It can be a challenge for leaders to stay in touch with their workforce as the company grows. It's an even bigger challenge for employees to understand what their CEO is expecting of them, when there are so many steps in between them. As with many other endeavors, maybe the solution is just to talk it out.
If you've ever worked in an early stage startup, you probably know the concept of a hands-on CEO. A founder who is still involved in most of the aspects of the company, his or her vision is clear, and it's reflected in everything that comes out of the business. It's a great feeling to get a pat on the back by the person who is putting everything he owns on the line to build this business. As companies grow, CEOs inevitably have to remove themselves from the majority of the day to day operations. They suddenly become more involved in general strategy, pitches to investors, and sales conferences. Not that it's a bad thing, it's actually the right thing to do. Arguably the most important skill a manager can develop is the ability to delegate.
Walk the line.
However, the danger in such a process is that employees become disconnected to the person at the helm of the organization they work for. It's a thin line between being a busy CEO and being the kind of CEO you see once during that yearly town hall meeting. That's how things get lost in translation, and people start to get demotivated. That is why your CEO should have an internal blog. Whatever platform you choose to host it on, make sure it's consistent (at least once a month), and that employees have the option to comment on every post. This should be an occasion for your boss to voice his concerns, to celebrate success, to correct alignment on various issues, to reinvigorate the troops. These posts should feel authentic, and deal with issues that are going on at all levels of business.
The old culture where you listen to the CEO and don't say anything is thankfully starting to go away. Allowing employees to comment on these posts might sound dangerous at first, but you'll realize that people are usually very watchful when their name is tied to any writing. It also allows employees to get the information straight from the source. In some cases that wouldn't be a huge deal, but for a lofty thing like company vision, you want to hear it from the person who came up with it. It's the only way you'll actually get everyone on the same page.
The key here is really about being transparent. I'm not saying you should publish your earnings report to the whole company. However, let them in on the general strategy. Make it more personal than the deck you show to all the investors, put it in words that your workforce will actually understand. Soon you'll hear those words being quoted in meetings, you'll find them in official company communications, the actions of your managers will be more focused. A CEO blog might seem like a tiny step, but it is the beginning of something much bigger. It's the start of a common vocabulary. It gets all the employees thinking the same way, working towards a universal goal. We too often forget it, but that is the true core of a company culture.
Learn more about how blogging could help your executive team connect with the rest of your staff. Download our corporate communications guide.