W small only   Driving to my weekly networking meeting I saw a dog walking down a major thorough-fare with traffic coming right up on it!  I stopped my car, put on my flashers and hoped my car, the dog or I didn’t get hit!  We all survived the moment, and now I had a beautiful Cavalier King Charles spaniel in my car!  Now this dog definitely belonged to someone, this is not your average dog—high maintenance might even be an understatement.

So now what do I do?

The first thing I did was take the dog to the nearest vet office to see if it had a microchip since it did not have a collar with tags.  No chip!  I did learn the dog was a boy and he was not neutered.  This is all important info which I figured would further define the dog’s identity when I was able to locate the owner.cavalier

 With three dogs at home I couldn’t bring this flea-full animal into my house.  So I took him to my vet where he would spend the day being pampered and receiving shots while I began executing against a communication strategy to find the owner.

How did I do this? 

First!  I made calls to the pounds, the local vets, I posted on Craig’s List, I contacted the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Society of Houston, and I send out a tweet to see if anyone was looking for a missing Cavalier King Charles spaniel. I posted in the “lost dog” section of Craig’s List that I found a dog (many details not included—see next paragraph).  I also posted on Facebook a request for a foster home for this cute boy as we have three dogs in our household and another would just be pushing it!

Next, I made signs.  Now since this is an expensive doggie, we didn’t put the breed on the signs.  We simple stated–Found Dog, Small Male, White and Tan. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx. I left off the breed, as you never know who is in the market for a high-end dog and would love to claim ownership!

I placed the signs strategically around the area where the dog was found. I chose a 2 mile square area to place the signs.  Additionally, I focused heavily around parks and schools, and major intersections.

Then our family waited. 

Nothing the first night but by morning a dog-lover who was walking her dog around one of the parks saw our sign.  She called!  She told me she saw a sign on a front lawn not far from the park saying “Lost Cavalier King Charles spaniel.”  Unfortunately, they had no phone number on their sign—their only sign in the entire neighborhood!  She gave me directions to the home, as I don’t even live in that neighborhood.  I drove over (without the dog), rang the bell, and asked questions.  I felt I had found the owners of our cute little man!  The owner was in tears and followed me to my house.  With many tails wagging, (my dogs included) the owner and the dog were reunited!

There are a few morals to this story.

  1. Have your dog micro-chipped (it doesn’t hurt, and it is not expensive)
  2. Always, always have a collar on your dog with your contact information
  3. Check your fence to be certain there are not any escape opportunities
  4. Put signs up and think strategically about where to place the signs and be sure to include contact information
  5. Use every opportunity you can think of to communicate you lost your dog or you found a dog

And what does this mean to you?

Whether you are looking for a dog, or looking to create awareness in your company or organization you need a well-thought-out plan.  Begin by defining your audience, hone your message to the audience, create a delivery strategy that matches the demographics of your intended recipients, create listening posts to identify if your audience is listening, and if they are not, immediately fine-tune your strategy!  Keep refining and measuring until you are happy with your results.

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A Public Note of Thanks!

I would like to thank my dog-loving daughter for her assistance is helping me with this lost dog endeavor. I couldn’t have done it without her!

Our poll this week is a test of your heart-strings!  What would you do?

 

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Eileen Weisman is a communication strategist, a good listener, a walker,  a recycling expert, a dog lover, and a mother of the bride.  Contact The W Group to discuss opportunities for improving the listening environment within your company or organization

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Preaching Technology

October 11, 2009

If you are a regular to my blogs you know I turn everyday experiences into lessons for leadership, honest communications and employee engagement. Opening my Sunday paper today was the following headline and story:

PRAISE FOR TECHNOLOGY
Tweeting during church services gets blessing of pastors.

Now I am not preaching to bring religion into the workplace, but there sure is a lesson here, one I have been preaching….You have got to set up “listening stations” at work.  Just like the leaders of this church, you as leaders of your congregation of employees must recognize and begin to address how you are going to hear from them.  It’s not business as usual anymore. And here is a quote from the article:

“The nondenominational church recently started a new service encouraging parishioners to tweet their thoughts, reflections and questions in 140 characters or less via Twitter, the popular micro­blogging social network.”

Wow!  How many of you would have expected that one?  Now I am not saying tell your rabbi, pastor, priest or minister to take up tweeting, or to encourage tweets during their service (but feel free to forward them this blog), but it sure is an eye-opener that life is changing everywhere, even in places of worship!

So here I go again, preaching to you about the multi-gen workforce you can’t ignore!  I said it before, and I will say it again, “How about using Twitter during a town hall meeting.”  Or better yet, use it every day as a feedback mechanism, let’s just rename the suggestion box “TOFI”—Twitter Opportunities for Improvement!  Sure, this concept might be difficult for you to grasp but I am asking you, no begging you, to at least consider it.

What’s your soap-box issue regarding your workplace? Let’s start a conversation to see what you feel needs immediate fixing!  Take a minute and write something in the “reply” section of this blog posting!

Eileen Weisman is a preacher of using technology to hear employees, a communication strategist, a dog-lover, an avid recycler, and a mother of the bride.

Contact The W Group to discuss opportunities for improving the listening environment within your company or organization.

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The Dress Story

As I shopped for a dress for our daughter’s wedding I experienced the “shop till you drop” phenomenon and actually had no luck.  I didn’t want a “mother of the bride” dress; that’s just not my style.  I needed something with movement, yes, that’s what I was looking for, something with movement!  After exhausting myself and anyone else who was willing to trek around with me, I had an idea worth exploring.

I am not a pack rat but do hold things I feel have value.  In the back of my closet I had a dress I wore to my sister-in-law’s wedding 36 years ago.  I saved it because it was beautiful–beautiful material, beautiful style, and it had movement!  My daughter even agreed this could be the dress!  Her comments gave me hope but it needed some work to update it a little.

We took it to a reputable designer and she felt it didn’t need much!  This option saved us money, and I got to wear a unique dress that couldn’t be found in any boutique anywhere in the entire world, at least not in 2009!

So I guess you could say I recycled the dress.  

The Challenge

And now here is the challenge to you. If you have been a successful company or organization for a while, I bet you have some things you could recycle in 2009 with a little updating using technology and ingenuity!

Maybe something in your business just needs a little dusting to be brought back to life.  Is there an employee recognition program that was successful 10 years ago and could possibly breathe new life into your business environment?  Employee engagement is the new terminology, but the concept has been around forever. 

How about a newsletter or hotline on “opportunities for improvement” that may have been part of the quality movement back in the ‘90’s.  Can you recreate it using Twitter or texting where employees send ideas as soon as they see them? 

And how about an awareness campaign to promote your message, but rather than posters you create video messages using YouTube; it could even be a contest.  Imagine the buzz around the most creative entries. 

Anything is possible.  Just think back to something that worked really well for you before and maybe, just maybe with a little tweaking it could work even better now!

Consider recycling; it has many benefits including helping you be a good corporate citizen, and providing potential cost savings to you and your organization.  Why not look through that closet! You might be surprised what you find.

Let us know if you have an old idea that you decide to recycle.

Need to discuss movement of ideas in your business? The W Group ensures its clients’ messages are visible, heard, and understood.  Awareness is step one, but you really are only successful when there is a behavior change….movement from acknowledgement to action.

Eileen Weisman is a communication strategist, a recycling expert, a dog lover, and a mother of the bride.  Contact The W Group to discuss recycling opportunities within your company or organization.

Times are tough right now.  The economy is creating anxiety in everyone’s world.  People are worried about their job, their homes, and their family’s well-being.  They are thankful to have a job but may bring their worries with them every day to work.  They may obsess about life’s challenges and not be able to focus well.  Rumors are negative energy and non-productive.  You want to avoid rumors in your workplace.

 

If you have defined your companies core values I am certain trust and honesty are among them.  These values apply not only to your customer relationships but first and foremost with those who contribute to the daily success of your business.  Once trust has been tested, “business as usual” will not have the positive image you have enjoyed in the past. Confidence in you and your words will be questioned, and negative energy becomes a daily occurrence.

 

Honesty during tough times is not easy but being forthright in your internal communications within your organization can bring positive results.  Consider including your employees in identifying cost-cutting opportunities and give them as much information as possible in trying to find solutions to some difficult situations.  The concept of “inclusion versus exclusion” can yield dramatic results in engagement.

 

Today we call it “transparency.” But over 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin stated, “Honesty is the best policy.”  And in 2009 it should still be the #1 core value of any organization. 

I am introducing my blog, our new web site, and myself which serve as your personal invitation to engage in a strong business partnership with The W Group.  The W Group has been around a long time and has built its reputation on creating strong relationships with its clients.  If we haven’t met formally I look forward to our first visit!

 

Each week I will post a new “Tip of the Week” on our web site and the blog will provide common sense details around the topic.  Sometimes we might create a white paper, mention a case study or recent report that supports the issue and provides you with specific data and a more compelling message on the subject.

 

This week’s tip is the most basic of internal marketing communications: 

 

Preparing an annual communications strategy to support your business plan ensures greater success of your goals.

 

My guess is you spend a lot of time preparing your yearly business strategy.  You may have an entire team working on it and everyone is proud and excited when it is finally presented to senior management. Congratulations, but….

 

All the priorities along with all the initiatives can only travel as far as the words on the page without a communication plan aligned to match each priority.

 

Your associates, employees or donors need to understand how they are part of the business plan, why it is important for them to support the plan, and how everyone benefits from the plan.  If you don’t connect the dots from the boardroom to the lunchroom, you diminish your opportunities for success.  You may need to think like an interpreter translating each initiative into the language of your audience; this is essential to your communication strategy.

 

Remember to speak the language of your associates, employees and donors.  Corporate jargon and business terminology is fine for your document, but put everything else into words that turn your business into a thriving bee hive where the buzz is about engagement, and the results of your efforts become obvious through your bottom line.

 

How do you do that?  With a well written and executed strategic communication plan.  Visit http://www.wgroup.net