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In my experience, the true leaders are those who do not assume they have all the answers.  People may expect them to have them all, but they know better.

What does that mean for your business?  Well, it’s pretty straight forward.

A good boss will assume that his or her team have important and diverse insights and experiences that can enhance relationships with key stakeholders … customers, vendors, clients, etc.

That’s right – you have a team of good people working together, so see what they think.  Their different opinions will inform your decision, if you value and embrace them.

Face it, it’s been a while since the boss “owned” each and every customer relationship.  Chances are, someone else knows what’s really going on in that vendor’s head.  What “they’re” thinking may surprise you.

You pay your employees a lot of money to do what they do, so talk with them, listen to them, ask for their advice and help.  They’ll respond, especially if they trust you and know you trust them.

So many answers to business challenges can be solved by asking employees what they think and what they know.  Too few bosses bother to ask.

Post by Nick Vehr – 11.28.09


Best wishes to all during this special holiday. 

So much for which to give thanks!

The front page of this morning’s Wall Street Journal (11.23.09) shares an article titled, “Volunteers Log Off As Wikipedia Ages.”

Is it, perhaps, really an article about the settling, or maturation, of new media? 

For cave dwellers, Wikipedia began as an, “online free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.”  It began nine years ago and now has about 325 million monthly visitors, according to the article.  I use it regularly for this blog and as a general resource.

The focus of the article is the fact that Wikipedia, in the first three months of 2009, experienced a loss of 49,000 online volunteer editors.  During the same period the previous year, the comparable number was 4,900.

To me, the article represents what I and others think is occuring with new media in general … a settling or maturation.  Here’s what I mean.

We all know the pendulum for hot new products swings way wide before it settles back in.  So, too, for social media. We are witnessing it with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and countless others.  How long ago was it that MySpace was going to take over the world?  Who do you know that is actively using it now?

Does that mean social media – or Wikipedia – is dying?  Of course not.  I think it does mean that it is finding its place, it is settling in, it is maturing as most products and services always do.

There is little question that social media (new media, the internet, Web 2.0 – whatever you want to call it)  has forever changed the way many people communicate.  At some level, it may have even profoundly influenced the way many people manage their personal and professional relationships. 

There is little question that it has forever changed our professional – strategic communications or, what many call, public relations.

But, the pendulum is swinging back towards a point of equilibrium, or at least to a more measureable , natural and sustainable sway.

That’s what I thought when I read this a.m.’s article about Wikipedia?  What did you think?

Post by Nick Vehr – 11.23.09

"You can't handle the truth!"

How often have any of us as professional communicators had clients who are critically and, perhaps, maniacally focused on external audiences to the detriment of their own folks?

Even worse, what about those clients who worry that employees, “can’t handle the truth!”

The best businesses – whether B2C or B2B – understand that healthy, open and transparent long term relationships with clients are the key to sustained business growth and profitability. 

Most CEOs or CMOs do not “own” the relationship with each and every client.  The people who work for them do.  So, the bosses need to commit to maintaining healthy, open and transparent relationships with their employees.

The folks interacting with clients need to know what’s going on in and around the business so the clients know they are dealing with informed professionals working in a culture that values them. 

Importantly, employees deserve to know the good, the bad and the ugly, so long as sharing such information does not jeopardize the the company’s competitive positioning.  Some companies, especially privately held ones, share such information even if it does.

Employees (colleagues, associates, whatever you call them) are the most important asset of any company.  Invest in them.  Trust them.  Help them to be better professionals. 

Relationships – personal and professional – are based on trust.  It’s not rocket science!

If your team trusts you, the people with whom they are dealing will trust them. 

That’s the best way to retain and grow your business.

Post by Nick Vehr – 11.21.09