Leadership communication tips are found in unique places, if you know where to look. Case in point: my friend Becky Robinson, who runs a digital PR and Marketing agency, published a book titled, Reach: Create the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book or Cause. Even though my blog is in the leadership development niche, I wanted to help Becky get the word out regarding her book. So I decided to read the book with an eye towards finding how her marketing wisdom intersects with leadership communication. Turns out, there is excellent food for thought.
Showing Up and Making a Difference
In the book’s introduction, Becky writes that, “Reach is a book for anyone who wants to create a greater impact for their ideas or cause.” And it’s in Becky’s elaboration of that statement that Reach’s unique take on marketing is revealed: “impact” = “making a meaningful difference” in the lives of others. Later in the book, she goes on to write, “When I hear people express passionate ambitions about their work . . . what they say is not typically self serving. Instead they speak of a desire to serve others.”
This is a marketing book about serving others and making the world a better place. The same could be said about the highest calling of leadership: to communicate messages that inspire others to be their best, and do their best work. Reach’s premise—that “reach” isn’t about fame, “going viral” or having millions of followers, but instead about consistent, long-term dedication to showing up and making a positive difference—could as easily be said about leadership. There is much to like about this marketing book, even if you aren’t marketing a single thing.
Improve Your Leadership Communication Impact
Becky outlines four “commitments” communicators must keep to create reach: Value, Consistence, Longevity and Generosity. Spoiler alert: those looking for a quick and easy fix will be disappointed. Just as you can’t phone it in on leadership, to create lasting impact, you’ve got to work for it. Here are Reach’s commitments, explored through the lens of leadership.
Value: seek to always create value for those you serve.
- When people define “reach” only quantitatively (“how many” of something), they lose the ultimate goal of making a difference in their work.
- People who can connect their desire to make a difference to their daily leadership tasks are those who can create value for others.
Consistency: create a sustainable process so you can always show up.
- Years ago, I learned this from Becky: Magic happens when you show up
- How are you “showing up” for your team – on a consistent, predictable basis?
Longevity: It’s not always going for the Grand Gesture.
- Sometimes, leaders get so focused on “swinging for the fences” that they overlook the smaller, more immediate ways to make a difference with their team members.
- It’s the leader who takes the long view and plants seeds for future growth who creates the biggest long-term impact
Generosity: Give with no expectation of something in return.
- From Becky: “The commitment to generosity is a commitment to sharing the best of what you have and who you are with others. While it may seem counterintuitive I’ve noticed that the more generous I am the more successful my business becomes.”
- A note on status and power: Reach encourages those with status and/or power to be generous and “shine the light” on the contributions of people who may not look or think like us; by doing so we amplify everyone’s best work
Translating Reach’s Message Into Leadership Wisdom
Having known Becky for nearly 15 years, I can absolutely say she lives the words she’s written in her debut book. In chapter 7, Becky walks the talk of being generous when she shares a detailed account of how to repurpose one 750-word blog post into 50 potential different bite-sized messages and formats to extend the content to a variety of audiences. Not only is this an actual demonstration of Becky generosity (there are marketers who would charge a premium for the information Becky shares in this chapter), the repurposing concept also has leadership relevance. Leaders need to know how to communicate to their team members in multiple ways to get their message across. Even if you’ve never written a blog post, you can translate this idea into creative ways to reach out to and engage with employees.
If you’re a fan of looking for leadership inspiration in unexpected places, consider giving Reach a look. The wisdom shared within its pages definitely transcends the realm of marketing.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for the purposes of writing a review. All opinions are my own.