Archive for May, 2009

Understand the conversation first

Posted in Communicate / Collaborate on May 28th, 2009 by Leanne Fry – Be the first to comment

For any organisation considering an Enterprise 2.0 implementation, we recommend you first understand the conversation that is going on.

Years ago, in another time and place, I had a meeting with a marketing director. With a growing sense of disbelief he went around the table of product managers, asking them for a particular input. When the result was one blank stare after another, he dismissed the team, and then turned to me, as the most senior manager. domain list . He was simply furious that his instructions had not been followed.

Now we weren’t all actively trying to sabotage him. We were an enthusiastic and capable team, quite innovative and had been successful in meeting our marketing targets. I tried to explain to him that no one had heard, or understood, his requirement. When not one person had heard the message and delivered to it, something had to be wrong with the original communication.

It took some skill to calm him down. Not only had he not been given the input he wanted, but I was querying his communication style.

Communication starts with people. New and fabulous tools aren’t going to make us all better communicators. Petesorratep I can tweet myself silly but every 140 characters I post may still be unclear, uninteresting, unamusing, self-absorbed, and worse still, boring.

So before you roll any Enterprise 2.0 tools over the top of your organisation, make sure you understand what the communication lines are, who they are between, who they should be between, and what conversations are occurring.

Communication lessons from Obama

Posted in Communicate / Collaborate on May 28th, 2009 by Leanne Fry – Be the first to comment

By now you will probably have read or watched Obama’s speech, if indeed you didn’t stay up and watch it. Obama is a talented orator, and with good copy his speeches are moving, inspirational, interesting and uplifting.

So how good was his inauguration speech? That’s up to you to decide. There has been some discussion that, given the almost impossible level of expectation that was beginning to build around him, he pulled back, toned it down.

But for all that, there were a number of things he did extraordinarily well. And these things are relevant to us – from any CEO talking to their people, to any one of us presenting at a conference or to a client.

Let’s start with the person. Obama speaks well. He speaks carefully, it is well paced and his voice is well-modulated (easy to listen to). He has a measured gaze and holds eye contact.When you consider how verbal communication is core to any job we do, acquiring and honing these techniques is valuable.

Then it’s worth looking at the mechanics of the language he uses. He uses active language rather than passive (see for a good description). Passive language is usually impersonal – it is remote from the speaker, often does not tie an action to anyone in particular, and rarely discusses just how things will be implemented. When you read Obama’s speech, there are many active terms: we can, we will, we come, we reject. You’ll be surprised how passive language can creep into a proposal, RFP response, email or a presentation.

Obama also uses simple language. By doing this he has the greatest chance of connecting with the greatest number of people. Once you introduce jargon into any presentation or discussion you run the risk of losing someone in the audience. The words he uses the most in the entire speech are ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our’. Very inclusive.

He uses some powerful imagery. He says to those who are corrupt ‘… we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.’ Personal, dramatic and easily visualised. And straight – no ambiguity there.

If we turn to the content of his speech, there is also good discipline at work:

  1. Know the purpose: sounds really obvious, doesn’t it? But Obama’s speech is not a one-off, it comes after the campaign and sets the stage for his term. It’s part of an ongoing relationship. So he delivered what the people wanted to hear. He spoke as president, not candidate. He set expectations.
  2. Show yourself: of course this depends on the circumstances, but Obama mentioned his father twice. That reinforced a sense of history, and also Obama’s personal relationships. Leadership and your ability to influence is intrinsically tied up with who you are as a person.
  3. Themes: be very clear about what you want to cover and structure your speech or presentation accordingly. Obama starts with the challenges, draws on history to show why success is possible, shows people what they personally need to step up to, and describes what success looks like. Simple and amazingly successful.

We all know a lot of work goes into any speech, presentation or proposal, and the law of diminishing returns can easily apply. Too many cooks can turn the best efforts into mush. But some thought about the basics will pay you dividends.

Welcome to the E8 Consulting website

Posted in News and Features on May 17th, 2009 by Terry Rowlings – Comments Off on Welcome to the E8 Consulting website

We are a strategic and business consulting group. New name, but we have been around for a while. We provide services to our clients in four areas:

  • business process management to drive business efficiency, service improvement, and governance, risk management and compliance;
  • enterprise communication and collaboration, leveraging enterprise 2.0 tools, to deliver business efficiency, enable high-performance teams and drive organisational knowledge-capture;
  • project governance that enables organisations to achieve superior returns from projects (ICT and non-ICT); and
  • the management of strategic programmes to realise business benefits.

Our value proposition is to help our customers achieve superior operating performance and above-average returns. We think that’s the heart of it!

Our consulting practice was established in 2000 to provide business process management services. We expanded in 2008 to include three additional practices – communication and collaboration strategy and implementation, governance of projects and management of strategic programmes. We have a number of public and private sector clients across all industries.

So what makes us different? Our people are thought-leaders in their field, with unique experience and skills. Ah, everyone says that. But we use, teach and contribute to the world’s leading standards, frameworks and toolsets. We do, we don’t just talk. register a domain . And we ensure knowledge capture and transfer is embedded in all our projects for the benefit of our clients.

Our goal is to provide exceptional services to enable our clients to be exceptional.