Category Archives: Business administration

My thoughts on the KPMG reputational crisis

KPMG’s name and reputation remains in crisis and in the headlines. We just can’t stop talking about it. So let’s start learning from it. Having been involved in practising, lecturing and consulting in Corporate Communication, I can’t resist throwing out some of my own thoughts on the matter.

Loss of ethics loss of Reputation

In terms of corporate citizenship, ethical branding, responsible leadership, accountability and reputation, here are my offerings:

  1. For many years now, the King Report has been the go-to document for guidelines on corporate governance, corporate citizenship and responsibility to one’s stakeholders, community, politico-economic and natural environment. Large corporate are obliged to take note and commit to upholding the principles and values contained in the King Report which is constantly being revised  to ensure it remains valid, relevant and current.
  2. Transformational leadership. It’s simple: know what it means. Know the code of conduct. Know how to motivate and inspire. Know the law but act ethically. Know your people and their feelings. Know the truth. Spread the truth.
  3. Reputation management: Every company –small and large – must plan and manage its identity, its values and its behavior in order to manage outcomes and others’ perceptions of it. Only through critical strategic discussions with all stakeholders, including the media, can a company develop a strong positive reputation.
  4. Crisis management – Plan, prepare, strategise for negative disruptive events that impact your operations and your reputation. Without a crisis plan you’re doomed. Public sharing is vital for a reputable organization to gain support. Don’t apologise unless you mean it and are prepared to pay the price.
  5. Corporate culture: Vision, Ethos, Values, Beliefs and Behaviour. Accountability means to take responsibility for one’s decisions and actions and be adaptable to changes in the environment and courageous to stand one’s ground in the midst of potential threats, temptations and challenges. Be purpose- not greed-driven.

Finally, companies should strategise for sustainability. Their strategies must translate into best practice – setting standards and acting as examples for conducting ethical business, based on principles and values of trust, integrity, professionalism, not greed, status and power.

Corporate governance and CSR – is it for REAL?

Bad Corporate Governance ruins Reputations

In his article The acrid smell of dry rot, Theo Botha,partner at CorporateGovernance.Pro, laments the fact that ” Abil, PPC and HCI have been less than vigilant in executing their responsibilities.”  This leads to ‘unsound governance’ that has 3 stages to the effects, namely – and I quote:

Loss of ethics loss of Reputation

Loss of ethics loss of Reputation

  1. Internal loss of trust: this could lead to weak compliance, the ‘bending’ and eventual ‘breaking’ and ‘flouting’ of rules (meaning to treat them with contempt); misuse of company assets, abuse of company powers, victimisation of well-meaning people, loss of strategic direction, loss of capable leaders,
  2. External loss of reputation: this normally leads to external mistrust, loss of business, loss of funding support, loss of profit, runs on the company, and total collapse, and
  3. Actions against the company: these could lead to closing of business.

Botha maintains, “it is important to put your finger into the tiny hole in the dyke as soon as possible….So do take care who we elect to sit on boards, and to the positions of CEO and CFO; do ensure that they are remunerated to get to the most preferred outcomes for the company; do ensure that these people act responsibly; do ensure that company actions are in the best interests of all stakeholders; do ensure that shareholders are vigilant (even asset manager-linked shareholders) and act on their responsibilities; and do require management and directors to be held to account.”

He adds: “What do we have at HCI, apart from very many unanswered questions? A damaged reputation, I would submit, probably irreparably damaged. Bad smells (dry rot?) all over. One very unhappy funder at Sabido. One very sad news service at eNCA (the relaunched name for eNews). And now, one ex-chairman at HCI.”

Read more on MoneyWeb…..

 

Good Branding is everybody’s business

 

“No man is an island, entire unto itself, but rather a piece of the whole”

And no business can “make it on its own” or say “to hell with the rest”……..

Strategise your branding
                                Strategise your branding

Every business is an integral part of a community, society, country and the world.  And nowadays a concerned public is watching business more closely and able to scratch the surface of your utterances and actions to reveal the true you. What it finds impacts your business reputation.

A business has to start its branding process by exploring its core values. Yes, values. Today there are powerful societal and political forces at play and these are influencing how the public and audiences perceive a business. If your business shows a blatant disregard for certain labour or environmental principles, they won’t like you, even if your product is top-notch.

Strategic brand communication planning is a must for all businesses. Those who don’t engage in strategizing their brand communication will suffer negative consequences that directly impact their operations, stakeholder engagement and reputation management:

  • Strategic branding gives you a sound foundation based on your beliefs and values.
  • A strategy provides the criteria for defining who you are and what you want to achieve; it finds opportunities to focus on your strengths and reformat weaknesses. It differentiates you from the rest, positions you exactly where you want to be and gives you a competitive edge.
  • Identifying who your people or stakeholders are and what their needs and expectations are, gives you the advantage of direct, relevant and meaningful engagement with them.
  •  A strategy ensures that you plan your communication and your actions to reflect and reinforce your values. The integrity of your business ensures ongoing delivery on its promises and achievement of its goals.
  • Strategic planning is a mindful, purposeful process aimed at long-term commitment to stakeholder engagement and relationship building, and addresses issues of sustainability, good governance, ethical branding and reputation, using these as guiding principles in the business.
  • A strategy works from the inside out where your internal goals are aimed at making the ‘outside’ world a better place for all, and ensuring that the people out there want to continue doing business with you – this applies to both commercial and social brands.
  • Strategy is for a good business, it’s good for business and it makes great business sense.

ethics-1

You’re a Corporate Communication Strategist? But what do you do?

You’re a Corporate Communication Strategist? But what do you do?
In order to explain what I do as a Communication Strategist, I need to first point to a few crucial factors that answer the question “Why do you do what you do?”
1. The world is a different place now. Business is only one part of a much greater system and, to sustain harmony in the world, organisations have to consider their place in and their responsibility to the bigger system. They have to act in a way that enhances the concept of interdependence between economic, financial, environmental, political and social factors. The business arena is ‘being watched’ by activists and thought leaders who are very ready and able to expose companies that cause disharmony; so much so that regulators and governments are responding to the pressure by imposing guidelines and conditions for how organisations should behave if they want to be seen as reputable and sustainable global players.
2. A business is not self-sufficient, it needs all kinds of support from those on whom it depends for its existence. Today, people and consumers know more and expect much more from business. They want to feel that a business identifies with them and their needs, not the other way around, and ‘speaks to’ them.
3. There are thousands of similar products and services out there, so why should people choose yours? What you offer, over-and-above your product, counts for a lot now, and it is involves more than a transactional relationship, it must be real engagement with your people – an emotional connection. Differentiation through communication not products.

A communication strategist understands these factors and reaches out to the business world to develop a deep appreciation of how these factors impact a business’s operations, growth and success. The strategist engages with organisations through communication learning from each other, getting to know the company’s situation and responding to stakeholder needs appropriately to achieve business goals.
Tony Manning, once said, “Organizations are managed conversations.” Every day you and your organization communicate. There is an ongoing flow of information, ideas, opinions and emotions between an organisation and its audience or stakeholders – but is this communication well-planned to achieve its goals? Is it sufficiently strategic?
For corporate conversations to be meaningful and have a positive impact on the company and its publics, they need to be planned, appropriate and relevant. And the messages that come from a company must reflect its personality and its purpose. Developing a strategic communication plan moves the company in the right direction, getting internal and external audiences to buy into its vision, plans and activities.

The plan begins with YOU. Your company’s purpose and vision is fundamental to your success. If you don’t know your company’s purpose or even your own, finding one is your first priority. You also need to identify those with whom you want to share, collaborate and build your company, and then harness the power of communication to get them to work with you to accomplish your business goals.
Many business owners, managers and leaders need a helping hand in developing a clear, consistent and effective communication strategy. That is where the communication strategist comes in: she begins their conversation by getting the ‘boss’ to reflect on the business, its purpose and goals, its strengths, weaknesses and challenges, asking questions like: what is the outcome you want? What stands in your way? How do you overcome these obstacles?
At REAL Communication Consulting, we use well-researched methods to develop a strategic communication plan. We divide the process into ten ‘conversations’ in which you:
1. Identify your purpose and develop a vision or mission statement
2. Develop a corporate identity or brand to reflect who you are
3. Identify specific communication goals that support your business goals
4. Communicate mindfully with your stakeholders to learn what is important to them
5. Find alignment between your perceptions and those of your stakeholders
6. Develop the key strategic messages to achieve your goals
7. Create and deliver communication that speaks to your key stakeholders
8. Clarify meaning to minimize misunderstanding, wasted time, and negative emotions
9. Plan feedback and measurement methods to ensure that communication achieves its goal
10. Develop reflective practices that help you develop your communication expertise.

A communication strategy helps you create a productive communication environment, generating trust and a culture of interactive, engaging and meaningful communication in your organization.
Once your business starts on this journey, it will see itself as part of a much larger system with greater goals for future sustainability, and it will begin considering ways to make not only its business, but the world, a better place.

REAL joins forces with 2 other experts on new business training workshop

COLLABORATIVE ENDEAVOUR TO ADD VALUE TO WORKSHOP
ablitz30July2013

Three Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business members – Shân Cade, Desiray Viney and Nicky Grieshaber – are pooling their skills and are leveraging their PCB networking opportunities when they host a combined workshop on August 23 at the Howick Falls Hotel. Cade, well-known for her CLIP System, Viney of REAL Communication Consulting and Grieshaber from Simply Clearer will combine their diverse skills into a single training product, a three-way interactive workshop that covers several aspects, including managing administration risk, and understanding that PR is not just marketing, and understanding language differences in the workplace. Aimed at frontline personnel and supervisors, the workshop plans to offer valuable tools for improving their productivity and performance – no matter what their job is. The trio brings complementary skills to the workshop – Cade will get participants to develop a holistic view to sustainable business and embrace a check list methodology as a control tool within the work environment.

This in turn manages risk, cost, continuity of service, consistency and ultimately customer service excellence, making each participant a valuable thinker in the workplace. Viney is a communication and media specialist and having recently moved from the academic to the business world, she now consults with companies and individuals on anything relating to corporate communication, public relations and the media as well as values-driven leadership. She has presented papers on several topics, including developing responsible leaders through the media, and corporate and government communication regarding social issues. Grieshaber, a professional language practitioner and workshop presenter, has plenty of practical experience to match a sound academic background. He has an easy manner and the ability to make complicated theoretical matters easy to understand. One of his special interests is the communication barriers experienced by both speakers and hearers when second or third languages are used. The workshop is organised by Cade who can be contacted on 078 801 0896 or shan@shancade.co.za .