Friday, August 24, 2012

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of Curve

Woah, it’s been quite a while since my last blog entry! Thankfully, my absence is the result of being extremely busy this summer. Aside from the obvious benefit of being busy ($$$), working with new clients and new projects has been a great learning opportunity! I am convinced, there is no better way to keep ahead of the curve, keep energized, and pursue innovation than to be proactive about working with new projects.

“To stay ahead, you must have your next idea waiting in the wings”   -Rosabeth Moss Kanter

For example, earlier this summer, I was approached by a local client to help with a conference that she was hosting for the Wyoming Land Title Association. “Can you present a seminar on Business Ethics for our annual meeting,” she asked. Before my brain could completely process the question, my lips were replying “Yes!” My instinct was that effective communication is a core component of ethical behavior, and as a communication expert, I could share a new perspective on the subject of ethics. While most ethics classes focus on “what is ethical” I would help the members of WLTA learn “how to behave" ethically.

The top three objectives of my seminar were to help businesses:
1. Establish their own code of ethics
2. Create an ethical culture in the workplace
3. Deal with situations when others put your ethical standards at risk

The success of this approach was awesome! Many of the audience members told me after the event that this THE BEST seminar on ethics that they have ever experienced. This meant a lot coming from people who are required to attend at least 2 hours of continuing education on ethics each year! When I asked what made my presentation better than others, one person said that the communication perspective was far more relevant to their daily business than simply a seminar on what is right and what is wrong. Another participant was ecstatic to have learned tools and skills to prevent others from pressuring her to “bend the rules.”  The comment I heard most was how my positive attitude made a usually dull and even negative subject come to life. This is a perfect example of how THE WAY in which we communicate has as much influence on people as the content we communicate.

Teaching a seminar on Business Ethics definitely was outside of my normal comfort zone, and because of that, it taught me even more about how important communication is in the workplace. What we say, and HOW WE SAY IT has a tremendous effect on our relationships with customers, co-workers, suppliers, competitors, employees, volunteers, board members, and even our friends and families. If it you have become frustrated recently with any relationship that you have, take a moment to think about HOW you are communicating, and what effect that approach has on how well other's understand what you are saying.

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