October 28th, 2016
Author: David Reeve, Unleash Culture
One of the best illustrations of the concept of telling your story through character can be found at any funeral. The stories told at funerals are 100 per cent based on the person’s character, not their skills. We make the dearly departed the hero. Not just any hero, but our hero, and we talk about how their life greatly enhanced and positively affected ours. We get emotional. This is powerful, lasting and proper. Just the way you should tell the story of your brand.
You tell your brand’s story to the world, through character, for two reasons:
- To become an attractive brand to do business with, and
- To become an attractive brand to work for.
Have you ever been asked to describe what you do for a living and gotten that smile, that nod, that glazed-over look in the eyes, and a mumbled “that sounds interesting” response to your answer?
It might be because you do not truly understand how to articulate the character elements of your business enough to hook your audience.
Consider the difference in these two answers when someone asks me about my business.
Answer one: “I own a consulting brand and I help businesses by building culture in their brands through mentoring, workshops, speeches, facilitation etc. and I work with some of the biggest brands out there”.
Answer two: “I help brands discover greatness within and inspire everyone, everywhere”.
Of course, I use answer two, and people always follow up with, “How do you do that?” To which I say, “Let me tell you a story….”
Within every brand story, there are two parts.
- The skill side of the story, typically what you do and how you do it, and
- The character side of the story, which is the why you exist. This is the emotional side of your story.
Unfortunately, 90 per cent of people building their brand only focus on what they do and how they do it when telling their story. In other words, only the skill side of their story, leaving the character side out.
This is a mistake.
The story you tell becomes the story others tell. Remember that. What story do you want them to tell?
When others tell our story for us, we call them brand ambassadors. Think about the number of times you have met someone, and five minutes later you cannot remember what they do, let alone try to tell their story in a meaningful fashion. Unfortunately for them, you are their brand ambassador, but they have not given you an emotional hook to remember what will help you tell their story.
The real key to telling your story, and to getting people emotionally hooked so they tell your story to others, is to focus on the character side of your story. Culture is the foundation of your brand’s character, thus having a great culture is the key to telling your story.
Telling the character side of your story requires three ingredients, and a combination of these ingredients should always be present in every telling of your story.
Focus on Your Why
You must talk about why you exist, otherwise known as your purpose. Take my example from the second answer, above:
“I help brands discover greatness within.”
Discover greatness within is my brand’s why, my brand’s purpose. It is why I started my brand and is the foundation for the culture within my brand.
Mention a core value
You should always mention a core value in your story. Core values are the fabric of your character, acting as a lighthouse, and are one of the key foundations for building culture. One of my core values is “inspire everyone everywhere.” In my answer above, I include a core value to get people emotionally hooked.
You Need a Hero
You must always have a hero in your story. Someone that you shine the spotlight on in a great way.
Stories love heroes. Good vs. evil where good always triumphs, or the hero vs. a challenge and the hero always triumphs. We always want to root for the hero and we are emotionally drawn to the hero’s journey. In your stories, always feature a hero, either a great team member or an amazing client.
Finally, it is critical that the story you tell to the outside is a true measure of your culture on the inside. It is hard to go through life wearing a mask, outwardly displaying one thing while feeling another way altogether on the inside. It is emotionally draining and easy to spot as fraudulent by others.
The same applies to building culture. Your culture should never display an image outside that does not match what is happening on the inside. So how do we make sure the story we are telling the world aligns with who we are and what we are feeling on the inside?
It takes everyone doing their part. Everyone, and I mean everyone has a role to play. It simply cannot come down to a handful of people to make sure the story stays alive on the inside. It starts with developing an authentic purpose and core values and then living them every day. Then it is about engagement, contribution, and a belief that you are truly building something very special.
Soak all this wonderful energy in, let it fill your soul with happiness, realize that you can make a difference in any outcome and you will never, ever, have to worry about the inside and outside measuring up, it will just naturally occur.
By developing the character side of your brand, you are building an amazing culture within your brand and a brand within your culture.
Character is the foundation for generating an emotional attachment to your story. When others connect with your stories you gain their trust. This lasting connection builds brand loyalty, cultivates strong partnerships and lasting relationships, wins over referrals, and attracts engaged team members.
June 21st, 2016
By Dawn Longshaw, Managing Director, Professional Recruitment, Vertical Bridge
Quite simply; when you don’t have the time, energy or resources to affect a recruiting program on your own.
There’s more to recruitment than pitching resumes to an open role – imagine your own dedicated recruitment firm sitting inside your business, bringing you the advantages of a network of established and cultivated recruitment relationships, and scaling with you based on your changing business needs. Managed Recruitment Services from Vertical Bridge can transform the way you secure your primary source of competitive advantage – talent – by optimizing the entire recruitment process from workforce planning to structuring and negotiating offers, from employment brand through to candidate care.
Managed Recruitment Services are not transactional like traditional contingency search– we become embedded in and dedicated to your business, sitting next to you to learn your business inside and out, soaking up your culture; becoming one of your biggest evangelists while providing recruitment solutions designed specifically for your company – particularly if you are without in-house HR support.
Strategic plans are created around team development, expansion and management; including manpower and skills gap analyses, workforce planning, timeframes to hire and budgeting. But there can be no strategy without market intelligence. Managed Recruitment Services from Vertical Bridge also include market mapping against your needs and competitive analysis of your recruiting landscape; to identify and predict trends that may affect current and future recruitment efforts. By working with your management team to help create and extend your employer brand to develop a compelling employer brand message and dependable talent pipelines, you’ll also get help becoming an employer of choice.
With Managed Recruitment Services internal as well as external resources are managed: providing a dedicated researcher/sourcing specialist; creating, building and managing a candidate database for active positions as well as future hires utilizing your existing processes and systems or developing new ones where required; and working with external recruitment partners when necessary, at a fraction of the regular cost, to expand your geographic reach.
This partnership approach means we behave as an extension of your organisation’s Human Resources team, primarily as the engine of your recruitment program but also by building staffing knowledge and skills into your organization. Working with efforts in retention, succession planning, and leadership development; Managed Recruitment Services from Vertical Bridge provide a continuous improvement process for your team.
Regardless of the size of your company, or whether it is a start-up, growing or mature organization; a results focused Managed Recruitment Services program reduces your average cost and time per hire while increasing hire quality. Embedded with your strategic manpower plan, Vertical Bridge has a vested interest in your organization’s success – more than transactional, it’s mutual.
June 29th, 2015
Credit: Warren Wong, VP, Talent & Culture at Appnovation (Vertical Bridge Advisory Board member)
I was recently interviewed by RecruitingSocial to share how Appnovation Technologies is able to scale so quickly while attracting hard-to-find talent globally while garnering multiple industry awards. I want to share some of my insights.
May 24th, 2015
Author: Allen Jones, Senior HR Consultant
In today’s highly competitive employment climate it is important for pay and benefits to be in line with what is happening in your market. Staying competitive in order to attract the best candidates and retain your most valuable employees is critical to an organization’s success. In many markets compensation is rising in direct relation to high demand and low supply of talent (this is especially true in the tech sector) so knowing what you need to pay in order to find and keep your people should be top of mind for all employers. Read more
September 23rd, 2014
Author: Dawn Longshaw, Managing Director, Professional Recruitment
You are a hiring manager who has identified a gap in your team, you are an in-house recruiter who has just received a requisition from a hiring manager, you are an agency recruiter who has just received a search assignment from a client, or you are an applicant in front of any of the above three. You have a job description, you have the hiring parameters, you have the posting – you are ready to roll – right? Not necessarily. If you seriously want to maximize the potential that the hire will be a success, and who doesn’t; there is one question that must be asked before you can consider that you have all the information you need to make a good hiring/employment decision. Read more
October 03rd, 2013
By Jennifer Gerves-Keen, MA, ACC
Certified Coach & Learning/OD Consultant (view all HR consultants)
In this October’s Harvard Business Review, Peter Cappelli has written an article entitled “HR for Neophytes” which really resonated with me and highlighted some of the challenges my clients are currently experiencing. The article is based on the premise that more and more of the traditional HR function – recruiting, performance management and retention – is falling on the shoulders of managers as opposed to being conducted solely by the HR department. Not only has the responsibility shifted, but due to the fact that they are often more connected to what’s happening in their area, and what they actually need to be successful, research shows that these “line managers” are 29% more successful at these HR-based tasks that their own Human Resources department.
June 25th, 2013
Joanne Loberg, BA, CMP, CEC – JLCareers.com
Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach, Internationally Certified Career Management Professional and highly skilled workshop facilitator. She specializes in working with professional and executive clients to provide job search strategies and tools, including career testing, professional resumes, LinkedIn profiles, targeted cover letters, and interview strategies and practice.
April 30th, 2013
Ever wonder why some people get ahead and others don’t? Who’s managing your career? Just as your company judges your performance on a regular basis, you need to scrutinize your company to make sure your career is on track and your employer is providing the tools you need to do a good job and learn new skills. It’s in your best interest to ask not only what you are doing for your company but also what your company is doing for you. Here are some questions that may help you evaluate your employer:
– Do you know where you want to go? Continually assess what you are doing now that meets your needs and what you want to be doing one, three and five years from now. Put together a list of goals as well as the skills and experience you will need to achieve them. then make your plans known to those who have authority and power.
– Does your company offer career guidance? Ideal employers nurture their employees’ careers and go out of their way to make sure they know it. When was the last time someone with influence gave you an honest assessment of your prospects? Ask them specifically where they see you in 2 and 5 years and what you can do to get there.
– Does your company encourage career development? Think about whether you get the kinds of assignments, equipment and training that will keep your skills sharp and make you attractive to another employer if you’re laid off or you choose to move on. If appropriate training programs are available, have you been encouraged to apply?
– Does your company offer equal opportunities and challenges? Are you getting visible assignments, in on key meetings, getting the kinds of things that build a broad track record such as participating in start-ups, new product launches, foreign postings? If you haven’t been given developmental assignments, ask your boss if there are any in your future and what you need to do to get them.
– Is your company or division financially fit? A career that’s humming along can easily be derailed by financial setbacks in your industry. Stay tuned for news of mergers or buyouts – pay attention to your company’s bottom line, announcements of cost-control measures or initiatives aimed at re-engineering are often harbingers of lay-offs.
– If you are a woman, how far can you go with your company? Sad to say, even in today’s employment world no matter what your company’s policies say, the best reality check is a look around. Count the women in senior management and consider what titles they hold and the scope of their responsibilities.
– Does your company allow you to balance your professional and personal needs? Weigh factors that might effect balance in your life: Are you satisfied with company policies on vacation, sick leave, overtime, parental/maternity leave? Is it worth it to continually work 10 hour days and 6 day weeks? Are returning mothers taken as seriously as they were pre-pregnancy?
– Are you happy? When bottom line issues have restricted salaries and bonuses, other forms of compensation have become more important. Does your work environment resemble a dysfunctional family, or is the atmosphere crisis ridden?
– What if your company fails this review? Focus on what needs to be addressed even if that means changing jobs. At worst you will detect early signs of an imminent downsizing and determine whether you could be a target. Bear in mind however, that what bothers you at your current job may be typical of your industry so compare what you’ve got with what you are likely to get.
If your company does earn high marks, you can carry on with renewed enthusiasm, knowing that you’re in the right workplace.
Author: Dawn Longshaw, Managing Director Professional Recruitment