Friday, July 19, 2019

Leadership Pitfalls: Corporate Town Halls Lacking Message

Many times I wonder why I even bother going to town halls. I never seem to get much out of them. They always just seem a waste of time. Smaller companies have been ok, but then they aren't really town halls.

Know Your Audience

When a CEO, President, or Sr VP hosts an all-employee town hall, do you even realize who they are talking to or what they are trying to say? I feel like this is just a task they are trying to fulfill. "Just say some stuff, fill the time, let everyone praise me, check."

The most common issue I have is all the talks about corporate numbers:
  • Double-digit growth
  • Increased revenue
  • New acquisitions
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Why should I care about these numbers? Oh, did you want to say that the company has hit record numbers, record profits, keeping all salaries stagnant so that I can maximize my year-end bonus? Seriously, how am I supposed to break down those numbers besides the only number that I know that matters to you?

Realize that I am at least 4 levels below you. I have a manager, then sometimes a director, then a vp, then maybe another senior vp. Or even structurally, I have my team, then application, then line of business, then department, then maybe a child-company. Is the growth in another group, another team, another app, just your wallet?

Drill Down

Fine, those numbers are important and you cannot drill it down. I do care about topics of training, compensation, social responsibility, retention but those are all too high level.

I do not expect you to provide the low level details that pertains directly to me. I do expect your directs to break it down appropriately, who then expects their directs to break it down, until it reaches me.

Fake Impacts or Real Impacts

Leadership never seems to hear my opinion. This makes me wonder if they even care about feedback. Personally, I do not think so. I also think this is 95% true. I write this blog for the 5% of those out there that are trying to understand and improve, hence why I gave up voicing my opinion.

I mean I am not surprised. I reached out. I tried. Basically if leadership's primary issue is communication, then no matter how loud my opinion is, it will never be heard until they are willing to open their mind by reading something like this blog.

At the Very Least

If you really do care, there is more appreciation when you reach out to the silent voices. There are many people who have opinions, not just me. Do not just listen, but also listen for the things they are not saying because they cannot say it.

Build trust by reaching out first. I feel that I stick my neck out. I am trying to help the company, but if leadership is the wrong type, I risk my job. That is why no one wants to say anything. The only reason I speak out is because I want to represent the people. But someday when I can no longer risk my employment, you will have another silent voice.

I have always been the last to leave. I know leadership in most corporate world do not care. I hope your smaller company will provide greater value. We really do not place a lot of value on salary. We really just want our fair share and know that our jobs are safe. People only say compensation is important when leadership is greedy, unfair, or ignorant/inexperienced. It is the safer and simpler method.

No comments:

Post a Comment