Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Good Character At Work - How Do You Measure Up?

                                    
                                                                
 

 

"Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."

Abraham Lincoln,16th U.S President.




You know them when you see them.

 


 
The people who have good character speak convincingly from a place of truth. They  walk about with quiet confidence because their  moral compasses are so in sync with their core values that they are straight arrows - their words are their bonds. They may not be perfect but you know instinctively that they can be trusted. Although sometimes they prefer to work behind the scenes, they are vocal about injustice even if they stand alone.
 
 
In corporateville, a good character heralds you into the corridors of opportunity; it also enhances your skills. Because it's such a deep component of your values, influenced by your upbringing and honed over time, it can't be bought. A good character makes you unique, yet keeps you grounded since your overriding concern is  to provide value - in your role, to your colleagues and to your organisation.
 
 
People of good character display specific traits:

 
 
1) They demonstrate a high degree of integrity...
 
 
 
 
In words and in deeds. This means that they say what they mean and follow through on promises they make.

 
 
They are reliable, honest and trustworthy.
 

 
When you need the unadulterated truth, stripped of all the 'political correctness' and popularly accepted norms, they are the only ones who would stick to fairness, even if it loses them allies at the workplace or costs them dearly in promotions and perks.
 
 
They may run the risk of being made scapegoats by some of the power-obsessed big shots because they neither consent to unethical practices not condone cover-ups. Yet, when a crisis breaks, they're often vindicated by their resolve because their good character cannot be maligned.
 
 
They are rare in today's corporate jungle but again, you'd know them when you meet them.
 
 
So how well do you measure up if pitted against their consistent display of integrity, fairness and reliability?
 
 
Food for thought.
 
 

 
2) They prioritise simple, brief and clear communication
 
 
 
 
 
In speech and in writing, they practise the three beacons of effective communication: simplicity, brevity and clarity.


 
Their speeches and presentations are short, easy to understand, and highlight strong, clear, calls-to-action. The result is that their audiences are equipped with information on how to proceed.


 
Their written communication is concise, convincing and inspiring.


 
When representing the organisation in public, their nonverbal cues and poise elicit credibility. They don't appear 'shifty' and they don't shy away from tough questions because the truth is their best defence.


 
Thus, you believe them when they speak and are won over when they write.


 
But realise that they became effective communicators with practice and discipline. And those build character.
 



 
3) They are selfless
 
By far the most difficult behaviour to consistently demonstrate is selflessness.
 
 
Because people of good character are comfortable in their own skins, they tend to cherish community over individuality and prioritise the common good. So they  willingly perform in the background or go out of their way to save jobs, even if it means requesting for pay cuts or forfeiting entitlements. They are also generous with their time and inputs.
 
 
 
 
When working in teams, they wouldn't toot their horns, nor announce to all who care to listen how their actions saved the company millions or how they signed up the biggest accounts.
 
 
They are even uncomfortable with praise from their peers or management because they view their contributions to the organisation as their duty. Such loyalty is of course incomprehensible to other professionals in the cutthroat environment of corporateville.
 
 
Yes, these people by their words and actions challenge us to become better human beings at work, even while we aspire to greater heights professionally.

 
Will we allow ourselves to be so inspired?

 
 
Conclusion
 
People of good character aren't fictional beings who are morally superior to us that we needn't bother to improve.

 
No, they are regular people who for whatever reasons, decided to form certain habits. Through discipline, and despite numerous challenges, they coaxed those habits and consistently practised them until those traits became second nature.
 
 
Good character which  was priceless in Abraham Lincoln's era, is still invaluable today. As echoed by the beloved statesman, it is the 'real thing'; it is not the attractive sheen of a reputation.
 
 

 
Good character separates you from the pack and announces you from afar. At work, it communicates your values and increases your influencing skills. It also helps you champion that which is dear to you and gets you results because people trust you.


So how do you measure up at work? What other traits do people of good character display? Kindly post your comments below. 

 
P.S - I've added a new page to this blog: Clients. It can be accessed from the homepage. Kindly take a look. Remember that I provide customised communications coaching for individuals, groups and companies. Contact me for details if you need help.

 

 
If you enjoyed this post, don't rush off just yet. Please remember to:
  - Share this article in your social networks by clicking on the icons below.

 
 - Sign up for updates in the blog's right sidebar on the homepage so that you are immediately notified via email when a new blog post is published. Don’t miss any more articles!
 
 
 
Need help with improving your communication skills?
 
 
Hire me for:
 
v  Communication training sessions for  your staff and executives;

 
v   Writing assignments (content creation, executive speeches, etc.);

 
v   Speeches and keynote presentations at your corporate events.

 
Let me help you get results.
 
 
Contact me:

 
A) Send an email to: Lucilleossai@gmail.com.

 
 
B) Call for a free consultation: 
Nigeria:            0704 631 0592
International:  +234 704 631 0592  
 

 
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N.B: First image courtesy of Pat138241; via freedigitalphotos.net. Second and fourth images courtesy of Stuart Miles; via freedigitalphotos.net. Third image courtesy of  Iosphere; via freedigitalphotos.net. Last image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan.
 

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Forward Ever, Backwards Never







All things, good or bad, inevitably come to an end.


It's been a long year and with it has come, and gone, the usual challenges and celebrations.          

                      

But you've survived; you can look back on your experiences and learn from them.  





Personal highlights



On a personal note, there are two things that I'm grateful for:




1) Discipline trumps motivation


Don't be fooled any longer. Motivation is overrated. I've come instead to appreciate the power of discipline, and have realised that discipline trumps motivation.



This year brought forth an addition to my family. With the pressures of being a new mum to a healthy, demanding baby boy, I began to make excuses about blogging. For the first six to eight weeks, I was predictably sleep-deprived, continuously 'recovering' and almost stopped blogging altogether. I reckoned that life was too short to court unnecessary stress. Coupled with health concerns which needed to be addressed, I of course had legitimate reasons for taking a 'break'. Indeed I almost stopped blogging.









But I reached deep down to draw upon the last ounce of discipline I didn't know I had. I told myself that if I could manage to churn out well-written blog posts—and I never compromise on quality—between May and June (before and after the birth of my third child), then I could prod on throughout my maternity leave, and continue to  blog until I resumed work in August.


It was a struggle but it worked.


Forget motivation; discipline is the key to achieving your goals. Moreover, you will feel inspired to stay the course and will continue with a worthwhile initiative.



Now since there's a season for everything under the sun, a time would come for me to stop blogging, and that will be fine.


But not now.


So as a new baby changes everything, I have needed to adjust and to plan accordingly. In life, change is incontestable anyway so my new mantra is this: forward ever, backwards never.



2) Birthday milestone


I celebrated a birthday milestone this year with family and friends in style – an intimate gathering in a classy restaurant in Ikoyi, Lagos. It was a much-needed night of relaxation with a photomontage and touching video tributes.





I was able to unwind and to really appreciate the efforts made by family and friends to ensure that night was memorable...which it was. I won't forget that event in a hurry. 


I have also come to value relationships and to note that I am truly blessed.


And for that I am grateful.  




Conclusion




On this blog, I celebrated the fourth blog anniversary in March. For those who missed the list of articles published in the blog's fourth year, you could view the titles, descriptions and links here and here. Be sure to catch up on posts you couldn't read and share your favourite quotes from those articles in your networks. 



Blogging since 2012 has been rewarding and I hope to continue on this journey. Whether or not I get recognition for my work would not determine the frequency at which I write or the quality of the articles I post. This is because what is more important to me is that I continue to acquire knowledge and that I add value.






In the spirit of the season, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas, and I wish you joyous New Year celebrations. Spend the holidays with loved ones and cherish your relationships. In the final analysis, they are what truly matter in life. 



See you in 2017. 



Forward ever... 



  P.S - I've added a new page to this blog: My Clients. It can be accessed from the homepage. Kindly take a look. Remember that I provide customised  communication coaching for individuals, groups and companies. Contact me for details if you need help.
 


If you enjoyed this post don't rush off just yet. Please remember to: 



Ø  Share this article in your social networks by clicking on the icons at the top or below.

Ø  Sign up for updates in the blog's right sidebar so that you are immediately notified via email when a new blog post is published. Don’t miss any more articles!  




Need help with improving your communication skills?  


Hire me for: 

v  Communication training sessions for your staff and executives;

v Writing assignments (content creation, executive speeches, etc.);

v Speeches and keynote presentations at your corporate events.




Let me help you get results.  Contact me: 

A) Send an email to: Lucilleossai@gmail.com.

B) Call for a free consultation: 

Nigeria:                0704 631 0592
International:      +234 704 631 0592     



 ----------------------------------------


N.B: First image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan; via freedigitalphotos.net. Second and third images courtesy of Stuart Miles; via freedigitalphotos.net. Last image courtesy of Tanya3597; via freedigitalphotos.net.


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Emotive Storytelling - The Brand's Superpower




Think back to your childhood.


What was that one advert that you loved and can still remember today, decades later? What made that commercial memorable? Was it funny, witty or silly? Did it tug at your heartstrings?


We as humans love stories. It's how we make sense of our world and how we empathise with people we've never met by simply reading their stories. A good example is what happened in Africa in the 1980s. Pictures and stories of suffering Africans in the wake of terrible famines prompted action. Remember the devastating famine in Ethiopia? It galvanised the collaboration of some of the world's most famous musicians and entertainers, including the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.  These celebrities gathered as a group to record the song 'We Are The World'.



        


With the single, the group  USA For Africa raised $60 million which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan and other countries. Such a feat would have impossible to achieve without storytelling, which shed light on the pitiful plight of victims of famines at that time.


Storytelling is how our parents taught us good morals as kids.




It's also how we connect with  brands and why we sometimes choose Coke, instead of Pepsi (or vice versa), or become lifetime customers of a business.




Companies use storytelling to coax desirable actions from consumers. Emotive storytelling used by brands goes further: it 'ropes' us in and makes us care about all aspects of the brand. It also influences our purchasing habits.                                            


And we may not have much of a choice. As noted in this article, science explains what listening to a story does to our brains. Simply put, a good story, (and a simple story is more effective than a complicated one), makes our brains more active. Researchers noted that a story is also the only way to activate parts in the brain so that a listener turns the story into his idea and experience. This of course is a compelling way to influence people to accept our suggestions...kind of like directly imparting our ideas into peoples' minds...like having a superpower.


Think about that for a moment.





How brands can use emotive storytelling to boost revenue


The best stories resonate the most with us and incite emotions that we simply must act upon. We tend to make emotional decisions about our purchasing habits every day. Therefore, emotive storytelling---creating and using stories to arouse strong feelings in order to connect with audiences---will be an effective marketing tool to consistently generate revenue, if done the right way.


In this post, simple tips are given on how brands could use stories about their products to influence consumers to buy, and even to pay more for them. 
                                  

But for such stories to be effective, they must touch a nerve. The examples below illustrate just how stories 'hook' us to brands. These stories don't just sell us products; they sell us experiences and generate endearing messages. It’s no wonder that we're likely to cherish those experiences and remember those messages long after the products have been consumed or the thrills associated with the purchases have dissipated.




1) Brotherly Love - Coca Cola South Africa







Those of us who have older siblings can recognise the mischievous antics and 'bullying' of the older sibling in the commercial. But we knew even then that they protected us and had our backs when necessary. And Coca Cola wants us to  remember that they triggered that special moment that would be cherished by the younger brother in the video...every time he drank a bottle of Coke.





2) Wonderful World - Values.com (The Foundation for a Better Life)


 

 

This advert is posted on the Values.com website, which is owned by The Foundation for a Better Life, a nonprofit organsiation that seeks to inspire people and spread goodwill.


It communicates a strong message: that we live in a wonderful world and should co-exist in harmony with one another and with nature. Notable in the video is the song 'What A Wonderful World' by beloved late singer Louis Armstrong, known for his velvety rich tone and personable character. The iconic song itself stirs nostalgia and makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It is a perfect complement to the Foundation's promotion of values and the human spirit. With this commercial, the nonprofit organisation wants us to appreciate our relationships and be grateful for our blessings.


A powerful message, an endearing video (which we'll be tempted to watch several times), and a lasting impact...all achieved in less than two minutes of visual storytelling.



 
Conclusion

 




We all have our favourite brands and reasons why we 'stick' to them, even when competitors continually vie for our patronage. When the differentiation between products or services based on quality, price and business ethics is negligible, emotive storytelling is often the reason that consumers stay loyal. 


This is how it works: 


Emotive storytelling connects people to brands by provoking emotions that cause them to connect with them on a relational level, thereby prompting them to act in a consistent manner. 


Whether the goal is to buy a product, or to pay (more) for a service or to donate for a worthy cause that the brand champions, emotive stories make things happen. So this (not-too-secret) secret to a brand's superpower is often used with other tools to secure customer loyalty and ensure brand dominance. 


And it's why companies today must dedicate time, talent, and resources to creating compelling stories to promote their products and services. These stories will help brands forge long-term bonds with their customers who will always support their businesses. 



So what's your favourite advert? Why will you always remember it? Let us know by posting your comments below. 






If you enjoyed this post, don't rush off just yet. Please remember to: 


- Share this article in your social networks by clicking on the icons at the top or below.
 

-Sign up for updates in the blog's right sidebar so that you are immediately notified via email when a new blog post is published. Don’t miss any more articles! 




Need help with improving your communication skills? 



Hire me for:


v Communications training sessions for  your staff and executives;
 

v Writing assignments (content creation, executive speeches, etc);
 

v Speeches and keynote presentations at your corporate events.
 





Let me help you get results.



 

Contact me: 



A) Send an email to: Lucilleossai@gmail.com.


B) Call for a free consultation: 

 

Nigeria:           0704 631 0592

International: +234 704 631 0592 










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N.B- Images courtesy of Stuart Miles; via freedigitalphotos.net. Videos courtesy of YouTube.