Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Out of the Mouths of CEOs


I often review the quotes or smart sayings that come out of the mouth of CEOs. I save them because they can actually be profound in their simplicity.

Jack Welch's Straight From the Gut offers such an example. The former GE CEO posed this simple question to employees: “Is the company you read about in the annual report, the company you work for?” Perhaps all employee satisfaction surveys could ask this question (assuming that employees get a copy or read their annual report online). Or maybe a company will let employees actually write their own annual report just like high school students compose their year books.

My daughter worked one summer at a magazine where they had the readers (teenagers) put together an entire issue. They housed the teens from all across America in New York and paid them for their time. The magazine was awesome, cutting edge and less sanitized than most magazines for that age group. It was a hit.

Maybe the time has come for employees to look more deeply at their annual reports and mandatory "letter to shareholders" from CEOs or chairmen. In fact, why not turn the CEO's shareholder letter into a blog and ask readers, employees, investors, alumni, journalists and others to respond. Now that's a simple idea.

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