Almost four years ago, I officially embarked on my solo public relations career and created JRM Comm, a PR and marketing consultancy. I always dreamed of being my own boss, so when the opportunity did arise, I was excited and eager to take on the solo PR world. I have not regretted the move because it has also given me the opportunity to speak to small businesses, PRSSA chapters, and work with outstanding clients.
Management & Leadership's archives
To ensure the delivery on Boehringer Ingelheim’s promise of ‘More Health’ to the patient communities we serve, we are continually examining and innovating around how to engage employees in responding to, and leading, the change we face.
Change is our reality: the increasing pace of technological innovation, regulatory changes, globalization, shifting demographics; the whirling maelstrom of global Life that we find ourselves operating within — none of which pauses for us to catch up.
Couple this with the second challenge: Engaging our talent, ensuring productivity, improving margins and managing turnover by supporting acceptable levels of employee engagement. Many other issues vie for strategic attention; however these two challenges have far-reaching implications for the future success of any organization.
Beginning in 2010, we constructed a series of pilots to engage employees in leading change. The results of these pilots were encouraging and have culminated in the creation of a new team within Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI). The central thesis of this Organizational Engagement (OE) group, operational since February 2013, is woven from our understanding of the results of our pilots and tied to a theoretical foundation painted from a diverse set of sources and inspirations: enterprise social media, social entrepreneurship and the theory of urban planning.
The OE approach involves surfacing issues that span multiple functions through questions, discussion and dialogue. We subsequently empower passionate people from across our company to work together to affect positive change. Specifically, project teams made up of volunteers or nominated subject-matter experts (SMEs) devote their time to high priority organizational problems. These project teams form an agile network-like structure that forms, expands, contracts and disbands based on the priorities of the business and the demands of their projects. A portfolio of these projects is centrally managed by a cross-functional OE Core Team, which appropriately sets conditions to maximize the likelihood of project success.
Since inception of the OE group we have:
- Saved over one million dollars of opportunity cost avoidance.
- Implemented a variety of processes to sustain opportunity cost avoidance “wins.”
- Actively engaged almost 300 people from 17 functional areas, from across our entire U.S. organization.
- Connected diverse actors throughout our organization, at all levels, to work together for the benefit of the whole.
- Reduced organizational redundancy through questioning and empathetic engagement.
There are three broad themes we shared during our time at the PRSA 2013 International Conference in Philadelphia, and that we believe have been crucial to the delivery of these unambiguous business results:
- The importance of internal networks — formal and informal.We promote our messages actively and often through all channels — both offline and online. Our creation of a network-like structure to organize this work matches the underlying pattern of the organization and provides a mechanism for organizational learning at scale.
- The role of leadership in supporting nascent change.Our senior leaders provide sponsorship for OE projects, ranging from active “boots on the ground” through to figurehead roles. Our president and CEO has taken to routinely updating the organization on the availability of OE projects as business relevant cross-functional collaboration opportunities, and we have statistically robust data that links this messaging to robust employee awareness of this work.
- How to turn latent organizational energy into strategically important “wins.”Like most organizations, we run Engagement Surveys wherein the pulse of the organization is captured through questions. A persistent opportunity for improvement remains Development — and a desire to do more. Much of our recent OE work has been focused on validating this theme and then curating conditions wherein all employees have opportunities to participate — and subsequently “Develop.” This is not done in isolation, but in collaboration with all of the other opportunities afforded our colleagues through more traditional developmental assignments.
The business results we have realized are worthwhile, but they do not demonstrate OE’s impact on the system in terms of organizational capacity for change and engagement; employees’ experiences do. Below is one story of significant change that illustrates the power of turning latent organizational energy into a strategically important “win.”
Tags: 2013 International Conference: One World, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, Employee Relations & Internal Communications, Management & Leadership, Professional Development and Training, prsa conferences, PRSA International Conference
The research is pretty overwhelming and so is the wisdom of those who have lead the way before us as successful organizational leaders.
- Eighty-nine percent of business professionals believe that communicating with a solid level of clarity and confidence directly impacts their career and income. Source: 2013 Presentation Impact Survey, Distinction Communication, Inc.
- Leaders who are ‘highly effective’ communicators had 47 percent higher total returns to shareholders over the previous five years. Source: 2011–2012 Change and Communication ROI Study Report, Towers Watson
Part of the draw of the presidential debate is the ensuing conflict. We want to hear how each candidate responds to points of difference, and clarifies their own perspectives.
Yet, on the job, many people feel that conflict is not a desirable state. They are even afraid of it. Well, I beg to differ. I think that it is wonderful when folks are not afraid to engage in passionate dialogue around issues and decisions that are key to personal and organizational success. When people do not hesitate to disagree with, challenge or question one another — all in the spirit of finding the best answers, discovering the truth and making great decisions — some really cool things can happen.
It can increase commitment, engagement and accountability; drive results; and build understanding, trust and rapport. We can disagree and thrive. And here is another reality: when conflict isn’t surfaced and discussed, it can actually undercut situations and relationships in ways that are insidious and harmful.
How we manage conflict is where the rubber hits the road!
Tags: 2012 International Conference: The Future Starts Now, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, Crisis Communications, Management & Leadership, Professional Development and Training, prsa conferences, PRSA International Conference
Looking Forward to the PRSA 2012 International Conference: An Interview with Robert Flaherty, APR [Podcast]
Listen to Inside PR‘s podcast interview with Conference Co-Chair Rob Flaherty to hear more on what to expect at the PRSA International Conference this year. The PRSA 2012 International Conference takes place October 13 – 16, 2012 in San Francisco.
Tags: 2012 International Conference: The Future Starts Now, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, Management & Leadership, Professional Development and Training, prsa conferences, PRSA International Conference
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