Monday Manager Message

Quotes, opinions, and philosophies of some well-known and lesser-known “managers.”

In 1964, US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart offered the following quote in an opinion written for the obscenity case Jacobellis v. Ohio. As a legal standard, it was both praised and derided. As a managerial strategy it can be highly detrimental.

But I know it when I see it…”

Delivering clear instructions and/or expectations is crucial to quality internal communications and good leadership. Too often employees can waste energy, time and patience trying to hit marks that have not been adequately described. If your only plan as a manager is to hope your team members can either read your mind or spontaneously arrive at your desired conclusion, then you need to rethink your management style. Similarly, if you yourself don’t know what success looks like for your team then either hold off on delivering assignments or engage in some group think planning and develop a goal together.

Monday Manager Message

Quotes, opinions, and philosophies of some well-known and lesser-known “managers.”

Mike Leach is what some may call an “eccentric coach,” but most would also call him a “successful coach.” In a recent profile piece in The Athletic (here), former player Connor Halliday had this description of his coach’s methodology:

His coaching philosophy is, you’re out there on the field, you can see the way the defense is lined up better than I can. So it’s my job to get you to the best point of believing in yourself and believing in your ability to call the plays..

Good managers not only describe what needs to be done, but they also help their team members believe they can do it.

Branding: From the Inside Out

Sage advice is to never be the smartest person in the room. I am proud of the fact that my closest circle of friends validates that saying all the time. Except for some Saturday nights when I’m not sure there is a smartest one in the room, but that’s beside the point. What also makes this a fantastic group is their variety of backgrounds, with the associated diversity in experiences and opinions. Whenever some of us walk into a room, it’s like the opening line to a joke.

I mention this group because a recent conversation amongst them jogged my thinking towards an intersection between the worlds of public relations, communications, management, and organizational leadership. The overarching topic was ethics and the distinction between the organization as a whole and the individuals within the organization. I chimed in that the public perception of the organization as a whole is the essence of branding. And when you discuss how employees view or feel about the effectiveness of the organization and/or its leadership, that’s internal branding.Continue reading

Organizational Cadence

Another interesting moment of clarity descended upon me during a recent morning slog – rather “jog” through a Houston summer morning. I try to vary my listening habits during my workouts so that I don’t completely burn out on any one thing. On this particular morning, I considered the impact of the sounds from my headphones on the quality of my training. And a few miles later, a blog post on management styles, internal communications, and organizational performance was born.Continue reading

[Your Org] Welcomes DeGraff to Communications Team

(Anytown, USA – July 22, 2019)

[Your Org] announces the addition of Jeff DeGraff to lead their communications team. DeGraff brings over fifteen years of experience to the position, with a background of working in both the public and private sectors. In his new role, he will be leading internal and external communications efforts to promote [Your Org]’s business goals and enhance its reputation.

DeGraff most recently held the position of Senior Director of Corporate and Media Relations for Union Pacific Railroad where he oversaw all external communications in an 11-state territory. He received praise for his expertise in story generation, communication strategies, crisis management, and media relations training.Continue reading

The Company They Keep

When I was young, people would caution about with whom I chose to surround myself. They used warnings like “guilt by association” or “the company you keep.” This was to teach me about those who are quick to judge groups as a whole as opposed to the individuals may miss my good deeds and/or intentions. Additionally, they explained that while I wasn’t committing bad acts, my association with bad actors could show tacit if not full-on approval of the actions.

My response to these counsels was a decision to never be someone with whom others would worry about associating. I worked to maintain my integrity, my public persona and reputation, and be someone found to be trustworthy and accountable. Long before I knew anything about “personal branding” I realized I wanted people to see me in a favorable light as often as possible. There were opportunities that I could have taken advantage of if I was less concerned about this or was more willing to test the “lines,” but those were sacrifices I willingly made.

Now that I have immersed myself in the corporate/professional world of reputations and “brand management,” I see some obvious similarities. The outside opinion of a company or organization is of vital importance, especially in this connected day and age.Continue reading

A Defining Document

I’d like to wish all a very happy and safe 4th of July holiday. Being patriotic is much like being a member of a family. You are proud of the successes of the family as a whole and the individual members. You recognize the shortcomings and feel a responsibility to help improve them. I’ll never be born into another family and I’ll never have a different country of origin.

For the purposes of this blog, I’d like to take the opportunity to recognize the document that makes this particular day a holiday: the Declaration of Independence. In terms of communication, a document that is more than 240 years old and continues to form the foundation for one of the largest and most powerful countries in the world is truly exemplary.

One might argue why this singular document has attained such import. Is it the actual text and prose that makes it so meaningful? Is it a product of the environment of the time and its immediate impact on those around it at the time? Has it become more a symbol and the gravitas placed on it is more important than the actual words? Regardless of the why, the fact that it remains so important and influential makes this one of the most effective communiqués in history.

I could only dream of contributing to a document with such last impact.

Happy Independence Day!

Declaration of Independence, 1776

How I Can Help You

When I was wrapping up my degree in Public Relations oh so many years ago, I recall a robust conversation in one of my final classes. The instructor was discussing life in the “real world” with us and described an on-going battle to justify the existence and practice of public relations within many large organizations.  He described it as a “PR problem for PR.” Hollywood’s portrayals and some high-profile, less-than-scrupulous practitioners had convinced many that public relations was a superfluous luxury or a necessity of the shady.

While in school learning the techniques and tactics, I carried an innate understanding of the importance of communication. I was sure that even in the “real world” people would see the value of helping share and exchange ideas and messages. Unfortunately, the purpose and value of quality public relations still seem to be lost on many decision makers in the business world.Continue reading