During a recent SMPS NEO* mentoring program, guest panelists, Courtney Behm, Assistant Director - Employee Engagement, Global Sales & Marketing Services at Gilbane Building Company and John Lerchen, Chief Operating Officer for Tec Inc. Engineering & Design offered the following tips on how marketers can influence organizational change.
- Be transparent. Let your marketing motto be "No Surprises."
- Balance external AND internal communications. Clearly, engaging clients is a main priority, but utilizing your marketing skills to help other departments communicate with staff in new and inspiring ways is equally important. Not only will employees appreciate the fresh approach to communication, but internal marketing reinforces the corporate culture and ensures the company brand remains intact.
- Over-inform. Consider sharing marketing departmental news with the entire organization on a regularly scheduled basis. It's better to have co-workers say they are over-informed, rather than uninformed.
- Carve out creative time. Step away from the day-to-day functions to create. If you can't find the time, schedule the time. Don't let anything else get in the way; it's that important.
- Challenge yourself. Stretch your skills by choosing an activity that you may not normally do. Not only will you learn something new, but your value to the organization just increased.
- Communicate. Negotiate. Lead. According to the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, 85% of financial success is dependent upon these three soft skills as well as the hard skills associated with your job.
- Engage your curiosity. How do things work? Can you do [X,Y, or Z] differently? If yes, then develop a strong business case as to why it can be done differently before presenting the idea to leadership. But never, ever, stop asking "Why?"
- Leadership is a verb. Lead by example, results, and through service. A good read will reinforce the leadership skills you develop, but books are no substitute for action.
Courtney and John named the following as their favorite books on leadership and creative inspiration:
Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries
Chiat/Day - The First Twenty Years by Stephen Kessler
*SMPS NEO is the premier community open to individuals and organizations looking to expand their business acumen, relationships and sales leads in the Northeast Ohio design and construction industry. A variety of programs for membership are provided each month, ranging from networking and education to interaction with targeted clients. To learn more about joining, visit the website at www.smpsneo.org.