Four Communications for Every Leader

Are Your Sending These Four Communications Consistently?

There are four basic messages that a leader sends to employees:

  1. Where we’re going and how we’ll get there (Vision, Mission & Strategy)
  2. Hope and optimism about the journey (“We Can Do This”)
  3. What we expect from you (Values, Performance, Culture)
  4. How we’re doing (Progress Updates)

Often times, this is an annual cycle. You declare the targets, goals and objectives. You clearly communicate these, and why you believe we can get there. You spell out what it’s going to take, and you communicate often about how we’re doing.   Rinse and repeat, each year. Here are some communication vehicles and ideas that work for each of these four messages…

Vision, Mission & Strategy

  • Senior team offsite to create the V, M, S
  • Top leader summit to communicate V, M & S (e.g., VP and above)
  • All-hands meetings where you personally communicate the V, M & S
  • Or… all-hands meetings where the Senior Team member communicates V, M & S
  • Printed versions of the V, M & S – sent to all employees. May be a wallet card, a laminated page, a deck, etc.

“We Can Do This”

  • Periodic emails to all employees (closely following or included in the V, M & S cascade)
  • Videos posted on the company intranet
  • A series of blogs throughout the year (1 a month) posted on the company intranet – (a running message of optimism and uplifting messaging about how we delight customers, etc.). These blogs might feature customer stories, a bit about your travels to company sites, pictures of employees, you with customers, etc
  • In-person site visits where you speak to all employees on site
  • The idea is to communicate examples of things working – great customer service, winning products, innovations, big sales, etc. – in any of the above ways

What We Expect From You

  • Much more of a “weave in” to any communication opportunity you have, really. Great leaders never miss an opportunity to tout the values, to remind people of our high standards for behavior and performance, to call out employees who have done great work, etc. Keep the values alive and top of mind with each chance you get to communicate with employees.

How We’re Doing

  • See # 2, above. Obviously, # 2, 3 and 4 can be woven into any message, and should be…

The key is a regular rythym and cadence of “hearing from you”. Don’t be an ivory tower leader; one that people never see or hear from… strive to connect directly with employees. Create an annual communications plan from your office to the company, and then live it. Embrace the monthly blog or email; have fun with the videos. Be positive, encouraging, motivating, inspiring. Even if times are tough, the message is “we can do this”… “I need your support”… “we have great people”… “we’ll figure this out together”. Employees want hope and optimism from their leader, and they want to hear from him or her more often than you realize…