Achilles Heel

My boys (10, 12, 14) are loving Greek mythology right now—from Percy Jackson’s books to any movie reference. Lately, Achilles is having a major moment in our household, popping up in Coldplay lyrics and in post-NBA finals discussions on Kevin Durant’s recovery.

Achilles also happens to be trending in the business world—with the term, ‘Achilles heel' being used to describe a weak point or something that can bring down an organization or company.

In the majority of the organizations we work with, the focus is at the top: C-level, leaders of business units, or management. This is where communications training and coaching, and particularly our consulting, has a huge impact on influence, culture, and execution of strategy. However, if you read any social media complaints about a brand or organization, it often has to do with the front lines. The interactions and experiences we have when we walk up to the counter or call an 800-number for help. Recalling these moments, it’s easy to label the front lines as the Achilles heel of an organization—false. The true weakness is missing the opportunity to invest in this group’s capabilities.

In the last few years, businesses began placing learning and development at the top of their priorities, where employees consistently rated communications training as a vital need. This increased focus on employee investment meant reaching all parts of the organization, especially front-line employees. To answer this call, our clients turned to Decker, their trusted partner at almost every level of the organization, and we didn’t have a solution. You could say this was our Achilles heel because it showed a weakness in our services.

What did we do? We invested in our Achilles heel and created Decker Digital, a first-of-its-kind e-learning program that provides an impactful and cost-efficient solution, enabling our partners to scale communications training to every part of their organization.

An Achilles heel, by definition, is a weakness that is blindsiding—but it doesn’t have to be. Next time you have a town hall, an engagement survey, or an enlightening one-on-one, pay extra attention to pain points and what hidden weaknesses they reveal. As our chairman, Bert Decker likes to state in regards to flying various airlines: "If the tray table is dirty, what is the engine like? What about the mechanics?" Communications is an area that every client touches and sees, ensure there’s no Achilles heel there!

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