Written By: Mike Ingram, President & CEO
I learned many years ago to not assume that employees know the company strategy, the health of the company, or even some of their own project milestones. As a leader, these higher level messages must be communicated clearly and frequently. How often, you ask. Most people believe that it takes three times for most to absorb this type of information. So, managers and leaders, if you want your team to know the path they are on within your group or within the company, you must repeat it. Mention it in all-hands events, staff meetings, and in one-on-ones. Make it part of the daily routine.
As a CEO one of the most important tasks you can do is to set and communicate the company’s vision. There are all types of CEOs in this world since the path to become a CEO varies greatly. My path was through engineering, designing avionics, then engineering management, then product management, and finally business management. I’ve known others to take the reigns from a path through finance or supply chain. Regardless of how a CEO gets to the corner office, it’s critical that they set the path of the company.
Many would say communicating the vision is the easy part, whereas the harder part is creating it. So how is this done? Again, there are many ways to build a vision and it depends on your existing group or company’s business model, the current path you are on, and the expertise of your team. You want to get input to the direction that the company should pursue but it is the CEO’s decision and formulation of the vision that considers all aspects of the business (financials, employees, customers, investment needed, timelines/roadmap) that ultimately sets the course to follow. Lastly, take the vision and simplify it – make it easily digestible within an elevator speech.
Shadin and ECE’s current vision is to continue to execute our current, modified-OTS products while we invest in the four product-based programs. Since this is a public blog, I’m not going to disclose those 4 products. I tried to make the vision is simple. Hopefully, everyone knows that we want to design, build, and certify new products versus our more engineering services-heavy revenue. Each employee whether they are working on the current programs, or as part of the new growth products, knows that they are important to the business success.
To conclude, the vision is critical for the CEO to communicate and also to be passionate about. Forget the past, be concerned about the present, and be overly excited about the future. Everyone on the team wants to win, so telling them what that winning trophy is will get the team focused and driving towards that goal.