Measurement Works

  from Angela Sinickas, ABC


March, 2012

Strategic Planning  

Focus Groups - Surveys Training - Evaluation  


 Sinickas Communications, Inc.   Tel: +1.714.277.4130   FAX: +1.714.242.7049                                             


his issue of Measurement Works focuses on supporting executive communication using research. We hope you consider contributing your own suggestions and stories to share with your peers in future issues. And if you like what you see, please feel free to .


n this issue:

  • Client project: CEO research findings from multiple clients
  • Tip of the month: Key metrics for evaluating executives' speeches 
  • My story:  Jeanie Herbert, Director of Investor Relations for ISTA Pharmaceuticals, describes how using the R.A.C.E approach to planning led to better performance reviews
  • Sample survey question after speeches See a question measuring the audience's knowledge that is less subjective than typical questions
  • Article: Helping CEOs see communication as a business process (and not as a drag on their bottom line)
  • Workshops:  Long Island, New York,  Austin, Oslo, Stockholm, Chicago, London, Toronto; Webinars on ROI and measuring your department's infrastructure
  • Online forums: Leader behaviors that correlate to higher employee engagement, a key KPI to include in leaders' performance reviews, how to survey employees without online access, biggest measurement headaches, and seeking measurement experts for a research project
  • Discounts: $400 off ALI conference in Toronto May 7


 Helping CEOs see communication as a business process

A Sinickas
By Angela Sinickas, ABC  

(Originally published August 2011 in IABC's
CW Bulletin)


My first day as a communication VP started with my new employer's CFO stopping by my office to welcome me in a rather disturbing way: "I have no idea why Michael [our CEO] created your position. As far as I can tell, you're just a drag on my bottom line. But welcome to the company anyway."


As my unnerving experience illustrated, some C-suite executives know in their bones that effective communication helps them achieve their business goals, which is why the CEO had created my position. Unfortunately, executives like him are in the minority. So how can you educate a senior executive who has not yet "seen the light" to value the communication function--and you--more highly?


As odd as it may sound, the more executives believe we fully understand the business dynamics of their organization, the more valuable we seem to them as communicators. As much as we dread having our deathless prose re-written by executives, they dislike having to waste their time fixing the mistakes we make because we don't comprehend how different aspects of the business affect each other, or the negative consequences if our original draft were made public. Their annoyance leads them to avoid using our help to communicate, and then they try to dictate messages word for word so we don't create new problems for them.


Two other keys to changing the way executives work with us is to plan communication in a way that focuses on changing stakeholder behaviors (not just increasing awareness) and to use informal communication research as an ongoing tool to make leaders more successful. (Read more on how to do this, including the happy ending to the CFO "welcome" above.)                                                                                                              


Also note the extra article at right on helping new CEOs get a successful start. 

 Client Project:  

Senior leader research approaches from different clients

Understanding and acting on the CEO's vision: When we interviewed the new CEO of a large IT consulting company, his vision of doubling the size of the company involved focusing on fewer, but larger, consulting contracts instead of the many smaller, unprofitable ones he found when he joined the company. He also wanted to sell more projects similar to past projects where some of the early work could be value billed. However, when we asked employees to explain his vision, they thought the doubling would come from increasing the number of clients and contracts. A baseline communication survey included a knowledge question on his vision that allowed multiple answers. Three-fourths thought they were supposed to find more clients and more contracts, and only 30% realized they were supposed to focus on larger projects building on software developed previously. 
2012-03 skills by level
Communication skills at different levels: In a retail company, we asked employees at each level to rate the communication skills of their immediate managers. Treating employees respectfully was fairly high at all levels, and dropped only a little from the Executive Committee to site leaders. However, for most of the other skills, such as explaining strategy and the reasons behind decisions, regional VPs were rated higher by the site managers reporting to them than the VPs had rated the Executive Committee. Apparently the regional VPs were better able to articulate the strategy than those who had developed it. Unfortunately, even though the site leaders felt the strategy was explained well to them, they seemed ill-equipped to communicate the strategy to their own employees. 
Living the valuesOne survey asked employees how important they believed each of the company's values were, and then asked if they believed senior leaders' decisions and actions were consistent with those values. This approach helped executives prioritize which values they needed to focus on, or to provide more explicit explanation about how their decisions actually did support the values. 
2012-03 Values in action



My Story

Measurement can make your career 

Jeanie Herbert
 Jeanie D. Herbert has nearly 30 years of experience in corporate communications and investor relations and is currently Director of Investor Relations at ISTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Irvine, CA.  She has won more than 50 international, regional and local awards for her work in communications. She is the former President of the Orange County Chapter of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) and former District Director and International Board Member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). 
Early in my career doing internal communications, my major project plans always followed the R.A.C.E.  model -- Research, Action Plan, Communication, Evaluation. When I became manager of a 16-member corporate communications staff at Beckman Coulter, I passed that discipline on to my team. The "R.A.C.E." guideline enabled us not only to gain buy-in for projects and to provide measurable results to validate the company's return on investment, but also became the basis of career-enhancing annual performance reviews.   


Over the years, I judged a significant number of communication award programs -- for IABC, NIRI and PRSA -- and evaluation was always where projects fell short.  I can't tell you how many entries had "The CEO liked it" as the evaluation measure. Measurement became my passion.  Whenever I did large meetings or events, a survey was distributed, participation was analyzed and any other outcomes (press pickup, analysts' research notes, etc.) were gathered and summarized.  When working in investor relations, I hired outside firms to perform periodic perception studies to measure the progress we were making with Wall Street.  In the early years of the Internet, we used web traffic as a way to identify which parts of our website/messages were working.  Some measurement tools are costly; others cost nothing but time. Today, with tools such as SurveyMonkey and various website analytics, there are easy ways to track and measure the impact of communication.   


The most important factor in a R.A.C.E. model is planning to measure results in the first place!  I learned that when you document what you are trying to accomplish upfront, find ways to measure the results and communicate the level of success to management, it becomes the basis of your own career climb.

Online Forums

Useful measurement discussions at LinkedIn  

The Employee Communications and Engagement forum has been discussing techniques for surveying employees who don't have online access.


In the Communicative Leadership forum, Volvo's Charlie Nordblom lists some of the key leader communication behaviors found to have a high correlation with employee engagement at his company.


A member of the Measuring Internal Communication discussion board asks for suggestions for an overall key performance indicator (KPI) for leadership communication that will be added to her executives' annual performance goals. A second thread posts a survey report on internal communicators' biggest measurement headaches.
An Institute of Organizational Communication forum is looking for volunteers with internal communication measurement expertise to help them on a research project  related to the group's Advanced Accreditation Diploma.
Measurement Works aspires to be a useful resource for communicators with a need to measure, but without a great deal of time, money or expertise. Please send in any questions you have about research and measurement, and or contribute your own experiences in having conducted measurably successful communications for others to learn from.



Angela Sinickas, ABC

Sinickas Communications, Inc.

Join Our Mailing List

Catch up with
previous issues of
Measurement Works:

 Go to archive


Also see issues focused on specific topics:

Social Media

Calculating ROI

Global Research Tips

Articles Related to
Main Article

Tip of the Month

Measuring Speeches 


Most speech measures focus on audience satisfaction with elements of the event: the length, the delivery, the amount of Q&A. While it's nice to have a happy audience, I'd rather know if the speech made an impact on them. I recommend focusing on three key outcomes that most speeches should be trying to achieve. Find out if the speech:
Increases the level of knowledge on the speech's topic.
Creates more favorable attitudes about the presenter, his/her organization or its products or services.
Changes the audience's decisions or behaviors affecting the organization. 

Read more on how to capture these metrics.


Seminars & Workshops

In the next few months Angela Sinickas will be conducting training on CEO communication, ROI, electronic channel measurement, and becoming a strategic partner instead of an order-taker.

(See details & full calendar)


  • March 27, Oslo, getting leaders to listen (Norwegian Communication Association)
  • March 28, Oslo, Extreme make-over from order-taker to strategist (NCA)
  • April 16, by Skype for Alabama PR Association
  • April 18, Measuring ROI (Long Island IABC)
  • April 19, Austin, on measuring PR (Ragan/Whole Foods)
  • May 7, Toronto, Measuring e-Communication (ALI)
  • May 11, NY, metrics for HR intranets (Conference Board)
  • May 22, Webinar on communication's ROI (PRSA)
  • June 8, Stockholm, all-day internal comms metrics
  • June 12, London, all-day internal comms metrics (Melcrum)
  • June 24, Chicago, Extreme make-over from order-taker to strategist (IABC) 


$400 OFF
 Advanced Learning Institute
will offer a $400 discount when you mention Angela Sinickas' name on your registration form for ALI Conferences in 2012 where she is a speaker:


May 7 in Toronto

Measurement Manual

Measurement Manual
"A definitive
hands-on resource
... from advice on conducting
focus groups, to measuring
communication flow, to survey
question construction,
it's all here."

 IABC Communication World


Now in its 3rd edition,

this practical guide to

communication measurement

is filled with samples

 of questions and reports,

as well as dozens of stories

about how measurements

have been used by





Preview Contents
Order Form 

2012 Professional Development Tools

For those who want to build their knowledge of research and measurement this year, consider some of our tools:


Buy one, get
a second one

"Getting a Seat at the Table"

Communication Training Programs (audio and documents)   

A proven training tool, these one-hour-long audio programs are ideal for you and your colleagues to listen, read and learn. Get top communication training when you want it, on the topics you want and at the depth you want.

Buy any one of four program titles in the "Getting a Seat at the Table" series and get another title in the same series for FREE. 

Mention Offer Code MM0811 on the order form.       Offer Expires 12/31/12 

Header 1

Measurement Works 

From Angela Sinickas, ABC

March, 2012