Blog

Is the corporate communication profession doing enough to encourage inclusion and diversity? This was the title of an event it was our privilege to host last week. Numerous studies, such as this one from the Harvard Business Review show how companies with employees from diverse age groups, ethnic and social backgrounds, physical abilities, gender and sexual orientation are more likely to outperform their industry competitors. They are more likely to be able to anticipate trends, adapt to change and innovate. Yet we know that many of our clients struggle to replicate the diversity of the population within their organisations. We recognise that we at Comms Leaders have a part to play as gatekeepers for talent within the communications profession. So we brought together a panel of experts to discuss the issues and provide us with examples of good diversity and inclusion in their workplaces. Our panellists were: Charlotte Butler, Founder of Altogether Different, our chair ...

David Ferrabee is Director at Able and How, a management consultancy that helps organisations deliver successful change. He has worked with global clients including Shell, GSK, RBS, Coca-Cola Enterprises, ITV and more. We sent Vicki along to meet David, to discuss what skills are needed for a career in change and employee engagement, as well as whether organisations are responsible for their employees’ happiness. Vicki: Why are change and business transformation so important in today’s world? Why do we hear so much about them? David: Change is constant in business - it may be a cliché, but it’s true. Large businesses in the US used to have an average lifespan of 60 years. Now it’s more like 16. Look at huge companies like Viacom and AOL - major corporations are now lasting less than a generation. That really brings home the idea that change is happening at a rapid pace. The shape and...

This guest post is written by Michael Brown, who has been a leadership and personal development trainer for 17 years, working with organisations large and small worldwide. Michael writes a very interesting blog, alongside his ‘How not 2’ videos, a tongue in cheek look at how not to manage and lead teams. Work life balance?  Forget it! How would you compare your working life today with how it was five years ago? If you’re like many of the people I meet on leadership programmes, you may have lost sight of just how dysfunctional it has become. The sad fact of the matter is that the vast majority of employees have given up trying to engage with the organisation they work with. According to the annual Gallup state of the workplace report, only 16% of employees are actively engaged: the rest are either coasting along in neutral, waiting for things to improve, or even worse, actively disengaged and...

A guest post by Steve Marinker. ‘We put customers at the heart of everything we do’. Hands up if you’ve ever written these words in a statement, press release, Q&A, corporate narrative, annual report or other piece of communication. I have, and I wish I hadn’t. In fact I have become a zealot, searching and destroying this kind of nonsense whenever I encounter it. Of course you bloody well put customers at the heart of everything you do! What kind of organisation doesn’t? I see claims of ‘customer centricity’ in every sector, but it amuses me most in healthcare where the seemingly tautological notion of ‘patient-centred healthcare’ is rife. What other kind of healthcare is there, I asked innocently when I started working in the sector two decades ago. The scales soon fell from my eyes. Historically the lifestyle of doctors, the convenience of administrators, the reputation of researchers and expectations of investors, have all taken precedence over the...

The importance of digital skills There has been a lot of talk about the future direction of the communications professional (including marketing). Our inaugural debate earlier this year focused on this topic, specifically whether the future comms pro needs to be a generalist or a specialist. Candidates frequently ask us "how important are digital skills for comms people"? Is digital experience going to be at the core of the future comms person? Will it be more important than writing skills for example? When agencies start taking the word ‘digital’ out of their job titles, because they believe it is absolutely intrinsic to everything their consultants do, it’s a sure sign that digital skills are an essential part of the day job. Articles such as the recent LinkedIn / Forbes article Management Consultants are eating ad agencies' three-martini lunch, where the author Avi Dan states "the changing business landscape means marketers are demanding scale and...

This blog post was written by Justine Ballard. The importance of preparation Many people think that presence comes down to a combination of natural charm, innate intelligence and sometimes good looks, but thankfully there is more to it than that and presence can be achieved by all of us. Your professional presence is helped by 3 things: being clear about your goals being comfortable with who you are and confident about what you are offering These three things, together with practice and preparation will help you enormously. The ‘P’s matter because, firstly, being very clear about the purpose and context of any meeting, will make it easier to work out what you really want to say and how you want to say it. This in turn will help you feel confident about what you are offering, as knowing whether you are selling, sharing information, negotiating or connecting will help you be clear about your approach. Then...

This blog post was written by Steve Marinker. There is a crisis in corporate trust. We read about it every day. Consumers have lost faith in big business thanks to multiple corporate betrayals ranging from aggressive tax avoidance to child labour. They’re even losing faith in charities thanks to reported scandals at Kids Company and elsewhere. What is corporate trust? But what does the idea of trust in a corporation actually mean? Consumers may profess in surveys to trust Marks & Spencer or Boots, just as they may declare not to trust any utility provider you care to name. But are these really assessments of corporate integrity and honour? When I was a child I told my father I despised beetroot. You can’t despise beetroot he explained. You may dislike it but to be despised beetroot must be capable of despicable character traits such as selfishness or cowardice or dishonesty. Can corporations be selfish, cowardly and...

"I’m a fraud. It’s only a matter of time before someone finds out.” Does this sound familiar? Do you ever feel less worthy of success than everyone else in the room? Do you fear your cover could be blown? Does the success of others make you feel inferior? You are not alone. I have had an inferiority complex throughout my professional life. From that first temp job when I realised I was completely out of my depth, through to a board position in a recruitment consultancy – I have always felt fear, compared myself to others unfavourably and been looking over my shoulder, waiting for the arrival of the blagger police. This particular brand of fear has a name, it’s called ‘Impostor Syndrome’ and was coined in the 1970s to describe how we can feel like frauds who do not deserve success, despite all the evidence to the contrary. People suffering from Impostor Syndrome...

The secret sauce During my 14 year career as a recruitment consultant I have interviewed nearly 10,000 candidates. Some of the most impressive and impactful candidates I have met didn’t initially look that good on paper. But face to face, they have impact, they have that special secret ingredient called ‘gravitas’. Maya Angelou said “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Those candidates that make me feel something – excitement about working together; a personal connection or simply trust that they will do the job to the best of their ability – are the people who stand out. On the flip side, the candidate who sat in my office on a hot summer’s day and refused to take off his woolly hat and thick winter coat, despite the fact that he was sweating profusely, made me feel uncomfortable and...

My story I probably come across as quite a confident person. Some might say I’m borderline arrogant at times. But that hides the truth: that I lack confidence, but can put on a good show. There have been times when I’ve suffered such a loss of confidence, I’ve cried myself to sleep at night, woken up with a feeling of utter dread and ultimately made myself ill. The most miserable time of my professional life was in my early twenties, when I moved from a friendly, nurturing Public Relations agency, to one ruled by fear. All the signs were there during the interview. My gut feeling was telling me that the MD was going to be difficult to work with, but I arrogantly thought I could handle it. After all I had a full two years of experience under my belt! What could possibly go wrong? I should have listened to those feelings. I remember...