What Do You Really Know About Your Boss?
Why Should the Boss Listen to You?
As I have observed for several decades, why advisors fail to get the attention and ear of the bosses and leaders they are counseling, it is readily apparent that the vast majority of these internal advisors or external consultants know very little about bosses as people, as leaders, nor do they know the pattern of behavior of people at the top. I’ve often thought it quite arrogant for a staff person, whatever their discipline, to walk into a senior executive’s office, especially the top executive’s office, and offer advice on any subject and have very little knowledge, understanding or interest in who that person is and what they do. It’s the most frequent reason operating people ignore internal expertise and seek outside advice.
So, here are some questions for you to ponder:
- Why did your boss decide to become a leader or CEO?
- Who does your boss talk to and rely on? What does your boss believe in?
- When things get really bad, who does your boss turn to?
- Does your boss still play pinochle with his or her mom?
- Do you know how to help keep your boss from being fired?
In my recent book, Why Should the Boss Listen to You: The Seven Disciplines of the Trusted Strategic Advisor
(Jossey-Bass 2008), I talk about the changing nature of the leadership environment and
the enormous new stresses bosses find themselves having to cope with and survive. You should know about these things and be able to talk about them. Here are just a few:
- The average tenure of a CEO is declining – now estimated at 41 months. That’s barely time to find the bathroom, get something done, put a legacy in place before moving on.
- The non-operational aspects of leadership are – literally – exploding. Angry workers, activist opposition, increasing regulation and oversight, and smaller mistakes are causing bigger and bigger problems; one or two dedicated opponents can cause enormous damage; and then there’s Sarbanes-Oxley.
- Being a leader of an organization was once the pinnacle of an executive’s career. It’s now, more often than not, a temporary stop on the way to another career as a leader or in some other high-level capacity.
Can You Help Leaders from Failing or Being Fired?
Much of the work of a Trusted Strategic Advisor is helping bosses succeed by working against five of the most powerful reasons CEOs get fired:
- Failure to deliver on what the promised when they got the job.
- Excessive optimism. (CEOs are often their own best PR people.)
- People problems – Putting the wrong people in the wrong spots at the wrong time.
- Distractions – Too many outside activities, too many Board memberships, too many speeches.
- Stuck in the mud – The failure to make changes, progress, or something important happen.
How Do You Get to Know Your Boss Thoroughly and Well?
Here are four powerful techniques to begin to better relate to the decision makers you advise:
- Study leaders. Read biographies of famous attorneys, business people, military leaders, political leaders. Not only is it fascinating reading, but you’re going to learn how similar these people tend to be.
- Look for and understand the patterns of leadership behavior, from how they take information in, especially in adverse circumstances, to knowing the people their legacy relies on, including their parents, especially their mothers.
- Start having brief but important conversations with the leaders you advise about themselves, especially about the questions at the beginning of this blog and others that will come to you as you study leaders and leadership.
- Here’s a final question to consider: What do leaders study to become better leaders?
The answer is they study other leaders, all the time. Isn’t it time you started?
James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA is the author of
Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication, What Your CEO Needs to Know About
Reputation Risk and Crisis Management
, available now at Amazon.com
Labels: boss, CEO, leader, leadership, Lukaszewski, strategic advisor, why should the boss listen to you
Monitoring: Management’s Strategic Crystal Ball
“Monitoring: Management’s Strategic Crystal Ball”
By Rochelle Snyder
Sr. Account Executive
If you, your product, your brand, or your reputation is visible, someone out there is watching, counting, analyzing and probably commenting. You need to monitor news media and social media at a reasonably high level in order to provide analysis and recommendations to management for action, or inaction. Monitoring is essential to successfully maintaining message control and reputation management.
In reality, observation of the media is management’s strategic crystal ball. Surveying coverage combines early warning indicators, surprisingly important insights and alerts, a context for what’s actually happening, and significant hints about the future. Leadership always wants to know about tomorrow, today. Monitoring:
Strategic Intentions and Goals
Examining what’s trending filters media activity and online conversations as indicators/snapshots of ongoing reputation change. Part of the process may offer an opportunity to be a part of those conversations, if appropriate. Aggressive observation offers vital strategic insights and preemption opportunities in the event of surprise incidents. Here is a useful profile of how to best supervise your presence in the media monitoring.
- A real-time pulse: Your reputation or the traction of various issues – as well as what’s likely in the minds of the public, advocates, media and critics.
- A listening dashboard: Uses a variety of online tracking tools tailored to the marketplace. These tools capture online social media conversations, search activity, website engagement and perception data. In particular:
Social media monitoring in particular can:
- What are the influencers saying?
- What is the community saying?
- What are the audiences doing about it?
- Lead to recommendations for responding, where/when appropriate
- Mine conversations: Who’s talking, what are they saying and where are they saying it that can help provide insights.
- Serve as an early warning system: Is an issue taking hold and increasing in frequency and tone, or is the trend fading?
- Track share of voice: Who’s receiving the most attention and what are different competitors for mindshare/opinion saying?
- Discover top influencers: On sites, forums, blogs, communities and more. Identify and equip supporters and evangelists for the brand/issue, while noting opposition messages, strategy and followers.
- Observe evolving sentiment and passion: At a glance analyses (using word associations/tag clouds). Are the conversations generally more transactional or neutral; are they charged with emotional language and value judgments?
- Profile your target audience: What are the interests and needs of those you’re trying to reach and how do they identify themselves?
- Move from interrupting to engaging in conversations: To build relationships, regain control of the brand voice, develop community consensus around the company’s reputation and preemptively prevent some issues and questions from taking hold.
If you want to know in time, you have to be listening now. Getting Started:
Here’s what we do at Risdall
- Prepare regular executive-level reports focused on the events transpiring and broader publicity.
- We interpret the key insights from:
- Meltwater (or other tool/service) media monitoring.
- Search/online marketing tools Risdall subscribes to and uses.
- Scans of LexisNexis and specific trade media identified by the client and our experts.
- Expert documents that reflect the direction in which the client’s reputation and other important factors are being portrayed in the media, and other public and private spaces.
- Protocols that trigger action options in the event of surprise incidents or circumstances, whether positive or negative.
Remember, this is the type of strategic information management needs but often fails to have; and providing incremental but powerful and useful options for decision making and strategic planning.
Monitoring is management’s strategic envisagement; an early look into tomorrow. Management always wants to know a lot more about tomorrow, today.
Labels: brand, crisis management, management, monitoring, news media, online, Risdall Public Relations, Rochelle Snyder, social media, strategic advisor, strategy
Questions for the Crisis Guru
From younger practitioners, “How do I gain the experience necessary to have the credibility needed to do meaningful work in the field of crisis management?"
This is an update of my posting on this topic on November 14, 2013. Please see the new # 1, provided by Fred Aubin, CD MCGI
, CEO & Founder of Strategic Red Team Consulting, Ottawa, Canada. Thank you, Fred.
There are a lot of places to get experience, and experience in the real world of crisis is essential to have credibility and opportunity in the field. Crisis Management is the currently the most sought-after area of public relations practice; colleges are even offering degrees in crisis management, which is a mystifying since very specific and powerful real life experience is a prerequisite to practice. My suggestions follow
those of Fred Aubin’s in #1:
1. “Depending on one's social beliefs and personal capabilities, joining the military
, police services, fire services (any first responder org
really), International Red Cross
, or UN High Commission for Refugees
, etc., are good places to gain necessary experience and credibility points in crisis management.”
2. The American Red Cross
is always looking for disaster volunteers
to be trained and on call for various local and other crises and emergencies.
3. America’s Blood Centers
, which provide blood to about 50% of America’s communities, also likely have programs in which volunteers
can be a part of the mix and learn about this facet of medical and emergency experience.
4. The Salvation Army
has disaster relief and disaster recovery activities requiring volunteers
. There is training, and it’s definitely worth investigating.
5. Your local emergency planning committee
or commission. Every community in the United States has an LEPC. They spend a great deal of time planning for community emergencies, coordinating the activities of public and private agencies, and are always in need of volunteers for hands-on experience and to be an active part of the LEPC process.
6. Take an EMT training course – better yet, get certified
as an EMT
. The most powerful missing ingredient in crisis experience – at any level – is being with, helping, and understanding the victim dimension of crisis.
7. Locate your local Department of Homeland Security
office and see what voluntary opportunities
they might have, or can suggest in your community.
8. The Security Department in your own company. It’s kind of a long-shot, but when disasters occur in companies, chances are the security operation has lots of influence, and key responsibilities. Check it out and see what they might be able to help you do on a voluntary basis to gain some experience on this very interesting and important facet of crisis response.
|Photo by Charles Gorrill|
9. Police and fire auxiliaries in your community, or perhaps a larger one nearby, are always seeking volunteers for a wide variety of tasks in what is generally a really interesting and friendly learning and teaching environment.
By James E. Lukaszewski
James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA is the author of Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication, What Your CEO Needs to Know About Reputation Risk and Crisis Management, available now at Amazon.com
Labels: American Red Cross, Blood Centers, crisis communication, crisis guru, crisis management, Department of Homeland Security, EMT, experience, local emergency planning committee, The Salvation Army, volunteer