NCHR Review - Spring/Summer 2016 - (Page 16)

FEaTURE FOUR TIPS TO BE aN aUTHENTIC ROCK STaR COMMUNICaTOR How Candor Determines Performance and Results By L.J. Rittenhouse, CEO Rittenhouse Rankings INvESTORS IN a HOTEL meeting room wait to hear presentations from two utility CEOs, a widely-followed financial analyst and a respected portfolio manager. The CEOs start. Each one shows PowerPoint slides that illustrate their large companies' "bright futures." As they speak, people in the audience read smartphones and Wall Street Journals. Up next is Ken, the financial analyst. He begins, "At the end of this presentation I may not have many friends left in the audience." At once, smartphones and newspapers drop. Ken describes the losses in the CEOs' companies and questions their ability to navigate industry change. The audience is abuzz when he sits down. Were the executives insulted or inspired by his candor? Finally Scott, the portfolio manager, goes to the podium. "When I'm finished," he states, "I know I won't have friends left in the audience." Now everyone pays attention. Scott describes a meeting with his investors, who are angry and upset because the fund is losing money. One investor, "a retiree with 16 NCHRReview* Spring/Summer 2016 hands the size of meat loaves," shouted out loud, "Why should I invest in your fund?" Scott pauses and turns to the CEOs. He asks them, "Why do you deserve this man's capital, his savings from a lifetime of hard work?" Startled, the CEOs offer canned responses. Over dinner that night, people from the audience agree that the CEOs' remarks were predictable and forgettable. They believe that Ken connected with the audience, but his remarks were noteworthy for their tone and less for their content. Scott, however, connected with everyone. His message stuck. His authenticity made a difference. This story offers four lessons for becoming an authentic rock star communicator: 1) Find the right words: The words chosen by the speakers made all the difference. Clichés, like "bright future" and "create shareholder value," anaesthetize audiences. In contrast, the word "friends" chosen by the portfolio manager transformed the meeting from merely exchanging financial and strategic information, to an opportunity for building relationships. Why does this matter? Warren Buffett once said that finding "the right word" is everything. Until he did this, he could not get his thinking clear - and clarity is essential to build trusting relationships. They are the foundation for growing sustainable, wealth-creating businesses. 2) Invite in the elephants: Make a difference by inviting the elephants into the "room" of your communication. Scott did this by describing his client's hands, the "size of meat loaves." This image restored the power relationship between the CEOs as managers of the company and their shareholder bosses, including those who need company profits to support their retirement savings. Today, the words "fiduciary responsibility" are too often absent in corporate governance reporting. They have been replaced by words like "compliance regulations," "executive compensation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NCHR Review - Spring/Summer 2016

2016 NCSHRM State Council
Message from the Director
NCSHRM State Council Awards and Scholarships
Taking the Mystery Out of Strategic Planning
2016 NCSHRM State Conference: Lead Differently
Great Reads: Leads Eat Last and Reinventing Organizations
Creating a Productivity Culture
Legal Update: Employment Law Update — It’s All About the Agencies
Four Tips to be an Authentic Rock Star Communicator
Chapter Chatter
Products & Services Guide
Index to Advertisers/

NCHR Review - Spring/Summer 2016