Putting your team on the map

Is your team not getting the recognition and place within the business it deserves? Then you could benefit from team branding.

When we think about successful branding, we often focus on how it inspires loyalty from an external customer base.

What we often forget though, is the power of branding to raise the profile of an internal team and to cement its position within a business. The fact is: branding is an essential part of raising a profile and defining an internal team or department.

Do you really know what everyone else in the business thinks about your team? How do they think you’re adding value? Discovery and team branding can help you with this. Here are some pointers:


Give them something to talk about: design a great team

Whatever you do, remember that your team brand campaign can only be as great as your team itself. So start by having a workshop and brainstorming about your team’s vision and its long term plan. This includes thinking about what employees require from you: What methodology, framework and tools will give weight to the team?

Once your core business objectives are aligned to your brand as team, you can use your communications to drive your profile forwards.[1]


What’s your story?

Once you know your vision and plan, work on how this will transform itself into the story behind your team brand and identity. Designing a communication plan with channels tailored to the needs of your stakeholders will build knowledge and awareness. Consistency is also key, and will ensure your target stakeholders stay engaged and interested in your team.


Creating valuable content

There are plenty of ways to create these valuable conversations and let people know what your team is all about. Branding and templates can create a professionalised feel and stir that recognition. Inviting people to interactive hubs or other face to face events can build understanding of what your team is all about.


It pays to be social

Connected networks and social media are necessary in branding. Today, employees go beyond traditional means to connect across the business and provide information more freely, across many social media.

Communicating about your business through connected networks has become the norm, rather than the exception. In fact, the “rising influence of social media has altered the way we seek, evaluate and engage in work and the employers that offer it.” [2] And as the way employer brands promote themselves changes, so should your communications strategies and plans.


Having an authentic voice

Consider creating real content, by using team members as brand ambassadors, and by letting them talk freely across specific media. In turn, this creates the opportunity for employees to create their own, much more realistic, picture.[3]


I hope this is food for thought. What are your ideas on internal branding?


Find out more about how we helped to put a competency development team on the map.

[1] http://www.slideshare.net/TBWA_Corporate/tbwa-7-trends-to-disrupt-employer-branding

[2] http://www.slideshare.net/thetalentproject/bpx-round-table-employer-branding

[3] http://www.slideshare.net/thetalentproject/bpx-round-table-employer-branding

Getting the message across during change

You’re trying to explain what change management is.  The person you’re talking to doesn’t get it.  They question why companies don’t simply just get on with business change.  If only it were that simple!

Change management is all about helping people adapt to business change, to minimise resistance and make sure the project delivers what it was designed to back to the business.

Often the people factor gets ignored and resistance means people don’t drive the change forward. Sometimes they may not have all of the vital facts and have no opportunity to get involved and have their say. To engage people and support them in adopting and accelerating the change, you need to communicate and engage with people. Here are some tips for getting the message across.

Connect with your audience

If you’re helping design the future for organisation, you have to put yourself in their shoes.  While the change might be driven by necessity, you’ll need to make the future vision enticing enough for people to want to be a part of.  Therefore, you need to build relationships throughout the organisations, get to understand the culture and the history (which might mean buying a few coffees!)

Repetition and repetition

Once the future vision is defined to you need to stay true it – and it cannot be deviated from.  You will find yourself repeating it over and over again, until it sinks again.  Just remember what are we trying to change, why are we changing and how different will it be?  Repeating yourself doesn’t mean you are going crazy – but if people hear your vision often enough they won’t to need to ask and they’ll begin to believe.

Nice to meet you, again

You’ll have multiple stakeholders to manage – those you need something from, and those who’ll need something from you.  It’s critical that you are able to manage all of these credibly.  Quite often, the change manager will be the ‘go-to’ person if a sponsor wants to get something done, so you’ll need to build a wide network of support and influence.  So dust off that stakeholder management manual.

Anticipate the resistance

There will inevitably be some resistance to what you are trying to do.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise.  You need to decide to press ahead regardless or do something about.  You might find some food for thought here: https://www.afiniti.co.uk/2014/10/31/dealing-resistance-to-change-5-things-work/

Involve people all the way

It doesn’t matter if your project is about changing processes, technology or operating model, the common denominator is that there are people at the end of the change.  And they need to buy into and support whatever it is you are doing.  Neglecting them will increase the risk of your project failing.  Engaging with and involving them will help them want to come along on your journey.

I hope this helps with communicating change.  If you’d like to share any of your own thoughts, please get in touch.


Afiniti raises £4543 for charity Dreamflight

Afiniti raised £4543 during 2014 for Dreamflight, its charity of the year.

Dreamflight changes young lives through taking seriously ill and disabled children on the holiday of a lifetime to Orlando, Florida.

The children leave their families behind giving them an opportunity to discover independence, confidence, and a whole new outlook on life.

Dreamflight children have gone on to amazing achievements. In 2008, eight of the returning Paralympians from Beijing, many of them medal-winning, had been Dreamflight children citing the trip as a turning point for them.

Marketing and Design manager at Afiniti, Lorna Gibbons, who ran for the charity throughout the year, said: “I’m delighted that Afiniti has raised so much money this year to help children’s dreams come true through the great work that Dreamflight does.”

afiniti change consultants running

David, Lorna, Tony, Sarah, Julia and Kirsten run for Dreamflight

Many Afiniti people had run for the charity throughout the year and IT equipment had been recycled to raise further money.

Jenny Hilliam of the charity’s Bedford branch said: “Once again Afiniti have pulled out all the stops to help us get Dreamflight off the ground in 2015. The £4543 that you raised in 2014 will pay for one child to experience the holiday of a lifetime and for 7 children to swim with the Dolphins, which is undoubtedly their favourite day.

“We cannot thank you enough for your continued support and we look forward to working with you in 2015/16.  A huge thank you from all at Dreamflight and the 192 very special children of 2015.”

There will be a Charity Auction for Dreamflight at the upcoming Learning and Performance Institute event, the annual Learning Awards, 5th February 2015, where Afiniti has been shortlisted for the External Learning Solution of the Year award.

Dreamflight is Afiniti’s Charity of the Year 2015. You can find out more about the charity and the great work it does here.

How can Kaizen help us deliver better change?

Can Kaizen, the Japanese theory of ‘good change’ bring people together at all levels in a business for faster, continual change?

Kaizen – Japanese translated literally as ‘good change’ – is the practice of continuous improvement.

Under it, all employees are responsible for identifying weaknesses and ideas for improvement and everyone, at every level in the organization, is instrumental in making change happen. Everyone communicates across all levels to share ideas and collaborate.

When applied to business change, this tackles something really important: the disconnect between senior people deciding strategy and the employees carrying out operational work.

When senior people don’t consider what it’s really like on the front line they don’t design a strategy that will deliver the intended benefits from change. And, when front line staff aren’t involved in the big picture, they won’t engage with and see the change through to its full potential. In other words change never really delivers what it was meant to.

Applying Kaizen to Change Management

If you work in change management – delivering change to people, and making sure benefits are delivered to the business,- you’ll know it’s crucial to involve and empower the people who the change affects.

Whilst fully immersed in a client’s organisational change programme over the last 3 months (training on a new IT system and a redefinition of roles within the operational structure – lots of moving parts and pockets of resistance – chaotic to say the least!), the festive period gave me a well-timed opportunity for reflection.

Contemplating the journey so far and doing some root-cause analysis on the barriers we had encountered (and overcame) I kept coming back to the same question: How can we overcome barriers through the principle of Kaizen: driving communication, contribution and continuous learning?

Create Trojan Mice Good change often relies on good conversations. If conversations and consultation can be had with the people that the change is most likely to affect, they can actually act as catalysts for change, accelerating it and providing operational and customer facing insights that keep change on track to deliver more back to the business.

During our client’s project, we had to work hard to make sure senior leaders understood the value of engaging and sustaining these influencers. Where they previously hadn’t, the end user community was hard to win over initially, creating delay and wasting opportunity for people to add value.

Continuous Improvement The idea that big results come from many small changes accumulated over time struck a chord with me. A learning organisation is more than just getting individuals learning (although that is very important); it is ensuring the organisation itself learns and that individuals are part of a culture which conscientiously reflects at every level.

Could we have a pre-made group of change-ready employees? Could we create a learning organisation?

Empower the frontline All sectors are having to reduce their time to market whether they are offering services or products. The quicker we can identify new opportunities and deliver them to customers the better our chances of survival. But if the speed to market has to get quicker then the process of decision-making and delivering change must get shorter. Ultimately people dealing directly with customers, suppliers and other key stakeholders will need to be engaged and have an active voice and input; continually innovating and learning to drive change.

We live and work in a time of extraordinary change. We need to ride that change and make it work for us rather than forever battling to keep up. The idea of a continuous learning organisation is really relevant as organisations struggle to respond to pressures of increased competition, greater demands from customers and a faster pace of change, often with fewer staff.

The ability of a company to learn, adapt and be responsive is now being seen as the only way to sustain competitive advantage. Could the concept of Kaizen then, with its emphasis on active influence and continuous improvement for everyone, accelerate change and make it stick?