The Elements Ironstone Blog

Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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Knowledge Is Power

Knowledge Is Power, but Fruitless if Poorly Communicated

Good communicators are those who can listen just as well as talk. Fostering growth of your team members while attending to your individual growth is one of the best qualities of a good communicator. When you truly listen to team members, they feel validated and you will be providing a supportive, compassionate environment that employees can develop and thrive in.

Linking Communication To Your Business Strategy
Everyone wants to be heard. Most firms (over 95%) do not have a formal and comprehensive communication strategy in place. However, most organizational leaders will agree that linking communication to your business strategy is essential to effective and consistent business operations.

Effective communication in your firm will contribute to your organizational success in many ways, such as:
• Building employee morale, satisfaction, & engagement
• Helping employees understand the terms & conditions of their employment
• Developing employee commitment & loyalty
• Providing employees with a voice—an increasingly meaningful issue for employees
• Reducing chance for misunderstandings and potential grievances and lawsuits
• Creating greater efficiency and reducing costs

It is inevitable that companies with effective communication financially outperform those that do not.
Having a powerful and successful employee communication program takes more than just having the right tools in place. It requires building a strong foundation to ensure that employees understand their role in your firm.

The #1 key factor in developing effective communication:
You need to view communication as a critical factor to the overall success of your firm
and key to changing employee behavior.

Building a Communication Strategy
Developing a communication strategy begins with linking communication to the strategic plan of your firm, including your firm’s mission, vision, values, strategic goals and objectives; as well as your brand.

Your communication strategy should include:
• The roles of key leaders
• A budget that allows for the use of various types of communication channels
• A process by which leaders evaluate any particular situation driving the need to communicate
• A method for generating feedback

Avoid the misconception that communication is only about delivering messages to employees about business issues, policies and procedures. Two-way communication plays an essential role in your comprehensive strategy.   As a leader in your firm it is vital to train employees and provide tools needed to continually develop better communication skills.

Our experience and expertise in developing communication strategies will aide your firm in team efficiency and effectiveness. Ironstone has tools available such as the Myers-Briggs Personality assessments that will help you understand and convey meaningful information and express ideas effectively to attain a deeper level of understanding.

We specialize in identifying gaps in your existing plan and will collaborate with you to develop solutions that are parallel to achieving the results you desire.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your Communication Strategy. We want to hear from you! Share your best ideas here! What services do you provide that are unique from your competitors? We always love hearing from you!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!
• Strategic Planning
• Business Development
• Operational Effectiveness
• The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series: Strategic Planning-Strategic Alliances
• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Follow us on twitter @ https://twitter.com/#!/AndreaSchlapia
• Join us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IronstoneCommunications
• Connect with us on LinkedIn @ http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=29647364&trk=tab_pro

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Performance Review Do’s & Dont’s

Here are some of the most common pillars for performance and pitfalls that hinder effectiveness:
Do’s:

  • Clear job descriptions
  • Clearly communicated performance expectations
  • Conscientious documentation
  • Relevant rating system
  • Listen – explore all possible explanations in order to devise appropriate and effective solutions

 Don’ts:

  • Personal bias & emotions cloud judgments
  • Compensation concerns will detract from the evaluation of behavior/performance
  • Extreme ratings are signs of excessive lenience/strictness or false assessments
  • Prohibitive communication – condescension, comparing, overemphasizing problems
  • Lack of follow-up – strong coaching cultures encourage higher employee performance


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Employee Engagement Strategies

“I can’t tell if you are agreeing with me or mocking me.” Dilbert’s boss.

“That’s sort of a gray area.” Dilbert

Needless to say, Dilbert is not an engaged employee. His pointy headed boss has failed to win his respect. Earning loyalty is a critical component of employee engagement but too often we fail at it. The success factors of employee engagement have been heavily researched, and here is what we know.

Develop meaningful relationships. Managers can build loyalty in employees by working alongside them and establishing meaningful communication. As the old saying goes, “Respect has to be earned. It cannot be commanded.”

Avoid cults of one. Employees who are loyal and connected to a team and company will perform at a higher level for the company. Employees who are overly engaged with a manager/mentor may compromise the higher good to please the leader.

Create a common vision. All employees should be motivated around a common vision that is aligned with the organization’s goals.

Cultivate employee careers. A powerful sign of commitment to an employee is investing in his/her growth. Take time to chart a career path, give career advice and provide training.

Visible empowerment. Employees should be able to see their contributions, evaluate their effectiveness and make decisions about next steps.

Individuality matters. Know your employee’s talents and make use of them effectively within the team.  Your employees will work more effectively when they are engaged in tasks that they excel at.

Return on investment . Employees are more motivated to perform when their achievements are acknowledge and appreciated.

The onus is on you. Managers have the most influence on the extent to which employees are engaged. Not only do they serve as supervision, but also as leadership and a source of guidance.

It’s a virtuous circle. The manager’s confidence in his own abilities influences his ability to engage employees, and bestows confidence in employees to use him/her as a resource.

The devil is in the details: Dilbert’s pointy headed boss had it right – the details matter. Organizational procedures influence employee engagement. If guidelines and protocols are unclear and inconsistent, employees will quickly lose confidence.

The link between motivation and rewards is well recognized today. Reward programs have proven to be very successful at attracting initial employee engagement in a program. A carrot can draw employees to the program but only a real engagement strategy will keep them there