In this final post of our leadership series, we outline what Art of Leadership speaker Charles Duhigg discussed in relation to the power of habit. In particular, he explored how leadership can improve and change habits.
Duhigg informed the room that, according to recent research he’d seen, 45% of what we do is habit. He explained the habit loop, emphasizing the importance of reward in forming habits.
What I found interesting was his take on unplanned organizational habits. He illustrated this point by talking about how we operate in the workplace daily, often without even realizing what we’re doing and how we’re behaving. For example, we operate in silos or we stick to our own job descriptions and won’t interfere with others. He highlighted this by talking about the Kings Cross fire in London which killed 31 people and injured 100. From what I understood, Duhigg was suggesting that, if London Underground employees hadn’t stuck to their job descriptions and silos, the fire may have been prevented from spreading.
Obviously there are always a lot of factors to consider in these kinds of situations but, talking us through the steps and habits of how the employees responded, certainly confirmed his theory. Ultimately, unplanned organizational habits prevented anyone from taking crucial action.
So how do we change habits? Again, it’s a big topic and one that I cannot do justice to in a short blog post. But I would add:
- Will power is key
- Recognize that habits spill into all areas of life; identify those you truly want to change
- Identify what provides you with an opportunity for change
- Find habits that deliver emotional rewards
Hopefully this leadership series has given you some thoughts, tips and tricks to apply to your workplace environment, teams and individual development. The key to success and growth is keeping things simple and realistic. So be sure to identify what you believe will work for you and focus on a selection of these points. And don’t be afraid to have check-ins with yourself and others. Documenting progress, getting feedback, and being open to change will ultimately allow you to become a more successful leader.
Tags: employee communications, leadership, organization, Public relations, teamwork, thought leadership
To follow-on from last week’s blog post exploring leadership qualities and approaches in more detail, I wanted to share key Art of Leadership takeaways from five-time Olympic medalist, Hayley Wickenheiser. Hayley gave an inspiring and entertaining talk which had everyone in the audience captivated. In particular, it was a good reminder that great leaders can be found everywhere – not just in the corporate world.
Hayley’s tips included:
- It’s important to differentiate between your role and yourself
- Keep perspective in check – be present
- Lead from the front – show your team the way
- Lead from behind – step out of the way
- Do the best job you can
- Have the courage to step ahead of fear
- Find the courage to stick to the plan
- Celebrate the small successes as well as the big wins
- Find unity in adversity
- Enjoy the ride!
Although short and sweet, a lot of Hayley’s points came from her experience training with her team and then becoming the team captain. I think any of these tips can be applied to the corporate world and are just as valid as some of the more corporate-based suggestions that may delve deeper into strategy and relationships. Often, keeping things real and keeping things simple are what will really be effective and have a genuine impact on people.
Tags: employee communications, leadership, perspective, thought leadership
For those regulars on the Peak blog, you’ll recall that, towards the end of last year, we shared some tips from the Art of Leadership conference.
There were a lot of key takeaways that day so here are a few more to consider when looking at how you can be a more effective and inspirational leader (or start working towards becoming one).
Overall, some of the main points that stood out to me included:
- Leadership is about values and behaviour
- It’s about having the right set of goals that everyone is aware of
- Collaboration is a key leadership quality
- Positivity goes a long way
At one point, the conference host remarked, “True leadership happens when you’re not in the room.” That struck a chord with me as so often we feel like we have to be extremely involved with a process or team in order to achieve the desired outcomes. This statement challenges that concept. True leadership essentially should make everyone a leader.
We’ve previously shared what Dan Roam (The Back of the Napkin) and ex-NYC Mayor, Rudy Giuliani had to say about great leadership.
Dr. Vince Molinaro of Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions was also one of the conference speakers. Dr. Molinaro emphasised the important of getting the best out of people, of leadership accountability, and the skill of being able to connect strategy and leadership.
He brought his approach down to four key terms that leaders need to sign up to – in what he called “The Leadership Contract”:
- Decisions: Define who you are as a leader. Be deliberate in your decision making. Differentiate between you as a person and you as a leader.
- Obligation: As a leader, you have to step-up. It’s your job to make things better. What’s your leadership legacy? You want to ensure you leave a company in a better and sustainable state for the future. Position your company for success.
- Get tough! As a leader, you still have to tackle the hard work. Ensure you have regular check-ins with yourself and question whether you’re wimping out on anything you shouldn’t be. Make those tough decisions and have candid conversations.
- Connect! Ultimately you’re leading a community. Who has got your back? Clarity breeds commitment.
It’s easy to listen to the theory. But, in order to grow as leaders, we need to look at how we can realistically apply some of these theories to our day-to-day work. Something as simple as creating a checklist or assessing more challenging situations and how you approached them can be a really effective way of continual learning. And don’t be afraid to seek feedback from your colleagues. It’s the best way to learn.
Tags: communication, employee communications, human resources, leadership
For the second year in a row, we’ve been named as a finalist for the best health/fitness program in Ragan’s 2014 Employee Communications Awards!
The International Ragan Communicationsawards accept entries from across the globe. From an abundance of top-tier entries, Peak’s was chosen by the judges to be one of six finalists.
For that reason, we’re proud to even be recognized. The award winners are to be announced in late March – consider our fingers crossed until then (all positive vibes appreciated)!
As proud as we are about being chosen as a finalist, it’s the actual program itself that we want to boast about.
Health and fitness is a huge priority here at Peak. Maybe it’s due to the fact that most of us are natural fitness fanatics and health enthusiasts… or the company breeds them – either way, keeping fit is a huge part of our daily culture.
Why workplace fitness?
Speaking as one of those fitness fanatics, incorporating daily fitness and overall wellness is essential to productivity and contentment in the workplace. It’s one of those ‘oh I know it’s important, but I don’t have time’ components that unfortunately aren’t made to be a priority for many companies. But, for those companies who do, and especially those who incorporate health and wellness as part of their culture, they reap many benefits.
Here are a few:
- Healthy employees will be more productive and cost employers less in absenteeism and sickness costs (reference: The Globe and Mail).
- Fitness encourages group participation which helps employees build relationships with one another. A more connected team results in a more productive one.
- Employees participating in health programs are three times more likely to be engaged in and satisfied with their jobs (reference: a 2013 Keas employee happiness study).
- Fitness helps reduce stress and mental-health related issues in the workplace.
Worried about the cost-benefit for increasing health and fitness programs for your employees? Check out this article on 11 low-cost ways to keep your team healthyfrom Entrepreneur.com (now you have no excuse).
Whether you have fun fitness challenges at work, provide your employees with gym passes or have an employee health plan, you are making your employees happy and healthy and cutting costs related to your bottom line – sounds like a healthy business model to me.
Tags: awards, Employee benefits, employee communications, fitness, health, mental health, Public relations, workplace
In this second leadership post that explores some of the key takeaways from The Art of Leadership conference last month, I’m going to shift the focus away from New York City and Rudy Giuliani’s leadership principles and focus on the power of pictures.
I have to confess that several people have recommended Dan Roam’s The Back of a Napkin to me. In fact, I went so far as to buy the book last year. But it remained unread on my shelf, having taken second place to life. Newly-inspired by Dan’s talk on the power of pictures, it has been promoted to my bedside table in the hope that I’ll soon never have to communicate through text again.
Dan’s presentation was simple yet effective, just like his ‘matchstick’ pictures. He discussed how pictures are a common language and pointed out that every company and leader needs a vision and a vision requires pictures. He reminded us that pictures can serve the following purposes:
- Make complex issues, simple
- Help solve problems
- Clarify, create, convince
- They are compelling and memorable
When you think about it, it doesn’t make sense that we neglect the visual side of our brain so much. Roam encouraged us to tap into this potential more regularly, reminding us that our visual mind never sleeps and that humans are visual processing machines. Yet we’re often not intentional around our use of images. He gave us some tools and tips to takeaway that will help solve problems and/or help share understanding among team members. Here you can see how he adopts this simple approach by getting people to talk through the who/what, how much, where, when, how and why of something, to help map-out a pathway.
I don’t think it’d be realistic to start drafting news releases that only include images or sending client reports showcasing stickmen. But I do think there’s a lot of value in leaders and communications professionals considering using images more frequently, whether it be during brainstorms, strategy planning sessions, or in proposals. Ultimately, we all relate to pictures. And I’d argue that the more we can simplify life, the better.
Tags: communication, employee communications, language, leadership
So it’s your company’s birthday.
Today is your opportunity to indulge, have some cake and show your fans/guests/customers your true colours.
Here’s how to make the most out of your brand’s special day:
Happy birthday to me me me
Marketers and PR people say it’s the kiss of death to talk solely and incessantly about yourself on social media.
On your birthday, that rule goes out the window. It can be all about you — as long as it’s interesting.
Tell your story
How was the company founded? Who makes up the company now and what are they all about? What are the most poignant or funny stories your company has collected over the years? What have you learned along the way?
When you’re sharing these details on social media, tell stories about real people doing specific things. Stories about CEOs strategizing in generic boardrooms aren’t nearly as captivating as tales of entrepreneurs risking their life savings and drawing out their ideas on bar napkins.
Don’t be afraid to bring out the quirk.
You can rework these stories into tweets, longer social media or blog posts, and/or, if your story is interesting enough, pitches to media.
Your brand is a party and everyone’s invited
On your birthday, start something everyone can get involved in. Our client 7-Eleven Canada celebrates July 11th (7-11 — today!) every year by giving away free Slurpee drinks. Thousands of Slurpee lovers celebrate alongside the brand as a result and the company’s birthday turns into something much bigger.
Your “party” could be as involved as an event or product giveaway, or could be as simple as your CEO giving a Twitter shout-out to your loyal customers, your social team Instagramming a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the decorated company lunchroom, or a hilarious gif you made at the party.
There’s no serious way to wear a birthday hat. Today, let your hair down a little and just be you. Your resulting communications will be magnetic. Show your audience just how fun it is to be a part of your organization. Let them in on the joke.
At Peak we use our company birthday as a reason to give back to our clients and media contacts. This year, that took the form of a wine-tasting bash at the Peak office. It was our way of showing we care about the people we work with every day. Because we all had fun, engaging photos and social media posts came naturally from the event.
Celebrate with visuals
Photo- and video-sharing platforms like Instagram and Vine are your ticket to generating quick, fun content that will engage your audiences in ways no plain-Jane blog post can.
Yes. Share those badly drawn cake cartoons. Those goofy birthday cards. The interns’ three-legged race. The perfect cupcakes you made for the occasion. The CEO high-fiving the company mascot. One of your project managers jumping out of a birthday cake.
Just make sure you make those social posts before you get into the champagne.
Tags: anniversary, birthday, brand engagement, branding, celebration, employee communications
This week we were excited to learn we made the finalist list for Ragan’s 2013 Employee Internal Communications Awards. Peak was one of five finalist companies selected under the “Best Health/Fitness Program” category for our innovative health and fitness month that took place in October 2013.
For 31 days, our dedicated team supported each other to eat healthy food and drive our fitness routines above and beyond the status quo. Points were awarded to each staff-member who went the extra mile and increased their daily workout. Management at Peak supported staff by hosting yummy fruit-filled breakfasts and a series of healthy pot-luck lunches. In addition to our workplace gym memberships, they also kindly supplied Peakers with sports-bags to help the team carry exercise equipment to and from work. There was an energetic buzz about the office throughout the month.
“For fitness, I’ve always biked during Vancouver’s warm weather months. For the six years I’ve been doing this, I always stop in mid-September,” says Ross Sullivan, Partner at Peak Communicators. “The Fitness Challenge made me rethink that. This year is the first time I biked throughout October and beyond, and felt the health benefits as a consequence.”
Each year, Ragan awards companies throughout North America for their innovative initiatives and achievements. Ragan’s 2013 Employee Internal Communications Award is designed to recognize companies that push boundaries and try new tactics that achieve great results. Ragan selected this year’s finalists based on their“irreverence, off-beat humor, risk-taking and creativity in the execution of everything they did.”
The winners of Ragan’s 2013 Employee Internal Communications Awards will be announced in the coming weeks in a Special Edition of Ragan.com.
Tags: award, employee communications, fitness, health, human resources, office environment, Ragan