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Friday’s Big Eight # 5: Results

Rich Drinon Leadership Communication

SDS presentation-creationLast Friday I wrote, “In the workplace you’ve heard it said, “It’s all about relationships.”  And, to a large degree, this is true.  It’s hard to accomplish your objectives without the help of others.”  You’ve also heard it said, “It’s all about results.”   And this is ALSO true.  As a leader you were hired or promoted into your position with the expectation you would deliver results.

It’s important for you to set goals, establish priorities, schedule time and manage your work space on a personal basis.  And, perhaps more importantly, it’s vital for you to achieve results THROUGH others by learning to convey expectations, delegate work and give performance feedback while planning for improvement with your entire team and individual members.

The tension between those who are geared towards achieving results versus those who are more relationship-oriented is a historic point of friction in the workplace.   It’s important to understand…

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Friday’s Big Eight # 4: Relationships

Rich Drinon Leadership Communication

SDS presentation-creationThe story of an oyster cultivating a pearl is a great analogy for persons developing relationships.  With the oyster, an intruding or irritating grain of sand is covered by layers of a mineral substance called mother of pearl until a beautiful gem is produced.  Between humans, that grain of sand is usually a speck of commonality that begins the process of rapport and discovery until, over time, relationships of varying degrees are produced.  Some are distant, some closer.  Some are acquaintances.  Some friends.  Some lovers.  Some never launch – but a few become beautiful gems.

In the workplace you’ve heard it said, “It’s all about relationships.”  And, to a large degree, this is true.  It’s hard to accomplish your objectives without the help of others.  Relationships with customers, vendors, examiners, collaborators and employees are all critical to your success.  Well known polls on employee engagement continue indicating that the…

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Friday’s Big Eight # 3: Competence

Rich Drinon Leadership Communication

SDS presentation-creationToday’s follower wants competence in a leader.  During my work life (more than 40 years) competence has become an increasingly important issue for leaders.  Things that were popular when I was entering the workforce, such as charisma, have become less so.

When speaking of competence I’m talking about both perceived and real capabilities.  Perceived competence, for example, is how well you present yourself to groups so they read things into you such as intelligence, confidence and ability.  If you’re running for president, and people perceive you as competent, you might get the votes and the job.  But it doesn’t necessarily mean you can DO the job!   Real competence, however, may be visible to others or not.  If you’re a quiet, behind the scenes achiever, instigator, motivator or peace maker, others may not readily recognize your talents due to the low key nature of your style.   One would hope, that over…

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Friday’s Big Eight # 2: Credibility

Rich Drinon Leadership Communication

SDS presentation-creation

Although communication is the leader’s greatest ally, credibility is his or her greatest asset.  Like any asset, credibility has value that can be invested and redeemed – and must be protected at all costs.  When thinking of credibility, consider the root word of credit – or having credit with others.  When you need something from someone else – either an individual or a group of people – credit is a great thing to have!  Having credit usually stems from things you’ve done for others in the spirit of mutuality or a “give and take” relationship.  Credibility is also tied to words we use regularly to rate others, including ethical behavior, character, reputation… and trust.

Trust is the leadership bridge between my first two Big Eight points of communication and credibility.  For example, you can be a great communicator but if someone doesn’t trust you they are…

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Friday’s Big Eight # 1: Communication Skills


Rich Drinon Leadership Communication

SDS presentation-creationI’ve asked this question hundreds of times, “If you can’t communicate, how can you lead?”  This is also the name of my flagship coaching program, which focuses on leadership communication skills for managing relationships, results, change and decisions.   While credibility is certainly a leader’s greatest asset, communication skill is his or her greatest ally.   More specifically, and in line with the theory of leadership I embrace, it is your verbal skill that sets you apart from others and allows you to pass on knowledge, information and wisdom to your followers and those you mentor.

So much of what you do as a leader is carried out through verbal ability – directing, inspiring, supporting, informing, correcting,  you name it.  In these high tech times, of course, it’s also important that you be able to express yourself effectively through virtual means of email, texting, blogging etc.

If you communicate well…

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Rich’s Change Rule # 3: Leadership is to Aspire & Inspire & Sometimes Warn!

pablo (88)In my approach to leadership communication coaching, your verbal skill is everything. This is particularly true when leading change. Leadership is your ability to influence others to get on board with any particular objective. In this case, change! Sometimes you verbalize the vision or goal. Other times you act as cheerleader by speaking inspirationally to build on current momentum. And sometimes you voice a warning that things are going sideways and they need to straighten out before they go south!


Your job as leader requires vision and passion. To be looking upward and onward. Towards the horizon or the stars. Over, under, through or around any obstacles that stands in the way of the objective. When you ASPIRE to something HIGHER you stay focused, keep your eyes on the prize and help followers do the same by speakingaspirationally.


Your job is also getting and keeping others on board the “ship” of state when sailing into unknown or frightening waters. Keeping all hands on deck. Understanding their collective and individual dreams – and worst imagined nightmare. Your enthusiastic message to them, “You rock!” “You rule!” “We got this!” “You da man…or woman!” or “Stay the course!”


There’s ALSO a time to take evasive or corrective action.  To direct with clarity and urgency or immediacy.  If the “ship” is heading for the rocks, a reef or runs the risk of crashing ashore, it’s your leader’s job to make sure everyone understands your commands – “Full stop!” “Anchor down!” or Hard Turn!”   Hopefully not “Abandon Ship!” Or worse, from your followers, “Walk the plank!”

Rich Drinon is NOT a sailor, although he loves boats and most bodies of water. He is, however, a leadership communication skills coach working with men and women leaders, both established and emerging, by phone nationally. You can contact Rich by emailing for more information.


Rich’s Change Rule # 2: Changes + Challenges = Choices

pablo (87)The Big Bang Theory proposes the universe originated with an explosion from a single point of energy density (singularity) and continued inflating over billions of years to become the cosmos we now know.

Change Was Suddenly Exploding and Expanding

My earliest change management presentations were given at pharmaceutical and health care conferences around the U.S. in the early 1990s. At that time you could expect change to significantly impact your business or personal life about every three years. Over time that rate of change – or the change curves – began to move from three years to 1.5 years and continued to accelerate. Not only that, but the changes began to occur in multiple areas of a person’s life so that one needed to manage many simultaneous shifts. Like a plate juggler tossing a few chain saws into the mix while ducking unpredictable fast balls from unknown directions and mean people who sucked.

Changes + Challenges = Choices

Today more and more people are subjected to Changes driven by technology that impact the workplace, markets, nations, communities, households – and budgets.  These bring new and more Challenges, such as keeping the pace, figuring out what comes next and taking aim at the new. And questions such as, “How do you know when to fully embrace the new and let go of the old?” or “How do you pay for essential upgrades in technology, tools and training?”

So many Challenges and so little time. And Choices. One the one hand, it’s a great benefit to have so many choices available at one’s fingertips. On the other hand, living in a world that pushes you to make choices – for better or worse, whether you want to or not and regardless of how ready you might be is problematic. Not to mention being pushed to decide with total disregard for your personality style and preferences for managing change.

Your Own Personal Big Bang

I knew I had found a tool for engaging with younger workers when I saw Sheldon and company on The Big Bang Theory using a S.W.O.T. Analysis to address a perplexing issue. In the past week alone I facilitated S.W.O.T. analysis sessions with hundreds of younger workers in half a dozen meetings. If you’re not familiar with the tool, S.W.O.T. is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The exercise is used in early stages of traditional strategic planning sessions to facilitate discussion and prepare a group for planning and goal setting – or taking aim at the future. You can also do a personal one. I recommend it. Sometimes a strength can also be a weakness, and a threat could be an opportunity, as indicated in the boxes.  And sometimes a S.W.O.T. Analysis can lead to the Big Bang idea that ignites your universe with new direction and powerful motion.

Here’s an example of how your S.W.O.T. might look…

Strengths / Weaknesses

Personality – Friendliness / Personality – Assertiveness

Customer service skills / Lack of management skills

Years of experience / Lack of experience in areas for promotion

High level of education / Lack of training in areas for advancement

Highly developed expertise / Lack of expertise in certain new skill sets

Opportunities / Threats

Specialize in new areas / Automation of your work area

Advancement / Changing skills set requirements

Demand for skilled professionals / Competition in your field or business

Contact Rich for Leadership Coaching at