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Veterans Day 2017 - Many things I learned in the Army still resonate with me today

SGT Paylow @ Ft. Greely, Alaska 1995ish

Here's a big thank you to my heroes actively serving or that have served. And to their families and friends that supported them and sacrificed as well.

On Veterans Day, my thoughts often drift back to my time in the Army and how it continues to impact me today.

The military employs an amazing number of processes to get things done. Even basic communications follow established processes (TLP, WARNORD, OPORD, AAR), many of which are an acronym or contraction (WARNing ORDer, After Action Review).

The sheer volume of processes can be overwhelming. But these processes are critical to success for a variety of reasons:

  • Everyone is trained on how to use them

  • Ensures all critical ingredients are included

  • Can be practiced and evaluated to build a repeatable skill

  • Structures and orders the content to reduce uncertainty and ensure information gets to the right person with enough time to act

  • The content provides the instruction and intent to allow the receiver to make better decisions and take action to achieve organizational goals

The business world likes to use process as well (albeit in some industries more than others). But when it comes to communications and public speaking, I find that most organizations don't have a robust process. Most people default to a PowerPoint deck based on a rough outlining approach they learned back in junior high school. Or they take their last presentation, move some slides around, update the title on the first slide, and call it adequate.

And that might be adequate if the goal is to just pass along data or information.

But let's be honest. Most of the time we don't communicate simply to share information. We communicate to inspire others to make decisions and act. To do that efficiently, effectively, and consistently it certainly helps to have a process. Processes like the Storyboard that's at the heart of the Articulus Corporate Storytelling Workshop.

It's not enough to learn a communications process. You have to use it. And hold your colleagues accountable for using it after they've learned it too.

If you do that, you'll find your team will focus more on the audience, outcome, and message than they do on slides. The result is your communications will inspire action.

Now go inspire. Because that's what leaders do.

That is all.

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