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Robin P. Schell
Senior Counsel & Partner
(603) 770-3607
rschell@ jjwpr.com

 

Stacey Smith
Senior Counsel & Partner
(603) 205-6302
ssmith@jjwpr.com

 

Isobel Parke
Senior Counsel & Partner
(603) 679-5304
iparke@jjwpr.com

 

Main Office

(603)-964-6302

Counselors@jjwpr.com

 

 

The following articles are written by JJ&W Counselors and have appeared in many traditional and social media forums.  They are here for your interest.

 

Internal Communication Is King:  Kelly Ripa/Michael Strahan Controversy Is Case In Point

 

Helmetless Practices: How Behavior Change Strategy Is Paying Off For The   UNH Football Team

 

Issues Anticipation for Healthcare Institutions


How Improving Employee Communication Skills
Can Make The Difference

 

Succeeding the Matrix

The new CEO does not know our culture

 

 


Internal Communication Is King:  Kelly Ripa/Michael Strahan Controversy Is Case In Point


By Robin Schell, APR, Fellow PRSA, Senior Counsel and Partner, Jackson Jackson & Wagner


And we don’t stop with asking them to communicate with their employees – all of their employees, including the part-time flight attendants in the airlines, the cafeteria workers in the schools and the receptionists (especially the receptionists) at the desks of the Fortune 50 companies, who are likely going to be fielding the calls about the news when it gets out.  Go deeper than that.  In the case of the schools, think of your Board members, your parents, your alumni, your volunteers, your coaches of sports teams…even the vendors who are considered your business partners.  There is an easy way to determine who should be told before the rest of the world hears the news.  Think to yourself, if you were that employee, that volunteer, or that coach, wouldn’t you want to hear this from the organization you’re connected to before everyone else does?
Given that as criteria, it’s truly bizarre why Disney and ABC executives did not figure out that Kelly Ripa – the co-host of “Live” – would not deserve the courtesy of finding out that her co-host Michael Strahan was going to be leaving the show to go full-time at Good Morning America, where he is currently working part-time, in advance of everyone else.  Their rationale?  “She’s going to be upset no matter when she finds out.”  Perhaps, but what they forgot to think about was how they would feel if they were in her shoes and how much more upset she would be about the lack of communication and common courtesy extended to her in a place she has worked for over 2 decades.  So she gave them some time to think about what they had done while she took a few unplanned days off, as they scrambled for substitute co-hosts and flew their highest-level executives in to deliver a personal apology.
Kelly’s re-entry to the show today (on April 26th) was beautifully executed and appeared very genuine, and she delivered it to an audience that showed her the love and support she deserved with a standing ovation that went on until she finally shut it down to make her statement.
After acknowledging in a very honest way that she had taken some time off to process the news and really think about what she wanted to say in response (with some humorous comments about ABC likely having snipers with tranquilizer darts if she went “off message”), she talked about the fact that this situation had started “a much greater conversation about communication and consideration and most importantly, respect in the workplace.”  Amen to that!  She went on to talk about her longevity with the show and that it was a place that felt like family to her.  And all of us could imagine what it would feel like if family kept such an important piece of information from us.  It wouldn’t feel good.
She ended by acknowledging the personal apology by the parent company and the happiness she felt about the new opportunity for Michael – and he reciprocated with a heartfelt response.  If there was tension there, it didn’t show, and they went diving into the entertainment portion of the show with their usual carefree back-and-forth banter.  So it ended happily, at least for now.  The proof will be in the pudding when her contract comes up for renewal.
The lesson for the leaders of any organization – be it of a national television show, a corporation or a school – is really as simple as the Golden Rule.  Treat others the way you would like to be treated.  Period.  Internal communication will always be, and should be, your priority for news that impacts members of your internal family.

 


Helmetless Practices: How Behavior Change Strategy Is Paying Off For The UNH Football Team


Because JJ&W has counseled the Brain Injury Association of NH for a number of years, we’ve gotten very familiar with the concussion issue – it has certainly been in the spotlight with triggering events like the death of Junior Seau of the San Diego Chargers and more recently, the movie “Concussion”. Of course, any social problem involving behavior change is of interest to us…but I was particularly fascinated by the approach UNH Kinesiology Professor Erik Swartz took with “Helmetless Tackling Training” or HUTT, pilot-tested on the UNH football team.  Swartz, using the “Head Health Challenge II” research grant funded by the NFL, Under Armour and General Electric, worked with the UNH football coaching staff to incorporate a tackling drill, with half of the players wearing helmet… the other half, not.  Head impact sensors worn by all the players collected data on the impacts.  The question:  would removing helmets cause players to adjust their tackling technique and build muscle memory that would result in a safer tackling technique and fewer head injuries going forward?  The results from the 2014 football season:  a decrease in head impacts of almost 30% among those who participated in the helmetless drills – in practices and games where helmets are worn.  In the words of Schwartz:  “this is the first study out there to really focus on changing behavior to mitigate risk rather than finding ways to accommodate it.”  Breakthrough thinking, and the next steps will be developing appropriate training for players at the high school level and below – those audiences, and their behaviors, need to be studied and carefully considered first.  Many lessons to be learned for public relations practitioners as they design behavior-change programs for their clients!

 


Issues Anticipation for Healthcare Institutions

 

There are a wide variety of issues that can cause organizations significant heartburn -- if not outright damage -- and occasionally, destruction.  It is the role of the public relations practitioner to conduct an ongoing scan of the environment (from both an internal and external perspective) to predict and prepare for these issues before they develop into crisis situations.   It is essential to know how to identify different types of issues,  find “triggering events” that could  spotlight these issues and have action plans in place for dealing with them.  JJ&W has prepared this piece from the perspective of our clients in the healthcare industry – though the issue categories and preparation tips are applicable to all industries. It is based on lessons learned firm's long history of preparing for and dealing with issues (and crisis situations) and it integrates our behavioral approach to public relations. Click here for article

Your feedback is welcomed -- contact Robin Schell, APR, Fellow PRSA, Senior Counsel and Partner, at  rschell@jjwpr.com  .

 


 

How Improving Employee Communication Skills
Can Make The Difference

 

Overall success in a matrix organizational structure depends largely on the presence of constant, clear communication.  From the very beginning, all aspects of the matrix process -- from roles & responsibilities to the evaluation process need to be clearly defined and managed with open communication and unambiguous accountability.  But what if they aren’t established or working properly?
Many organizations assume the effectiveness of operating a matrix structure lies with the human resources department. In most organizations, communication professionals do not set up the matrix structure – that is usually the purview of human resources. However, it is the skill set of the communication professional that can help the matrix structure function effectively and ensure its success.
Those who have lived in a matrix structure easily can point out pros and cons:

Click Here for Full Article

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"The new CEO does not know our culture"


Union Leader, July 28, 2014, pg. 1

There is likely not a business school nor a communications program out there that is not following the developments of the Demoulas/Market Basket crisis as it is unfolding.  To JJ&W, it is yet another illustration of how powerful corporate culture can be when it comes to the success or failure of an organization.

For those not yet aware of the events, the upper and middle management of the chain, headquartered in Tewksbury, Mass, walked out in protest of the ousting of their leader by the Board of Director's, Arthur T. Demoulas, the long-term CEO and leader of one segment (slightly less than half) of the family of investors.  The management team, many who were fired but continue to protest, have taken the brunt of the punishment, encouraging hourly employees who need their jobs to pay weekly bills to stay at their post and not risk their jobs -- a very different approach from typical strikes where the average employee is out on the street and middle management is working to keep things going!  

 For many years, the Market Basket stores had been known as only one place to shop among many but nothing special; some perceived the family as tough to work for and a bit unfriendly.  There were always rumors of how the family was divided and internal fighting would go on from time to time but the stores just plodded along. About five years ago, the quality of the stores began to turn around.  Click Here for Full Article

 

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