In today’s retail marketplace, more than ever, companies need to be ready to adapt. Fluctuations can happen rapidly and unexpectedly. It’s critical for employees at every level to understand a company’s strategy, particularly in times of change. The real challenge lies in making sure that strategy is conveyed clearly, consistently and authentically.
You might be surprised at how often there’s a breakdown in communication within companies, even with the simplest messages. Sometimes it’s an unintended miscommunication: a message morphs as it’s passed through company channels. Other times, it’s more deliberate: a midlevel manager might decide to alter your message so that it better fits their vision. If you want your employees to hear exactly what you want to say, then you need to speak to them directly.
We live in a world where people are constantly receiving information. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. A memo from the CEO isn’t going to resonate with employees, even if you spend hours crafting it. Sure, it will land in everyone’s inboxes, but it won’t motivate or inspire. Employees need to hear their leaders speak authentically, from the heart. That’s when you’ll connect with your tribe. That’s when your employees will embrace your company’s strategy, rather than simply acknowledge it. And that’s where the power of video comes into play.
Reaching out to viewers through a well-prepared and practiced video is the closest thing to a face-to-face conversation — the gold standard of human communication. It’s also an effective way to reach a dispersed workforce. Your message can be viewed online, through your organization’s internal network or on a host of internet platforms.
Container Store Co-Founder and Chairman Kip Tindell has seen such a good return on communication, he’s come to see it not only as a tool but as an essential act of leadership. His passion is clear as he states in the book "The Corner Office," “we believe in just relentlessly trying to communicate everything to every single employee at all times, and we’re very open. We share everything. I always make it a point to give the same presentation I give at the board meeting to the staff, and then that trickles down to everybody in the company.”
More and more CEOs are going on camera to reach out to employees to foster a deeper meaning and purpose to the work they do week after week. This may not lead to immediate revenue, but the long-term benefits of building employee relationships and morale are invaluable — and immeasurable.
Through video, you can speak directly to your employees. You cut out the middleman. There’s no room for someone to alter your message. And, perhaps most importantly, you have the opportunity to make an emotional connection with your tribe. That emotional connection is the big difference between videos that simply share information and those that evoke action. Leadership communication is about aligning your tribe with your vision, and inspiring them to become champions for your shared cause.
Vern Oakley is the CEO and creative director for Tribe Pictures.
A veteran filmmaker, teacher, speaker, and industry thought leader, Oakley has been helping institutions and leaders connect with and mobilize their tribes through soul expression and communication. His mission to humanize leadership is achieved by crafting great stories that appeal to and impact the people who matter most.
Through Tribe Pictures, a film production company he founded in 1986 wherein he serves as CEO and Creative Director, Vern has directed numerous short and long-form films that garnered over one hundred and fifty industry awards -- forty of which received gold or "best in show" medals. His projects have built the brands of leaders of Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations, and institutions in technology, life science, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and finance. His films have also helped launch some of the industry’s largest public offerings that have been credited with helping raise almost two billion dollars in contributions to colleges, universities, and philanthropies.
A client of Vern’s once bestowed on him the unofficial title “Business Artist.” Vern believes this captures his comfort, as he is able to translate the left-brain needs of his clients (business strategy) to the right-brain needs of the production team (storytelling and artistry), and vice versa, and will continue his passion in sharing these lessons with others.