Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tug of War

I was reading an article yesterday about a CEO who is under siege to improve the bottom line, please investors and rally employees. The article said that the CEO who is quiet and modest needed to be more visible. On one hand, this makes sense. If your company is in the spotlight, the CEO must speak up on behalf of the organization. The CEO is the human and public face of the organization. Yet...we continuously find that CEOs are criticized for speaking too much or too little. Finding the right balance is the holy grail. The first focus for CEOs must be internally communicating the strategy, direction and next steps to revive the company's fortunes and reputation. Without employee buy-in and clarity, CEOs cannot stem the tide of external criticism and sniping.

I often advise CEOs and their communications officers to break their recovery plan into "five easy pieces." In other words, reduce the "go forward" strategy to 90-day cycles. This is easier to manage and measure progress than your typical three-year manifesto for the future.

Either way you cut it, CEO visibility has to be about select exposure and not overexposure. Plain and simple.

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