Do You Hear What I Hear?

In the holiday season just past, I often heard one of my favorite Christmas songs. The lyrics incorporate three questions:

  • Do you see what I see?
  • Do you hear what I hear?
  • Do you know what I know?

While the poetry and melody surrounding the three questions are lovely, my mind occasionally drifts to the application of these questions to the life of the CEO. With regard to your employees, be aware that they do not see what you see; they do not hear what you hear; they do not know what you know.

This is an especially relevant point at the beginning of a new year. You are engaged in creating your annual “large view” in whatever form that takes. Maybe you write an annual Letter to Stakeholders in which you summarize the most significant accomplishments of the past year, and the most disappointing shortfalls, and the key strategic goals for the New Year. Rest assured that, if you asked most any employee to write that summary from their perspective, it would be quite different! What they saw, heard, and know would most likely surprise you.

Even though you probably know this to be true, you may overlook some important implications. These implications are:

  1. By all means, do write a Letter to Stakeholders or some other form of your “large view”.
  2. Share that letter with your employees, as well as with other key stakeholders in your business.
  3. Take the opportunity to discuss your letter with as many employees as possible. Try to see what they see, hear what they hear, and know what they know, as well as sharing your own perspective.

An effective, functional organization really is all about communications. If an employee understands your point of view, they are much more likely to understand and support your decisions and actions. By the same token, if you understand an employee’s point of view, their actions and reactions are far less mysterious. Finally, if everyone is more or less on the same page, your chances of having a really good 2014 are greatly enhanced.

Here’s to a successful New Year for you and your business!

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