Communicate Like A Quarterback
How many times have you heard a football commentator say, “Boy, they sure weren’t on the same page of the playbook on that play!”?
What are the chances even the best quarterback in the history of football would succeed if he just ran out to the line of scrimmage and snapped the ball?
Linemen would try to block, receivers would run in to the secondary, and runners would run. They’d all do their best according to their position (their job description), but the probability of success would be miniscule – and the likelihood of complete chaos would be high.
In a recent meeting of one of my Vistage groups, we discussed the importance of the CEO communicating the corporate vision and goals to all employees.
One of my members recently lost a number of employees. The employees thought management had lost direction, and believed the company was going to fail. They left because they were afraid for their jobs.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. The company is having a great year.
But they’re also changing their business model. And unfortunately, the management team hadn’t effectively communicated the new direction. Nor had they informed employees about the success the company was enjoying. They were too busy implementing their Blue Ocean Strategy, and neglected to tell everyone what was going on.
The CEO is the quarterback – and is responsible for communicating to the entire team, not just to senior leadership.
At another recent Vistage meeting, Keith McFarland (twice a CEO and bestselling author of The Breakthrough Company) commented that the pace of change in our current competitive environment requires us to review and adjust strategic plans every 90 days.
With that level of revision, it’s even more important to communicate. “Hey, we’re still on track! This is a minor course correction to take advantage of…”
Your people want to do good things and help move the company forward. But if they don’t know the direction you’re heading in (which way is “forward,” anyway?), the chances they’ll score a touchdown become vanishingly small.