Clear Comm Consulting

Are You Always in Search of Great Stories?

Feb 25, 2016

One of my favorite CEO’s was getting ready for her company’s introduction on Wall Street. The stakes were high. It was unfamiliar territory for her and her team.      As part of our conversation I offered some untraditional advice. That advice has now become one of my staples in helping people explain what they do and why they do it. You never know where good ideas come from, but you always want to hold on to them when they occur — and that’s the reason for this Monthly Memo!

An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is accompanied by lots of Wall Street lawyers and the tension that rides with it. While all the “t’s” are being crossed and the “i’s” dotted, it can be easy to get away from the very heart of what it is you do. Have you ever noticed that? The more excitement and energy which comes with a big step, whatever it might be, the more you can lose track of the fundamentals.

Because I am NOT a Wall Street insider, it gave me a chance to look at this entire process with an outsider’s view. And it ended up being my true advantage. While everyone was focused on stock prices and the long list of legalities that come with an IPO, I asked the CEO one question: How long has it been since you witnessed someone buying your product for the very first time? Because of all of the hoopla surrounding the IPO and her day-to-day CEO responsibilities, it had actually been a while.

Sound familiar?

If you are a senior executive, or work with one, there should be a regular item on your schedule that is immovable. That item is actively witnessing people interacting with your product/service/cause on a regular – at least quarterly basis. (I would say monthly, but CEO’s tend to have crazy schedules.)

It is even better if the customer is taking the action FOR THE FIRST TIME. What does it do for you? A couple of things come to mind. It refreshes you about just what it is you do – and what those in your organization do day-to-day. (Watch an episode of Undercover Boss for examples.) Second, referring to the headline of this article, it gives you stories! No executive can be judged ‘out-of-touch’ by the experts and analysts when they have a pocketful of ready stories about WHAT THEY WITNESSED when interacting with the people who use what they produce.

Think of it this way: who is the more impactful leader? The person who can quote every number in the prospectus (good) or the leader who can tell a great, personal story, complete with names, about what it is like to be there with the customer (way better)?

As a leader or someone who works with leaders, always be on the lookout for great, current stories about what you do and the people who are impacted by it. And when possible, make sure you can tell that story from a first-person perspective!

 

Follow along with Cary on Twitter @CaryPfeffer

 

Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting, www.clear-comm.net, a Scottsdale, AZ communications consulting firm that helps people tell their story. He works with clients to make the most of their media and live audience communication. Email him at: cary@clear-comm.net.

Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting, clear-comm.net, a Phoenix, AZ-based communications consulting firm which is helping people tell their story. He works with clients to make the most of their media and live audience communication. Email him at: cary@clear-comm.net.

Follow along with Cary on Twitter @CaryPfeffer

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