V Veracity – Be consistently truthful in what you say.
People really are paying attention.
A Adjust – Continually assess and adjust your approach to
L Listen – Really listen to what your customers are telling
you. You may learn something.
U Understand – Identify with your customer’s position. It
will strengthen your relationship.
E Effort – When you make the effort to be truthful, listen,
understand and adjust you bring immeasurable value.
There are many things I am NOT good at.
Imagine our world if everyone were completely up front about what they do well and what they do not do well. Then, imagine what the world would be like if we lined up our passions with the gifts and talents God gave us. We could change the world!
I wrote my first guest blog post today and talked about this very thing. It is amazing to me how many people pretend to be good at something when they know they are not. It takes more confidence to say “I do not do that well” then it does to say “yes, I can do that,” when you know you really can’t.
There are a couple of things in which I am really gifted. There are a few more things I am “ok” at doing and there are thousands of things I am not good at – period. I am very grateful to be at the place in my life and career where I can recognize this – at least most of the time. [No matter seasoned we are I think we all have moments where we experience delusions of grandeur.]
So, I will continue to serve my clients by doing the things I do well and leave the rest to other experienced professionals.
I would love to hear about what you do well (and what you don’t do well too)…
Communication is critical. How many times have we heard or written statements like this? If it is so critical then why are most of us so poor at it?
As a small business owner communication is a key element to the overall health of your company. Effective communication takes work. Effective communication is also multi-directional.
It is important to communicate with each of your stakeholder groups:
- Your employees – employees are internal customers. If you do not communicate information about the company, projects, clients and other vital information they will begin to feel unimportant and undervalued. There may be many sub-groups within your company, i.e. sales; production; IT; accounting, etc. that may need to receive differnet messages.
- Your clients – some might say “duh” but precious few actually do it effectively. Part of effective client communication is consistency and clarity. Do a quick spot-check with your clients to find out how well you are communicating – ask them!
- Other Stakeholders – when managing projects it is essential to clearly communicate with all stakeholders – not just the ones who write the checks or do the work. There are other affected by your project and deserve to be informed. Effective communication can be tricky when there are multiple stakeholders but it is an important group that is sometimes excluded.
The message you communicate may need to be modified to fit your audience. This extra attention to detail can prove invaluable. Clear, consistent communication informs your audience. Clear, consistent communication builds trust and credibility with your stakeholders. Clear, consistent communication coupled with consistent follow-through can set you apart!
Effective communication can mean the difference between just fulfilling the client’s requirements and a client that is so ecstatic about their experience they cannot stop talking about your organization.
That’s what I want! How about you?
Not every marketing coach or firm is a good fit for every client. As a small business owner it is important to look for a marketing professional who has marketing experience. More importantly, however, is to find a competent professional with whom you have “synergy”. An overused word, yes, but an effective description nonetheless.
If you cannot get “on the same page” with your marketing team (internal or external) chances are you will not have an effective marketing strategy in the end.
A key element in the planning and execution of an effective marketing strategy or campaign is communication. If your marketing coach cannot communicate well with you then how will they communicate well with your audience?
Ask yourself these questions to see if you and your marketing coach are on the same page:
- Is he or she asking questions about your business? (this is basic stuff)
- Is he or she asking what your passions are? Are you asked about what drives you to do what you do?
- Is he or she actually listening to your answers or just spouting off “solutions” before understanding the entire picture of your organization?
- Is he or she communicating with you during the process (during building of the strategy or during campaigns)?
- Add your questions here…
There are many more questions that can be added to the list. The point is that your campaigns can be wildly successful if you have a marketing coach who understands you and your company and keeps the lines of communication flowing in both directions.
Looking for synergy…
There have been many lessons learned throughout each season of my career. While each season has taught me different things some have been universal. One of the most important values I learned is that integrity matters. You can be successful in business and maintain your integrity.
Merriam-Webster defines integrity as:
- firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility
- an unimpaired condition : soundness
- the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness
This definition provides the key elements needed to maintain integrity in business:
Incorruptibility – don’t sell out. Stay true to your company’s values. If you are an employee and your values do not line up with your employer’s then find a new employer. I once quit a job without having another one because I could not support the unethical actions of my employer for even one more day. If you are a business owner make sure your company is conducting business in a way that you could tell your mother or your pastor about.
Soundness – make sure you think through the plans for your organization. Buildings must be sound for the structure to maintain integrity. So it goes with your business. If your planning (and execution) is not sound your company could crumble when trouble hits. I would rather build my foundation on the rock instead of the sand.
Completeness – follow through. If you make a commitment: follow through. If you are working on a project: see it through to completion. If you accept an order for a client: fulfill the order. Sometimes plans, processes, etc. can go awry: adjust your plan, communicate with your customers and stakeholders and see it through to completion.
My personal definition of integrity is doing what you say you are going to do. What’s your definition of integrity?
Driven to stay in integrity,