Ever heard of the telephone game? That’s when one person says something to someone who says it to another and so on down the line. In the end, the last message delivered is radically different to the original.

That’s what happens when a CEO has a discussion with executives who talk to directors, who talk to managers, who talk to team leads, who talk to team members.

The only way for a CEO to be clear is to deliver the message, directly and regularly, at least once a month.

The Value of CEO Updates

And people want to hear what you have to say because CEO updates:

  • Fill a communication gap in the organization.
  • Align the team to company around objectives, performance and priorities.
  • Build culture and pride.
  • Are part of the CEOs ambassadorial role.
  • Are a great way to round out a week.

Updates are also a good idea for leaders of large teams.

When I started a career in advertising in the 90s, I met a wonderful gentleman called Peter Legge who started Canada Wide Magazines, which was big in the print magazine space. His updates, many times a month, were a powerful leadership mechanism to get his people in sync and to continually let them know what was going on. He inspired me to do the same when I started my practice.

Here are some tips:

Be consistent

These simple updates need to be delivered consistently. How – an email, in person or video – and how often depends on what works best for your organization. But it’s important to establish a consistent rhythm, just like your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual meetings. Once a month is a good baseline.

Keep it short

CEO updates should only take five or ten minutes to write and no more than five minutes to read. Short, sharp and simple.

Give people something to feel proud about – to be on the team and with what’s happening – and something to look forward to.

Choose an interesting title to stand out from other communications/emails and include:

  • Company news
  • A couple of key metrics that relate to your most important company goals
  • Progress on the company goals
  • Acknowledgement/shout out of recent successes
  • A couple things that are happening next week
  • A story that exemplifies one of the company values.

Make it relevant to everyone in the company and keep grounding people in what matters most in your culture.

Note: Use information that you know. And if you don’t know what to include, it may be a flag that you are out of touch and not connected enough to the business.

Make someone else accountable

Ask someone on your team to make it happen.

This person can set a time to meet with you to gather key points, draft or help you write it (if necessary), and send it out.

The Challenge

  • In what rhythm do you want to create to communicate to every person in your company?
  • When are you going to start?
  • Find someone on your team to support you to get it done.

Want to hear more? Listen to Episode 95 of The Growth Whisperers.


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