Ward to the Wise

Employee Communication Success Starts With The CEO

Communication Starts With CEOIn a successful organization, communication is everyone’s job. From the C-suite to the production line, everyone acknowledges and accepts their roles to receive and comprehend information, and to provide and accept feedback.

To establish this kind of healthy, two-way communication throughout a company is a challenging yet easy task, and it starts with one person — the CEO.

Research and real-world experience have taught us that employees want to hear from the CEO on the company’s vision, direction and overall performance. They also want to hear from the CEO in times of crisis and great achievement. However, if you restrict the CEO’s role in employee communication to just that of the “executive mouthpiece,” you limit the true impact he or she can have on your communication culture.

Setting The Example

The CEO sets the tone for communication across the organization, and models the behavior he or she would like others to emulate. When the CEO communicates with transparency, clarity and consistency, and demands his managers do likewise, communication improves systemically in the organization. If the CEO demonstrates openness and responsiveness, and instills that practice in the leadership team, the culture improves.

Clearly, the CEO is the most influential person within a company, and where employee communication is concerned, actions definitely speak louder than words. Who the CEO is being as a communicator has as much impact as the words and thoughts conveyed.

Ensuring Accountability

Once expectations are set, the CEO must hold him or herself and all those with key roles in the communication process accountable for communicating effectively. But how will you know the communication has been effective, you ask? You will know because the outcomes clearly demonstrate that the communication caused people to do and say the things that will make a true difference in the business results. Anything less is noise and a waste of productive time. The CEO must hold accountable those not living up to expectations of effective communication because their lack of performance in this area undermines results, and robs shareholders of their return.

Is your management team highly effective in their communication? Do their teams immediately produce the results requested, or do longstanding problems and issues linger like a virus in the organization even though they are being talked to death? If your leaders’ communication doesn’t consistently drive business outcomes, contact Ward. We work with executives to build their skills and enhance the results they produce through their communication, and we can help your leadership too.

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