Town halls aren’t the only communication channel for sharing the CEO’s vision for the company. When the CEO — or the executive leadership team — has articulated a clear vision and values, that messaging can become rich content for many of your internal communication channels.
The challenge is that CEOs are busy. You need to find ways to get the content you need without asking for too much of his or her time. If you’re smart about it, you can actually make one meeting with the CEO go a long way.
In one CEO interview, you can gather content to be used in multiple communication channels. Whether you’ve been able to score an hour on their calendar or just 20 minutes, be prepared to cover the vision from several angles. (And keep your own talking to a bare minimum to make the most of that time. This is not the time to share your own brilliant thoughts and funny stories.)
Ask how individual employees in different functions can support that vision. Ask questions about how the vision benefits customers, what it means to the world at large and why it makes the company’s work more meaningful. Ask about each of the values, from why they’re important to how they apply to mundane business issues and day-to-day decisions. If your company has been (or is about to go through) some major change, ask about how that re-org or acquisition or whatever supports the vision. Ask about strategic priorities in the business and how they tie back to the vision.
Be sure to record that interview and have it transcribed. (For thoughts on videotaping that interview, you might like this blog on CEO videos) The transcript becomes source material for all sorts of channels. You’ll be amazed how many ways you can slice and dice that content. Here are a handful:
- Articles for internal publications: If you’ve prepared your questions thoughtfully and the interview went well, you should be able to use the transcript for several long format articles. That’s a great channel for more complicated content, such as how certain business strategies support the vision or how a major change fits in with the vision.
- Quotes for digital signage: At the other end of the length spectrum, pull some key quotes out of the interview that would work well on monitor slides. Add a candid photo of the CEO and keep the quote to just a sentence or two.
- Talking points for managers: Particularly in companies with large non-desk audiences, cascading information from corporate through managers to the frontline employees is an important flow of information. You can pull talking points, in the CEO’s words, from your interview transcript. This is particularly effective when communicating vision or change, both of which, according to Tribe’s national research) employees say they prefer to hear directly from the CEO.
- Vision books: If you’re launching a new vision, a printed vision book can be a powerful channel. A CEO interview would certainly be part of the process for developing that content, and direct quotes from the CEO help bring the message to life.
- Podcast: If you used a good microphone for your interview, (The Blue Snowball is a popular one that’s very affordable) you can edit the audio of the interview into one or more podcasts. The recent statistics on podcast usage are impressive, so it might be a channel your employees would welcome.
At Tribe, we believe the highest goal of internal communications is to align employees with the vision and values of the company. One of the best ways to communicate that vision and those values is to let employees hear it straight from the top. Not with words that are ghostwritten or rife with corporate speak, but in a conversational tone from an actual human being.
Interested in improving your leadership communications? Tribe can help.