Don’t suffer from #FOMO (fear of missing out) – #CommsHero

Tanya Edwards, @EDWARDS_TE Communications
Specialist at Jigsaw Homes Group, based in the North West.

As a marketing and communications professional, I am
always on the lookout for events to attend where I can learn something new and
network with other like-minded business people to help build my contacts within
the industry.

#CommsHero event hosted by the awesome team at We are Resource @WeAreResource is
definitely one not to be missed if you work in marketing and communications. 
From start to finish, these events allow you to get your creative juices
flowing. Quite literally this is what happened at the event this year in May.
Social media guru at Innocent Drinks, Helena Langdon gave no end of hints and
tips for pushing you out of your comfort zone, and was most definitely the most
anticipated guest speaker of the event.

The guest speakers are always a deciding factor when
choosing the right events and conferences, and #CommsHero always delivers on
both the speakers and the content.  This year was no exception.  The
high profile speakers from a broad range of backgrounds in marketing and
communications, covered everything from engagement to leadership and digital
strategy; all key areas for the attendees.

Highlights for me this year were Helen Reynolds
(award-winning social media expert, who’s best known for her Comms Cartoons)
who encouraged us to embrace our ‘Comms Unicorn’ and got us focused by thinking
about our #CommsHero superpower through the use of sketch notes.; a great way
to get the room motivated for the day ahead.

Sales and marketing strategist, Grant Leboff held the
room’s attention by questioning what is meant by engagement today. In a world
full of information, how do we grab our audience’s attention – by keeping them
occupied, busy or engaged. And how do we do this? Through content and having
bulk content ready to push out when needed.

Rachel Royall and Eva Lake shared their expertise into
digital engagement across the NHS, advocating the power of internal
communications with a staff-first approach, while Rob Jefferson and Liam Smith
shared their insight from Doncaster Council and pushing the boundaries to get

The atmosphere at every #CommsHero event is electric and
this is harnessed and pushed by the man behind the event, Asif Choudry who has
brought this event to life, creating a unique community across social media,
with the help of his We are Resource team. At every event you not only pick up
 key learnings from the highest calibre of speakers, but the
personalised  swag is the envy of teams across the land, and no #CommsHero
event is complete without Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  After every event there
is also the opportunity for attendees to get their hands on a #CommsHero
t-shirt, specially designed by themselves through the lead of Caroline King,
Head of Brand and Communications at Torus , who facilitated the design stage at
the event. The tees are emblazoned with slogans that represent what marketing
and communications professionals face on a daily basis; a nod to the true
heroics they perform.

Learning Through Failure

often, employee culture is driven from above. Rigid protocol is commonplace,
leaving no room for innovation; not initially succeeding at a new venture can
feel like the end of the road. Yet, says opening speaker Chloe Marsh, head of
engagement at social housing firm, RHP, “Nothing was ever achieved by staying
in your comfort zone and playing it safe.” With this firmly in mind, CommsHero
London got underway with a plethora of communications experts, its range of
enterprising speakers – as well as several plates of doughnuts.

second of three conferences, after Cardiff on 8 November and with the
last taking place on 29 November, London’s #CommsHero began
with a pep talk from image-led communications specialist, Fran O’Hara, who also
documented the day through visual minutes. Sharing her experiences of working
at Disney, dressed as a giant Tigger, O’Hara explained that to master a task in
front of you, “Start where you’re going to end up.” That would have prevented
her, O’Hara explains, from floundering in a fit of confusion when faced with
entertaining hordes of small children in a heavy, hot costume during the summer
tourist season.

And while Disneyland is oceans away from the roomful of
communications professionals gathered in the centre of Camden, the message
resonates: think about the task ahead, then plan for it.

Developing a ‘Dare to fail’ employee culture thus
requires a solid base from which to launch your innovations. This is what Grant
LeBoff, sales and marketing strategist for Sticky Marketing, says – in his
role, digital and web-based marketing, evidence is crucial. LeBoff describes
how communications and marketing, as a department, requires more time and
investment than ever.

Rather than being, as it is so often described, an
‘adjunct’, marcoms should be integrated into business strategy and provide
support for employees willing to take risks to get results. Perhaps what
resonates most, however, was LeBoff’s assertion that in communications today,
“You have to stand for something.” If global brand Coca-Cola can’t ‘cut through
the noise’, as highlighted through its simplification of flavour and packaging
design, then other organisations have no chance. “Keep it elegant and simple,”
LeBoff says. Find your message, and run with it.

Thus commitment to delivering that unique or individual
approach became the #CommsHero message.

For Helen Reynolds, digital communications strategist at
social media training consultancy, Social for the People, this is on what
effective communication is built. How can we be happier and learn through
failures?, Reynolds asks. Most importantly, don’t take criticism personally.
Your own happiness is vital to being effective and is part of what ‘Dare to
Fail’ is about. Taking control of your own happiness and limiting your exposure
to the negative side of failure has surprising results.

And, says Reynolds, if the worst does happen, make it
into a story from which you and others can learn. “Don’t panic, deal with it
and find a way for it not to happen again,” she says – but not before
overseeing a communication challenged based on which #CommsHero team could
build the highest structure from marshmallow and linguine (“Sainsbury’s had run
out of spaghetti.”)

Social media and innovation in digital is another avenue
down which communicators can get lost. Differentiating content between personal
and corporate accounts can be difficult; pitching the right tone of voice
problematic. But there are means of overcoming these obstacles. As Paul Taylor,
innovation coach at Bromford Lab, says, “Would you follow your own corporate
social media account?”

With this in mind, Taylor says, thinking big leads to the
best results. He says, “When you think 10x bigger it forces you to do something
fundamentally different,” and while this may seem daunting, “The best ideas
come from groups of people, networks and people exchanging ideas.”

Tim Scott, HR and social media consultant, agrees. For HR
professionals, Scott says, it can be difficult to overcome the idea that
‘Daring to fail’ is sometimes what’s needed to keep an organisation fresh.
Changing the perception of outlets such as social media is perhaps what’s
needed to ensure all employees taken on board the ‘Dare to fail’ mentality. As
Scott says, employee advocacy, personal learning and development, increased
brand engagement are just some of the advantages the less cautious, more integrated
approach can deliver.

Choudry, sales and marketing director of Resource, creator of #CommsHero, says, “The
dare to fail concept is a celebration of the attitude of people and organisations
who dare to be different and try out new ways of working. Most other events
have speakers showcasing their finest work. However, as #CommsHero has always
been about being different, I wanted to have a speaker line up of people who
are brave enough to show off those moments where things went wrong on their
path to a successful outcome.”

Choudry ends, “Delivering three events in one month was
my way of showcasing the dare to fail attitude.”

Daring to take a risk and perceiving failures as prototypes
for future innovation rather than the end of a chapter became the mantras
underpinning the day at #CommsHero London. “Be yourself and accept that some
people might not like it,” says Marsh during her round-up of the day. Only then
will the confidence and resilience to ‘Dare to Fail’ begin to push the
boundaries of average to show what employees really can achieve.

SANDYS – @_amyms

Chat – @CommsChat

Why Chair?

To say
I was honoured and filled with excitement to be asked to chair the
final @CommsHero event
of 2016 could be a slight understatement. However, with that giddiness came
with it a feel of responsibility – these events get A LOT of attention and A
LOT of coverage; quite rightly so.

addition, the previous 2 have been huge successes chaired by the awesome @paulwdiggory and @ChloeAlexandra7 – a
housing legend welsh superstar and an award winning innovator, merely delivering
a concept derived from an award winning marketing agency @weareresource;
no pressure for the one who sells homes for a living and thinks, no i KNOW,
unicorns are real!

The theme is #daretofail though right? – and I’m all for
a challenge.

As the
awesome @simonsinek preaches
we should always . Before you get chance to settle down and
read the great mans work, ill tell you what i mean by it.

  • What is your why?
  • Why do you do what you do?
  • What drives you?
  • What motivates you and keeps you going?

People buy why we do what we do, not what we do. When i
say buy, this doesn’t have to be a product or service, it can and should be
your passion and/or your vision.

We often forget this, and we often forget that we have a
reason ‘why’; we get this confused with the need to pay bills, earn a certain
amount or have a certain job title for example.

We would all feel like winners a lot more, if only we
would all just take a few more moments to appreciate that those measures of
success are actually by products of our ability and tenacity to act upon our
‘why’, along with a #daretofail bloody mindedness that exists in all of us,
therefore making sure our own personal crusades are won.

We all
know that the one thing that sets @CommsHero apart
from any other ‘conference’ that you may go to is the levels of engagement and
true relationship building that occurs.

team are nothing short of genius in bringing their delegates together prior to
the event, connecting those with similar interests and views. So when 50-60
people arrive in a room at 9,30am desperately searching for coffee, they are
also greeted by smiling faces of people they have never met #IRL (in real life
– that ones for you @MLawrenceJourno)
and feel like they already know them. That awkward desperate search to view the
name card hung round peoples necks, are replaced with face recognition smiles
from online profiles and a hug as a welcome; already the event is 3 hours ahead
of your standard conference.

continues throughout the day with constant online and offline engaged chats,
but here is the gem – the one thing that I’m still astounded no one else does –
the engagement continues not just for that evening, or the day after but for
months after. Here is the real success – because you have been connected with
people who share an element of your ‘why’ you personally invest in that
relationship thereafter and your commonalty is -‘oh yeah, we met at @CommsHero.
A few of mine are:

he steals tee shirts from you though so i would steer clear!

@petebond7 – his fave
film is Cocktail – whats not to like?

@MLawrenceJourno –
he watches Princess Diaries (awks) and travels to Ireland to meet people in
real life

@suzanne_DSmith – she
likes horses and is lovely

@Caroline_Torus –
THE original @CommsHero chair
and defo worth a follow for @elfontheshelf festive antics

@AnnamDesmond – a proud @CommsHero tee
wearer and fellow unicorn appreciator

So, this is a little ask to all you lovely peeps that
have booked on for Manchester on the 29th – before you arrive re visit your
‘why’ and take some time to make friends with it again. Having this exposed to
yourself along with the environment that these heroes put you in means that the
success of you implementing your own #daretofail when you get back to normality
will be greater.

You are taking the time to come along, a ton of work is
gone in to this event to make sure you get more than the actual event on the
run up to and after (excluding the personalised SWAG!) – do your bit too and
lets make the sector brace itself for a whole host of energised brave
professionals, working together nationally to implement project #daretofail

I can’t wait to see you on the 29th, and hey – I may even
share my ‘why’ with you!

Amy Nettleton
– Aster head of sales and marketing 

Failure is not final

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn
nothing.” – Henry Ford

I went to a fantastic conference this week. #CommsHero,
hosted by the lovely guys at resource, is all about bringing like-minded communications
professionals together to hear from influential speakers, share best practice
and, crucially, to have some fun away from the office. The theme of the day was
Dare To Fail. A brave, bold move because as we all know, the connotations of
failure aren’t typically positive.

Comms Hero is all about looking at things from a
different perspective and being innovative – something we embrace at RHP.
Ironically, one of my first encounters with RHP – The Interview – was a bit of
a fail. When asked what I thought of the new strategy video on their website,
in my excitement I started saying how great it was, and how powerful the
messages were. The sticking point was that I hadn’t actually seen it at all. I
was just so enthusiastic about the job that I wanted to please people and be on
their side. I was caught out of course, by my generic answer, and asked
specifically what I liked about the video. At which point I had to hold my
hands up and admit that I hadn’t actually seen it at all. I explained that I’d
been concentrating more on reading the publications that I’d be working on, and
when I checked their website, the video hadn’t been uploaded.

Then I went home, poured a glass of wine and cried for
three hours. The job I’d really wanted and desperately needed was now
definitely, totally, unquestionably out of my reach. And then something
unexpected happened. A couple of days later while I was shopping in Poundland,
the phone rang, offering me the job. They told me they really liked my honest
approach. Turns out failing isn’t always bad – and crucially for me, RHP didn’t
mind that I’d messed up, because I’d owned up about it and anyway, they were
looking at the bigger picture, and all the other things I’d done right. I’ve
now been at RHP for three years. I often look back on this experience and use
it as a reminder to others that if you think you’ve failed, guess what? It
might not be as bad as you think.

And so my team and I headed to #CommsHero, superhero
masks in hand, to find out why we should be daring to fail more often. The
coffee was great, the pastries were delicious, and there were some lovely
personalised goodies waiting for us, like notebooks and business cards (because
resource are awesome like that). Definitely no signs of failure so far…

Marsh, RHP’s Head of Engagement (and my superstar manager) was our Chair for
the day. She dared to fail weeks ago by agreeing to take to the mic – we knew
she’d smash it but it was definitely out of her comfort zone – and what better
role model to introduce proceedings? Firstly, if we were going to fail we had
to step out of our comfort zones, so on discovering little cards with ‘my
comfort zone’ printed on them we were told to give them away. Relinquishing
something physical was really effective (I tried to keep half but that wasn’t
an option). We started the day with an introduction and ice breaker from visual
communications specialist Fran O’Hara. I’d seen Fran’s work on Twitter so I was
keen to see some in person, and I wasn’t disappointed. Fran sketches the day,
picking out the key points from each speaker and recreating them in glorious
felt tip Technicolor. Fran encouraged us to pick up our own pens and draw our
very own Comms Hero. For some it was intimidating and for others liberating,
but it brought everyone together as we shared our creations.
notesNext up was Grant Leboff, who delivered a powerful and thought-provoking
speech on ‘growth hacking’ – the process of experimenting across marketing
channels to identify the most effective, ways to grow a business and engage its
users. I’d go as far as saying that a lot of what Grant said was life changing
for me and will make me re-evaluate the way I communicate and advise others.
Having worked in comms for 10 years, across a pivotal time for the sector, I’ve
seen a lot of change, noticeably in how we consume news and share content, and
I’ve had to shift my focus away from print and towards social – which is now
the biggest news source. Grant explained how failure is inevitable in
marketing, because we’ll never achieve a 100% response rate. Surveys are no
good, because people will often tell us what they think we want to hear. The
way around this is to use predictive analytics: behavioural data that allows us
to anticipate what our customers will want and create content they’ll want to
share. We need to stop producing marketing that’s about what we do: we need to
understand who we do it for, and be elegantly simple in our execution. To do
this we can fail fast in small ways: trying out lots of different approaches
until we find what works. So as soon as I’ve finished writing this, I’m going
to take a look at our e-newsletter numbers and listen to what they might be
telling us, as I have a sneaky suspicion they’re not as audience-focussed as
we’d like to think.

Next was Helen Reynolds, who encouraged us all to embrace
our work blunders and learn from them. I want to be just like her when I grow up
– she was funny, relatable and really honest. With sparkly shoes! Helen shared
a couple of her own mistakes with us that she’s made throughout her career, as
well as the lessons she’s learnt. It’s thanks to her that I decided to write
this blog after a couple of months of not producing content, because she told
us all to find ourselves and do what we believe in. I’ve always felt that
blogging is a natural progression for me but have been held back by the fear
that no one will read my stuff. Well guess what? I’m going to feel the fear and
do it anyway, because like Helen says, done is better than perfect. Making your
failures a story is also important because they’re defining moments. Your
failure story makes your success story even stronger! Hence the reason for
sharing my interview fib fiasco.

lunch Innovation Coach Paul Taylor (he invented his own job title, how cool is
that?!) introduced us to Bromford’s Innovation Lab, and dared us to be
different. The Innovation Lab is a way of helping colleagues try out their
ideas in a safe environment, creating user-centred design. When they started
the Lab, Bromford allowed themselves a 70% failure rate, because it’s only by
failing that we can learn and move forward. Paul firmly believes a prototype is
worth 1,000 meetings – music to my ears! – so whatever your job role, create
stuff, experiment, be wrong as fast as you can and create innovation envy.
Innovation doesn’t have to be rocket science either: it’s just about spotting
opportunities and solving problems.

The final talk of the day came from Tim Scott, HR and
social media consultant, who shed light on some of the reasons why HR teams can
be reluctant to embrace social media and how we as comms professionals can help
them overcome this fear and bring our corporate and social brands closer
together. He explained that by just being you, diving in and sharing stuff you
can maximise on its potential to find new ideas and ways to share information.
I’ll definitely be sharing the benefits of Twitter with our L&D and HR
teams as it’s a mine of information where I’ve learnt so much and connected
with fellow grammar geeks.

And then it was over. My team and I took so much away
from the day that we’re just dying to try out at RHP. There were oodles of
practical tips and tricks that we can use right now to support the rest of the
organisation, create engaging comms and deliver excellent customer service.
There were others we’ll try later along the line, and if they don’t work, we’ll
capture the learning. In the spirit of #CommsHero, we’ll #DareToFail. After
all, what’s the worst that can happen?

Bridge – RHP UK Comms

Tales of a non-comms Comms Hero

I’m Michelle, a Finance Business Analyst and first time
Comms Hero.

Not what you were expecting, am I right?

Being a complete outsider, I wanted to share my thoughts
on why I am proud to get involved in the hope that it will encourage more
people like me to take a leap of faith!

Like many people, I’d been following @CommsHero and
@WeAreResource on Twitter and marvelled at the quirky swag, Krispy Kremes and
t-shirts so exclusive, everyone in the Twittersphere wants one.  Intrigued
by what I saw, I was determined to find out what it was all about.  Turns
out that IRL, these folks are just as fun and engaging as their timelines and
their perspective on what it means to be a Comms Hero is a refreshing break
from the old worn path many companies still tread because ‘things have always
been done this way’.  Its not just an idea – it’s a brilliant community of
like minded people who all love the industry and want to lead innovation and
embrace new ways of thinking, communicating with not just their customers, but
also their peers from within the sector.

I know many of you are probably thinking that you have to
work in PR, marketing or communications to be involved.  Turns out you
most definitely don’t – if you have an inquisitive mind and passion for trying
out new ideas, you will be welcomed with open arms.  At a time where the
sector is facing new, unprecedented challenges, everyone is encouraging us to
embrace the chaos and use it as an opportunity to improve existing working
practices or try something different.  Its understandable that this may be
a bit unsettling to some, but what better way to move out of your comfort zone
than with a group of people who are all doing the same thing?

My first event was Dare to Fail, recently held in
Cardiff.  It was a great place to make new contacts, share ideas and add
to the growing community but best of all, they gave me the confidence to really
think about and action improvements to my organisations’ service and encourage
more people to engage with the wider world via social media.  Being in
Finance, I thought I would have nothing to contribute but it turns out that
everyone has a voice and even the smallest of suggestions could turn into
something spectacular if you are talking about it with the right people.

The content of their events are brilliant too and here’s
best part – even the speakers and Chair are not afraid to talk about their
experiences, good or bad, and share about what they learnt from it and how they
haven’t let it define them.  There is something about this that is really
empowering – all to often, people are criticised for making mistakes or doing
something that just doesn’t work out the way you’d hoped, but here, it is
celebrated for being brave enough to take that step and try, learning all the
while.  You don’t need to be in communications to relate to that.

So my dare to you is to take the leap and start your
Comms Hero journey – trust me, this is one thing you won’t fail on.

(P.S. despite appearances, a love of unicorns is not

Butler – Alliance Homes Group

“Building trust, not daring to fail is the key to success”

Lawrence, Web Editor, 24 Housing was at #CommsHero by resource  

This is not a quote from a motivational speaker, but one by the
great Paul Taylor from Bromford, who also challenged the Comms Hero delegates
to “declare war on mediocrity”.

Daring to fail as a concept had me a little worried, with many
registered providers not having the resources to be able to fail and not
disrupt people’s lives. And I saw this worry being voiced by a few others
around. However, I had faith Asif and his resource team would not just say
‘throw money around and see what happens’. They did not disappoint. The opener
from Grant Leboff was as much about preparation as it was about making
mistakes. And it wasn’t about making huge mistakes that would lose the company
hundreds of thousands. In Helen Reynolds’ session, there was a lot of talk of
little mistakes actually being pilots, test drives or prototypes. In
communications you can always improve your message.

There was talk about risk, but it was not blind and wild risk. It
was calculated and well-thought out. It may have deviated from the norm but it
was by no means going to sink the company were it to go wrong. And this is the
key for housing.

Daring to fail is a bold title and one many executive boards would
look at and think, ‘I’m not going to rock the boat’. But maybe it is about
daring to be different, rather than failing. This is the reason housing
associations are so far behind in many areas. Communications is just one of
them. Most utility companies and services now only operate through email but
housing associations are still sending out letters, which is costly for the
organisation. Some have dared to be different and changed this and have lowered
costs and improved resident engagement as a result.

The event
was a great start to a series which will help to challenge and test
communications teams across the country. There are two more events, in London
on the 16th November and Manchester on the 29th November. A great event for all
to go to if you are seeking to improve communications and want advice on how to
improve your own ability too. If you want to see if there are still places for

Why I’m attending CommsHero

The comms hero events have been around for a while now and I have
yet to attend one – this one seems like a good one to give it a go – why?
Because we all need to take a few more risks.

It’s easy to carry on doing what we have always done or staying in
our comfort zone and I’m excited to hear about case studies where things don’t
always go to plan- how you can put them right and how you learn from them.

It’s a network I haven’t had much interaction with so I’m
interested to meet some new people and find out more about what the Comms Hero
team have to offer.

Field @mrsjennifield  

DARE TO FAIL – Why Becoming a CommsHero will take you out of your comfort zone & lead to success

will take you out of your comfort zone & lead to success

What do
8th – 16th – 29th November have in common?

The ‘not to be missed’ events of the year ..

The dates of the next three CommsHero events

The dates when I am elsewhere and am gutted because I can’t get to
and support the events…events and people who inspire and energise me!

Someone then asked me why I was disappointed and why I wanted to
be part of it  – ‘you’re already a CommsHero’; what can you learn? Isn’t
it just for Comms staff. In hindsight I wonder if they were just trying to
provoke me to write a blog  … If so they dared and succeed!!

So let me
bust some myths…

  1. Yes I’m
    described as a social CEO and Comms Hero (who refuses to wear the cape) but I
    didn’t just become one and I can’t just stay one now I have got the t shirt!.
    It’s a compliment; a brand that comes with attitude, behaviours, leadership and
    genuine values I believe in and embrace. One of my core values is learning. I
    love to learn, love new ideas and love the challenge of being taken out of my
    comfort zone, daring to fail and from this learning, developing and succeeding.

Comms is
part of me and what I do. I don’t do it to get the t-shirt! I do it and the
t-shirt fits!

  1. What can
    you learn?’

What is
there not to learn? I  learn every day and if I don’t I wonder whether the
day’s been a success.

  1. Comms
    Hero events are like months of learning and new ideas crammed into one
    energising and inspiring day
  2. Comms
    Hero is for Comms staff.

Wrong! Maybe it started out that way and some brilliant Comms
people have become genuine Comms Heroes and are making noise and causing
positive disruption and being true leaders helping make change happen in their
workplace and across our sector.

One of the successes they’ve achieved by daring to fail is
inspiring others – people love to be inspired and motivated so having seen a
colleague come back motivated, fired up and doing new stuff makes people want a
slice of the cake or in CommsHero tradition, one of the Krispy Kreme donuts ….

CommsHero has created energy and brand and a space where people
can dare to fail, where new ideas can be shared and more importantly where new
ideas are created.

We need people at every level in organisations to be Comms Heroes.
It’s not just about communicating with the outside, it about how you use the
power of communication to do things brilliantly, it’s how you engage with your
colleagues and customers, it’s how you brand and market what you do, it’s how
you innovate and continue improving. It’s about transformation.

Communication is an essential leadership ingredient. People need
to believe and buy into a vision and a leader; and to create that 
followship and get buy in needs great genuine communication. People want to
learn and this happens best where leaders create an environment where there’s
permission to play, to create and innovate and importantly to continually learn
and improve.

art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

permission to play, to create and innovate and importantly to
continually learn and improve.

Easy in current challenging times to cut costs and stop people
going to an event but for £180 it’s money well spent. Not only will this breath
new life into ‘Comms’ in your organisation but it energises colleagues to think
differently, behave differently and by daring to fail, stepping out of their
comfort zone, trying new things and learning from failure leads to success.
What a amazing way to bring in change and new ideas into your business.

So,  I think every Chief Executive or leader should see comms
as part of their role and should nurture an environment where comms is everyone’s
role and then see what a difference this small but powerful change could make

So, if you’ve never been to a CommsHero event, now is your time to
dare to fail, to take a small step out of your comfort zone and to challenge
yourself to think differently and learn from people who have dared to fail and
can share their experiences and successes with you.

And if you can’t go, support at least one colleague in your
business to go – the energy they’ll bring back will inspire you to want to know
more and to get involved.

At LYHA …. Our Comms Officer Rio has been before and is going
again!! She’s also part of our Connected change programme and uses CommsHero to
think about people and culture change too! Our community officers have
previously been and this time our new Sales and Marketing officer, Brogan is
attending and can’t wait to ‘Dare to Fail’ again. She already dared to fail by
going to a huge national conference on her own but taking  herself out of
her comfort zone brought some great new contacts and success. She can’t wait to
become a CommsHero…

So key

  1. Comms is
    everyone’s job – it needs to be a shared passion
  2. Anyone
    can go to a CommsHero event
  3. Always
    dare to fail. Never fail to dare
  4. And if
    you’re still not persuaded, then in the CommsHero paraphrased words of Benjamin
    Franklin, get involved and you may then understand what all the fuss is about

Pickard @lyha_LisaP 

if Admiral insurance read this blog I would be high premiums with so many ‘!!’
and ‘So’s’

Why I Dare To Chair


It’s just under a year ago since my team and I discovered
#CommsHero – we immediately found an affiliation with its values and ideas, the
community it’s created and sense of fun. Oh and the t-shirts. The t-shirts are

Having just missed the 2015 event we’ve been holding out to come
to this year’s.

My excitement levels rose when I discovered the #DaretoFail theme,
it couldn’t be more perfect for us – it’s what we’re all about at RHP.

And then I got the call*

“Do you fancy chairing #CommsHero London?”

I played it cool and took at least five seconds to respond: “Hell

Yes it’s a bit scary, yes it means preparation and yes it’ll take
me out of my comfort zone but for me it was a no brainer. And here’s why.

Who dares

We hosted a special event at RHP recently called ‘The art of
innovation’ where we brought together top speakers from a range of mega
successful companies including Facebook, Microsoft and disrupters of the travel
world Mr and Mrs Smith.

Strong themes came out throughout the day about what the key to
true transformation was.

But there was one thing that kept coming up. Every speaker
(including our own CEO) discussed the notion that to achieve innovation, adapt
and respond to whatever challenges your industry is facing you have to have a culture
where people feel comfortable to take risks and fail.

at every level

If you’re a leader reading this – I urge you not just to send a
member of your team off to the event in order to tick a box on their PDP.

Go too! If not only to avoid a major case of FOMO, you’re crucial
in role modelling #DareToFail and creating a common language around taking
risks and trying new things.

RHP team comms will be there in full force– including our
superstar Apprentice. For true transformation to happen all levels of the
organisation need to feel empowered to ‘go for it’ and know it’s ok that not
everything works out all of the time. The important bit is that we keep
learning and try again.

Not just
for ‘comms types’

Being from an HR background I love that you don’t have to be in
Communications to be a  #CommsHero. And I think it’s brilliant that
traditionally ‘safe’ functions like HR are also being encouraged to
#DareToFail. Yes you heard me – HR can take risks too (cue sharp intake of
breath from HR traditionalists).

worry – I’m not talking about the sort of risks that will land you in a
tribunal but those that push the boundaries in your people processes, provide
frameworks for innovation and help you embed a culture where people feel
trusted and empowered to try new things and not be afraid to make mistakes. HR
consultant Tim Scott (#CommsHero speaker) puts this much better than me in
his blog.

bottom line

I’m lucky enough to work somewhere that’s already walking the talk
with #DareToFail and seeing it have a tangible impact on business results.
Programmes like ‘4 in 4’ where employees pitch an idea for a business
improvement, Great Place to Debate where we’re encouraged to have a point of
view and creating channels like our video booth for sharing ideas have all
helped. But the real differentiator is that it’s led from our Exec team and
it’s something that runs through everything we do including training (playing
‘Deal or no deal’ to explore risk is just one example!), appraisals and day to
day conversations.

It’s no accident that 96% of our employees are satisfied with
working for us, we came top of the 2016 Great place to work list and have been
named the most innovative housing provider in the UK two years in a row. And we
didn’t successfully launch the UK’s first digital only housing service (for new
customers) by playing it safe.

Don’t get me wrong we’ve by no means got it all sewn up but
there’s definitely been a cultural shift and we’re moving in the right

to fly

Who ever achieved anything big sitting on the fence, watching from
the side lines or staying in the office? So I dare you.  I dare you come
along to one of the #CommsHero events and see what it’s all about.

Still not convinced? I’ll leave you with this:

‘What if I fall?’

‘Oh but darling, what if you fly?’


It’s no coincidence there are capes at #CommsHero.


Head of

RHP Group

‘call’ I clearly mean Twitter DM

Why HR and IC professionals need to dare to fail

Human Resources and Internal Communications as disciplines have
(at least) one big thing in common: they are both all about people stuff.
Whatever the name of the function, wherever it sits in the organisational
structure, whoever heads them up: people are at the absolute heart of what we
do. In particular, engaging with people; listening, communicating, creating

There is much that is actually pretty difficult about people
stuff: from dealing with a difficult disciplinary issue, through to
communicating a particularly challenging message. These are all parts of the
day job. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always make us the most popular people in
the organisation: certainly most people who work in HR will have experienced
the “conversation stops abruptly when they enter a room” effect… So when the
going gets tough, this is when we need to be a hero – together.

Internal Comms, HR and external communications too are coming
together like never before. Many organisations are putting these functions
under one leadership. It isn’t hard to see why – it is all about people and all
about brand after all.

It is becoming something of a cliché to talk about the rapidly
changing world in which we live and work. There are even horrible
management-speak acronyms to describe it (yes, “VUCA”, I’m looking at you
here). But there is often at least a grain of truth found in clichés. Work is
changing, technology is changing and expectations both of and from our people
are changing too. We are seeing the consumerisation of IT extend further into
work, the rise of the “gig economy”, automation and artificial intelligence,
changing demographics and globalisation. The cognitive computing era is upon us
and the robots are coming after our jobs. All of these are significant global
and economic trends which are having an impact on the work that we do and the
way that we do it.

So more than ever it is important that we dare to fail. In a
fast-changing world, it is imperative that we try new things. We have to
embrace new technology and find out how to maximise the opportunities it offers
us personally, professionally and organisationally. We must get social to
extend and improve our networks. It’s time to try out new ways of working and
give stuff a go – as individuals and within our organisation.

The lifecycle of a business model is shortening all the time. We
have to acknowledge the risks of trying new things but also recognise and
strive for the rewards that getting it right brings. Think about companies that
have genuinely disrupted their marketplaces – we all know who they are –
companies like Uber. Essentially a taxi firm which owns no cars.

To make the most of all of the opportunities that are presenting
themselves, all of us working in the people space must be brave. It’s no longer
enough to hide behind our policies and procedures (or employment law for those
of us in HR): we have to be enablers rather than naysayers.

What’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t work. We fail. So
what? We acknowledge it, learn from it and move on. This is how we learn,
develop and change both personally and organisationally.

Dare to fail and you might just get the biggest reward…

Maybe we will see you at a #CommsHero event soon to carry on the
conversation. You can hear more from me on daring to fail with social media on
16 November in London or 29 November in Manchester.

Scott HR