Are you a CEO preparing to give a town hall state-of-the-union talk to your employees? Whether you're a new CEO or one who's been sitting in the chair for some time, keep reading.
An awful lot of planning, time and resources go into these town halls. They're frequently big productions beamed via satellite to offices around the world. Employees take time away from their jobs to attend. Yet, incredibly, there is so much wasted opportunity.
Take a look at your speech.
Have you spent time thinking about what's in it for them? Do you know why you're really giving it — aside from your Communications Director or head of HR telling you to that you're supposed to update the troops and it's another box you have to check off?
Have you asked yourself: What do you want your people to feel, think and do when you are done? (If you've left that part to the speechwriter, don't.)
Have you addressed the elephant in the room? Bad press, layoffs, elimination of benefits, product recall, weak earnings, downgraded rating, takeovers, even widespread perceptions of you that might be less than flattering?
Employees are sick of pep talks that say nothing and do nothing but leave them guessing both about the state of the company and their Chief Executive. When it comes to their leaders, employees want and need a feeling of intimacy — the ability to see into them and to connect with them. They want to know who their leaders are — their background and experience and why they took this job.
They want to understand their leaders' style, their values, hot buttons, vulnerabilities, what keeps them up at night, what they plan on doing and what they expect from people. Yes, they want to be motivated and inspired but they can't be either if you're just a talking head.