CommsMasters Blog

The Surprising Reason Your People Are Not Resilient

A few years ago, a friend of mine suffered serious stress as her marriage went through a rough patch. She couldn't sleep and couldn't concentrate properly. She began making mistakes at work as well.

To help her get through this difficult period, she decided to give herself frequent opportunities to relax. She treated herself to spa treatments. She made a point of going out for coffee regularly with her friends. And she also joined a meditation class at her local gym and downloaded a meditation app to her phone, so that she could clear her mind daily.

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When Training is the Wrong Answer...

Nothing changed from one annual staff survey to the next.

Every year, the scores around communication were low.

And every year, the answer was the same, as well – put on more training for managers.

By the time I got involved with this company, there was an unbelievable array of communication workshops available for the leadership. There was one on communicating by email, another on leading teams remotely, and still more on delivering staff briefings, coaching, influencing, and running team meetings.

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How to Read Between the Lines of Your Employee Survey Results

A couple of months ago I was chatting to a senior leader, who was telling me how he'd managed to change his company culture.

"You must have communicated well!" I told him admiringly.

"Oh no," he replied. "This wasn't about comms. This was about getting people engaged with ideas and projects, and getting them to feel they can really influence the decisions taken at the top."

I smiled. To me, this all boils down to one thing – communication.

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Annual Performance Reviews: What REALLY Scares Your Leaders

I once worked with a manager who never gave his staff realistic annual performance reviews. Everyone was apparently performing equally well.

Eventually problems began to surface, so the director of HR sat down with him to find out why he hadn't flagged up issues in good time. He claimed that he found it hard to find the right words – "I don't find these conversations easy".

The company invited him and several others to a communications workshop, so that they could become more comfortable handling such difficult conversations.

It didn't help. The next year, his team again received glowing appraisals, across the board.

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A Simple Way to Get Your Managers to Change

It's the end of your driving lesson.

Just before you get out of the car, you turn to the driving instructor and ask what you need to do better next lesson, in order to eventually pass your test.

"You need to drive better," is the reply.

"Yes, but what specifically?"

"You just need to drive better."

"How will you be able to tell I'm driving better?"

"Well, you'll be driving better..."

You'd be tearing your hair out, wouldn't you?

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The Key to Making Communication Training Stick

 "I used to think of going to comms workshops as a real waste of time. Just something that got in the way."

The manager wasn't joking.

I'd just finished running one such workshop. According to this manager, he had been 'sent' on all sorts of workshops and courses, learning any number of different tools and techniques to improve the way he communicated with his team. He'd even half-heartedly put some of them into practice – for a while.

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10 Things You’ll Do This Week that are a Pointless Waste of Time and Energy

Do you have so much time you don’t know what to do with it? Do you feel that you have so much energy to spare you could be mistaken for a Duracell battery?

If you’re the same as most business leaders, chances are your answer to both questions is "NO!"

And yet this week, you’ll waste time and energy doing things that are a pointless waste of time and energy – and, in some cases, downright dangerous too.

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Learning to Listen to Your Internal Communication

Anyone who travels regularly by train knows only too well the irritation of that tinny sound emanating from someone else’s headphones.

Today I had that pleasure.

First of all, the repetitive delights of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" followed by some kind of game that necessitated repeated meowing sounds. Delightful to the toddler listening to it; less so to me!

With adults, I usually ask them to turn down the volume. But it seemed a bit churlish to do this with a two-year-old.

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Death, Taxes... and Fear

In my previous blog I proposed that, in addition to death and taxes there is, in fact, one other certainty in life – and that is we all feel fear on a regular basis.

And I believe that fear in the workplace is not only time-consuming and costly but that it creates blockages in communication, stifles innovation and gets in the way of business progress.

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If it's Tuesday it must be time to engage the team...

Senior leaders have to paint a compelling vision for the future while pragmatically establishing the steps to get there.

Customer Service teams must give customers personalised care and attention while still hitting strict call-time targets.

Managers are expected to be tough decision-makers and also collaborative explorers.

Head versus heart, masculine versus feminine, soft versus hard – getting the balance right between each is critical to business success.

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