Keeping your team on board, aligned and informed needs to be a priority for every founder. The best way to achieve this is with a cascading communication strategy.
A cascading communication strategy is ideal for empowering and equipping people with everything they need to progress towards achieving the startup’s goals. It helps people to understand the part they play in the bigger picture.
An effective cascading communication strategy consists of 5 primary meeting types.
Quarterly Planning Meetings – This is a meeting for the leadership. It is about strategic planning and setting the high-level focus for the startup over the next 3 months. Your leadership team needs to be on board and aligned to the strategy before any messages are communicated to the wider organisation. If the leaders don’t agree and support the strategy then why should anyone else.
Monthly Forecast Meetings – These meetings are about checking in and are heavily metric-focused. They should be about comparing where the startup is against where it should be for the quarter. These check-ins keep the strategy front of mind for everyone and can help to refocus people on the quarterly objectives.
Team Check-Ins – Every team should have a weekly meeting where they connect, refocus and reset. These meetings should cover budgets, OKR progress and team or individual scorecards.
One on Ones – A culture of trust, and relationship building is established through regular one on ones. Once a week every manager should have a one-on-one meeting with each of their direct reports. This is the fastest way to hear about issues or concerns, address opportunities that arise and create connections between people.
All Hands – A weekly all-hands is a powerful tool for a founder or CEO to regularly communicate with the whole organisation. The number of employees will determine what it is you speak about and the depth and specificity that you go into. For smaller companies, it will be possible to go into all the projects and initiatives that are ongoing. While at larger companies CEOs will have to focus on strategy with a few key call-outs. Either way, your All Hands meeting should not go for more than an hour.
TAKEAWAY: Communication is a key responsibility for every CEO. A cascading communication strategy with these 5 meeting types is, therefore, a must if you want to communicate effectively. If you feel like your teams are disengaged, lacking enthusiasm or just don’t seem to get it, then it is time to review how you communicate.