Senior leadership team
Senior leadership team
Senior employees of a company, business unit or function. They play a similar role to the C-suite but often on a more localised level, influencing their own function or area. They will have a responsibility to report up as well as managing down.
How Internal Communications Can Get Senior Leaders to Deliver Effective Communication
Six essential steps communicators must work with corporate leaders to consistently achieve
It’s your first day in your new position as Communications Director. Your boss sends you an email saying:
“I want to change the culture here.”
“OK,” you respond, “What do you want it to be?”
Every leader wants to put his own stamp on the culture. HR rolls out a flashy PowerPoint deck proposing a new performance review process, better food in the cafeteria, foosball table in the break room, and contemporary sofas in the lobby. A new supervisor moves Monday morning staff meetings to 8am instead of 11am and stocks the vending machines with bottled water instead of soda. If the goal is to increase engagement to achieve greater results, these kinds of changes won’t get it done.
As a communicator, the best asset in your IC arsenal is the CEO, but a CEO who is disinclined, disinterested or simply does not excel in communication can be a liability to your corporate culture.
When a highly-respected corporate turnaround expert was hired as CEO of a flailing technology giant a few years ago, he announced to the employees that his door was open and he was ready and willing to have a dialogue with employees – that he was one of them. Soon after, he had the executive office suite gutted and renovated as a protective bunker, complete with blast-proof walls, bulletproof glass, a private entrance and a gated, walled-in parking lot. Any credibility and trust he was given by the employees coming in, was undermined.
A quick internet search will turn up dozens of companies that have announced layoffs, restructuring, and downsizing within weeks of handing the CEO a hefty performance bonus. Levels of trust in leadership? Gone. It may be necessary to take dramatic steps to stabilize a company on life support, but as Jim Collins points out in his book From Good to Great, a CEO whose interests diverge from those of the company is actually working against the long term success of the enterprise. In fact, any leader who puts himself, his job, his salary, his bonus, or his own interests ahead of the organization, is setting a cultural tone. If there is one thing that stands in the way of improving the culture of an organization, it’s executive hypocrisy.
Show them the way
A recent study by FTI Consulting showed that after a new CEO is in place, the number one thing investors expect to see in the first six months is a clear vision and strategy. When meeting new CEOs in the first 100 days of his or her administration, investors primarily look to see how he or she plans to take command of the company and what the strategy looks like. Interestingly, charisma and personality ranked last in terms of factors investors look for from a new CEO. Clearly, investors and employees alike want chief executives that will chart a path that is clear, compelling, and achievable.
As communicators, there are six essential steps we must work with corporate leaders to consistently achieve:
1. Plan the route
2. Share a clear map
3. Distribute the map widely
4. Share the map…again
5. Get out of the office
6. Know your passengers
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