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Podcast: Being Candid with Frank Dias

What is it like to work as a Comms Director inside an organisation?

When do you know if you’re ready for your next career move?

What’s it like to work internationally?

This 15th episode of the Candid Comms podcast features Frank Dias, Global Internal Communications Director at AXA XL.

It is packed with practical ideas and inspirational advice, to help internal communicators thrive in their role.

Candid Comms podcast episode. Photo of Frank Dias.

Our candid conversation covers:

  • Frank’s career path
  • Why he thinks measurement is critical for IC teams
  • What it’s like to work internationally
  • How he views the role of a Comms Director
  • Top tips and advice you can try today.

Do let me know what you think of this episode and don’t forget to rate, review and follow, so other Comms pros can benefit too.

This is the penultimate episode of season one. Thank you to everyone who has supported Candid Comms. I love hearing from listeners, do let me know what resonates with you from this episode.

You can find the Candid Comms podcast on your favourite player including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Podbean.

What is the podcast?

The Candid Comms podcast launched in January 2021. It’s weekly show designed to connect internal communication professionals to the latest advice and guidance.

Previous episodes:

Thank you to my Producer Debbie West of Seren Creative. You can listen to Candid Comms via this page or online.

Transcript of this week’s episode

Rachel:
Welcome to the Candid Comms podcast. If you were looking for practical and inspirational ideas to help you thrive in internal communication, you’re in the right place. I’m your host, international communication consultant, trainer and mentor Rachel Miller.

Through this podcast I’ll share my experience with you so you can increase your skills, knowledge, and confidence on all things, internal communication related.

Hello, and welcome to the show. On this week’s episode, I have a special treat for you. I have invited a guest to come and have a candid conversation with me about the reality of being a Comms Director and not just a Comms Director, a global IC Director. So I’m delighted to introduce Frank and I’m going to hand over to him. So you can say hello and share with us what you do, where you work.

Frank:
Hi Rachel, it’s a pleasure to join you on this podcast. My name is Frank Dias. I’m the Global Internal Comms Director at AXA XL and I work in the insurance industry.

Rachel:
Brilliant. Thank you. And I think we first met a good few years back when you were working at Grant Thornton, I think, is that right?

Frank:
Yes I think so. I’d seen you within the industry of internal comms for a long time, and it was just really a matter of time before I signed up to one of your useful coaching sessions. And I think that’s what spurred me on just to try and connect and build my network and learn from others.

Rachel:
That’s so important isn’t it? Building your network when you work in internal communication is so important. So through this episode today, we are going to have a candid conversation about being a Comms Director, because I think often there’s an aspiration for internal communicators to work their way up. So I’d love to find out from you. What does it really like to work as a communications director, Frank?

Frank:
It’s a funny question because you’re not really asked this very much, what’s it like to be a Comms Director? So for me, what is really like…  I would compare it to being the music conductor of an orchestra. You have the responsibility for team of experts of different experiences who each play to their own tune which you want with some structure to help them shine and be noticed.

It’s a privilege as well to lead and influence the sound of communications. If I were to put it in that way and also help the voice of the business its leaders, its employees be amplified by ensuring that it’s all connected to the strategy, which I like to call the music sheet and the basis behind all of this is as a Comms Director that you need to be able to inspire to coach both leaders and team have a vision, be a trusted voice, be curious, not afraid to ask questions, particularly ones that get others thinking and also could be challenging and also being decisive particularly to have a point of view and opinion based on your experience and best practice.

And to top all of that your leader in charge of developing, shaping, and owning the internal comms strategy with input from your team, putting in place, planning the measures for impact on all of those things. So I think those are the differentiators for me and I enjoy it.

Rachel:
I love that music analogy. That’s so true, isn’t it? I think often if you’re the leader of the team, it’s about drawing out the best from your people while also setting the strategy.

I love that you called it the music sheet. I think that’s great. So helping people make sure that we’re all in tune. I imagine. I like the fact you said about being decisive as well. I think people do look to their Comms Directors to be decisive and make difficult decisions as well, which may not be what our leaders are expecting and may not be work our team are expecting.

So I’m curious about what attracted you to a role in comms and, and your career path in particular. So what has led you to get to this point and this role.

Frank:
As I’m sure you’ve heard many times from many others. I think many of us don’t set out on a career path to say, I can’t wait to work in internal comms. It’s probably changing nowadays. I think that’s the good thing that we’ve seen in our, our time within the industry that is changing then that,

Rachel:
Yes, I think the Institute of internal communication or doing a campaign at the moment, which is #IChoseIC, I see to stop the “well, I just fell into it” conversation, which is what you and I, I think probably described in the past in terms of our route into internal comms.

Frank:
I think just in terms of the media and the whole place around celebrity, we’ve probably seen a lot of sort of PR and also communications get a lot of headlines and press whether it’s for good things or bad things. At least it’s getting a bit more coverage where people think, who are the people behind those jobs in terms of my career. I think when I was a younger, I wanted to be a pilot.

Rachel:
Did you? An airline pilot?

Frank:
So I think so I think it was just really the, the idea of traveling, which we can’t do now and say, is that the moment, but yeah, just, just that ability to travel and see the world always appeal to me.

But in terms of simplicity particularly related to attraction of comms role for me, I think it’s a superpower of connecting people and doing a role where being Alice in Wonderland, so to speak this isn’t necessarily part of the job. As in the need to be curious and particularly considering viewpoints, we’re trying to avoid the odd rabbit hole. Many many rabbit holes!

My first job was at Tesco and that was a major influence on me, used to work on the shop floor, engaging with the customers, interacting with a diverse group of colleagues, particularly now, when I think about working then if it wasn’t really a diverse group of colleagues, which was a really wonderful having good banter at the checkouts and also while stacking the shelves, but in particular, it was all about working with management as well and getting a glimpse of unions and staff representatives.

And there was that connection around here in frontline staff have a moan about management, which got me thinking, how can I bridge that gap between a good, honest, trusted, and authentic relationships between managers and employees? And then human resources came to me as a career choice. And that was the answer for me.

So I went to university and studied my HR degree, and then I started to climb the first rung of my career ladder within actually HR within the housing association in West Ham in London. And then from there, I moved to the charity sector. So still not, not for profit at Cancer Research UK. And it was there that I was sort of asked to help set up a new team after work in about a couple of years within HR, because of new UK legislation at the time which was focused on information and consultation of employees. But strangely enough, I don’t actually hear of about now.

Rachel and Frank during the recording of this Candid Comms podcast episode.

Rachel:
No, that’s no, I guess it’s of its time, right? I guess at the moment, maybe there was a reactive measure put in place to try and deal with that. But no, I haven’t heard of that – certainly not recently. So it was very much a clear pathway in terms of… we need to do something and you were asked to create the team?

Frank:
Create the setup. So I worked with another manager and because we were quite well connected, we helped set up our sort of staff consultation and staff representation team which reported strangely directly to the CEO and the exec team of senior leaders, which was again phenomenal.

Now, when I look back from an internal comms engagement point of view is quite groundbreaking. Because we had a CEO at the time who really understood what they wanted to do, which was some do more than just the basics of the legislation. So we ran open staff elections with staff voting and was able to get a really great cross section of employees from different parts of the charity. So retail warehouse in office. So we’ve truly had the really representative voice.

So I helped train them and coach them in gathering the voice of their constituencies and bringing that voice to the table, to the CEO and the senior leaders who all dedicated time to listen debate and preview privileged information to this group of representatives. So building up that, so it was really a true way of consulting. So that way my appetite really for more within sort of communicating internally. So I was lucky enough to then move into an internal comms role within cancer research, UK focused on digital. And that, that allowed me to cut my teeth in national internal comms. And then from there I wanted to get move on into global internal comms. So that’s when I joined Grant Thornton financial services.

Rachel:
You decided to move from national to global. What was that driver for you?

Frank:
For me, it was just really the fascination of how do you deal with people around the world with internal comms? Like if everyone’s in the same time zone, it seems fairly straightforward, but how do they multiply that by different languages, different cultures? How do you align people to the direction of travel that you’re going and never

Rachel:
A dull moment?

Frank:
Never a dull moment. I think that’s what sort of drew my interest in. And also I’d been at Cancer Research UK for seven years. And, and that’s a long time. And so it was the right time to sort of move on and get some more experience reading mostly. Then Grant Thornton for seven years and then moved to Lloyd’s of London within the insurance sector for nearly two years and then on to AXA XL. I’ve just done my year, year and a bit there.

So still in the world of insurance, but I’ve had the amazing opportunities really on, on pieces of work, which I’m sure will resonate with many communicators. Listening in from office moves to introducing new CEOs and leadership teams, launching new channels, such as Yammer to ideation tools for hosting crowdsourcing, global jams shaping narratives that stick connecting people to new operating models.

But I think for me, the next level of attraction really is around the use of behavioural science and not just related to internal comms and engagement. And, and how do you help build together with leaders? A bit more of a true connection with employees about what businesses, culture, and purpose means in a pandemic and, and hopefully soon to be post pandemic world.

Rachel:
Oh, fingers crossed. I love that. I remember reading the Inside the nudge unit book a couple of years back, I’ll put it in the show notes it’s all about behavioural change and how do you get people to act and react.

Recommended read: Inside the nudge unit, how small changes can make a big difference.

How do you encourage employees to act and react in certain ways? Which is, I mean, that’s a whole podcast episode in itself. It’s such a fascinating topic. I love the fact that that’s the next step. I love the fact that that’s something that you’re thinking about and curious about.

So Frank, how do you know, and this is a bit of a big question, but I’m curious, you know, when you’re ready to step into a more senior role?

Frank:
For me it was really about reading what others outside were doing which inspired me the most. So to borrow a phrase from you, Rachel, and to flip it, understanding what was working outside to bring inside. So that urge really was really what triggered me to think. I want to try and push myself, stretch myself a bit further, cause I felt inspired by others.

What happens inside is reflected outside

So for me, that was just really around how can I mature my comms conversations with managers and leaders and influences about the power of effective internal comms and engagement through conversation and partnership. And it was just really that wanting to stretch myself beyond my sort of business as usual to tackle bigger impact projects that could have greater influence. And of course, being able to move into more communication strategy development and that connection to business priorities and goals. I think that that was really at what urged me.

Rachel:
So that desire to do more. I understand that. I think I, if I look at my in-house career, I spent 10 years in-house and I really like it when things are a bit broken and then I can go in – this is what makes me a good Consultant – I like going in and fixing things.

So what can you do to earn credibility as a Communications Director? What does that look like?

Frank:
Credibility is based on for me anyway, three things like I’ve mentioned already is about being curious and asking questions that matter. And then our case it’s really around making the link in terms of what the business is trying to achieve and how effective communications and engagement and can help make that happen.

And then the second piece for me is around being able to have that vision as a communications leader and in particular, the ideas which are grounded in terms of the business challenges, as well as bringing in, in the best practice from outside together with data and insights into the conversation to help join the dots and then so that you can then build the case for that investment and then the trust. And then the third point for me is really around having opinions and well-read views ready so that you can give your voice in terms of speaking up.

But not being afraid to challenge with respect, always make respects, always reference coming from that place. Knowledge really is really critical. So you need to also contend with and acknowledge as well as self-reflect on self-doubt. And I’ve definitely had it in mind, my career today, where you also have that feeling of not being the right fit or maybe being an imposter leave.

And then, and any of those confidence gremlins that creep into your mind. So really believe in yourself, particularly if you want to sort of earn that credibility. Because at the end of the day, we’re not dealing with life and death. We’re not directly saving lives. We’re communicators who want to be seen and heard as trusted advisers.

You can make suggestions to hopefully influence decisions based on our relationships networks that we nurture and shape to get into those perfect positions of trust. So that needs to be, well-read plugged into what’s going on around the world. That’s really vital in terms of getting, gaining that credibility.

Rachel:
So I’m going to summarise the three things about being curious, and I loved your Alice in Wonderland analogy earlier. And curiosity is one of the behaviours that the Institute of internal communication pullout in their profession map, which I’m a big fan of and talk about and blog about a lot.

So being curious, having a vision, and I liked the fact that you said with ideas that are grounded in the business challenges, I think that’s so important because to earn your stripes and have credibility, we need to be talking the language of the business. So having a vision that’s rooted in terms of what the business requires from us, love that.

Then your third point is having opinions, but also being well-read. So I guess it’s being able to talk the talk and walk the walk, right? Having no integrity gap between what we say and what we do and having awareness of how internal comms work so that when we show up, I think all of that investment in our own professional development, that’s the reason why we go to conferences, right? And do courses and listen to podcasts, to try and have a better understanding and a deeper understanding about what we do.

I love that. I think that’s a really, really, really key points in there for me.

Sometimes we do deal with life and death. You know, sometimes we are communicating, you know, the death of employees. I’ve talked recently about how, how that role that we have in that empathetic comms that we create is so important.

Frank:
Yes, particularly with mental health at the moment, and then the pandemic. So many communicators have been doing a fantastic job, working with their HR colleagues in terms of how’d you build that empathy and connection that you care. A lot of the comms I’ve been reading throughout the year are in terms of wellbeing, mental health, and people’s other responsibilities in life which go beyond just work.

Rachel:
Absolutely. I’m going to reclaim and flip back. My, what happens inside is reflected outside because that for me is about the mental health and wellbeing of our love by the, you took it and flipped it – and you’re very welcome to do that.

But for me, you know, that, that what happens inside is reflected outside, is about mental health and wellbeing. And not only for us as professional communicators in very visible roles, but also the wellbeing for employees is super important.

We’re going to take a short break. And when we come back, I’m going to be asking Frank about measurement. See you in a moment.

Comms friends. I hope you’re enjoying this conversation today, between Frank and I. If you are the most senior internal communicator inside your organisation, why not check out the All Things IC Inner Circle?

All Things IC Inner Circle

This is my membership that’s been designed to support senior internal communicators. Perhaps you’re working as a Comms Director or maybe a Head of internal communication. Then this membership is for you.

It’s a small group. Applications are currently open as I’m recording this in May, 2021. There’s only six spaces. And we work together over six months as a group.

We have a two hour mastermind every month and also you and I would have a power hour every month. See the website, for full information.

You don’t need to be based here in the UK. The first cohort of the Inner Circle has members from the US, the UK and Luxembourg. Check out the website to find out all you need to know and how to apply.

Learn about internal communication with All Things IC

If you want to learn more about internal communication, I’ve got you covered. Check out my range of All Things IC Online Masterclasses.

There’s a wealth of options to choose from. See the dedicated website to access all the latest courses. They are packed with bespoke text lessons, videos, workbooks and quizzes to help you learn about the wonderful world of IC at your own pace. They are pre-recorded, which means you access the content at the time you choose.

Want to buy courses for your team or need multiple licenses? Do get in touch and let me know what you need. You can also buy bundles of courses.

Choose from:

Because you are a listener of the candidate comes podcast, you can save a 10% of those online masterclasses, simply use the code candid comms at the checkout. And I hope to see you inside one of those online courses very soon.

Rachel:
Welcome back. So you mentioned measurement and I’m going to ask you about measurement because I mean, it’s a constant search term on my blog. People are constantly curious about measurement and in episode six, I did a whole episode on how to measure internal communication.

Further listening: How to measure internal communication.

How to measure internal communication

Do listen back if you’re stuck on measurement.

So Frank, I’m curious, how do you approach measurement or what insights can you share about measuring the outcome? And, you know, I’m a fan of outcome – the outcome of your comms.

Frank:
I don’t do any measurement. It’s a fad, it’s a fad.

Both:
Laughing.

Frank:
For me, this topic is the everlasting challenge of Comms and it’s been going on since dawn. I think I think it comes down from the place of businesses report in about their financials.

So how can we report on our comms? We’ve linked back into performance productivity and success. My point around data with insight is probably the critical piece here because you can collect loads and loads and tons of data that you want, but without actually really understanding what that data is trying to tell you, it can almost be a bit too overwhelming.

Then you just focus on really trivial elements of, of what you think good looks like. And so for me, it’s really linked to the maturity of how you deal with your internal comms, whether it’s from your channels, to your content, to the cause of action, and then particularly the behavior shifts that you want think around, think feel do as one quick example which also links back then to the culture of the business.

So it’s got many layers I think, and it all depends on your maturity. So the first thing I would do in terms of measuring or have done in terms of measuring comms is to try and understand the business first and in particular its priorities and goals.

That’s your foundation piece because everything that you then do after that needs to talk to that as your foundation. And so the next thing I then did was really gave a fantastic understanding around our employees culture, around voice, in particular, around leaders leadership and comms and then also around the channels and the platforms at your disposal.

Then for me, it’s then diving into the world of content. What’s been the history of what’s been said, how’s it been said around the tone, delivery and what actions have been asked of employees because of that content. So really sort of gathering as much relevant data as possible. So many businesses run surveys or focus groups if can ask to see that data, because all that plays a part in new understanding the business. And then it’s all about also organising your own conversation starters with key influences so that you can gather their views. And so all of that, you lay it all out and then you try and make sense of it. All right.

How do you make sense of it? And so you really need to look at and focus on then the insights that will help you drive the engagement that you want to try and make improvements on. Where are those gaps, hopefully that’s where, what is running through your head when you’re looking at all these data?

Where are the gaps? So just talking this out loud sounds daunting, but if you want to do do it well and do yourself justice and it needs to be done, and it will make you a better communication professional as well.

Comms measure wasn’t carried out until I arrived. It’s taken me about a year to fully appreciate the business where I’m at. But during that year, some of the quick wins I did was move all of our global internal comms into Poppulo, which is an email platform that we use.

And it gives us some good metrics to just develop the basics, such as open rates, click through rates. We have a bit more depth into the audience as well. That was my starting point. And then together with intranet views, video streaming views, as well as town hall, attendance, number questions asked, etc, all of that helped to build up that picture for my Internal Comms.

Collecting a year’s worth of that data, allowed me to average them and then create my annual KPIs, which I now measure against for all of our comms work this year. So that then tells me the story around whether our comms that we’re doing now is improving. But also it allowed me to coach my team because they didn’t have much experience of measurement income.

Rachel:
Let’s explain KPIs, KPIs, being key performance indicators. Why are those important, do you think for the way that you measure an and for your team?

Frank:
If you, if you don’t put any of any key performance indicators in place, you then can’t immediately see whether you’re doing a good job on it. So the way I looked at it was to at least create an average based on everything that we’d collected for the whole year. So at least give me a baseline number. And then once I have my baseline number, then that’s my measuring stick against it.

So every time that we do well, then I’m interested in how well have we done? What have we done to make that comms do well in the first place? And so I challenged my team to then look at insights to try and understand what does well look like. And then from there we’ve been able to just develop better understanding of our comms.

We’re starting to do more AB testing for example, of our subject titles and in particular around key words so that we can also keep ourselves quite fresh in terms of internal comms, looking at what works, what doesn’t work. It’s also given us insight into when is the best day and time to deliver our global comms

Rachel:
What did those test reveals? That’s what we want to know, Frank, what was working and what was the result? Is there a key day or a key time that works for everyone? What did you find?

Frank:
Everyone is slightly different, but there’s some no-brainers here cause it sort of marries up with what happens next then as well in marketing KPIs, best days really are Wednesdays and Thursday. And for us, it was the sort of Thursday morning was our most engaged period. When we did do global Comms in that 9am-12pm slot.

So what we now do is we try and target our Comms to hit our colleagues in Asia first. And then it follows the sun in terms of when they wake up, then that comes in their inbox.

So again, these, these data points helped us to really change some of our comms, do an incremental changes, which could then drive engagement.

Rachel:
I love that that’s real measurement in action. Isn’t it, that’s using information, turn the data into insight and turning it, which is always the, key bit for me – into action.

It’s the, the outcome, you know, so what are we going to do as a result of knowing when the open rates are, or the AB testing? So just to explain what AB testing is, if people perhaps haven’t heard that before, it’s when you, it’s, when we experiment, isn’t it Frank?

Where you change the email title. And you want to know whether, if one particular title would get more of an open rate than, than another one, I guess that goes back to curiosity. Doesn’t it? What makes our people curious? What makes them interact and engage with content, particularly what causes them to open emails and if they’re not opening it and we’re changing the wording, does that have an effect?

So that’s real measurement and insight turned into action for me.

Can I ask what your team’s response was, where – and I hear you –  it takes a long time to really get to know an organisation. What do they think about the fact that you had all of these? You said that the measurement wasn’t done in this way before?

Frank:

They all have that need to be curious, which is good. And I think that they had heard it talked about so much, but then never really had the tools at the time to make it real. A lot of it was very superficial report and we’re about actually wanting to understand what it was trying to tell you.

So I think the things I’ve introduced is helping them to look beyond just numbers, but actually try and do something with those numbers. And for me, what I’ve pushed for all of them is driving engagement on what matters most is my sort of strategy tagline for this year. And so everything we do based on those annual KPIs, we’re looking to drive engagement all of our global communications. So it allows my team to be empowered, to challenge incremental changes in the comms that they’re doing to see whether those things could actually improve engagement.

So I think they found it empowering, I think it has been for them. It’s added another string to their bow in terms of being able to talk with confidence about data and numbers.

And also back it up with evidence because we’ve made small changes to the way we do our Comms and it’s made a difference. And one of the recent data points we had, we, we increased our readership of our global newsletter by about 900 extra readers.

Then what I’ve said to them is what you do try and make that a bit more real. So the way I translated that was that’s everyone in our French office reading that Comms. So if you can imagine that whole country where we’ve got people in that country really did not before. So that has been the increase that you’ve had in terms of the small changes you’ve done to the comms. So that’s, that’s driving engagement.

Rachel:
That’s really nice. It’s brilliant. I think you’re right. It does give you an additional string to your bow. If you’re able to really understand measurement, know why it’s important and know what to do. And I think your point about having Poppulo is really important is understanding what tools are out there and what can they give you. And therefore, again, it’s having that data and insight, but then taking action based on whatever those numbers come back.

So I want to ask you, obviously, this is the Candid Comms podcast. So what does candid comms mean to you?

Frank:
I think it’s about being honest, being authentic. It’s about being trustworthy. And I think we saw with the Edelman Trust report that employees are trusting their business leaders more so than politicians.

Further reading: My employer tops the Edelman Trust Barometer.

Edelman Trust Barometer results 2019

So there’s an important responsibility we have as communicators. So how can we help our leaders be more open within reason whether it’s people is really important.

So that’s where our value comes in. It’s also about having a voice and being the voice of underrepresented groups. And I’ve definitely felt that more so over the last year and a half working within this industry, because comms people as comms people, we’re actually in very privileged roles where we have an opportunity to influence. We’re given access to a lot more information than hopefully than other employees would ever have. And so we’ve got an opportunity there to influence and be heard.

One example for me is actually where we can be a better ally as well because of that. And so I actively look for where am I see things not quite been right? And I call that out candidly, as much as I can. And so that I can try and help influence the Comms to be better and hit the mark as well around morals, ethics, and values. I think there’s a piece there.

But finally for me, it’s really about looking inward as well. So looking into yourself to try and see things from others, other people’s perspectives as well. So it’s also not back to me to be candid about myself.

Rachel:
I saw a really lovely post that you did on LinkedIn recently. So as I see you doing that externally for international women’s day at the start of March in 2021, so a really lovely post that you put on LinkedIn about being an ally and using your voice to champion change and others, which I thought was really nice, particularly as a woman looking at LinkedIn.

Frank Dias LinkedIn

It really stood out for me and I was so pleased to see that actually, I think you’re right. It’s about being honest and being truthful, being authentic and showing up as you are. And I love the fact that we’re doing that internally, but I’ve certainly seen you do that externally too. So I just want to encourage you to continue doing what you’re doing.

I think it’s really important. Thank you for, for sharing that.

Can I ask you about a time when you’ve had to be candid? So sometimes particularly in the super visible role of being a Comms Director in particular, or maybe before, before being a direct. So can you share a time where you’ve had to be candid and what was the outcome?

Frank:
I think in, in a past role, I was managing change communications and both myself and the HR advisor at the time, didn’t quite agree on the best approach to deal with the change communications in hand.

I felt that the HR person didn’t appreciate my internal comms perspective enough and, and I’m sure the HR person didn’t feel that I appreciated their HR expertise enough as well. So we were in a bit of an awkward stalemate in terms of what’s the best approach. And are we listening to one another? And so I decided to take a different tact in this because it wasn’t getting either of us nowhere. And also it was all done sometimes through email, which is the ultimate comms channel for these sorts of things. So I decided to take a different approach and have a courageous conversation between myself and the individual.

After all, actually it’s really about dealing with conflict and, and those tough conversations that we probably learn more about ourselves rather than all the easy stuff that we have to deal with sometimes not pretty, and it can be messy, but it’s all about how you handle the situation.

And for me, that’s where we actually all have control of is ourselves in those conversations. And so I called them in to apologise initially because I was probably being a bit stronger with my view. And I just really wanted to start a clean slate.

In particular I candidly said to the individual that I need to see more from your point of view, as well as share with them about where I was coming from.

So opening myself up to meet myself a bit more vulnerable, really allowed that person to reflect. And in the end, they agreed to listen more to me and hear my suggestions around the best approaches around comms and the outcome. We were able to work better together and a bit more trusted because of that tough conversation. And we were able to successfully in respect, fully deliver on the change project. So for me, this example highlights actually the important need to be vulnerable and communications allows people to connect with you,

Rachel:
Something you said there that really jumped out at me, was you saying, I need to see this from your point of view. You said that in a conversation, I think that’s really important thing to do. And maybe that’s something that listeners could take away from this episode in terms of thinking about how can you do that and how can you make yourself vulnerable?

What would the consequence be? I think the outcome from you’ve shared from that conversation is it moved you forward and it moves your relationship forward. So you could work together better, which is which she’s fantastic. So we are coming to the end of our time together. And I would love you please. I mean, you’ve shared so much value in so many amazing tips, so thank you.

I’m going to ask you what one piece of advice can you pass on to others who are considering stepping up into a Comms Director or a senior role?

Frank:
I would definitely say do it. And then coming back to my lovely conductor image of an orchestra, not on the bus, but understanding the song and feel the music that the business is trying to achieve. So that’s it strategy, goals, priorities, and purpose, and that you must connect with business leaders by talking their language, using their tone, understanding what they’re trying to achieve. And us as communicators.

Our job is to translate effective communications and engagement in a way that will get you recognised as someone who sees communications.

That’s more than just sending out an email or posting a story on the intranet or, or making things pretty it’s really about in an empathy in terms of if we want to win hearts and minds to influence positive behavior through real actions is really how we’re going to successfully move forward in terms of performance and productivity.

And that the outcome of effective communications is about generating greater meaning and understanding and connection to help people feel proud of where they work and also belonging in what they do. So for me, it’s all about really understanding the business and talk in their language so that you make that connection.

Rachel:
Fantastic. Frank, thank you so much for having a candid conversation with me today. If people want to connect with you online, where’s the best place to find you?

Yeah, it’s definitely Twitter or LinkedIn. My, my Twitter is @letmebefrnk. Oherwise you can find me on LinkedIn and I’m always posting comments on your posts on other people’s posts within our industry. So that’s where you can find me.

Rachel:
Fabulous. Thank you so much. I’d love to know what you think of this episode. Do feel free to get in touch with Frank or me.

You can find me @AllThingsIC on Twitter. And remember what happens inside is reflected outside. See you again soon.

Post author: Rachel Miller.

First published on the All Things IC blog 2 May 2021.

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