Archive of: Communication
For the past two years, I’ve conducted a half dozen or so major research projects on digital business. At the outset, I looked for a definition that we could present to participating executives that would ground the research in something tangible. There wasn’t much out there. Even MIT's Center for Digital Business hadn't pinned this down. So we created our own definition as “the transformation of business models, products and/or operations from the use of information and communications technologies.”
OK, but wow, that was vague — transformation from what — and to what? Do a search today, and you'll find a lot more of the same.
Having completed all this research — survey results from thousands of business leaders around the world and interviews with close to a hundred executives, analysts and academics, my thinking has shifted. Today I define digital business as…
We all know how hard change can be. Whether we like to admit it or not, every one of us performs at least some parts of our jobs on auto-pilot; it's more efficient for our brains to operate that way. That makes it hard to do things differently.
When leaders introduce a significant change without a lot of communication around what will be different, why it's happening (including connecting it to something that matters to each member of the team), and how the change will unfold, they shoot themselves in the foot. They inevitably encounter a lot of friction if not downright resistance to the change. In the best case, this slows things down. In the worst, this has led to multi-million dollar failures.
Influence: the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command. For most CIOs and their teams, this is the only way to get things done.
Here's an excerpt from my Persuasive Communication and Influence workshop.
This article is based on my Persuasive Communication and Influence workshop.
The CIO role spans and must influence all parts of an organization without directly controlling them. Today's trends — global, mobile, data-driven virtual business — increase the stakes and make CIO influence not only important for the CIO's personal success but for the success of the company as well. This requires skills and competencies that may not come naturally to many IT leaders.
There are two main trends that are driving a shift in power in IT.
"Engagement" has become an overused and misunderstood term. Engagement is not just about marketing, and the secret to real engagement lies deep within yourself.
As a communication coach, I often work with people to improve their messages and the way they deliver them (whatever the medium – written, verbal or visual) so they can be more effective in their jobs. However, if you really want to influence people (and make no mistake, that is the goal of a good deal of our communication, in both our work and our private lives), there are three underlying realities that you must take to heart.
The first is that you will never get your message across – and you certainly won't be able to influence anyone – if you don't have their attention. Period. And guess what: A person's attention is not something that is yours by right; it is something you earn – by being genuine, relevant and focused
This is an excerpt from my Persuasive Communication workshop.
To be a successful communicator, think of your listener first, and focus on attention.
Communication is hard. To successfully convey information requires taking what's in my head and getting it into yours in some reasonable facsimile of the original thought or idea. If you think this is easy, just remember the last time you tried to inform a group of individuals about an upcoming change – and then remember the many (sometimes baffling) concerns and rumors that arose as a result!
As George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place." That's because most of us focus only on the front end of the communication process – the part that's all about us: the information we want to convey (the message) and how we plan to convey it (the medium).
Ever try to get someone to change the way they do something that they've been doing the same way for years? Ever try to break one of your own habits? It's not easy. Not because people are intentionally contrary or obstinate, but because big parts of our brains operate on autopilot, in deep grooves of habit, and establishing new pathways is hard.
This can be a serious problem for individuals or managers who find themselves in the midst of major change efforts.
Steve Bandrowczak, former CIO at DHL, Lenovo and, most recently, Nortel, knows what IT leaders can learn from sales and vice versa because he has recently made the transition into a sales leadership role himself. As vice president of global sales at Avaya after that company's acquisition of Nortel, Steve leads sales, marketing, channel strategy, services and service strategy for Avaya's data business. I spoke with him recently. This is the third in a series.
As part of our interview, I asked Genentech CIO Todd Pierce to describe the most important thing he'd learned about effective communication in the course of his career. He gave me not one but seven critical facets of great communication.
Know your audience: Really know who you're communicating with and what you're communicating.