Archive for the ‘Project Management Communications’ Category:

Creative writing in business

Creative writing does not need to be fictional – in fact a good story teller should be able to apply a style to factual events to make them an interesting read. Some readers actually have a greater buy-in to pieces of literature which are true and this often makes for a larger following. As the web has grown into huge proportions and businesses are reliant on websites, Facebook pages and blogs to market their products it has become necessary for copywriters and content writers to look at different approaches.

Having a creative background albeit visually, I found quite early on in my degree that I could apply my abilities to written form – at first it was a lecturer who read one of my journals and said he liked my humorous approach to writing and from there I was encouraged to write more. I did this throughout my degree but when I left University I went on to forge a career in project management and found that a straight forward factually based style was required especially as I was dealing with a number of teams based across Europe so language barriers became an issue. However I believe that a more creative approach to writing presentations and particularly for workshops, the style can be much more engaging than stuffy communication.

Being creativeIt was when I started working for a project management recruitment agency that I found a balance between writing factual pieces of work and being creative – I was quite  heavily involved in contributing to the company blog, newsletter, and I also wrote my job adverts for prospective candidates. I noticed the more inclusive a job advert was that I received a greater focussed set of applications for my jobs. By noting down key elements but also trying to give the reader a flavour of the organisation, I was starting to generate a great deal of interest. Talking through what they could receive in return for working at the organisation such as culture and making a mark, could easily make up for less competitive salaries.

The interest was not just from the prospective candidates but also other businesses who were particularly interested in my style and I was approached on countless occasions by head hunters. It is true to say that this style of writing has also proven very successful for my current business of professional CV writing – taking a bland piece of information and applying a creative slant to the document has struck a chord with my clients and employers. Bringing some personality to the CV and really painting a picture about the individual in regards to abilities, skills, management style and problem solving.

It just goes to show that you can apply your creative writing abilities to many aspects of work and making an extra effort can really help you get the message across… No more death by powerpoint!

Building your own website to showcase your CV

A fair few people are now turning to other means of promoting themselves out in the employment market and one way to do this is to create your own website. It is not as time consuming and crazy as you think, if you search in a search engine for a project management professional as an example, more and more websites are starting to appear. This course of action is particularly good for contractors who need to be visible even when engaged in work as the next assignment needs to be lined up ready.

To start you will need to choose a domain name (a website name) some choose names to do with your field of expertise and others use their own name. You can sign up with a number of website providers for a nominal sum of money and a good deal of these providers will have templates and online support to help you get moving. This can save you money in the long run as companies set up to design your website can charge hundreds, so think smart.

If you are using the website to try and obtain a new role then you need to make sure you add in detail similar to a CV, making sure you put emphasis on your key selling points and including what you think your target audience are looking for. Keep to the CV rule in that a strong layout, good spelling and grammar are adhered to – always include contact details, I wouldn’t recommend putting your full postal address on there but the nearest city or territory you live in (if you are not keen on moving) or stating you are flexible to move for assignments / relocate for a permanent role. An email address and a cell number will be sufficient.  Adding in pieces of work as part of your achievements can work well too – photos or links to articles / web pages which you have been involved in helps the viewer really get to grips with your abilities and as it is your website, you can afford to really go to town unlike a CV which has to be concise. You can even have a page dedicated to articles you have written and case studies, testimonials etc. the possibilities are really endless.

websites

Do make the website visually attractive but not overly complicated; it’s about striking a balance. If you are a keen writer and like to write blog articles, your website could be just the place to add in this function. It will help you rise on the search rankings if your articles are relevant to your field too.

By publishing a website such as this you are also demonstrating some valuable skills such as:

  • Website development and maintenance – think about those company webpages you have needed to create and update in your career.
  • Proactive behaviour – not just placing your CV and trust in the hands of a recruiter, you are making positive moves to be picked up. You are saving potential employers a handsome recruitment fee too.
  • Marketing yourself – your ability to market yourself well is fantastic; it demonstrates how you could market products, projects and initiatives.

Organisational culture – why bother?

Organisations to date are still grappling with the complexities of defining a common organisational purpose. This becomes even more complicated during a business acquisition or merger, especially when there are major differences in organisational values and behaviours. This is also evident when large multi-national companies enter less mature markets and quickly discover that local
organisations have their own unique way of doing business in that particular business environment. Sometimes what is deemed ‘unacceptable’ in some markets is quite ‘acceptable’ somewhere else. This is a constant challenge facing all types of organisations globally. Culture will ultimately define a company’s belief system and expectations for the future, and will invariably influence success or failure in a highly competitive global marketplace.
As a result of greater focus on ‘cultural fit’ and all things related, Private Equity firms are now investing considerable time and resources to better understand a target company’s organisational dynamics before concluding any deal. This could be a major factor in realising value from the deal down the line. A company that has a defined philosophy for doing business will more likely have a
better strategic vision, which in turn makes it more appealing to investors, internal and external talent pools and customers alike. An organisation’s culture could either make it or break it over the long term. Thus, in attempting to create a high performance organisation, it becomes vital for senior leadership to define the culture required for success, or in the case of M&A’s, creating a vision for the future that will aim to bring the best of both organisational cultures together to deliver maximum value for all stakeholders. It is at this point that a company’s senior leadership team have an opportunity to etch themselves in corporate history and create the environment for making the company highly successful. Senior executives need to grasp this opportunity by ensuring they live
the values of the organisation and become effective role models for the rest of the organisation to follow. Doing this effectively at the top of the hierarchy instils confidence and trust in the layers below and has a mesmerising effect on motivating the wider workforce.
It is never an easy task to create or change cultural identity however with the added pressure of globalisation, the race for good talent and ever changing technological advancement, global organisations cannot afford not to invest in creating distinct cultural identities. Companies around the world are investing heavily on optimising business performance. Process and technology change alone will not make a difference unless there has been a carefully thought out people change strategy which is aligned to the strategic vision of the organisation. Many transformation efforts fail due to poor people change planning. On some large programmes it is often evident that ‘lip-service’ is paid to the impact of change on people and in many cases prevents the successful adoption of new ways of working. People need to be engaged early, to instil the values of trust and integrity. Many organisations leave it too late and lose immense credibility internally as well as externally as information starts to leak everywhere. A company serious about reputation and brand attractiveness will have as part of its organisational DNA, clear values around trust, transparency and commitment to treating people with due care and not just paying ‘lip-service’ to employee consultation. In conclusion, all aspects of transformational change require clear linkage to the corporate strategy of the organisation. This is often neglected and in many cases leads to the failure of the change
initiative, wasting valuable time, resources and energy. It is therefore vital for companies to establish the right type of culture, be it for the purposes of expanding into new emerging markets, M&A’s or a brand new start up looking to establish a foothold in the open market. A well-defined organisational culture provides the starting point for all stakeholders to feel part of something unique. This only encourages greater differentiation between competing organisations and its influence over products, services, quality and the ability to attract specific talent pools.

Vellendra Sannasy is an Organisational Change Professional with extensive experience in leading strategic and operational business change. Vellendra has worked with global organisations in the UK, US, Asia and South Africa, with a great appreciation for cultural
diversity and different ways of working. He is also the Founder of StratChange Consulting, which is a niche consultancy, providing strategic and operational guidance to C Suite Executives and Senior Management teams undergoing complex organisational change.

The Best Business Apps To Show Your Boss

As businesses become more and more tech-savvy, many are choosing to distribute iPhones as their default company phone. The iPhone’s wide variety of business apps can help streamline your company while increase productivity at the same time. If you want your company to use technology to gain an edge, here are 5 apps to show your boss that will make his (and your) job easier.

Dropbox

Sharing files among your colleagues can be quite the pain. Many businesses don’t have a standard system in place for transferring files, and many rely on email attachments which can get clunky. Dropbox allows you to created shared folders on your work iPhone and computer, and sync them with each other seamlessly. To share a file, simply place it in the share folder, and it will appear on your coworker’s devices instantly.

Evernote

Evernote is the premier note taking app for iOS, thanks to its simple design and numerous features. Rich text notes can be created, edited, and shared all from your iPhone, and can be accessed from any device with a web browser. Evernote’s notes also support photos, which sync just as quick as text notes.

Scanner Pro

Scanners are the butt of many jokes in an office, thanks to their propensity to malfunction exactly when you need them the most. Ditch the bulky scanner and grab Scanner Pro to streamline the entire process. The app uses your phones camera to scan documents, which can they be emailed with the touch of a button.

stack-of-iphones

Basecamp

Basecamp is the the most comprehensive project management tool for businesses of any size. The program allows your to share files, conversations, projects, and more through a simple user interface. Best of all, it can be entirely operated from the mobile application, allowing users to be productive on the move.

DoubleDutch

Planning large-scale corporate events can often be rather frustrating thanks to the hundreds of factors that go into planning a large conference. Between the attendees, presenters, and planners, numerous people need to stay informed of the event’s schedule. Enter DoubleDutch, an application that gathers all the information you need and allows attendees access everything from their smartphones. The application displays a mobile agenda that can be updated in real time, so guests always know exactly where they need to be. They can even create custom agendas in a few simple steps, or connect with other guests based on their interests/career. DoubleDutch also allows you to create custom polls and survey to collect information from your guests, so you can know exactly what they thought of this year’s speaker.

Tripit

Business traveling always seems to be more hassle than it should be. Between planning the flight, renting a car, and reserving a hotel, the process can get quite complicated. Enter Tripit, which simplifies the entire process. Simply forwarding your travel confirmation emails to a Tripit email account automatically creates your itinerary for you. It can then be shared among users, so all your coworkers know when and where you are heading.

As time passes, more and more business rely on strictly digital methods for managing their information, and the above apps build a solid foundation for running a well oiled and tech savvy company. Remember to try out any apps that seem interesting, and find what works best for you and your business.

Adrian King is a business consultant with a passion for technology. When he is not found working or spending time with his children, Adrian spends much of his spare time reading http://www.marketingtechblog.com/.