The world today is driven by the speed, ubiquity, and mobility of communications technology. That stuff is fast, it’s everywhere, it’s on the move — and it evolves constantly.
Keeping up with it can be overwhelming.
We get it. Over the past 30 years or so, each member of North of Center’s core team and strategic partner has tackled these challenges in places ranging from board rooms to battlefields. We learned some hard lessons along the way through both success and failure and want to pass our experience along. Our goal is to help you and your team thrive in a world that operates at the speed of send and where change is the status quo.
Communication-Based Leadership is the heart of our coaching and consulting work in leader development, organizational communication, and public engagement. Both a philosophy and a process, CBL includes four enduring truths, four core characterisitics, nine guiding principles, and six essential questions to aid you and your team in prioritization and decision making.
The truths of CBL are universal and unchanging. Whether you hold a formal leadership position or step up and lead when the situation requires it, and no matter what type of leader you may be, these truths are the cornerstones of a foundation upon which your personal leadership philosophy and style can be built.
We encourage you to embrace them and integrate them reflexievely into both your deliberate (strategic) and rapid (crisis) planning processes.
Principle #1: Every activity is a communication activity.
Everything we do communicates something to somebody somewhere.
Even silence sends a message.
If we can’t not communicate, then we may as well do it on purpose. Or, stripped of that pesky double negative, if it is impossible to lead without communicating, then leaders need to weave deliberate communication into everything we do.
Principle #2: Our capacity to communicate is finite.
While the Internet and social media platforms have rapidly expanded our capability to communicate to and at people at the speed of send, our ability to communicate with people is still finite.
The richest communication remains that which occurs face-to-face and one-to-one.
Leaders must not only communicate deliberately and in real time, we must allocate our finite capacity to get the most out of it — and unify the communication capacity of our team members by enabling them to speak and act on behalf of our organizations (because they’re going to do it anyway).
Principle #3: Leadership is about relationships.
James MacGregor Burns, leadership scholar and father of transformational leadership said, “We must see power – and leadership – as not things but as relationships.” That, “…the most powerful influences consist of deeply human relationships in which two or more persons engage with one another.”
In addition to being deliberate in allocating our communication capacity, to achieve the greatest results, leaders must select the right communication methods to strengthen our most important relationships through the richest possible exchange of ideas and information.
Principle #4: Enduring leadership success requires trust.
As a young lieutenant, I told every one of my Marines, “If we can’t trust each other, we are worthless to each other.” Little did I know I’d find years later the assertion I’d stumbled upon by reflex is thoroughly supported by leadership scholar-practitioners ranging from Richard K. Greenleaf to James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner to Stephen R. Covey and Simon Sinek. (Yes, we just provided you with links to several of our leading competitors. They’re solid resources, and as I said, our goal is to help you and your team thrive.)
To earn trust, leaders must be credible, and to be credible we must ensure our words and deeds are consistent and aligned.
To learn more about Communication-Based Leadership and how it can be applied to help you succeed as a leader, continue to follow us here at Hard NoCs – or give us a call! We’ll be happy to talk you through it.
Guest Writers Welcome!
If you are interested in writing and publishing on a topic related to CBL, drop us a line. We’ll work with you to refine your idea and include you as a by-line contributor to the Hard NoCs blog.
Cliff holds a PhD in organization and management with a specialization in leadership. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he completed operational deployments to Fallujah, Iraq and Kandahar and Helmand, Afghanistan. He has led multi-national and inter-agency teams including approximately one year on loan from the Corps as Director of Policy, Planning, and Outreach for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs. He also directly advised the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on public and media engagement regarding national security matters for two years as Special Assistant for Public Communication. Today he puts that experience to work helping people become the kind of leaders they would want to follow.