You can win more football games by never kicking on fourth down, and you and three friends can play a piano with only one of you on the keys. Strange, perhaps. But doing what's obvious achieves only obvious results. See a situation differently and the results could be astounding.

If you had just one page to explain what makes your organization's employee communication effective, -- or maybe not effective -- where would you start? More important, how would it end? A prospective client gave me an even tougher challenge: sum up in one page everything I know about effective employee communication from my years of experience and from the best examples and sources out there. I talked it out with myself, and concluded, yet again, that it's all about talking with not at employees.

An 80-year old company tells its life story like an 80-year old grandfather: simply, honestly, sweetly, and optimistically. In an engaging video, Lego avoids the braggadocio and narcissism of so many corporate films, and dwells on its never-failing, past values as investments in a promising future. So, take a work-break, click on Read More, and be delighted.

What passes for authenticity these days too often is what passes immediately and unadulterated from the top of one’s head to one’s mouth or fingers typing online. Spontaneity smacks down editing. Editing what you are about to say or write -- some apparently think -- only sucks the life out of the idea. Maybe … if the idea, indeed, has life – that is, substance and sustainability -- and not just whimsy.

If the CEO appoints you the company leader for the annual United Way campaign -- those of us who were candidates used to say -- you should exceed last year’s goal and win kudos but not exceed it by so much that you risk being reappointed the following year. Exceeding the expected used to be exceptional; now it seems somewhat commonplace. At some companies, employees are accustomed to an “exceeds expectations” rating on annual performance reviews if they simply do their jobs well.

SkaareWorks was brought on to strategize and implement a program that would raise the visibility and appeal of a diversifying exhibit company. I bet everything on employees as messages and models.

If someone is putting into words what your mind is thinking, relationships matter a lot. If you’re a chief executive or other senior manager who thinks you need a speechwriter, decide the role you want the professional to play and then think about the relationship you want.


Here’s a hair-brain idea: What if a major factor in performance assessments was the number of opportunities created this year that set up greater achievements next year? Here are three suggestions for managers and five for individuals for building future return-on-investment.

Choosing a career direction often has to do with moving upward versus sideways, with a ladder versus scaffolding. Climbing the corporate ladder is exhilarating but taxing; scaffolding is relatively safe but not as titillating.

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