Posts Tagged ‘Communications’

Leading the ethical charge in financial services

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 by Duncan Minty

There are many steps that a firm working in financial services can take to build up a culture that respects ethical behaviours, but there’s only one that acts as the keystone holding all the others in place. That keystone is the ‘tone from the top’: in other words, how the firm’s leadership sets, supports and acts upon, the right behaviours that will embed an ethical culture across their firm.

Many of those ‘tone from the top’ decisions will be made in boardrooms, where priorities are set, performances monitored and challenges assessed. Yet it will undoubtedly fail as the keystone of a firm’s ethical culture unless such decisions are brought to the attention of audiences such as employees, suppliers and business partners. Executives need to not only make the right decision, but be seen to make the right decision.

There can however be a temptation to reinforce the positive nature of ‘doing the right thing’ with lots of positive messages about how the firm’s leadership is doing to deliver it. Resist that temptation, for ethical decisions are often tricky and sometimes messy. By all means make sure your staff know of your commitment to paying suppliers on time, but equally, make sure they know when you’ve dismissed a key member of staff for inappropriate behaviour, or when you’re right behind an account executive who lost a key client through a refusal to pay a bribe.

Being open with staff in this way has two benefits: it shows them that your commitment to ethics is strong enough to cope with both the rough and the smooth, and it encourages them to be open with you in return. An ethical culture will flourish when it is more something to be aired and discussed, and less something that they just get told about.

So where should you start with tone from the top? It may seem rather paradoxical, but listening is strongly recommended. What are your employees saying about ethics at the moment? What sort of feedback are they getting from customers? Every firm has a prevailing culture and finding out how ethics currently sits within it gives you the starting point, and the challenges, that should shape your own particular ‘tone from the top’.

All this should keep your firm’s communications team busy, however, before they roll their sleeves up and get stuck in, agree some ground rules with them. Building an ethical culture takes time and is not always an easy path. Consistency in how you communicate both the ups and downs along that path is important, for it helps sustain the credibility of your tone from the top.

About Duncan Minty

Duncan is an independent consultant in business ethics, with a particular interest in financial services.

It’s good to talk

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by Gemma Ellis

HELLO?! The days of inadvertently overhearing your neighbours’ shouty mobile chatter – famously epitomised by Trigger Happy TV’s Dom Joly and his giant novelty telephone – may soon be over if new research from Ofcom is anything to go by.

Evaluating the habits of UK consumers over the past year, the report reveals that more and more people are now using text as their primary form of communication; in 2011, 58% communicated daily via text messages, compared with 47% who made calls.

The revolution is being led by the young, with 96% of 16 to 24-year-olds using some form of text-based application on a daily basis, be that texting or social networking sites.

The fact that communication is changing is hard to dispute. The wide availability and uptake of smart phones will have played a huge role in this. Consumers now have the world at their fingertips and messaging is quick, easy and convenient.

Text can cross continents and time zones without difficulty and even language barriers to a certain extent, with a quick click on Google Translate and similar service providers telling you almost all you need to know.

But I do hope that as we move away from verbal communication the art of conversation isn’t completely lost. Whether you’re thrashing things out or catching up on mindless gossip, sometimes there’s nothing better than the spoken word.

 

No better time to keep talking

Friday, October 3rd, 2008 by Jon Clements

 

With the Western world’s financial system seemingly disintegrating around us, it’s no surprise that the magic formula for business buoyancy – confidence – evaporates.

In tough times it’s natural for businesses to take immediate action . But is it right to shave PR, marketing and communications from the budget? Along with the allocation for training and Belgian chocolate biscuits, marcomms is an easy target. If the late, great Bill Hicks had anything to do with it, we’d all be six feet under.

But in such uncertain times, there is a need for clear and open dialogue. Insightful comments on the topic have been shared on LinkedIn.

How would you justify the marcomms team and budget not being chucked overboard?

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

The diagonal diagnosis

Monday, September 29th, 2008 by Jon Clements

Do you think straight ahead, from side to side or from one corner to the opposite corner?

Well, you can now find out, care of a new online self-assessment made available by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).

The point is, an ideal candidate for the creative, communication industries should have – as opposed to just logical linear thinking or solely creative lateral thinking – what’s known as diagonal thinking, a winning blend of the two.

The Guardian’s weekend feature on the concept included our own group’s Tim Lindsay, president of TBWA\UK & Ireland who, according to the IPA’s test results so far, is the “most diagonal thinker in the world”, though he modestly claims to be not much good at thinking either linearly or laterally. 

All you can do is take the test and be prepared to re-think your geometry.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''