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Beyond the Babble: Leadership Communication That Drives Results

Bob Matha and Macy Boehm

Retail Price: $27.95
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Format: Hardcover, 240pp.
ISBN: 9780470200483
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Pub. Date: July 8, 2008

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

The CEO takes the podium and begins to speak. It's a polished presentation and he looks impressive. As he talks, people nod their heads in apparent agreement, but after the applause dies down the painful truth is revealed. His message didn't get across. It was all just so much babble. What went wrong?

In Beyond the Babble, Bob Matha and Macy Boehm offer a strategic plan for addressing one of the most difficult challenges any business leader can face: engaging employees to take action. Written for all those who lead groups—including supervisors, managers, HR and communications professionals, executives, and CEOs—this practical resource describes how to put in place proven communication principles that do just that. Matha and Boehm's On Strategy communication plan focuses on one critical employee question: What do you want me to do? And it gives leaders the tools they need to mobilize a team of ten or an organization of thousands.

Designed to get business results by improving communications, Matha and Boehm's three-step On Strategy approach shows how to

• Clarify direction to the organization and make it relevant to employees
• Prepare leadership—from top to bottom—to deliver direction and engage employees
• Communicate to the larger organization about strategy through an ongoing "conversation" with and among employees

Filled with real-life examples from such well-known organizations as Ford Motor Company, BP, General Motors, Home Depot, NASA, and many others, Beyond the Babble explores the critical role communication plays in driving performance, how to leverage it, and how best to measure results.


"Beyond the Babble is a significant contribution to the practice of employee communications—very pragmatic and useful in crafting a communication program that really works."
—Harlan Teller, chief knowledge officer, Financial Dynamics

"This book explains in practical terms how to leverage and rally an entire organization, from the board room to the shop floor, around a common set of goals. Beyond the Babble is an important book for leaders looking to drive real change."
—J. Steven Keate, consultant and former president, International Truck Group

"Bob Matha and Macy Boehm have created a very readable book—without the puffery and exaggerations—that gives managers a logical and original framework for organizing their company's strategic communications and actions. Their On Strategy approach also smartly integrates the power of measurement into several steps in the model."
—Clarke L. Caywood, professor, integrated marketing communications, Northwestern University

"Matha and Boehm show CEOs, managers, and communications professionals how to engage employees through effective internal communications to produce real business results.Their approach benefits employers, employees, and yes, even customers."
—Gary Ross, general manager, corporate communications, CDW Corporation

"Today's leaders increasingly find themselves working at a pace that is some combination of a sprint and a marathon just to get things done.?Organizations of all kinds, not-for-profits and Fortune 500 companies alike, have experienced an incredible increase in both the velocity and number of issues that must be managed, and that trend is only going to accelerate in the future. Effective leaders find ways to help their organizations be successful in this challenging environment and Beyond the Babble is clearly one of those ways."
—Edward A. West, former senior vice president, corporate communications, WellPoint

"A must read for business leaders and their communication and HR advisers. The approach in Beyond the Babble makes strategy tangible and actionable for employees up and down the organization—and it gets results."
—Greg Elliott, senior vice president, human resources, Navistar International

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Reader's Index 
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About the Authors

Bob Matha and Macy Boehm are principals and cofounders of Basics 3, a leadership communications and employee engagement firm headquartered in Chicago, and they also provide counsel to clients of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. Matha and Boehm have applied fifteen years of experience to develop the philosophy, processes, and techniques outlined in Beyond the Babble, and they have been featured speakers at the Arthur Page Society and the Advanced Learning Institute. In addition, Matha serves on DePaul University's College of Communication Dean's Advisory Council.

Table of Contents

The Authors

1 The Power of Communication
On Strategy Communication Cuts Through Babble
Effective Communication Gets Results
Why Communication Makes a Difference

2 On Strategy Communication: An Overview
The Action Equation
The People Channel

3 Do: What Do You Need Employees to Do?
The Elements of On Strategy Direction
Setting a Clear Path for the Land of Oz

4 Know: What Do Employees Need to Know to Take Action?
They Need to Know Why
Who Needs to Know?
The Land of Oz Knows

5 Feel: What Do Employees Need to Feel to Take Action?
Be an Organizational Psychologist
Getting the Insights You Need
The Land of Oz Gets Emotional

6 The "Why Nots": What’s Getting in the Way?
The Behavior Chain
Addressing a "Why Not"
Be an Organizational Archeologist
The Land of Oz Confronts Its Demons

7 Package: Turn the Action Equation into a Conversation
Conversations Are "In the Moment"
The Memory Issue
The Conversation Platform
The Land of Oz Gets Ready to Roll
When Issues Are the Issue

8 Align: Make Sure All Leaders Are On Strategy
Don’t Be Fooled
Start at the Top and Work to the Front Line
Promote Open Discussion at Multiple Levels
Include Informal Leaders in the People Channel

9 Equip: Give Leaders the Tools They Need to Communicate On Strategy
Train Leaders as if Strategy Depended on It
Support Local Leaders and the People Channel
Recognize and Strengthen the Weak Links
Complementary Leader Assignments

10 Drive and Support: Orchestrate and Sustain On Strategy Conversation
Create a Drumbeat
Maximize All the Vehicles Available
The Conversation Platform as a Filter and Focus
To Raise the Volume, Run a Campaign
How Communication (the Function) Can Help

11 You: The Top Leader’s Role
Expect a Lot
Reward, Recognize, and Hold Accountable
Lead by Example

12 "How to" Resource Guide
Conducting Discussion Groups
The Memory Game
Alignment Interviews and Snapshot
The Consider-Dialogue-Solve Process
Conducting a "Red Face" Test
Identifying Informal Leaders
Selecting Vehicles: Opportunities Abound

Glossary of Terms

Customer Reviews
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