Monday, March 15, 2010

Leaders Can Learn, Too

There are some leaders in CEO-land and senior management-land who are exceptional. They build professional environments where all employees are dedicated to their jobs, embrace the company mission, become brand ambassadors, and consistently go above and beyond performance expectations. These leaders communicate to their teams and share information, and their employees are given the tools and the space to do their jobs.

However, there is also another type of leader. Sadly, this type of leader operates behind closed doors. This type of leader creates an environment that is more of a dictatorship rather than a democracy. There may be a team of senior management types, but any authority that they might have is just an illusion – they have no say in major decisions. This type of leader does not allow senior management to lead their own departments, but instead, this type of leader micro-manages every aspect of a company, which eventually, leads to its demise – or limited existence. Employees will become disillusioned over time, and there will be no one to actually work.

However, there is help for the leader who is attitude-challenged and results-challenged. A recent article detailed an interesting experiment conducted by two inspiring CEOs who lead two companies from Fortune’s Best 100 Companies list: Maxine Clark of Build-A-Bear and Kip Tendell of Container Store. The two CEOs traded jobs for a day – I know, it sounds like a movie script – but what they learned was invaluable. Both CEOs stated that their one-day job switch provided them with incredible insights into employee training, customer interaction, and overall customer experience. Just think what would be possible if other leaders could gain this amount of insight in a single day!

Fortune article:

Kip Tendell’s blog post:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Top 10 Public Relations Books

According to The Public Relations Writer’s Handbook, The Digital Age, “The media that can cover your company’s story now include hundreds of niche cable channels, high-definition split-offs of radio stations, thousands of online publications, and millions of blogs. Neither a few well-placed advertisements nor even a comprehensive, multimillion-dollar advertising campaign in broadcast and print can dependably reach the majority of consumers these days. [So, as a result of] finding conventional advertising less effective, companies are increasingly turning to public relations for new ideas. [As a result,] public relations spending is growing at almost double the rate of advertising.”

To assist with your public relations and media outreach, here is a list of my top 10 public relations books. Enjoy!

The Public Relations Writer’s Handbook: The Digital Age
c. 2007
By Merry Aronson, Don Spetner, and Carol Ames

Strategic Planning for Public Relations
c. 2009
By Ronald D. Smith

The Associated Press Stylebook 2009
c. 2009
Edited by the Associated Press

Making News: A Straight-Shooting Guide to Media Relations
c. 2006
By David Henderson

Press Releases Are Not a PR Strategy
c. 2007 (second edition)
By Linda B. VandeVrede

Media Training 101: A Guide to Meeting the Press
c. 2003
By Sally Stewart

Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR
c. 2009
By Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
c. 2010 (second edition)
By David Meerman Scott

Never Say “No Comment”
c. 2003
By Ian Taylor and George Olds

How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less
c. 1990
By Milo O. Frank