Clyde Group founder and managing director, Alex Slater, has been selected to the “PR Executive of the Year” shortlist by FAXIES, which recognizes excellence in public relations based on innovation and effectiveness. This follows Slater’s recognition as one of PR Week’s “40 Under 40.” Clyde Group also received accolades for its campaign with Sallie Mae and rapper Dee-1 that won the 2017 Bulldog Media Relations Awards for Best Use of Personality/Celebrity Silver Award.

“Clyde Group strives to be the best agency to work with, and the best agency to work for,” said Slater. “We’re proud of the recognition we’re receiving, but more importantly, we are focused on constantly producing the best results for our clients. When it comes to securing positive media coverage, we’re the best in the business.”

Clyde Group is also expanding its staff, announcing the hires of Chris Lundquist, formerly of Ward Circle Strategies, as manager, and Richard “Boot” Bullwinkle and Crosby Armstrong as associates. These new hires come to an exceptional company culture recently highlighted in national news outlets. NBC News recognized that Clyde Group’s “growth has surged, the caliber of recruits has heightened, and employees rate the culture as ‘excellent’ when surveyed.” Senior Associate, Ryan Myers, has also been promoted to Content Manager to help further highlight the firm’s expertise and thought leadership.

Strong culture and widespread recognition have delivered new clients to Clyde Group in the past month, including Special Olympics DC. The firm has also been tapped to promote two new books: “Bright Spots & Landmines: The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me” by The diaTribe Foundation’s Adam Brown, and “The Speech Teacher” by renown parenting expert Molly Dresner.

“We partner with our clients in a way we feel is authentic and unique,” said Aubrey Quinn, vice president, Clyde Group. “When you work with us, you’re not only getting access to the best high level, strategic advice, but also the hands-on implementation that delivers outstanding media coverage. We are proud to have built a roster of professionals you can be excited to work alongside. We consider our clients friends, and vice versa.”
With the mission of being the best place to work, and the best agency to work with, Clyde Group is a Washington-based communications and public affairs agency advising global corporations, major non-profits, advocacy groups and exciting start-ups.

Fifty executives at an executive-education program at a major business school. One mentioned that a competitor had deliberately tried to damage his company.

The facilitator asked, “How many of you think a competitor has tried to hurt your business?” Fifty hands extended. The facilitator asked, “How many of you have worked for a company that has tried to hurt a competitor’s business?” Fifty hands retracted.

The point is not whether the executives were right. The point is the deeper belief revealed by their extended and retracted hands, the belief that they’d been attacked by competitors behaving with deliberate hostility.

Perhaps it’s the language we businesspeople use. Capture market share. Steal customers. Defend position. Rally the troops. Establish a beachhead. Counterattack. Alas, the war metaphor even invades the business war games I conduct in my practice. I tried calling them “strategy games” but people looked at me as though I were a draft dodger.

The war metaphor makes an implicit statement about the nature of competing businesses. They’re not merely other firms; they’re opponents in a zero-sum game. They’re enemies who see us as enemies.

Then we have “target markets.” What, are we shooting at customers with Big Data? And target market is not the only metaphor to depersonalize customers. Consider “revenue stream”, in which customers are natural resources for us to pump. Imagine what will happen when we figure out how to extract the last few drops via the equivalent of fracking. Maybe we already have. Just look at the revenue streams that end in puddles of unused stuff in our homes.

And don’t get me started on “executing” our strategy.

What other metaphors might we choose instead? Chess: win the game but don’t kill the other player. Beauty contest: delight the customer. Ecosystem: coexist without ruining the market.

What would happen if we chose a more-personal “relationship” metaphor, where businesses invest in long-term trust and mutual loyalty with their customers?

The metaphors we choose don’t only depersonalize competitors and customers. They affect how we see other human beings at work, also known as headcount, workforce, resources, and labor. We are budgets and costs, we are the current occupants of boxes on the organization chart. The box can stay without us, but we cannot stay without the box. “Your position has been eliminated.”

People ask me how many people work for me. I say none, because none of my colleagues works for me. They don’t work to serve me or make me rich. They work for themselves and their families. I say my colleagues work with me and I work with them. In my metaphor they are volunteers.

The volunteer metaphor fits an ideal free market, where a willing buyer makes a mutually beneficial deal with a willing seller. But what happens when the seller is clearly not a volunteer? Is it right for me to pay someone less because I know he or she is desperate for a job, even though I’m willing and able to pay more? Is it a feature (efficiency) or a bug (exploitation) that those most likely to get lousy deals are those who most need good deals?

These are not black-and-white issues. There is some truth in each metaphor, and exclusive truth in none. What’s important is that our metaphors reveal how we frame our beliefs and decisions. They reveal the lenses through which we perceive others and their behavior. They affect the actions we select and justify. We behave one way when we see enemies, targets, costs, and roles, and another when we see people like us.

We choose our metaphors. Try on a new metaphor from time to time. What if your enemies are non-hostile businesses like you, trying to earn a living? What if you imagine selling not to a target but to a family? What if you see your headcount as volunteers?


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