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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Positive Leadership: Ideas for CEOs To Communicate Their Message Better

Creating a durable, attractive message that can be distributed widely internally and externally is all important for any CEO today. Here are some ideas:

Start with a broad internal communications strategy. Different companies communicate in very different ways with their people. Some executives share their thinking primarily through voicemail or by e-mailing in the style of “note from the corner office.”

Never sugar-coat the news. Certain rules always apply when conducting meetings with employees. Always tell them the good, the bad, and the ugly. The “everything is great” approach should be avoided.

Always commend and salute your people. It’s easy when the numbers look very good, but even in years when overall results are not good, it’s important that somebody somewhere, is doing a great job that deserves to be highlighted and praised. It provides a measure of uplift even when the news tends to be sobering across the entire enterprise.

Try interactive. Try a new exercise to connect more effectively with employees. For example, a chat room conversation with the CEO. These interactive efforts are not only enjoyable but extremely useful for a CEO. You find things you can take away from each session. Employee ideas are genuinely helpful.

Make certain members of the senior team are on the same page. High quality executive communications isn’t just the responsibility of the CEO. Your senior leadership team to a man and woman must fully subscribe to the corporate mission and be able to articulate it effectively.

Keep it simple. Leonardo da Vinci said that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Who could argue?

Understand this well: not every plan you write down on the whiteboard is going to work. That’s a fact of business life, and no one is immune to the occasional misstep. A lot of people don’t understand that basic precept. They may believe that any sign of failure means the sun won’t be coming out tomorrow. But the basic lessons of communicating with those who work for you—delivering an easy-to-digest message, repeating it frequently as possible, sticking to the facts and the truth and not sugar-coating anything –provide an informational transparency that both illuminates the issues and consolidates support for strategic and tactical missions.


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