Mobas CEO, Robin Bryant, gets straight to the point on clarity and directness in business communication.
I’ve been very fortunate enough to have worked under some great leadership in my career. All of them have instilled in me the value of being genuine and talking straight to audiences, even when the audience may not want to hear what you’ve got to tell them about their business or brand. The uncomfortable truth.
It’s a practice that I firmly believe in and to this day deliver always.
Of course, back in the days of the Nokia 5110, it wasn’t so easy to hide behind screens and emails, and therefore the meetings and discussions that took place with customers, partners and colleagues were very much face-to-face. The good old days, you’d hear me cry if you were in a room with me, but genuinely it gave me the ability to be straight-talking and direct, an approach that always delivered results and most likely results that delivered above the expectations of the customer.
So, in the day we live, today, the world of tech, screens and of course more and more in-person meetings (again), can we still talk straight? Yes, most certainly, is the answer, and of course it’s a behaviour that’s more acceptable and appreciated in a world confused by trust, certainty and lies from every angle and of course the multiple vocal opinions on differing topics all conflicting one another – and let’s not mention Twitter. I find that whatever the scenario for meetings, the audience is looking for more straight-talking truths. The need-to-know information and quickly, all of which are paramount in the audience’s mind. Our customers know that when talking to us, they get the truth always, they get direct, not bull-shit information, they get facts and they get results, which quite frankly are simply a by-product of doing your homework and talking straight.
It’s a difficult behaviour to embrace, but once you understand the true value it brings to your audiences and of course the satisfaction for yourself, knowing you’ve done the right thing, it’s immensely rewarding for all. Naturally not everyone is going to engage with your straight-talking: that’s their problem really, as they don’t value you or the information you’re giving to them. So, my view with this type of audience is to deliver directly, confidently and honestly, and then keep walking forwards. They’ll eventually understand your value, but don’t waste time standing waiting for that, they’ll come and find you!
I have the privilege of working very closely with a very successful business in the UK, which experienced an acquisition of a competitor. My role, post-acquisition, was to work alongside the leadership team to align thinking and develop a strategy for growth – through brand, marketing, business development and product R&D. My approach was simple: discover by listening, define by understanding and researching, develop a plan of attack (the strategy), and deploy! And of course, give me the ability to be straight-talking and direct. I recall one of my moments in a strategy session, where I was straight-talking to the Managing Director:
“Stop now. Stop talking about the past and the pain of the acquisition. It’s happened, it’s yours and look forward and grow the potential of the business. Enough.”
This knocked the MD back, but still, he says this was one of his biggest wake-up moments of his career and still engages me and Mobas to work as part of their team. This is just one of many examples I could give, where talking straight has had immediate positive impact for which appreciation and respect last a very long time.
We’ve learned, here at Mobas, that working alongside like-minded customers and partners and having a solid and educated understanding of the business, brand or marketing situation – underpinned by research and insight, is the only way to deliver genuine objective aligned results, not just fluffy results that look good but mean and deliver nothing.
The educated and experienced mind creates the ability to talk straight in a straight-talking world.