Scale Your Company with Leadership Communication
Leadership Comms Can Make or Break the Business
After founding successful tech start-ups, I’ve learned some things about the importance of focusing on what works. In the early days of each new business, my focus was on survival, including the tactical work of closing sales, designing products, obtaining financing, hiring and firing, swinging the hammer, cleaning the bathrooms – whatever it took to get the business off the ground. That’s not leverage but more like grit and toughness as the key ingredients for moving the company forward.
The funny thing I learned was that the skills that made me successful were not the ones you need to scale a business. If you want to scale your company, you must create leverage with a growing team. Effective communication is the best way to do it.
Ever since I had my first opportunity to be a CEO, I’ve had my trusted HR leaders telling me I need to communicate with my team more often. In the early days of ThinkHR I had Laura Kerekes, always on me about talking to the team, and it just seemed like a chore and not an opportunity. I must admit I was a very slow learner.
It wasn’t until we’d grown to about 100 employees that I finally got it, thanks to our Chairman, Steve King, putting it in terms I could understand.
Here’s the background: It was 2015 and I was preparing for a company meeting and had blocked out four hours to work on my keynote address. I was very busy with sales calls, product meetings, and putting out fires, so of course, getting ready for this meeting was just another task that had to be done. When I thought I was ready, I sent my presentation to Steve. Immediately the phone rang.
Me: “What’s up Steve? How did you like my presentation?”
Steve: “Hey Pete, I just read your presentation, and I have a question. How long did you spend on it?”
Me: “About 4 hours,” I responded proudly.
Steve: “Really? You are addressing 100 people who all work for you, and you’ve only given this four hours to work through? Setting the tone and getting buy-in for the company’s goals this year as we position the business for growth is critical. This presentation is the most important thing you will do this year.”
I thought his message was a little dramatic and told him so. He took the time to explain it. His point was simple. I had the opportunity to inspire 100 people to do their best work, feel privileged to be part of the company and be crystal clear on what the company was going to achieve. I had a chance to increase their productivity by 10, 20, maybe even 50 percent and give them reasons to stay with the company longer.
I took his comments to heart and did the math – if my efforts inspired 20 percent harder, smarter, or better work that year, that would be the equivalent of having 20 more people on the team! I needed to take whatever amount of time needed to align the team, reinforce our values and inspire them during big events and at key points throughout the year. That’s real leverage!
Wow! What a lesson. Since that day, I start preparing a month out and try my very best to get the messaging right. As a CEO, communication is my best tool for leveraging my efforts through our team.
Fast forward to eight years later, and I’m working in a startup again called TruHu, where I’m happy to say that communication isn’t a chore anymore. In fact, it’s really grown on me. I love it when I see the kind of impact it has on individual employees and how committed they are to their job and the organization overall. People are willing to go the extra mile to win and be the reason for our success when the communications are right.
Here are some of the recurring themes I hit on weekly via Teams or Zoom calls, texts, and email communications:
- Are we living our company values? (This is HUGE)
- Where are we relative to meeting our annual goals?
- Shout-outs to people who are getting things done
- Updates on key projects and initiatives in the company
- Discussions of customer feedback
- Celebrations of deals closed
The bottom line is that your team commits half their waking hours to your company – at least five days a week. Communicating regularly with the right messaging helps give understanding and meaning to their investment in your business.
Doesn’t everyone deserve that?
Start improving your communication today with these 5 Tips for Engaging Deskless Employees >
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