When people hear about “business communication,” they often think it’s about “the business”: numbers, institutional announcements and soulless statements.
In my experience, it’s stories by and about individuals that get the attention, shape ideas and accelerate the flow of influence. I’ve found this to be true in organizations and even in communities and markets.
The business world is not monolithic. It is populated with individual leaders at all levels with objectives, visions and ambitions. These leaders have unique perspectives, personalities, interests and future plans which, when shared appropriately, can help provide traction – for their business initiatives, their desires to move onto new career tracks, and for efforts to rejuvenate relationships with internal influencers.
Leadership positioning has been a big part of my years of internal communication experience. Indeed, through profile articles, opinion pieces, social posts, audio and video bites, and rich feature articles putting initiatives and future plans into context and amplifying the role of leaders, it’s where I’ve had the most impact in the companies where I have worked.
It’s also increasingly interesting from an external communication perspective – particularly to support senior execs in making their cases for taking on new challenges, and establishing their credibility as experts and advocates beyond their current networks.
As we move into a period of likely economic uncertainty, leadership positioning also has the potential to give individual leaders in transition the opportunity to differentiate themselves in what could become a crowded market.
From an internal communication perspective, a strong approach to leadership profiling delivers three additional benefits. Two are fairly obvious. It can humanize senior management, it can surface and showcase emerging leaders and initiatives.
The third is pure ninja: it’s one of the best ways a communicator – and a communication team – can get a senior leader to see the power and value of a serious communication approach.
The main thing – writing and communication strategy are not core competencies of most C-suiters or senior managers, who are otherwise very strong and powerful in other disciplines.
So when these leaders are willing to seek and accept help, we can elevate their storytelling and messaging to the level of their own core competencies.
When we do that for them, we don’t have to be as defensive about ROI (Return On Investment). They start to believe in our LOI (Level of Impact). And when we succeed on that front, we literally change the terms.