As I write in my Sunday Independent newspaper column this month, it’s high time for your regular check-up!

To improve your chances of living a longer life, we make periodic appointments to visit doctors, dentists and optometrists, don’t we? So, to improve your chances of advancing in your career or to better lead and guide your employees, why don’t you schedule regular appointments to examine and sharpen what may be your best competitive tool: your communications?

1. CEO’s are not exempt.

Let’s start at the top. This is a collective call. You senior execs are not too cool for school. In fact, you are probably long overdue for a check-up.

As an influential friend confided to me recently, “These types, despite telling themselves that they won’t fall for it, often end up surrounding themselves with cheerleaders and it only gets worse over time. Many leaders need cheerleaders to massage egos, mask sometimes incredible insecurities and generally keep them going. But the really smart ones will listen and learn to go onto another level and, as you know better than anyone…

it’s all about better communications – internal and external.”

Amen. But don’t just take my friend’s word for it. Take a look at what the CEO of Zoetis, the world’s largest animal health company, has to say about the importance of communications training.

Juan Ramòn Alaix was already a successful general manager with Pfizer before being tapped to head its animal spin-off business. Knowing he was going to be assuming the, er, top dog role, Alaix started an aggressive training program that lasted 18 months. He paid a former CEO of a big European company to mentor him and he paid for nearly two years of communications training.

He said, “I would have responsibility for communicating our strategy to the outside world—including the media, analysts, and investors. “ That is real dedication and commitment, isn’t it?  Understand we all need ongoing training, no matter where you are in your career or how high in a corporation you’ve already risen.

2. From new hires to middle managers, don’t put off your communications check-up.

Like with physical health, prevention is better than the cure. If you are just starting out in your career, it makes perfect sense to begin developing your abilities as a strategic communicator now, as opposed to after you have picked up years of bad habits. Deploying strategic communications is not something you’re born with.  It is a skill that must be developed over time in the same way that you would learn a second language or learn to play an instrument.  It takes time and practice.

Most of us operate only in default mode. We say whatever comes to mind whenever it does. We don’t listen. We are simply waiting for the chance to talk next. Regular health check-ups may mean the difference between life and death, regular communications check-ups may mean the difference between career status-quo and promotion.


When would you like to schedule your communications check-up? Contact me today! As Lucy from the Peanuts comics would say, “The doctor is IN!”

Change your Communications,Change your Life!

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