Just when you thought you knew all you needed to know about strategic planning, Tennessee Bank & Trust hosts a round-table discussion with experienced business leaders that will remind you how much you have forgotten and why you need to think about your strategic plan all year long.
There are great nuggets here. What is your top piece of advice about strategic planning?
I recently read a new survey published by the Arthur W. Page Society, The CEO View: The Impact of Communications on Corporate Character in a 24×7 Digital World, that shared insight from interviews with 20 leading CEOs of Fortune 50 companies on their opinions about strategic communications and the changing role of Chief Communications Officers (CCOs) in today’s companies.
The commissioned research is an update to the Society’s 2007 study The Authentic Enterprise assessing the strategic importance of communications to CEOs in building brands and corporate reputation.
There are a lot of great insights in the report. Here are just a few key findings from the study and implications for CCOs that I found particularly relevant in today’s global business climate:
Social media gains (more) respect. CEOs no longer view social media as “emerging” technologies but an imperative communications channel to engage with various stakeholders. They are looking for CCOs to understand, interpret and manage social media in a way that explains the impact on their business.
Character, reputation and values define corporations. Increased transparency has led CEOs to place a greater emphasis on understanding the diverse perspectives of internal and external stakeholders to help shape corporate identity and reputation. This is good news for CCOs, who have an opportunity to define and communicate company values that are authentic to the organization. For more insights from the Society on aligning corporate values, read here.
Hard-data rules. In this data-obsessed world, CEOs want better and more intricate measurement of their company’s reputation. The report calls this “high-resolution measurement” and CCOs need to have the right tools at hand, such as reputation scorecards or dashboards, to measure the impact of strategic communications in executing the business plan. The study indicates some CEOs “report measuring as many as 30 different brand attributes as experienced by as many as 15 discrete stakeholder groups.”
24/7 news cycle. The “always on” news cycle with the rise of social media and online news outlets is definitely here to stay. CEOs understand the urgency to respond to issues with the speed of information itself and the complexity of addressing many constituents with appropriate communication. CEOs value the role of CCOs in “proactively building relationships with all stakeholders via all available channels” to establish goodwill and help protect corporate reputation in the event of a crisis.
Do these findings resonate with your CEO? How do they impact your role as a communications executive? Share your thoughts and comments.
Much has been made of the use, misuse and overuse of the word “literally.”
Literally, of course, means something that is actually true: “Literally every pair of shoes I own was ruined when my apartment flooded.”
When we use words not in their normal literal meaning but in a way that makes a description more impressive or interesting, the correct word, of course, is “figuratively.”
But people increasingly use “literally” to give extreme emphasis to a statement that cannot be true, as in: “My head literally exploded when I read Merriam-Webster, among others, is now sanctioning the use of literally to mean just the opposite.”
Indeed, Ragan’s PR Daily reported last week that Webster, Macmillan Dictionary and Google have added this latter informal use of “literally” as part of the word’s official definition. The Cambridge Dictionary has also jumped on board.
How did this come to be? Mainstream use of “literally” to provide emphasis to a statement was aided in recent years, perhaps, with the help of a couple of popular sitcoms. Parks and Recreation’s Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) extends his liberties with the word even further with his pronunciation (LIT-rally) and the frequent misuses of the word in “How I Met Your Mother” even helped inspire a drinking game. But I digress…
Webster’s first definition of literally is, “in a literal sense or matter; actually.” Its second definition is, “in effect; virtually.” In addressing this seeming contradiction, its authors comment:
“Since some people take sense 2 to be the opposition of sense 1, it has been frequently criticized as a misuse. Instead, the use is pure hyperbole intended to gain emphasis, but it often appears in contexts where no additional emphasis is necessary.”
So it’s okay to use literally to mean figuratively as long as you really, really, really need to do so? Hmph.
But this is the world as we find it today. So what are your thoughts on all this? Are you figuratively dying of angst over the decline of the English language, are you literally thrilled to pieces, or are you somewhere in between? Let us know!
I enjoy being a part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta panel of business people who respond to questions about what they think is going to happen with inflation in the Sixth District over the next 12 months. In mid-August, the Fed reported the results from more than 200 business firms, and I’m in line with the majority who report that their sales are up “above normal” slightly, but so are their unit costs. We expect labor costs to increase and the rate of inflation to be at 1.7 – 2.00 over the next 12 months.
Fifty percent expect the fed funds rate to rise to between .05 and 1.00 percent (I’m in that 50%), and 40% expect the fed funds rate to increase to 1.00 – 1.5 percent.
Before the start of 2013, I made a media wish. I hoped for the return of the “reputable journalist” and the resurgence of traditional media outlets upon which the general public can rely for timely, accurate, in-depth information that matters.
With the closing of Nashville’s The City Paper, and the continued blood-letting at The Tennessean, it’s clear that I won’t be getting my wish this year. And at this rate, I’m starting to lose hope.
I was, however, heartened to read the final editorial of The City Paper, in which the staff provides a clear argument for the importance of having healthy — and hopefully, competing — newspapers in cities like Nashville and what we can do to help keep those newspapers alive. For the PR pros in our audience, I’ll agree that having a robust media landscape does equate to better pitching opportunities. But more importantly, our world is just plain better when we have abundant, reliable news sources.
I won’t try to re-create what is already a well-written piece. Instead, I encourage everyone in the Nashville community, and in the broader public relations industry, to spend a few minutes reading the editorial, which you can find at this link. Afterward, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Laurel Staples’ Better Woman blog is casual and informative. She does a great job with her video and audio production. Check out some of the successful businesswomen she interviews.
When we launched our company blog in 2009 my first post was about customer service. I recounted a personal experience at a local hospital as an example of bad customer service. Since our firm specializes in healthcare, and I’ve helped execute customer service programs in hospitals throughout the country, I had a thorough understanding of the importance of a positive patient experience.
This is why I was so intrigued by an email I recently received from Catalyst Healthcare Research that provided findings from a study they conducted in partnership with The Beryl Institute. The study was called The State of Patient Experience in American Hospitals. The purpose of the study was to determine “if hospitals are now being reimbursed for quality patient care and a positive patient experience, what are they doing to improve it?”
According to more than 1,000 executive leaders at hospitals throughout the country, roughly 70 percent said their number one priority in the next three years is patient experience/satisfaction, closely followed by patient safety.
When asked about the key elements of their patient experience efforts, the top responses were that they share patient satisfaction scores throughout the organization and they encourage regular rounding by clinical staff as well as the hospital leadership team. Since transparency is often key to helping employees feel engaged with the overall mission of the organization, it’s no wonder sharing satisfaction scores topped the list. If employees don’t understand how you’re performing and how that translates to the bottom line, it’s often difficult to build a “team” mentality.
To monitor patient satisfaction performance, respondents said they rely on various metrics, but the three most popular were HCAHPS scores (86%), patient survey findings (80%) and discharge follow up calls (70%). From a patient perspective, I think the most interesting question was how hospitals plan to further improve the patient experience. I was intrigued because the answers prove hospitals really understand customer service is important. Answers included reducing noise, more physician rounding, improved cleanliness, increased physician communication, better food service and more attention to pain management.
Approximately 70 percent of the respondents felt positive about their efforts to improve patient satisfaction, and we can only hope this is an accurate representation of hospitals across the country. Starting in 2014, the hospital Value-Based Purchasing program will tie at least 1.25 percent of hospital payments to their performance on various quality and patient experience indicators. So, what does this mean? According to a recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review, the financial impact will be significant on low performing hospitals. The article provided the example of a 300-bed hospital with poor quality metrics that would be penalized approximately $1.3 million a year, beginning in 2015.
This study proves hospitals are putting a great deal of importance on patient satisfaction. Fingers crossed it is enough.