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Building Your Brand Culture From The Inside Out

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Building Your Brand Culture From The Inside Out

Join the hosts of the VoiceAmerica show, The Brand Ambassadors, this Friday at 6 am PST for their latest tips on building corporate culture. Andrew Barlow of Overflow Communications will join Merritt Hamilton Allen and Gary Potterfield to tell our listeners how to imprint their brand on their corporate culture. Brands begin from the inside out – your employees have to know the culture and brand values to relay them to you customers. Andrew, Merritt and Gary will share tips and techniques to make your employees feel part of the team and to serve as your best possible brand ambassadors.

Andrew Barlow has spent his career quietly helping leaders sound their best. Leaders ranging from Navy battlegroup commanders and bank presidents to hospital CEOs and the top elected officials in Texas have benefited from his unmatched writing talent, intuitive communications skills and dry sense of humor. During his career, he served his country as an officer in the U.S. Navy (including a wartime Tomahawk-firing deployment), an associate pastor at a startup church he helped grow from 150 to 3,000 in Sunday attendance, speechwriter to the Texas Governor, Lieutenant Governor and other elected officials and founder of his own communications firm. At every stop, he has found the creative way to tell a story, change perspectives and precipitate effective action. Andrew focuses on creative approaches to effective communication: challenging norms, identifying opportunities and keeping our company and clients thinking big on the way to powerful results.

Merritt Hamilton Allen believes that every employee in every business can help promote that business. Merritt has leveraged unique stories and perspectives to persuade and inform those around her. She turned this personal brand into the company Vox Optima in 2005, and has since been awarded over $25 million in PR contracts. Vox Optima’s public relations clients include multi-billion-dollar organizations, start-ups, and everyone in between.

Merritt grew up in Silver City, New Mexico, where she got her first job in radio at age 13. She attended the University of Notre Dame on NROTC and National Merit scholarships. After graduation she served as a Navy public affairs officer for eight years, and led the Navy’s communication strategy for environmental, personnel, medical, and acquisition issues. Merritt is a disabled veteran.

Vox Optima closed its first year with a $1 million task order from the U.S. Navy. Vox Optima currently has 15 employees, offices in Albuquerque and the DC Metro area and its client roster includes NATO, the U.S. Navy, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, BAE Systems, the Census Bureau and several national trade associations

Merritt was honored as a Woman of Influence by NM Business Weekly in 2012. She was named the top-performing media and marketing CEO in New Mexico in 2013 by Albuquerque Business First. Vox Optima has been listed in the top five PR firms by revenue in the state for the last four years.

Meet James and Gil: Investment Bankers With Corporate Heads and Social Hearts by Linda Ryan

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Meet James and Gil: Investment Bankers With Corporate Heads and Social Hearts by Linda Ryan

With the launch of the Building Banking on Values, a new VoiceAmerica radio series I’m hosting that goes behind the scenes to tell the stories of the people, passion and positivity within the values-based banking and financing sector; I thought to introduce you to some of our guests.

Meet James Vaccaro: Head of Corporate Strategy, Triodos Bank (The Netherlands) and Specialist in Social and Environmental Finance

James has been at Triodos Bank since 1998. He has advised on bond issues and share offers for leading social enterprises and charities, and managed equity investments in a range of early stage businesses in the organic food, recycling and environmental technology sectors.

James holds a MA in Mathematics from Cambridge University and has a Certified Diploma in Accounting and Finance. He is a Fellow of both the RSA and the Strategic Management Forum.

James started his career at Triodos Bank as Development Manager – managing marketing intelligence projects and product development before becoming a loan manager with a focus in the renewable energy sector. After some time working in The Netherlands in venture capital and microfinance, James returned to the UK in 2005, starting Triodos Bank’s investment activity and was Managing Director of Investment Management UK, incorporating corporate finance advisory services and fund management. James was also the Managing Director of Triodos Renewables plc from 2005-2012. He now leads the development of strategy across the Triodos Bank group internationally.

James has served as a member of the Investment & Contract Readiness Fund Panel and author of a report for the G8 Social Investment Taskforce. He has been a director of many green and sustainable businesses and has served on the board of The UK Sustainable Investment & Finance Association (UKSIF) and been treasurer of a local community development association in south Bristol. He is a member of the Global Steering Committee for the UNEP Finance Initiative and a director of Bristol Green Capital Partnership and Regen SW. Learn more.

Meet Gil Crawford: Chief Executive Office of MicroVest (USA), Advocate for Purposeful Capital and Investment Expert In Microfinance

Crawford is Chief Executive Officer of MicroVest. He is responsible for leading the company’s investment operations and strategy since MicroVest’s founding in 2003. As MicroVest’s CEO, he led the launch of MicroVest I, LP, the first commercial private equity vehicle focused on microfinance in North America. Mr. Crawford has over 25 years experience with microfinance institutions and capital markets across the globe.

Before helping to found MicroVest Capital Management, Mr. Crawford worked for the Latin American Financial Markets Division at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and focused on investments in microfinance institutions. Prior to joining IFC, Gil created and ran Seed Capital Development Fund, a US based non‐profit firm, involved in creating financial instruments and attracting funds to capitalise microfinance institutions, primarily in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Prior to creating Seed Capital, Gil was the Assistant Project Director for Africa Venture Capital Project, designed to create risk capital firms in Africa.

Gil received his bank training at Chase Manhattan Bank after working in Africa for the Red Cross and State Department. He is a graduate of SAIS at Johns Hopkins University and Bates College.

Gil was an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS from 2010 to 2014. He serves on the Board of the Tunisian American Fund, which began operating in July 2013, and of SFC, a Sub-Saharan finance company. He is also an Independent Director of American Capital Senior Finance, LLC since January 2014. He is fluent in English and conversant in French, Spanish and Swedish. Learn more. 

 

Oh, and don’t forget to tune into Building Banking on Values. My VoiceAmerica radio show airs on Thursdays 15:00 PDT on the Business channel Learn more http://www.gabv.org/our-news/gabv-launches-radio-series-with-voiceamerica#.VwRI40fRvg8

#BankingOnValues @CatalystWarrior @bankingonvalues @VoiceAmBusiness  @James_Vaccaro @TriodosUK

High Performing Teams

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High Performing Teams

teampyramid

How do you build high performing teams?  How do you build trust?  How can you become corporate athletes?

This is about what it takes to build teams and lead them in today’s business world.  This isn’t about authority, it is about influence.  This is about the Law of Solid Ground.  And understanding that trust is something you have to earn as a leader.  And knowing when to train, perform, celebrate and rest to be a corporate athlete.  Because this is a marathon not a sprint.  And the 4 stages of team performance: form, storm, norm and perform.  And knowing what stage you are in and how to get to the next one.

Building trust is step one.  According to John C Maxwell’s book “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, trust is the foundation of leadership.  He talks about the Law of Solid Ground. And that to build trust a leader must exemplify the qualities of:  competence, connection and character.  People will forgive occasional mistakes based on ability, especially if they see that you are still growing as a leader.  However you need to own up to it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

How do you build trust in an organization?  How do you know you are on Solid Ground?
Go through “The Trust Check List” and evaluate your ability to adhere  to certain behaviors.  These behaviors if followed consistently, can help to build trust.  And here they are:
1. Keep promises and honor commitments?
2. Acknowledge and apologize for your mistakes?
3. Remain loyal to the absent?
4. Share information, both positive and negative, with the people who need it?
5. Involve others in decisions that affect them?
6. Give credit where credit is due?
7. Communicate consistently, regardless of the situation or the person’s authority or influence?
8. Honor confidential and sensitive information?

And even with the foundation of trust teams go through 4 stages before they really get to performance:  form, storm, norm and perform.  And you can’t skip a stage.  You need to go through each one.  And when you add a new team member that team has to go through it all again…..so what are the stages and how do you get through them?

Forming – this is the stage where you are just getting to know each other and everyone is polite and has not figured out how to challenge the leader or the team.  This stage may feel very nice but it can get you into trouble as I learned when I was working in advertising.  The team was so new that we did not know how to challenge the advertising campaign that was being created.  It led us to make the worst advertising campaign I have ever been associated with…I wish we had known about the 4 stages of team performance.

Storming – this can be the scariest stage. This occurs when people start to challenge the leadership, the other team members, begin to jockey for position. There is a lot of tension and it is best if someone helps the team to get through the storm.  To use this as an opportunity to create some “rules of engagement”.  People need to be able to challenge the work, the direction of the team.  This is really for the purpose of making it better.  Keep it out of the personal and focus on the work or task at hand.  If you are a team that can storm well you will get to a high performing team that will exceed expectations.

Norming – now we are all starting to calm down, settle into our roles and forgive each other’s little idiosyncrasies.  At this stage you are now able to focus on the work and not be distracted by the little things.  You understand each other better and have come to appreciate your differences and how this adds to the final product.

Performing – now this is the stage, this occurs when the team has gelled and come together and knows each other so well that you can almost anticipate things they may say or recognize that their insight will take an idea to the next level.  I had the opportunity to lead a team like this and we increased revenue for our company for our clients and won awards for our product.  I don’t even think we realized at the time what we could accomplish.  It doesn’t happen often but when it does it is magic.

So now how do you make sure that your team doesn’t burn out.  What can we learn from athletes?
We need to train, perform, celebrate and recover.  In the corporate world we do not always take the time to celebrate even if it isn’t a 100% win but to at least take a pause and say what we did well and what we learned so we can apply it to the next challenge. And we do not rest. We do not recover.  We spend most of our time in the perform cycle 12 – 14 hours a day – this will burn you out. As a leader give yourself and your team permission to rest to recover. I did and it worked. We had off-sites outside skiing or hiking and no business just fun – this is how we recovered as corporate athletes.

Building and leading high performing teams is not easy but it can be done.  Start with trust the foundation of leadership.  Make sure you are on Solid Ground by adhering to your Trust Check List. And then evaluate which stage of performance your team is in and get them through it. And don’t forget to celebrate and rest.  Remember this is a marathon not a sprint.

Tune in every Thursday at 8am PST to Chat with Chicules: What They Couldn’t Teach You in Business School

To Create the Future, Change the Conversation

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Peter Block photo 1

Cheryl Esposito welcomes Peter Block award winning author, thought leader, and consultant to corporate, government, and community organizations in the realm of empowerment, stewardship, chosen accountability, and the reconciliation of community.

Peter’s many books include The Answer to How Is Yes: Acting on What Matters, which won the Independent Book Publisher Book Award for Business Breakthrough Book of the Year; and Community: The Structure of Belonging. Peter suggests that our major challenge in moving toward a relevant future is to focus on what we can create, rather than what problems we can solve. He has stopped talking about what’s wrong and how to fix it. Instead, he observes, “Nothing new gets created by better problem solving or by focusing on low-hanging fruit,” he says. “No matter how sophisticated we are as a learning organization, if our conversations are limited to measurable outcomes, we are simply getting better at a system, not creating a new future.”

Want to know how to do this? Join Cheryl Esposito & Peter Block on ‘Leading Conversations‘ to explore creating the future by changing the conversation!

Be Noticed

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Be Noticed

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Being noticed in key for success. In business it is important to be noticed by customers, in corporate it is important to be noticed for greater levels of responsibility and for advancement. This week we address how to get noticed. Our first guest is Pam Lontos, who was the VP of Sales at Disney and is a publicity and marketing expert. She will be sharing how to get publicity and get noticed. Deanne takes the mic as second guest and specifically addresses how to get noticed at work. Deanne specifically addresses the key skills needed. If you have been wondering what it takes to get noticed to get ahead in your business and at work. This will be a show not to miss.  Tune into ‘Today’s Inspiring Women‘ Thursday 5/28 @ 12:00pm to hear more.

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