A State of the Company address is a critical part of getting your vision and your plan to achieve it “shared by all.” Simply put, it is a speech given by the Visionary or Integrator to update your entire workforce on your recent progress toward your targets.
It’s not as glamorous as the U.S. President’s annual address to Congress, but it is no less important! The content of the SOC should be simple:
- Where you’ve been.
- Where you are now.
- Where you’re going.
In most EOS® companies, a SOC is presented at least once per quarter. The audience is everyone in the company, from senior leaders and mid-level managers to frontline employees. It should be brief enough to keep folks interested, but substantial enough to convey key messages – no longer than 45 minutes.
How to Deliver the SOC
Here are some of the ways we’ve seen companies deliver the message:
- A “First Tuesday” half hour each month where everyone in the company HQ gathers in one place at 5:00 pm. Those traveling or in other cities participate in the meeting “virtually” by Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting or another online platform. The meeting is recorded so that those who cannot attend can view it later.
- A quarterly “All Hands Meeting” similar to the one above, but perhaps 45 minutes long, and held during or adjacent to another scheduled event, such as a regular Sales Department meeting.
- A recorded message filmed by the leaders and edited to show scenes and images of others as the updates are provided.
- An informal, impromptu video filmed on a smartphone at the end of the quarterly meeting of the senior leadership team.
Some companies use a combination of the methods above, mixing it up from quarter to quarter to keep things exciting.
However you deliver the message, make sure you open the floor for questions before you end the meeting, or provide a way for people to submit them publicly if you use a recording. Asking for and receiving an authentic response allows folks to understand more deeply and to buy into the vision. Furthermore, those who work in the trenches sometimes ask questions that reveal a flaw in leadership’s thinking which, when addressed, improves the vision or heads off trouble.
What to Say
As you plan your speech, remember that your audience has not been present in your leadership meetings and is not privy to the company’s successes (or failures) and what you’ve learned as a leadership team. What do they need to know to get – and to stay – excited about working at the company? What things are you celebrating? What challenges do you face? What’s been happening, and what should they expect in the future?
Also, consider telling stories, especially some with a bit of humor. This will make your presentation much more memorable than a boring recitation.
Consider this as a possible speech outline:
- Welcome and thanks.
- Where we’ve been. Remind people of your most recent 1-year Plan and how you’re progressing toward those goals. Report the results of your most recently completed company Rocks, as well as Measurables vs. Target Measurables. Consider giving some historical perspective, like showing a V/TO™ from several years ago, to remind everyone what a long way you’ve come together!
- Where we are now. Update your team on the status of any big projects underway, such as new machinery, software installations, or critical initiatives. It’s also a good time to recognize people and departments for achieving record numbers on Key Measurables or accomplishing key Rocks.
- Where we’re going. This is a great time to conduct a full review of your V/TO: Core Values, Core Focus™, 10-Year Target™, Marketing Strategy, 3-Year Picture™, 1 Year Plan, (yes, again) and Rocks for the coming quarter.
- Questions. Open the floor and encourage people to ask questions.
- Conclusion and thanks.
Your SOC will evolve and its quality will improve over time. Don’t worry about making it perfect – just do it! And do it regularly to ensure that your entire workforce becomes steeped in your culture and feels they share in your journey and experience. That’s the kind of workforce that will propel your company to new heights!