped reporter – whether they represent traditional or new media – is challenging enough without having the opportunity for coverage fall apart because the spokesperson couldn’t tell an effective story. Rehearsing and/or providing briefing materials helps the executive think through how to concisely present the news story – i.e. the desired message.

Executives are busy, too, of course, and not all buy into the idea that they need to plan for media interviews just like they would a customer meeting. But when they do, I can tell you from 25+ years of helping execs prepare – prep sessions significantly increase the likelihood the story will come out the way you hoped!

There is another important reason for a prep session before media interviews. Just like the rest of us, reporter personalities differ. Some like to use the gruff curmudgeon personality to see if you reveal anything ‘juicier’ when cornered. Some are sweet as pie and occasionally bad for the diet. Some are like wolves if sheep’s clothing with the claws coming out after the initial pleasantries. Most are appreciative and anticipating talking to a really great expert that will make their job easier by understanding the audience, offering important perspective and a “real” quote (meaning, not the corporate speak in the press release). All are simply doing their job and finding the way that works best for them.

The personality you get may be the result of trial and error to find an approach that actually gets the info they need, or by nature of the pressure of the job, impending deadlines, or yes, even an historical annoyance with interviews that end up being more of a time suck than anything beneficial for their story. Have to admit, that sounds like everyone I know in business and PR, too. We all have our good days, our bad days and our good and bad ways.

Another good reason to prep? Generally speaking, the executive isn’t expecting a reporter will challenge their answers. I mean, outside of a big stakes sales pitch or investor interaction, how many people does an executive interact with in a day that actually challenge their statements (to their face)?! So it is important to guide and counsel the executive on how to manage their limited time slot if the questions start going off topic. They need to think ahead and plan how to circle back and still relay the desired messages.

When it comes to preparing executives for media interviews, you’ll want a seasoned PR counsel who can gain the exec’s trust enough to be forthright with advice. If your PR counsel is attempting to ‘spin’ or gloss over how the exec is doing during prep – that is a disservice. In many ways, it’s not about the exec at all.  It’s about leveraging their expertise – their clout and knowledge – to tell the story. Bottom line, it’s about the company and relaying the company message – not stroking the exec’s ego (although that is often one of the biggest hurdles to work with – hence another reason for good counsel/exec rapport).

And while I rather enjoy being able to think fast with immediate feedback and/or devil’s advocate questions that the exec’s response could conjure up, it’s certainly not about me (as PR counsel) either. It really is all about presenting a company story that resonates, educates and interests the reporter’s audience. No spin required!

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Put this in your bundle and … gain business mind share!

Asian bizman laptop phone

Bundling has been all the rage for a while now. It makes me wonder if there is a legitimate business benefit for bundling corporate social responsibility (CSR).

When it comes to packaging products and services for a more enticing deal, cable companies, software goliaths and fast food entities have long since latched on to the idea of offering various options in ever increasing share of wallet bundles. And when companies are struggling to maintain their market share, there’s often a land grab to add more services revenue via what – via bundling!

Bundling always reminds me of The History Channel’s American Pickers show where a couple of expert antique lovers drive around country back roads with the theme “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” deep in their hearts and wallets. When they can’t strike a deal, Frank always goes for the bundle – trying instead to get the item he really wants by throwing another item in to a ‘made on the spot bundle.’ Works like a charm.

Certainly Marketing pros have been in the business of bundling for some time as well. With today’s lead generation and conversion demands, offering bundles (aka packages) is a great way to attract new customers and perhaps more profitably, to upsell current ones. It’s all about increasing share of mind – and share of wallet.

So how can the CSR movement benefit from that mentality? Well, let’s think about what typically goes on internally to garner support for the CSR platform. You have the environmental, health and safety side of the house (EH&S), understandably concerned with meeting ever-changing regulations.

Then there’s the community relations side, separated in the unbundled silo’d world of many corporations, and until recently most concerned with philanthropy and volunteer placement. Throw in HR, Legal, Public Relations (PR) and Communications (COM) each with their own charges and deliverables that touch CSR, including diversity, safety, employee engagement, corporate storytelling and more.

So along came CSR and their worlds started to well, to look a lot like American Pickers’ free-styling picks. People apparently are collectors of not just any one thing, but everything – and their worlds become a mishmash of great and incredible and dusty and dirty and well, not so organized stuff.

Kinda’ like when EH&S and Community and HR and Legal and PR and COM try to come together internally.  You know instinctively that there is there is something of huge and greater value in there – somewhere – but getting there is not without its challenges. One of those is how to sell management and employees alike on the benefits of moving toward an integrated, transparent CSR focus.

Those already actively involved in CSR know the benefit of bundling. After all, whether you talk about 3BL – the triple bottom line – or the 3 P’s – People/Planet/Profitability – you are offering a bundled way to talk of the benefits of responsibility in business.

So, in the spirit of bundling for those newer to the field, here’s a few hypothetical bundles you might offer to help your internal audiences understand the benefits of integrated CSR. Just like marketing packages, you can pick and choose your options, moving up with each package for greater service – and greater benefits. Happy picking!

  1. The Business Survival Bundle
    Select this bundle to get the basics of CSR. With this bundle, you bring together all of the internal stakeholders that need to be notified and involved when your business faces its next – or first – crisis. Perhaps your supplier slips in its compliance to labor laws, or an environmental issue is about to go public, or a whistleblower has brought interest groups or media to your door – you need this bundle to prepare for any issue that may impact the survival of your business!
  2. The Business Outcomes Bundle
    Select this bundle when the outcomes and deliverables required of each separate team depends on input and deliverables by the other teams. After surviving the “Business Survival Bundle” your next step is to add measurability in all you do – not as individual silos but rather for the greater good (and business outcomes) of the entire organization. This bundle takes you down the road on your journey to establishing criteria and publishing annual GRI reports that meet your agreed upon goals for increasing transparency.
  3. The Business Growth Bundle
    Want the greatest benefit of all from CSR? Pick this bundle to see the big picture. Here your business will come to know and understand the bottom line benefits of:
  • Having your stock recognized as part of a Sustainability Index
  • Being a thought leader making a impact on a significant global issue
  • Enticing and hiring employees who only look for companies with a CSR focus
  • Engaging internal staff, suppliers, customers and key stakeholders alike in a focused and differentiated CSR strategy!

BTW, if you click here you can play a game where you can virtually join Mike and Frank on a pick! LOL. All part of The History Channel bundle for the show!

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How Millennials are Shaping Corporate Politics


Today I am pleased to introduce another guest blogger from our CSR Transformations consortium of expert global consultants. Andrea (Andy) Starr spent her career in sales engagement positions in major corporations. I think you will be intrigued by her thoughts about corporate politics and the influence of Millennials on current practices.

Politics in Today’s Generation

I have been thinking a lot about my many years spent working for a large corporation – and how today’s Millennials continue to change the landscape.

I’m talking about the “politics” of corporate environments. Yes….I am mentioning the unmentionable – something that you just don’t say out loud in a corporate environment. But guess what!  I’m not in one anymore! I can (and am about to!) talk about this pervasive phenomenon.

Yes – POLITICS. It’s a driving force.  It motivates, de-motivates, consumes and captures employees. I always found myself admiring those who knew how to navigate the waters – those who were secure and bright enough in their jobs to not let the politics weigh them down.

I see a change coming in this corporate world of politics. Let me tell you a story.

I was talking to my son’s friend, whom we will call “Dan.” Dan is a bright 24-year-old, employed by a fairly sizeable manufacturing company. He does very well – however he really dislikes his boss.  So much so, that he planned to leave. Well – Dan had on several occasions, shared operational/performance issues and concerns with upper management that pointed back to his immediate manager. He had a rapport with a senior manager – and (comfortably) used that relationship to communicate his feelings.

So what recently happened? Suddenly Dan’s boss was demoted, and Dan was placed in another (better) position within the company!

Good for Dan (?) Is this a validation of the sentiments of a population of workers who have a different set of personal values and simply want to do their job?

Well – I hear those stories more and more. And I see the younger, “best and the brightest” no longer putting up with that which they find intolerable in the workplace. They are more “distrustful” of the system. At the same time, they are fiercely loyal to “the boss” – not so much “the company”. And they… (No!  Not THIS!) SPEAK UP!

I think this changes how management will lead in the future. Maybe not the immediate future … but I think it’s a work in progress. And I think it’s a change that is LONG overdue! No more “cover-ups”.  No more favoritism. No more FEAR. And therefore hopefully … no more “lead by intimidation tactics” from corporate leadership. As Louis Armstrong would say, “What a Wonderful World!”

Well, how can we “more seasoned” folks offer constructive advice, and keep this positive momentum towards change? I have a rule about “sevens” – experience comes in about 7 years and it takes 7 times to repeat a message before anyone hears it. So here would be my 7 tips to those outspoken crusaders!

  • You are in your job because you demonstrated value. You have enthusiasm and expertise. KEEP THE MOMENTUM! 
  • Don’t let the “Debby Downers” get to you. Stay positive and upbeat! DON’T ENGAGE in negativity. It’s a waste of time – and it goes nowhere.
  • STAY TRUE to your beliefs. Whatever it is – whether business or people related – if you believe in the mission – hop on the train and blow that horn! Even if you think it’s not the most “popular” position. You’ll be surprised at how many people suddenly become your advocates.
  • BE CONSTRUCTIVE in your criticisms, comments, feedback and requests. You are smart! State your case, and back it up. Even if it’s not the opinion “du jour” – you will be respected for having it and stating it.
  • Try to remember that to some extent, your success is tied to your manager’s success. So HELP HIM/HER. And if subordinating yourself to do so, remain PRINCIPLED.
  • BE HONEST. People will always know where they stand if you are honest with them.
  • And above all, don’t forget your ETHICS – and don’t compromise them for anyone!

When we have a majority population in the workplace that actually lives by this norm – we will see a very different corporate environment. I can’t wait!

Do you think they will hire me at 98 years old?

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