In tough times, tough leaders communicate

I recently attended the annual employee meeting at one of our client companies. Although I had no formal role in the process (their internal communications team does a great job organizing every facet of the event), I have been fortunate to attend the past five annual meetings. This year’s meeting – although smaller and more low key – may have easily been the best. The executives in this company focused on the core issues that employees are focused on in these turbulent times. With clear, compelling speeches and examples, they laid out the case that:

  • The company was on the right track to navigate difficult financial times, and that there isĀ  a clear path forward that will allow the company, and its employees, to be successful.
  • The leadership of the company is committed and capable. At a time when corporate leaders are either being publicly ridiculed or jailed, it was critical for employees to see that their executive team is up to the task at hand.
  • Employees are the bedrock of the company’s values and vision. The capstone of the annual meeting was an awards presentation (complete with crystal trophies and $1,000 checks) that celebrated teamwork, innovation, leadership and community service.

Our client, like virtually every company in the U.S., has faced many tough challenges in recent months. But the character that was shown in how company leaders address those issues and lay out a vision for the future goes a long way to ensuring that its employees are committed to tackling the challenges ahead.