Haris Ahmed – Chicago | Of “Covfefe” and Other Presidential Tweets

Haris Ahmed Chicago: About “Covfefe” and Other Presidential Blunders

Haris Ahmed, from Chicago, heads Pragmatium Consulting Group, Inc., a Management Firm based in Chicago that handles both corporate and federal/local government accounts. Pragmatium draws upon the vast experience of its workforce, which has decades of cumulative experience in handling crisis communications, promotional campaigns, and client/public engagement. Today, he talks about how a single Twitter post might have repercussions on a public figure’s image – and how engaging an external PR firm could help prevent similar incidents from happening.

By now, everyone in the public relations industry and beyond would have heard of the President’s “covfefe” post on Twitter. The President is well-known for personally using Twitter for fleshing out details of his policies and to engage other public figures, and while the “covfefe” tweet isn’t his first perceived gaffe, it certainly puts him under greater scrutiny from the rest of social media.

While I sincerely believe that public figures get high engagement numbers whenever they take to Twitter, I also think that they need to let go of the social media accounts and have PR agencies handle them. There are three compelling reasons for doing so.

1. Clarity of message. Public figures are expected to be articulate and conscious of the way they put their messages across. While it is widely understood that “covfefe” is a mere misspelling of the word “coverage”, it was not until six hours later that the President realized his mistake and deleted the message. A PR agency will ensure that a public figure’s social media posts are checked for spelling and grammar, thereby reducing the need to clarify them when questioned later on.

2. Consistency of posts. A single tweet has the potential to do much damage to a public figure’s image, whether the said figure is the head of a Fortune 500 company or a politician. People on social media are unrelenting when it comes to detecting contradictory posts and put a premium on consistency. While the “covfefe” tweet, on the surface, is not particularly damning, it certainly served as fodder for those who perceive the said public figure as inconsistent and careless. On the other hand, PR agencies routinely review their clients’ social media strategies and previous posts, therefore making sure that their clients are consistent in their messages.

3. Message filtration. Incoherent posts project an image of a public figure as someone who puts very little thought into what they say and do. The success of PR agencies is measured by the public’s perception of their client, especially on social media. One can easily tell the difference between a Twitter account maintained by a PR firm and one to which a public figure has personal access – the posts on the former tend to avoid controversial topics, and if it does tackle the said issues, the posts tend to be articulate and stand up to the public’s scrutiny. On the other hand, the latter tends to be a bit loose in the way posts are written and timed, which often results in the public figure having to perform damage control later on.

The social media strategies of many of the world’s public figures continues to be a topic of interest for PR practitioners, including Haris Ahmed. A Chicago management firm he heads, Pragmatium Consulting Group, has handled different kinds of clients, and has vast experience in doing social media strategy and execution. He believes that if public figures engaged the services of external PR agencies for their social media engagement, they could communicate their messages more clearly and effectively, increasing their influence and credibility.



Haris Ahmed | Chicago | Empathy in Leadership

Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant Shares His Thoughts on Empathy in Leadership

Haris Ahmed, Chicago-based executive coach and business consultant, has always believed that a good leader should take care of every member of his or her team by paying attention to their individual needs, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, and generally, contributing to their wellbeing. If you hold a leadership role in your company, you can do these by putting yourself in your team members’ shoes. While it’s not an easy thing to do, it’s still completely necessary if you wish to drive your organization to success. You may know this behavior better as empathy.

A research conducted by Development Dimensions International involving 15,000 leaders from 18 different countries found that “listening and responding skills outranked all others in producing the most successful leaders.” And in another study, this time by the Empathy Business, it was found that the top 10 companies in the Global Empathy Index generated fifty percent more “net income per employee” compared to those in the bottom 10. What do these conclusions mean? In simple terms, employees perform better when they feel that they are heard and appreciated, and they know that they are working in a nurturing environment.

Recognizing that empathy delivers far greater results and delivers more personal rewards for employees than monetary compensation or other commonly employed motivators, companies have taken it upon themselves to sign up their leaders and executives for empathy training. This doesn’t mean that that these leaders lack empathy, but they recognize that further developing this skill will benefit the leaders, their subordinates, and the organization.

Building a culture of empathy and compassion in the workplace

Apart from directly benefitting the company’s employees, nurturing a culture of empathy in your organization can greatly benefit your consumers as well. How so? By putting yourself in your consumers’ shoes, you feel what they feel, you experience what they experience (at the very least, in a simulated environment), and you see things through their eyes. These, in turn, can help you enhance your products to address the concerns of a specific demographic of your consumers while still keeping your existing ones for regular patrons. This culture can also inspire the development of new products to address the need of a budding new consumer group.

Just as you show every member of your organization where they’re coming from, so to speak, you display the same behavior towards your consumers. More than anything, it also reflects how a company truly sees its consumers, because it shows you understand them, and they appreciate this above all else.

In a nutshell, empathy is appreciated by consumers because it makes them feel that you’re not after making money off of them, but instead, you’re more concerned about how to improve their lives, no matter how big or small your contribution is.

What are your thoughts on empathy in leadership? Please feel free to share them with Haris Ahmed of Chicago in the comments section below. The reader is also encouraged to get in touch with him for questions or inquiries about his services.

Please stay tuned to this page to read more posts on leadership from executive coach and consultant, Ahmed Haris.



Haris Ahmed | Chicago | 3 Skills for Effective Leadership

Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant on 3 Skills That Every Leader Must Possess

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When Haris Ahmed, Chicago consultant, executive coach and founder and CEO of Pragmatium Consulting Group, Inc. was still trying to find his footing on the entrepreneurial path, he knew that more than anything, he had to be an effective leader because he knows that everything concerning the business starts and ends with him. This means whatever goals he plans to pursue, or whatever strategies and plans he puts in motion, everything will be based on how he leads his organization.

With that said, he would like to share with his readers the top three skills that he believes every leader should possess and further develop if one were to become truly effective in his or her role as the leader of an organization. These are entrepreneurial and decision-making skills, and adaptability, or the willingness to embrace or initiate change.

1. Entrepreneurial Skills. It goes without saying that anyone who wishes to venture into business, whether on his own or with a partner, needs to possess a certain level of entrepreneurial skills. These skills are what will determine your path: the direction you’re going, with whom, and for whom. Being an entrepreneur necessitates recognizing a specific need in the market, and having a solution to address it. It could be a solution that may or may not be available yet, but definitely one that gives your audience value for money while also enriching and enhancing their lives.

2. Adaptability. Businesses need to grow in order to stay in business. Trends change over time, and consumer behavior should be expected to change along with them. For instance, a business that isn’t online has a slimmer chance of gaining new customers or staying on top of their industry than a competitor who is clearly visible on the internet. Marketing campaigns are also going in a different direction, gearing more towards digital or online platforms and away from traditional media. While these changes seem simple enough, failing to adapt could nevertheless be disastrous for your business. Recognize these shifts, adapt to them when necessary, and innovate when and where you can.

3. Decision-making Skills. A poor decision-maker makes for a poor leader. While it may sound harsh, even unforgiving, it is true nonetheless. As a business owner and a leader, you will be called upon to make decisions every single day. You will have to use your judgment, analytical thinking, and consider a number of other factors in your decision-making process. While you might have people on your team to help gather information and input, you will ultimately still make the call. To be an effective leader, you should be fully aware that every decision that you make will directly or indirectly impact your organization, internally and externally. You should also know when to be unwavering in your decision, and when to follow your team’s recommendations after recognizing that it is for the good of the company.

Please stay tuned to this page for more posts on leadership from consultant and executive coach, Haris Ahmed of Chicago.



Haris Ahmed | Chicago | Leadership and Money

Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant Asks: What’s Your Relationship with Money?

Haris Ahmed, Chicago consultant and executive coach, has met a lot of business tycoons, CEOs, and leaders, and for the most part, he has found that they have admirable qualities—sound leadership style, and commendable personality inside and outside of their organization. However, there are quite a few characters that have also made an impact on him; not because of their effectiveness and efficiency as leaders, but more because of their ruthless pursuit of financial gain with nary a thought to the welfare and wellbeing of their teams, organizations, and practically everyone around them.

Does money influence your every move and decision? Does it have a power over you that’s so strong, all you can think about is how to make more of it regardless of whose toes you step on along the way? If, from the very beginning when you were still a fledgling company, money was your end-all and be-all, have you stopped and asked yourself if the people under you are happy—genuinely happy?

We’ve seen how money and greed have caused organizations to come tumbling down; even crashing global economies (remember the crash of Wall Street that caused a ripple effect on a global scale?). When a leader is primarily concerned about making money and having more of it, chances are, this kind of behavior spills over to the rest of the team. Pretty soon, without you even realizing it, you have created a culture where every man is only looking out for himself.

On the other hand, if you have a healthy relationship with money, regarding it as a means to an end—but not to the point of forgoing compassion, empathy, understanding, and the regard for the welfare of others—then you will find that money comes to you more effortlessly, in a way, because it wasn’t your main pursuit. In other words, it’s the incentive for your hard work and dedication to your organization, for exhibiting people-focused qualities that have guided others by your sheer example.

A leadership style that is people-focused is sustainable; seeing you through the ups and downs of your business. You encourage loyalty, and along the way, you build friendships that could last you a lifetime. Now isn’t this a more noble and rewarding, pursuit? Remember, you can always make more money, but relationships, at least the ones that are worth keeping, can take time to build.

It’s true that money talks, but is it the only language that you want your organization to speak? There is a fine distinction between earning as a reward or incentive and raking in the profits for the sole purpose of making more money. In the end, what organizations will come to realize is that their people, more than anything, is their greatest asset.

Do you have thoughts about this post that you wish to share? Please feel free to leave Haris Ahmed of Chicago a message in the comments section below. Please also take your time browsing through the posts on this page.

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Haris Ahmed | Chicago | What’s Your Leadership Personality?

Haris Ahmed | Chicago | What’s Your Leadership Personality?Haris Ahmed, Chicago Consultant, Shares His Views on Leadership Personality

For Haris Ahmed, Chicago consultant and executive coach, effective leadership is the key to business success. Most of the time, leadership personality can spell the difference between stellar success and mediocre results. In the spirit of fairness however, leaders have their own distinctive style and approach, and where one style or personality works for one organization, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the same will be just as effective for another. It all boils down to how one’s leadership style comes across to the team and how the team is motivated and encouraged to do their best no matter what tasks lie ahead.

Leadership Personality

Your personality behind the scenes, i.e. your personal life, usually sets the foundation for your personality as a leader of your organization. Suffice it to say that how you deal with situations in your personal life could reflect the way you handle professional situations, albeit unwittingly. For instance, If you like to dissect situations, look at each piece with a logical mind, and come up with a rationalized conclusion or solution, then you might also have an analytical leadership personality at work.

An analytical leader has no room for sentiments or emotions; it’s all about business. While some may think that this leadership personality is strict, rigid, and leaves no room for errors, it does get the job done—and with satisfactory results most of the time. Some employees thrive under this type of leader as they prefer to stick to the rules, and they actually appreciate being directed in this manner.

The explorer is the opposite of an analytical leader. A leader who likes to explore is open to discovering new ways to solve a problem. They are likely to forego past solutions that may have worked before, believing that solving the same problem with the same solutions may not always be the best course of action. A risk-taker and innovator, this leadership personality style is all about acting in the here and now, but always with both eyes on the future.

The third leadership personality type is the sentinel. This leader is the guardian of the past, where the common thought pattern revolves around why fix it if ain’t broken? They guard and protect protocols and rules, and make sure that everyone on the team strictly adheres to these limits. They work on problems by looking at solutions that have worked in the past, applying the same principles and approaches.

While one isn’t necessarily better than the other, the yardstick by which one can measure their effectiveness and efficiency in the workplace is the organization’s level of success, and how this aligns with, and supports, the company’s mission and vision.

What is your leadership personality? How has it worked so far for your organization? Are you strictly one of these leadership personalities, or do you integrate bits and pieces of each into your own unique style? Please feel free to let Haris Ahmed of Chicago know by leaving a comment below.

Stay tuned to this page to read more about leadership from executive coach and consultant, Haris Ahmed.



Haris Ahmed, Chicago Consultant on Employee Engagement

Haris Ahmed of Chicago: Top 5 Ways to Engage Employees Effectively

Haris Ahmed, a Chicago consultant, executive coach, and founder and CEO of Pragmatium Consulting Group, Inc. has helped numerous organizations transform for the better. In today’s blog, he talks about the importance of employee engagement and how it can be expressed in their workplace.

These days, talk of employee engagement is no longer limited to the HR. Now more than ever, managers and executives are compelled to change the way they think about employee engagement if they ever want to reach goals or be successful. Here are five ways to engage employees:

1. Empower employees – Empowerment can mean different things to people. This means that the different ways leaders choose to express empowerment may not always translate well to employees. Generally though, there are a few unspoken ways to carry this out in the work place, like allowing employees to make decisions and avoiding micromanagement, which can cast self-doubt among employees over their potential. Empower your employees; you’d be surprised at how much they can accomplish.

2. Be empathetic – Make no mistake; empathy can’t be faked. However, this doesn’t mean leaders can’t go a notch “below” empathy and be sympathetic or understanding to the best of their abilities. During times of conflict, the least a leader can do is to try to understand where another is coming from by putting themselves in that person’s position. Doing so is already an exercise of empathy, in fact, which can go a long way in conflict resolution.

3. Give credit where it is due – We’ve all heard of the story of the manager who took all the credit, leaving his/her team high and dry. Simply put, don’t be that manager. A true leader will not hesitate to give credit where it is due, and extend recognition and praise when it is warranted. They don’t care about looking good as much as they do about helping their team feel assured and confident about their respective abilities. Praising employees can also do wonders for their motivation.

4. Create a sense of belonging – It’s rather ironic that employees should later feel they don’t belong in an organization when, during the recruitment process, HR officers and managers already evaluate their “fit” in the company. If you’re working with millennials especially, who will make up a majority of the workforce, creating a sense of belonging is what will help keep them loyal down the line. This sense of belonging could be a shared purpose or vision, which is one of the keys to employee engagement.

5. Establish mutually beneficial relationships – If you look at the biggest and most valuable companies, you’ll see that their people make up the backbone of their success. Mutually beneficial relationships aren’t some trend or gimmick either, but a very real and effective solution to driving employee engagement. One example of a mutually beneficial relationship is the employee that has leeway to work from home, which saves them time and money. Employees who work from home benefits employers as well, as they are proven to be more productive and less stressed.

For more thought pieces on leadership, stay tuned to this blog by Haris Ahmed, a Chicago consultant at Pragmatium Consulting Group, Inc. since 2009.



Haris Ahmed of Chicago: Tough Questions Leaders Must Ask Themselves

Haris Ahmed of Chicago: Top 4 Questions Leaders Must Ask Themselves Constantly

Haris Ahmed, a Chicago consultant, is a leadership expert who has served as executive coach for numerous clients. His management consultancy, Pragmatium Consulting Group, Inc., focuses on helping organizations improve their performance.

When it comes to business, the role of leadership has been debated to no end by scholars, philosophers, executives, and just about everyone else in between. On one end, some people believe that leaders are born, and thus, leadership is a natural trait. Yet, on the other side of the fence, there are also those who believe that people can be trained to become effective leaders.

No matter which side of the fence you’re on—whether your opinion is strongly for the former/latter or a mix of both—there’s little doubt in the discussion that leadership is a valuable trait to possess. This is why for any manager, high level executive, entrepreneur, or even a team lead, asking the following questions constantly may help them become more effective at what they do:

1. How do I deal with others who may have different opinions than mine?

Do you embrace dissenting opinions or do you silence them? Not surprisingly, great leaders do the former, even if it may seem counterintuitive or difficult to do. Simply put, great leaders don’t confine themselves in an echo chamber. Instead, they seek differences out, because they are humble and wise enough to know that they can learn from others.

2. Do I motivate members in my organization?

There’s this saying, managers have to order people around them to get things done, while leaders simply inspire others to act out of their own volition. There are many ways one can go about motivating others. Among all of them however, the most sustainable one is intrinsic motivation. As a leader, you can nurture intrinsic motivation of employees by offering them opportunities for self-development.

3. How well am I adapting to change?

Do you welcome or resist change? Welcoming change may not come easy for some, but one has to remember that change is that one constant which can ultimately dictate failure or success. In this cutthroat business environment especially, where new technologies are being discovered each day, businesses should start viewing flexibility as a much-desired quality.

4. Does every member in my organization know how critical they are to the bigger picture?

Leaders can sometimes appear unapproachable, and this “distance” can adversely affect employee morale. Do employees know they are valued? Beyond salary and compensation, in what other ways are you able to show employees that they are valued? It could be through giving more recognition, providing mentorship, or even just the deceptively simple act of listening. When employees feel valued, they are more likely to perform at their best, which can only translate to the organization’s success.

In the end, these are all hard questions with no easy answers. What matters, however, is that leaders continue to challenge themselves, so they can improve and reach their full potential.

For more thought pieces on leadership in the work place, stay tuned to this blog by Haris Ahmed, a Chicago consultant and executive coach.



Haris Ahmed of Chicago | Embracing Change for Your Business

Haris Ahmed of Chicago | Embracing Change for Your BusinessHaris Ahmed of Chicago Asks: Are You Adverse to Change or Do You Embrace It?

Haris Ahmed owns a Chicago management consulting company and has helped a number of clients through their organization’s transformation and transition phase. The consulting firm is focused on providing company leaders with the assistance and information that they need in order to create a more stable structure for their organization and, at the same time, direct it towards the fulfillment of the company’s goal. Here he talks about why businesses should embrace change instead of being adverse to it—treating it as the enemy instead of an ally.

The ever-changing landscape of business environments has become so fast-moving in the Internet age, and businesses should learn how to keep up to stay in the game. How to thrive is another matter, but the important thing is to look to these changes as opportunities for growth instead of a hindrance to it. In the words of Greek philosopher Heraclitus:

“Change is the only constant in life.”

We should all realize that change is inevitable. It can signal growth and be used to one’s advantage if taken in the proper context. In business, the internal landscape should be open to change if it were to be at par with the changes in its external landscape. Internal changes could be lateral movements within the organization, acquiring new talent to take charge of a specific area or job, or letting someone go because their goals are no longer in alignment with the company’s.

Being adverse to change stems from fear—the fear of not knowing what’s going to happen if the company moves in another direction. Most of the time, the company has become so comfortable at their current position that complacency and the lack of foresight takes over. “Why fix it if ain’t broken?” is the rule of the game for most organizations adverse to change.

Repercussions of failing to adapt

In business, as in life, the failure to adapt to external changes restricts your growth. This can also put the business in a tightly sealed box that leaves no room for expansion. Eventually, you might find yourself trailing behind the competition where once you may have dominated the market. In other words, opposing change can quickly take you from the first spot down to the bottom of the rung. Before you know it, you’re not only trailing way behind, you’re losing money so fast that you could be looking at bankruptcy in the very near future.

This isn’t to say that you must adapt to change as quickly as it comes. As with anything, careful research and analysis are necessary to determine if the new direction that you’re planning is the right one for the business. But the first step is being open to it. If you shut the door without looking to see if it has promise, you could miss the opportunity that you’ve been looking for.

Do you have comments about this post? Please feel free to leave Haris Ahmed of Chicago a message below. He assures the reader that he will promptly get back to you.



Haris Ahmed of Chicago | Leaders and Organizational Structure

Haris Ahmed from Chicago on Leaders and Organizational Structure

Businesses need organizational structure in order for them to achieve their goals. And the management team that leads these organizations plays a critical role in its level of performance and output. For Haris Ahmed of Chicago, exceptional leaders are those who can effectively steer the organization towards the company’s goals while doing so without compromising the company’s integrity and core values.

Moreover, a management team that leads by example has a better shot at motivating members of the organization to willingly and openly follow their direction, compared to one that simply lays down directives and expects strict compliance without question..

Why do businesses need organizational structure?

In general terms, a structured organization eases the flow of processes that are essential to the daily operations of the business. In graph representation, the structure of the organization is similar to a flow chart, where processes are assigned to their respective management team and members. From the top tier to the “bottom” players, everyone in the organization should know exactly what their roles are and to whom they will be reporting. This smooth flow of operations ensures that all tasks are handled efficiently and effectively, and completed within the given timeframe. It can also make sure that important details aren’t overlooked.

Organizational structure keeps everyone in check, and identifies areas that need more key personnel. As the company grows, the organizational structure may need to be expanded to address the growing needs of the business.

Where there is failure within the organization, referencing its current structure may identify its weaknesses so these can be addressed without delay.

Leadership in organizations

An effective leader knows that the organization’s human resources are its biggest asset, and fully understands that much of the company’s success are attributed to its personnel. An organization that takes care of its people is highly likely to have a good leader at its helm.

Good leaders are more concerned about mentoring and being a good role model than titles or positions. And in order to effectively lead the organization, its members must feel that their leader is reliable, open-minded, puts value in their talent and contributions, and above all, trustworthy.

Additionally, an effective leader is someone who is not adverse to change. In today’s fast-moving business environment, keeping up-to-date with the latest technological advancements and current trends relevant to their industry, and adapting to these changes as necessary ensures that the organization will always be one step ahead of the others—or at least not lagging behind.

Establishing good relationships, accountability, communication, changing methodologies as needed, being empathetic and compassionate, learning more about—and respecting—each member’s individuality, and giving credit where it is due are only some of the qualities that make for a good leader.

If you have questions about this post or about leadership in organizations, or to inquire about the management consulting services of Haris Ahmed at his Chicago consulting firm, please feel free to leave him a comment below. You can rest assured that Haris will reply to your comments promptly.



Haris Ahmed of Chicago | Leaders’ Commitment to Employee Success

Haris Ahmed from Chicago Asks: Are You Committed to the Success of Your Employees?

Leading an organization requires more than just making sure that it is productive, efficient, goal-oriented and results-driven. It is also more than just providing the paycheck. For Haris Ahmed, owner of Chicago-based Pragmatium Consulting, Inc., a good leader is someone who is invested in employee success. When you show that you are committed to the success of your employees, you encourage them to always strive for the best in everything that they have been tasked to do—and in so much more, in most cases.

An employee who knows that higher management wants to see them successeed will almost always provide output that go beyond expectations. Believing that they deserve to enjoy the fruits of success as much as you do encourages them to stay focused on their job, and perform at peak level. They know that the company’s success is their success too. And if you show that you’re invested in their growth, they will become more driven, knowing that there’s room for them to grow in the company; climbing up the ladder one step at a time.

With that said, a leader’s commitment to employee success generally entails providing them with the right tools. This could mean opening doors for them to acquire new skills or to further develop their skillset. Employee trainings and seminars, or programs related to their field of expertise provide them with opportunities to advance in their careers.

Your commitment to success should also include providing the employees with a safe and comfortable working environment, conducive to productivity and creativity.

Other factors related to this commitment may also include the following:

  • Above industry standard remuneration
  • Healthcare insurance
  • Providing the right equipment for the job
  • Upgrading equipment based on technological advancements to ease operations or processes
  • Financial assistance for their educational advancements (higher or continuing education for licensure requirements)
  • Other perks

When you invest in the advancement of your employees, you encourage loyalty, which means that they may choose to stay with the company for a longer term; until their retirement, in most cases. Additionally, once word gets around that you’re the best employer in your industry, people will not think twice about joining your workforce.

When you are committed to your employees, they become committed to you as well. And when you take care of them, they’ll take care of you.

Do all these make sense for a good leader? Yes, they do. Because it shows that you see your employees beyond their paychecks. You see their potential and that’s something that not a lot of organizations see or even acknowledge. In today’s fast-paced world, it pays to give proper attention to everyone on your team because it means you’re really seeing them as something more than their job descriptions.

If you wish to get in touch with Haris Ahmed from Chicago to inquire about his management consulting services, or to share your thoughts about this post, please feel free to leave him a comment below. Rest assured he will get back to you promptly.