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  • Oliver Chaudhuri 9:00 am on December 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: business,   

    Survival of the Smartest: new business models, new demands in communication 

    Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

    In the coming years, practically all industries will be asking the following question: What things can we optimize with solutions and digital processes? Who will be the winners in this race and who will lose? Or even, who will be devoured by it? The consulting firm KPMG recently published a study that precisely speaks of this: “Survival of the Smartest“.

    Five key messages from this study

    1. Traditional business models are under enormous pressure. Around 1/3 of the companies surveyed (34%) wait for their business model to change from now to the year 2020. Above all, business models of companies in the telecommunications sector, communication mediums and energy.  Companies that want to survive must break with traditional models and clean out their portfolio.

    2. Dialogue between distinct industrial sectors is necessary. The survivors will be those companies who think “outside of the box” and who know to take advantage of the growth opportunities in new industries. The study demonstrates that the banks and insurance companies, energy, trade and the telecommunications industry are the most competitive sectors.  Against this, sectors such as the automobile industry are not perceived as pointers.

    3. Investment is needed for a new culture of innovation. In an environment of innovation, necessary investment is high. Activate technology, life cycles of products that are shorter and the changing needs of customers. This especially concerns the telecommunications industry, the electronics sector and the automotive industry, and requires a lengthy optimization period in all processes.
    (More …)

     
  • Chris Preston 9:00 am on February 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: business, , , ,   

    The Five People Your Business Really Needs to Make Engagement Stick 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    Editor’s note: Today we have the pleasure of presenting a new Zyncro Blog author: Chris Preston, a navigator of the corporate culture, spends most of his time working with interesting companies that create a wealth of stories, anecdotes and cautionary tales. Chris describes himself as a natural Storyteller, but a terrible Strategist – so the blogs should be good, but probably late. Welcome Chris! :)

    Over the last two years Jane Sparrow and I researched content for a recently released book, The Culture Builders. In doing so, we uncovered the five people you really want in your organisation if you are to make engagement, work, stick and pay dividends.

    The examples we heard, from companies large and small, showed us how great engagers (be they leaders or first-line managers) are adept at inhabiting five roles as they look to move the workforce from caring about the business, to being passionate about it – a difference we term ‘savers and investors’. An organisation full of investors (and they do exist) can achieve amazing things and delight and move their customers way beyond the ‘OK’ mark.

    We use the phrase Investor to describe the levels of commitment, involvement and ownership that people feel and demonstrate when they genuinely feel part of an organisation. The five roles get them there – steering, challenging, talking, doing and inspiring.

    So, I guess the question you’re asking is, ‘who are they… and how do I get them?’… Meet the Culture Builders:

    • The Prophet: the one with the vision for the future, forward looking, inspirationally overflowing. This role is all about what’s over the horizon, and we should all be aiming to get there (the past’s a forgotten place).
    • The Storyteller: bringing the journey to life, uses rich language to localise the vision and help people bridge the gap between where we are and where we’re going.
    • The Strategist: keeping it all on track, aligning actions and people with the goal, ensuring ‘it’s for the long term’. Driving consistency of behaviour and longevity of an initiative to ensure a successful outcome.
    • The Coach: Knowing what makes the heart ‘beat’ of the people in their team, and using that knowledge to engage them fully in the activity, to use the engagement process to grow and challenge them, constantly thinking how.

    These first four are what we term the ‘type’ roles, and describe the ways in which we go about engaging the wider organisation. We know from research that there is a preference for the first one, closely followed by the Storyteller. It’s the Strategist that is the least prevalent in managers and leaders – opening up a whole host of issues around longevity of actions and cost for projects (I’ll talk more about this in future blogs).

    The final role is what we term the ‘style’ role, and focuses more on the personal approaches that a leader of people will rely upon:

    • The Pilot: The person with their hand on the tiller, the calm, firm voice in times of change – a style that colours how the person delivers the four ‘type’ roles and steers teams to act and develop in very different ways (we break this role down into three areas: Authoritative, Inclusive and Enabling).

    I firmly believe that these five roles are made, not born in people, and can be attained by focus, effort and determination. Like many areas of leadership theory, the first step is always going to be recognition of what the situation requires and understanding how you personally get there.

    Interestingly, the really high performing individuals that we met did not possess all five in high levels. Rather they had a balance in the four type roles (so either Prophet or Storyteller high, and either Strategist or Coach high). In terms of the Pilot, those that are highly inclusive are seen to do the best in engagement terms.

    So that’s a quick jaunt through the book’s main thinking. In future blogs I hope to move beyond it, and look more widely at how areas such as trust, dialogue and the corporate environment all build or detract Investors in our organisations. Let me know your thoughts, and what you’d like me to expand on – culture’s a whole world in itself!

     
  • Patricia Fernandez Carrelo 9:00 am on October 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: business, , , ,   

    And there was light… A business event for businesses 

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    Today we would like to invite you to the first edition of the event “Y se hizo la luz…” by Zyncro.

    What is “Y se hizo la luz…”?

    It is an after-work event for businesses that will look at the innovative approaches in business transformation processes. In this first edition, we are delighted to include the participation of Alejandro Formanchuk, expert consultant in Internal Communication 2.0, leader in his field in Latin America.

    Where and when?

    This after-work event will take place on Tuesday, November 6 at Shifen’s Dluz, and will last approximately 2 hours, from 7pm to 9pm.

    How do I sign up?

    You can sign up through Eventbrite. We advise you to register asap, as although the event is free, there are limited places!

    Are you coming? Looking forward to seeing you on November 6 with @Formanchuk to discuss internal communication 2.0. Sign up! :-)

     

     
  • Mertxe Pasamontes 9:00 am on July 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: business, , , resilience   

    Rebuilding confidence 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Seven months into 2012, we can safely say that we’re overwhelmed bad news, both on the economic and job front. The subventions that were promised for entrepreneurs do not seem to materialize, at least in the medium term, and the forecasts for the upcoming months are nothing to write home about apparently; that is to not say, they are complete rubbish. Meaning we’re faced with a dire panorama.

    For that reason, now is the time to “utilize our resilience.” Resilience is that ability to move forward after major crisis. That inner strength that makes you struggle on despite all sorrows, thinking that there are still good things to discover beyond those difficult moments, and that while you are alive, you can find happiness although it may be on an unexpected bend in the road. That encourages you to give it your all, to soldier on. Realizing that no matter how hard the situation is, complaining (not objecting, they are different things) won’t get us out of the mess we have got ourselves into.

    For that reason, we need to learn to rebuild our confidence, if not in the institutions that have fallen somewhat into disrepute, in ourselves, in our work colleagues, in the people who want to create new project, in those who want to share, in those who innovate, in those who take risks, in those who reinvent themselves every day, in those who smile despite everything, in those who look for solutions and above all, in our own inner resources that we each have to escape from a bad situation.

    I don’t know whether you’re going away on vacation this year, whether you’ll have vacations at all or whether you even work for that matter. Obviously, the first option is the one everyone wants, and the one that will make things easier for you. But whatever your situation, I suggest that you take advantage of the summer, the long days, the extra hours of light, to think, even if it is just for a short while, in what you are going to do to rebuild that confidence and change whatever makes you dissatisfied. Be it by doing more or wanting less. Be it just you or with other people.

    And if you’re not sure how, read this small Zen tale:

    During a momentous battle, a Japanese general decided to attack. Although his army was considerably outnumbered, he was sure they would win, but his men were filled with doubt. On their way into battle, they stopped off at a religious sanctuary. After praying with his men, the general took out a coin and said “Now I will toss this coin. If it is heads, we win. If it is tales, we lose. Now destiny will be revealed.”

    He tossed the coin into the air and the men watched carefully as it fell. It was heads. The soldiers were filled with happiness and full of confidence that they vigorously attacked the enemy and returned victorious. After the battle, a lieutenant told the general “No one can change destiny.” “Absolutely true,” replied the general while he showed the lieutenant the coin, which had heads on both sides.

    Despite the difficulties, what we are going to do is continue living.

    What are you going to do to rebuild that confidence?

     

     
  • Patricia Fernandez Carrelo 9:00 am on June 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: business, ,   

    Social Business in Europe. A chronicle on an interesting innovation 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    The concept of Social Business is becoming more significant on the international business front. From the US, we hear constant news regarding the different trends in Enterprise 2.0, like the “Enterprise 2.0” congress that started in Boston yesterday, June 18. But the old continent isn’t far behind on the developments and innovation, and is keeping up-to-date on new business trends:

    Participating in:

    At Zyncro, we can affirm that the concept of “Social Business” or “Enterprise 2.0” is not a passing trend, but a business reality.

    The characteristics that shape this description range from internal communication, through to social relationships with customers, and touch all aspects of corporate management: change, knowledge, and idea management, managing corporate and personal learning processes.

    Here you have a picture from the presentation given by Juan Liedo, Director of the Enterprise 2.0 division of Ibermática, at the Enterprise 2.0 and Social Business Congress in Seville, where all these sectors could be clearly identified in a very educational manner:

    Intranet 2.0, Accelerating Change Management, Customer Service 2.0 (and as success stories, mention must be made to Vueling and MRW), Knowledge Management 2.0, Enterprise Social Networks, Open Goverment, Social Learning, Social Media Marketing, Idea Management 2.0, Press Room 2.0, Social Recruiting, HR Management 2.0… and a concept I’d like to add that results from the contributions of all agents involved in the business network and new data generated at source and around the company: Big Data.

    Our participation in these events (and the next one will be in Oporto: Social Now ;-)) has proved for us how relevant these concepts are, as we have been showing continually through our ZyncroBlog.

    So we’ve banished completely the idea that an “enterprise 2.0” is one with Facebook and Twitter accounts, we continue to promote the value of those professionals within our corporations who are familiar with this new way of understanding and dealing with ideas, knowledge and technology, and above all, we haven’t forgotten that this description refers to business aspects and therefore should be seen as a business issue that can directly affect the P&L account.

    We have already spoke about “management 2.0” on many occasions, but now more than ever, at Zyncro we want to reiterate this way of leading a business, as it is the only way if we want to innovate, progress and improve the company results.

    Business, company, results. That is how “Social Business” is translated, supported by technology to advance this new way of proceeding, and which needs to be led by general management, department heads, HR, Marketing…

    Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to find out more about what the Enterprise 2.0 is and how you can start to become one… we’re happy to help :-)

     

     
  • Eirene Ramos 4:00 pm on June 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , business, , , , , , WebCongress Barcelona   

    Experience the digital reality at WebCongress Barcelona 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    WebCongress is one of the leading international events on digital marketing. The ninth edition of the Spanish-language event will take place in Barcelona next week, and of course, Zyncro couldn’t miss out on this date. Our CEO, Lluís Font, will give a keynote on June 13 at 12 pm on a topic you’ve often read about in our posts:

    Business communication is now social.

    What is WebCongress Barcelona?

    It’s a two-day event that brings together more than 17,000 companies, SMEs and entrepreneurs, during which you can hear keynotes and practical workshops, where the latest trends in the internet, social networks and search engines will be discussed and presented. At WebCongress Barcelona, you can listen and chat to international online marketing gurus and participate in intensive group workshops given by the experts.

    Where and when is it happening?

    WebCongress Barcelona will take place on June 13 & 14 at Fira de Barcelona, in Halls 1, 2 and 5.

    Who is it aimed at?

    All professionals interested in social media, SEO/SEM, web analytics, mobile marketing, cloud computing, semantic web, interactive videos, digital advertising, apps and e-commerce, etc.

    What will be discussed?

    On Wednesday 13, there will be a number of keynote talks, which will discuss strategic topics like business on the cloud, the keys to performing a successful digital marketing campaign, augmented reality, online search engines, etc. You can check out all the conferences being held at this link.

    Thursday, June 14, will see a series of workshops on social media: SEO, SEM, web analytics, community management and more related issues. You can find out more at this link.

    What’s more, there’ll be an event to close the congress giving us all a chance to connect at the WebParty!

    Want to join us? Of course you do! Register here! See you on June 13 :)

     

     
  • Gorka Zumeta 6:03 pm on February 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: business, , , ,   

    Internal communication, the key to business success 

    Estimated reading time: 10 minutes.

    Editor’s note: Today on ZyncroBlog we would like to share a magnificent article by Gorka Zumeta. We would like to thank him for letting us reproduce it in its entirety. As you know, at Zyncro we are working day by day to give you tools that make internal communication much easier.

    Gorka Zumeta holds a degree in Information Sciences from the University of Navarra, has completed the Management Development Program (PDD) at the IESE Business School and has worked principally at Cadena SER. He is an expert in Corporate Communication (internal and external) and lectures on Communication at ESIC Business & Marketing School and Radio at CES, both in Madrid.

    In this article, published on his blog, Gorka speaks in depth about the importance of internal communication as the key to business success. Thanks, Gorka, for allowing us to reproduce it in full below.

    “Internal communication, the key to business success”

    Internal Communication

    When things go well, it’s easy to look after internal communication

    The headline is a clear declaration of intentions: use communication as a tool for attaining notable achievements in the company’s objectives.

    A headline that inevitably needs to be associated with another concept that employers find hard to assimilate: communication in general, and internal and external communication in particular, should never be identified with ‘expense’, rather, with ‘investment’.

    Companies need to invest in raw material, in technology, in sustainable energy consumption, but the fundamental pillar for everything to work better is internal communication. It’s not only the best investment, it’s the top investment.

    Modern theories talk about Internal Communication 2.0, based largely on the tools that new technologies make available to us, with a special emphasis given to new personal communication channels.

    Those in charge of Internal Communication are forced to recycle their knowledge continuously with the new developments that mark the technological evolution, which certainly seem never ending.

    It’s true that these tools favor communication—I’m not going to argue that—and if they are used properly, they can provide greater efficiency in this process between a company and its employees.

    Objectives and strategies of Internal Communication

    The main goal of Internal Communication in any company, regardless of its size, is to create a corporate culture, stimulate a pride of belonging to the company, and hence ensure greater employee involvement and participation in the company’s objectives. In short, it’s about motivating employees, something that only can be done vertically, from top down, never the opposite way.

    To develop these objectives, Internal Communication uses different strategies with a tendancy towards a common destination:

    • Readdressing and reconciliating the work-personal life balance
    • Promoting the retention of talent, stimulating teamwork
    • Saving money through better resource management
    • Improving the public image of the company
    • Managing knowledge
    • Supporting the free flow of information on the company’s progress.

    Internal Communication—and there’s reason to it—helps to reduce incertainty and prevent the feared ‘rumorology’, one of the main enemies of any company.

    All manuals on ‘Internal Communication’ generously quote concepts like the company’s mission’, or employee loyalty’, identifying employees as the internal customer’.

    So in other words, according to this theory, companies not only have to sell their products to the outside world, but also sell themselves to their own staff.

     

    We’ll analyze at this delicate issue at a later stage.

    Internal communication

    If the information doesn't leave the office, the company has a major problem

    So far we’ve revised the main lines of theory marked by Internal Communication, but what is the real environment in which companies move nowadays?

    Unfortunately, the crisis is causing thousands of SMEs to disappear and staff to be ‘restructured’ in large companies, which in many cases translates into mass redundancies.

    It goes without saying, it’s not usually dealt with from the best of contexts, i.e. asking employees to become motivated, loyal, identify, etc. with their company.

    Internal Communication in crisis

    The circumstances that the business world is experiencing, immerse in years of recession and crisis, have forced the parameters governing the relationship with employees to be revised. Against this backdrop, a lack of information is fatal.

    Silence does nothing more than feed the rumor-mongering, generating fear, the worst feeling that any company can generate. If fear, instability, uncertainty, insecurity take over, it’s more than likely that it will just accelerate the closure.

    So the main goal is to keep information going on the commercial activity, the lifeline of the company.
    acuerdo

    But what happens when things go wrong?

    But the fact that information flows doesn’t automatically mean that there’s good communication. Other factors come into play beyond those of merely passing on data.

    Internal Communication 2.0 is questioned in a crisis. It’s not enough to resort to this new technological formulation to calm the nerves of employees in a company whose survival is hanging by a thread.

    No employee will want to delve into the intranet for them to find the bad news that next month they’ll be joining the unemployment ranks. And yet more than one has gone to court over being fired by email (or by bureaufax).

    These cases should be displayed out in the open for public ridicule for those who commit them and shows their absolute lack of not just professionalism but pure human empathy in dealing with their subordinates.

    The Spanair case

    The recent closure of the airline Spanair, which received in extremis financial aid from the Barcelona City Council and the Catalan Regional Government, has illustrated to onlookers an absolute lack of internal transparency.

    The company’s lack of resources was common knowledge yet no one could forsee such a hasty, impending end. The directors—headed up by the businessman Ferran Soriano—recognized that they suspended flights ‘for safety reasons’, because the workers ‘were agitated’. A decisive symptom of the lack of an effective internal communication policy.

    Ferran Soriano

    Ferran Soriano, Chairman of Spanair

    How could they be anything but agitated if the salvation of the company, Qatar Airways, finally announced that it wouldn’t become shareholder in Spanair?! The delicate financial situation that the Catalan airline was going through, with debts to the tune of more than three hundred million euros, no credit lines and the public channels (authorities) drained, had led it to insufficient cash flow even for purchasing fuel.

    Against this backdrop, not only was information essential, but fluid communication between board and union representatives should have been a must.

    Maybe Spanair’s situation was already irreversible and there was no other way out other than closure, but the truth is its main director, Ferrán Soriano, said to have a starting salary of 600,000 euros, later reduced by half to combine this responsibility with the rest of his network of companies (in other words, 300,000 euro for a part-time job), saw the drop in revenue in the company long before January 28 when he decided to cease its activity.

    The progressive downslide in income and the lack of competitiveness required adjustment measures long before, without mentioning the lack of control held by the Catalan authorities over the financial aid granted to Spanair.

    Spanair’s economic activity had deteriorated long before January, and August 2011, for certain. And even before that. However the workers lacked reliable information on their company’s operations. They lived and worked in ignorance, a far cry from the balance sheet and, hence, the company’s future. How could this conflict have been solved?

    There are no infallible rules, of course; but I think that internal communication—inexistent in this glaringly obvious case—was, modestly, one of the keys to success. There wasn’t any, nor was it expected. And if there was any, it was completely whimsical.

    The example of the small fry

    Lastly, Internal Communication is the safeguard of the company’s survival.

    Without mentioning names, I refer to two direct cases that I know of SMEs that continue operating in Euskadi (the Basque Country), whose industrial network has managed to ensure that the effects of the crisis are less toxic that in the rest of Spain.

    In both cases, Internal Communication—and not Internal Communication 2.0, with all due respects—has enabled their activity to continue, despite being directly threated with closure.

    Internal CommunicationIn one case, there were ten operators as well as the director and the managing director, brothers; and in the other, four workers and the owner, who also worked in the same way as his employees. In both examples, selected from the machinery sector, communication between the team was fluid.

    Without going as far as forming fast friendships between them, the relationship in the second company was a much closer one, widely surpassing the usual employer-employee distance.

    Faced with a drop in revenue, everyone, employers and workers alike came to an agreement to reduce their salaries, so that they were in line with the income statement. The decision was made with the figures laid out before them.

    There was a willingness for continuity from everyone and the decision was made unanimously. In both case, the decision was the right choice because in both examples, the situation, thanks to the international market where they have launched themselves, has enabled them to recover their position.

     

    “The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot”

    Companies whose corporate mission is within the communication area should, by simple coherence, practise communication at home.

    But far from complying with that desideratum, they exercise misinformation and feed rumors.

    The Confidentials or insider newsletters that fill the internet with their news—some biased, others poisoned— comply with the role of the intranet in many journalistic companies. Their employees give them credibility that they are unable to win it with their executives.

    ConfidentialIf that wasn’t enough, in some companies, the truthfulness of these news pieces suggest that their sources belong to the staff in other companies, due to the level of information they possess. I’m absolutely certain that some companies look for spies and in others, they have been discovered.

    Moving in that strategy is, without a doubt, the biggest mistake that can happen in a company. More so if their goal is precisely communication. Often, the pages of newspapers dedicated to that section, to ‘Communication’, have a two-fold purpose: sing the praises of their own actions and attack the competition’s progress.

    Just look at the pages that El País dedicates to El Mundo and vice versa. The attack not only damages one or another, but by extension it mars the prestige and the credibility of the entire profession.

     

    Communication

    Internal Communication, essential in times of crisis

    One thing is theory and another how it is applied in practice. The policy of fine gestures, from one to another, employers and employees, implies the joint acceptance of an adverse context and the univocal reply to the challenge.

    A businessman can’t go about flaunting his economic position, showing himself off in the public eye when the company that he manages is undergoing a poor financial situation.

    At the same time, you can’t ask staff to be loyal when the company decides to embark on a redundancy program, not to ensure its survival, but to maintain its profit margin. In the same way, workers cannot respond to the perseverance of the company’s management in finding a solution with an all-out strike.

    The crisis is forcing both sides to reach an agreement. The situation—their survival—condemns them to find common ground. But if there is no communication, no information, the road to understanding is almost impossible. Though the size of the company can condition the progress of the internal communication policy.

    At first sight, it may seem easier to come to an agreement with a select few than do it when all parties means a hundred or a thousand workers. But there lies the skill and the gift of opportunity of the spokespeople. At times, when it comes down to it, Internal Communication is just talking and trying to understand one another. Let’s not agonize over it anymore…

     
  • Sílvia Majó 10:21 am on February 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , business, , , ,   

    Internal branding, an intelligent plot 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Today we’ve a great opportunity to talk about the book by Alejandro Formanchuk, one of the most important organizational communication experts in Argentina. On his blog Todo Significa (Spanish)  he shares his extensive experience in internal communication and has compiled a summary of it under the title Branding Interno, Una Trama Inteligente (Internal Branding: An Intelligent Plot only in Spanish right now).

    We would like to thank Alejandro for letting us dedicate a post to the main lessons we’ve taken from his new book which can be applied in our organizations.

    To start, when we want to place the value of internal communication or internal branding in companies, we need to ask ourselves, like the author did, what possesses value in the corporate world?

    The answer lies in Branding Interno, Una Trama Inteligente with authors such as Jonas Ridderstrale and Kkell Nordstrom, who declare that the classic balance sheet captures less than a quarter of the real value of a modern company.

     

    75% of that value can’t be seen, accounted, measured and recorded by those old balance sheets

     

    That’s what Formanchuk maintains. For him, this figure has a clear translation:

    • A machine, a building, a product: 15%.
    • The loyalty and the positive image in the eyes of your customers, partners, employees and others: 75%.

    Departing from this or from a similar qualitative calculation made by other authors, which places human capital at the center of any successful corporate operation, Formanchuk’s reading is a must that you should flick through at the very least.

    In it, you’ll discover important maxims for designing valuable internal communication:

    • Many of the most important resources in a company are not tangible.
    • Employees are not an internal audience. They’re an outside actor.
    • The barriers are gone between external and internal communication.
    • People themselves are a branding channel.
    • Internal branding is simply just branding.

    Having made these reflections, Formanchuk puts forwards some guidelines for determining the actions that can be taken from them. For the author of Todo Significa,  brand value is built from within the organization. For that reason, we talk about strategic decisions that necessarily involve integrating disciplines. In this sense, remember that organizations mustn’t forget that they need to:

    • Manage the brand from within the company.
    • Execute branding actions designed for and aimed at employees.
    • Carry out internal communication done with branding techniques.
    • Organize ERM programs (Employee Relationship Management).
    • Employ B2E strategies (Business-to-Employees) driven by “EVP” (Employer Value Proposition).

    To all this, from Zyncro we could add the best practices proposed by the manual for Enterprise Social Networking.

    And a final quote from the author in his book:

    The people making up a company are its best ambassadors.

     
  • Pablo Fuentes 9:00 am on February 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: business, , ,   

    Five key points for managing internal communication 2.0 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    Editor’s note: We’ve invited Pablo Fuentes, internal communication manager at Telefónica Latin America, once again to share with us his tips on managing internal communication in companies on #ZyncroBlog From his experience emerge ideas like the ones he has prepared for us today: Thanks, Pablo, for joining us once again on #ZyncroBlog!! Remember, on his Spanish-language blog relatoscorporativos.com (Spanish), you’ll find the best strategies and ideas for implementing communication 2.0 systems, as well as the latest trends in corporate communication.

    Sandra finished her presentation before the Management Board feeling like she had won the battle. However, a few seconds that felt like an eternity went by before the Chairman confirmed her victory, “Well done, go ahead.” Worn out, she sat back down with a sigh of satisfaction. They had given her internal communication 2.0 project the green light.

    It hadn’t been easy. One director seemed to be worried about employees participating. “Any employee can participate and give their opinion?” “How do you control what they say there?” Another had doubted the truthfulness of the contents published. “Who says that the information is correct?” and a third had questioned the usefulness of the tools, “They’re all very nice those blogs and forums, but what do they bring to the business?”
    For days, Sandra had prepared gallons of coffee, replying to all the possible and impossible questions. What’s more, she had been told about a blog, Relatos Corporativos, where she had found the key points for managing her new internal communication model:

    • 1. The model 2.0 is an evolution, not a revolution. The Intranet will continue to be the door to the employee’s services and contents. (The Intranet itself will evolve towards a more participative environment.)

    New tools 2.0 will promote and help synergies with existing internal communication channels!!

    • 2. Official company information will always exist. Sandra made it clear to the board that the official corporate information wouldn’t disappear; quite the opposite, it would become the main pillar of internal communication. One of her major challenges from now on would be ensure coherence between official and unofficial information generated in participation spaces.
    • 3. Contents aligned with the business. New tools 2.0, a wiki, a networks of blogs, a forum and even an internal social network need to be focused on the needs of the business. For that reason, it is important to define a contents policy beforehand that covers the objectives of the strategic plan and leverages the plan, be it about innovation, customer focus, service development, efficiency in processes or reinforcing the employees’ commitment.
    • 4. Policy of participation. The first step in managing participation is identifying the user. Here Sandra found an unusual ally, the head of security, “The employee is registered with their username and password? Ah! Then it’s like sending an email.” That more or less sums it up. What’s more, the internal communication team will supervise postings and moderate contents, watching for coherence and encouraging and focusing conversations towards strategic matters.

    Participation generates value, helps identify talent in the organization and democratizes knowledge

    • 5. Incentivizing participation. As I said, participation generates value, helps identify talent in the organization and democratizes knowledge. But Sandra knew that achieving that participation is the major challenge in any internal communication team. It’s done in two ways: by providing value to the internal customer so that they see its usefulness; and by building a true digital culture through HR, with specific training plans and actions for promotion and involvement (see story Five key points for focusing an internal communication model 2.0 – in Spanish). For the rest, for the debate about participation and quality of the contents, Sandra found a new ally, the director of the office in Argentina, “Che, when I sing alone in the shower, I sound awful, but when I go to the stadium and we all sing together, it’s melody.”

    The success of Sandra’s plan will depend on the positive impact it has on the business and above all, on its ability to show it in the specific indicators.

     
  • Joan Alvares 10:51 am on January 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: business, ,   

    3 tips for transforming your start-up into a smart-up 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    1. Distrust guys in ties. As a kid, I was taught not to accept anything from strangers. If you have a company, you’ve probably come across the situation of needing more money that you have saved. If you need a little money and a bit of luck, maybe you can get a loan. If you need a lot of money and a lot of luck, maybe you can attract the attention of an investor. I say maybe, because when it comes down to it, I’m still that insecure kid. Accepting money from an external investor is dangerous business. And it’s a sure way of going from an entrepreneur to an employee. Because an entrepreneur doesn’t have a minute to spare in giving explanations of everything he or she does: they’ve simply got do it, guided by their talent and intuition. There are a great many resources before asking for a loan or going to a bank. If you need money to hire a talented programmer, look around you: you may already know them and you can get them in on the project in exchange for a small part of it. And if you can’t pay with a lot of money, pay with ego. The case of Steve Jobs is well known: to hire the then chairman of Pepsi, John Sculley, he put it to him simply, “you can spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or you can change the world with us”. Also consider crowdfunding and webs like Kickstarter: if you need money to produce a film, thousands of internet users could make small donations in exchange for feeling co-producers.

    2. Don’t have more than you need. It seems obvious. And it is. But how many companies have lived beyond their possibilities? How many have died of success, burdening themselves unnecessarily with fixed costs in times of prosperity without considering what will happen when income falls? Think about what your company really needs, no reserves. Re-think even the most usual cost. Need an office or could you work in a co-working space? Need a secretary or have you already learnt to synchronize your appointments with your cell? Think about the environment. In the Cloud era where you can access any document from any device, not having a printer is a great idea for saving money and paper.

    3. Don’t produce anything that can be “Chinesed”. I heard this expression at a congress and it stuck with me. It summed up an approach where a company dedicates 100% of its work to the area that offers the greatest added value. Covering more means specializing less. There are two ways to compete: by value and by price. If the best thing about your product is that it’s cheap, rest assured, soon there’ll be someone who can do it for cheaper. Apple showed us the way when in all of its products, they started to put ‘designed in California, assembled in China’. Externalize all those processes that don’t bring value to what you do and focus on the essentials. On what you do best. On what you enjoy most. On the reason why you really set up your company. The truth is plain to see: you can’t be the best at something you don’t enjoy.

    Joan Alvares is founding partner of Poko (Spanish)  and lecturer at Istituto Europeo di Design. Yet again he wants to share his thoughts about the new company and office models with us.

    Check out his previous posts!

     

     
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