While on duty in Afghanistan a few years ago, I did my best to bring a video camera with me on every project visit. It was easy enough to have someone do the filming while I grabbed the local project engineer and asked a few questions about their efforts on the job. It was an opportunity to brag a little about the great people we had and the phenomenal jobs they were doing. Just as important, I wanted those who supported the efforts of those in the field, in my case the architects, contract specialists, and Human Resource professionals, to see the fruits of their labor. It was real progress and they needed to see it.
Here is a link to one of the videos if you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqlooMqqZlY. You don’t need to watch the whole thing to get the point! They are raw, with little editing, man-on-the-street interviews. One take…never more! Just turn on the camera and let it fly. You can see my guys added some additional background video stuff, easy enough to do these days. But, the interviews themselves were just ad hoc.
A great leader in Los Angeles County’s Public Works Department, Director Gail Farber, has been doing something very similar that you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZppoGuv8ZI. I’ve seen some great videos recently from another great Public Works Department leader, Director Jeff Rigney, in San Bernardino County. He just started doing his and has been getting awesome reviews from his “troops!” For reference, we discussed doing these during the “Communication” module of the leadership programs we did with each of those leadership teams over the last few years.
The point is, the technology is there for us to communicate – both internally and externally. For senior leaders, this is a great way for you to reach all the way to the individual employee, to talk directly to them about what your organization does, the important purpose it fills for those you serve, and to highlight some of the superstars on your team. And, for those who need external communication, why not put your messages on the public domain and let others see your many successes? It’s easy to do and, with a little practice, any one of you can be the next media star!
I was reading earlier today how important this communication is to our newest employees, those millennials. Remember, they have all grown up with an expectation for this sort of communication and the use of tools like YouTube, SnapChat, and Twitter. Meet them where they are and find new and innovative ways to connect people to purpose, you to them, team members to each other and to the customers you serve.
Every one of the leaders I know, whether public or private sector, has a great story to tell. You are doing awesome projects, serving your customers to great effect, and with amazing people doing heroic tasks every day! Get out there and tell it. Ahem…speak into the mike, please!
Lead the Way! That’s Leader Business.