One of my clients is a major Fortune 500 corporation, a seminal American technology company of the 20th century making headway in the 21st. This CEO’s communications team advocated that he articulate a comprehensive vision and strategy for stakeholders such as employees and investors. This CEO was just as busy as any other CEO and he was skeptical of the value of such broad pronouncements. As the leader of a company serving several distinct markets, he believed strategy was set in his divisions.
To persuade him that articulating a corporate vision held value for the company, the communications team asked me to look at the CEO-level communications of a designated peer set of roughly six companies. We agreed on a set of basic questions to explore with the resources generally available via the web.
Is there a clear vision/strategy articulated by the company?
To what degree is that vision/strategy identified with the CEO?
To what degree is the CEO’s vision/strategy merchandized via webcasts, blogs, presentations and other forms?
Is there a face value correlation between this CEO-level vision and conventional wisdom about the company as well as stock valuation?
If you read this far, it won’t surprise you to learn we found that the more sophisticated the positioning of the CEO, the more leverage the company gained. This was especially true as the diversity of the company’s businesses increased, apparently requiring an articulated logic for all the pieces existing under one corporate umbrella.
It was a straightforward project, with a report finished within a week and presented to the CEO a week after that. The next week, we started working on executive communications for this CEO.