Culture and change management is something I find really fascinating; I've worked with businesses developing their vision and purpose, and seen the difference it makes to the bottom line when staff understand how they fit into the bigger picture of what that business is trying to achieve and why it exists. So I really enjoyed my chat with Culture and Leadership Consultant, Michelle Holland.
Adding to her long list of talents, Michelle has just written a book called Energy Vampires Suck, which is a personal leadership journey, written using the metaphor of vampires and slayers.
In today’s episode of Be The Drop, Michelle discusses facing your demons, LinkedIn networking, and reveals how to boost your team's productivity...
Practical steps for transformation.
Michelle describes herself as a practical idealist, because you have to be an idealist to believe things can change, but in order "to move from cynicism to eutopia, you need to take practical steps." That's how to go about change management. If you get your company values and mission right, figure out how you want to work and get the culture right, then the rest will follow.
It's a proactive, not reactive, approach to business leadership. Change happens through conversation.
And storytelling is a key part of that. If you can take your staff on a journey, if you're able to tell a story that's personal or has something about you in it, it makes you much more relatable as a leader. Michelle goes on to say: The most inspiring leaders are the ones that can frame their stories in an interactive way; the audience becomes part of their story.
But beware; the worst thing you can do is make it all about you! If your staff are "not engaged" it's because they're not connected with the business. So, what does your business stand for and why should your staff connect with that? That's how you should be addressing the issue.
"You need to create the culture you need to get the business you want."
Listen to Michelle's podcast episode or head to our Facebook page for more Be The Drop content and behind the scenes videos!
Self-actualise your business.
Having something that's so important to you it makes you get up in the morning is actually the number 1 thing that will create success in individuals and in business, says Michelle. We talk about "self-actualisation" in terms of individuals. This means you're always reaching for the top, seeking that broader understanding of who we are and our contribution to the world. Now apply that same principle of self-actualisation to your business.
Need help figuring out what your business stands for & its direction? Ask about our strategy services.
Ask yourself, why would a customer come to us instead of the business down the road? People aren't going to be drawn to you if you're not sure what you're doing. This is yet another example of that clarity of purpose, commitment and focus that is so important to "be the drop", which I talked about recently in my update episode.
Michelle realised that what's she's really good at and passionate about is helping people and businesses get better results. "Once I had that moment of clarity, everything came together," she says. "As soon as I made that decision, within an hour, I received a phone call offering me a big piece of work in the space that I loved."
"Once I had that moment of clarity about my purpose, everything came together."
Businesses are made up of individuals.
When you work in the corporate space, it's easy to get caught up in products and services and the corporate machine. But ultimately, it's still all about people. Even in B2B, it's essential to remember that you're communicating with people.
"I've always networked, been out there having conversations with people, and generally the work I do comes via that network." As well as face-to-face, Michelle also uses LinkedIn a lot. "It's essential for me as I work in the corporate space. LinkedIn becomes an extension of a person to person connection made at an event."
Michelle understands the value of regular interaction and content consistency on LinkedIn. "I interact within groups, I blog and post on there too, at least once a day."
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It's not always a quick win, but that's the power of social media; it allows you to stay connected, visible and front of mind for your target audience.
There's so much noise and competition out there, so continuing to provide content of value, being part of relevant conversations and keeping your network up-to-date will eventually pay off. When that old contact is ready to talk business, you're already there in front of them.
Patience + belief.
Don't be fooled into measuring your worth by your engagement statistics; even if you don't have many likes or comments, that doesn't mean your audience aren't noticing you.
Michelle admits that she was disheartened in the beginning by the lack of interaction with her social media posts, but then she found upon meeting people that they had in fact been reading her content; they just hadn't engaged with it on social media.
So keep going. Engagement will come when people are good and ready.
Don't get wrapped up in the drama.
In the corporate world, there's so much opportunity for drama and stress, but remembering that it's "only work" is essential. You're more effective when you don't get caught up in the drama.
Take what you're doing seriously, absolutely; but don't take yourself too seriously. Traditionally, Michelle says, this is not understood in management. People believe that if you work hard you can't play.
Our whole education system teaches us not to have fun: Follow the rules, do the assessment, then you can relax. So when you go into the workplace, it's no surprise that leaders and managers think that working hard excludes enjoyment.
Remember: If your employees look forward to coming to work on a Monday morning, they're going to be more productive. If they're dreading it and don't enjoy being at work, they're only going to do the bare minimum.
This is exactly the kind of approach taken by Dogcity Daycare, who I interviewed recently for Be The Drop. You can read about how they created a workplace that all their staff love here.
"If your staff are doing something they enjoy, of course they're going to do more."
JOIN ME - HELP REDUCE HOMELESSNESS!
Let's Be The Drop and create a waterfall together! This year, I'll be participating in the CEO Sleepout to raise money for Vinnies (click here for the Vinnies SA CEO, David Wark, interview blog post) with hundreds of other CEOs and business owners.
Community action like this really embodies the spirit of Be The Drop for me. United, we can make a difference; individually, we're just single drops, but if we work together, we can create a waterfall. I believe passionately in this philosophy and want to live it wholeheartedly, not just talk about it in my podcast.
So, join me in supporting Vinnies and we can change the lives of hundreds of thousands of homeless Aussies. Homelessness is not a choice, but I'm choosing to experience it for just one uncomfortable winter night to raise money to help those people that desperately need it.
You don't need to join me on the soggy cardboard, but you can support my fundraising efforts >> just follow this link to my fundraising page. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Thank you again for tuning in and listening to the BTD podcast. I can't wait for the next installment to bring you more inspiring people talking about their strategies for connecting with and building a positive community.
Be The Drop is brought to you by Narrative Marketing, the marketing consultancy that exists to help you unlock your storytelling superpower.
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