Game Changing Communication

How BP’s CEO just raised the bar for how business should treat employees.

A good news headline for BP is unusual these days, im going to be open here and say I have no stake in BP at all or connection to them.

I did however come across this story on linked in yesterday and found it fascinating and refreshing in equal measure.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/reinventing-bp-next-steps-bernard-looney

A lesson in real leadership???

This for me is a game changer for a number of reasons and a lesson in what real business leadership should be in the 21st century.

  • Open and honest communication
  • Sharing the true detail of the situation
  • Giving bad news early
  • Transparancy on job losses
  • Tools for those leaving the company

All of these details were provided in this simple communication to the workforce.

Is their new CEO raising the bar in terms of how leaders treat their employees?

Too often we are kept in the dark, change comes fast and it’s often unexpected.

In this case, a whole bunch of changes, some positive, a lot more negative are going to hit BP employee’s.

The difference here is they know about them and can prepare.

That’s leadership and guidance in action.


We are all in this together….

Like all industries the energy industry is being hammered right now and BP are no different to any other company in this sector.

The difference here is that their leader, is making very clear in a simple and concise way the situation, the costs and what is going to be done.

Change is coming but its coming to us all and here is the timeframe for that change.

I can’t help but find this such a refreshing and different communication style that I really want to engage with it and share it.


Financial Direction

The energy industry typically pays bonuses and shares as part of the full financial package they offer to employees.

Being humans, most who receive the bonus spend it long before its in their pocket.

At the end of the year when despite making the targets those perks don’t come, the disappointment and sometimes the personal implications of that are very real.

Again the message was simple and concise, the bonus wont be paid so don’t figure it into your financial plans.

The disappointment may be real now, but there is time for employee’s to prepare themselves emotionally and in the real world for the fact its not coming.

That honesty to me is refreshing and powerful.


Not everyone will be sticking around

This wont be news to any of the employees in BP, they will know that job losses have to happen in order for that business to start making money again.

Too often though there is very little communication on these type of changes.

Here the organization has been told, what’s happening and why, the numbers affected and the timeline.

The news also extends to the help that those affected will get directly from the company as they make the transition into what will be an uncertain future.

Again very clear and concisely shared information with everyone.


The hardship will end…

Annual pay rise, promotions, flexibility these all will come back and more this year.

Timelines are shared, giving those that remain the comfort that while things are tough now, that will end and things will get better.


Takeaways?

This for me is a big change in how information is shared openly and honestly from the top down.

Employees have of course always known that they could be trusted with this kind of information, it breeds loyalty to the company and a true sense that we are all in this mess together and will come out the other side all the stronger for the shared experiance.

The type of leadership emerging in 2020 feel different, more engaging and with an honestly and open ness that’s not been there before.

That’s true in business with this type of emerging leadership style and also in politics I think with Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand for example (Although please see free to correct me on that if im wrong).

This is more than leading by example, its leading with a transparent set of actions and priorities that the public as well as your employees can hold you accountable to.

Whether it lasts or grows in momentum who knows?

What I do know how ever is that this is something new, we haven’t seen before, im both impressed and ready to see where this goes.

Success or failure its very much management and leadership in the public eye.

Taking the first step in sales

People do business with people they like…

This is the first rule of sales

Maybe sounds a bit old fashioned but, let me assure you it’s a powerful truth.

People do business with people they like

At a time where we do less and less business face to face, this is being forgotten about, but bear with me its important.

If you want to be successful, you have to build a connection with your sales audience.


Standing out from the faceless crowd

This is a huge challenge today, and one thats being embraced by influencers.

Transcending face to face business and taking those same principles and applying them to vlogging is a great example of how people have successfully reinvented older sales principles to make them work in todays world.

While their audience is a video camera as they present or talk about the product or service their selling, what you see on the other end of that is a face and what you hear is one side of a conversation, this builds a connection.

That connections leads to you liking that person (Or the person they project themselves to be on-screen), the result, your much more likely to buy something they recommend.

Not everyone is on social media or wants to be an influencer of course, but its a great example of standing out from the crowd and building a sales audience with probably the oldest sales rule.

In business day to day there are other ways that we can make those same connections without having social media:

  • Pick up the phone — Its amazing to me the amount of people who try to do business over email only and wonder why its not working. Develop that human connection with someone, if you can have that call over video phone even better.
  • Integrity and honesty — This means being honest about what your trying to achieve and how what your selling benefits the person or the business your selling to, if it doesn’t benefit them chances are they wont buy it so be upfront about that. If you are not sure, then use calls and face to face meetings to work out how it would benefit them, you will thank yourself later. The prospect will also thank you because you will actually understand their needs and can tailor your sales towards that.
  • Talk Plainly — Leave the acronyms and buzzwords back in the 80’s where they belong, this kinda ties back into integrity and honesty, no one talks like that in the real world so don’t talk like that in the business world, a natural conversation with the real you, builds that connection.
  • Don’t present, converse — Death by power point is horrible for both the presenter and the audience, so don’t go there. Instead adopt the corporate story telling philosophy. Just have a conversation with some visual only slides for context as you need them. Its a much more natural way to present and puts both the presenter and the audience at ease.

If you can do these things, it will help you to stand out from crowd, build an honest relationship with your customers and get you more business.

Never forget that people really do more business with people they like, this is what makes sales and business development such a richly rewarding career option.