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Today I want to discuss a form of team briefing which is focussed on a formal communication cascading process via management. It has three levels, the first is the CEO who at his executive team briefings has to decide which items for that week he wants communicated to employees.

This is then communicated out to the CEO’s direct reports who then have to communicate and decide the top 5 issues for their respective divisions and then finally the top 5 issues for their teams.

So the only aspect of a team brief that changes is the last section which is how what is happening in the company as a whole and our division relates to the work we are doing in our team. This is always different depending on your team in the division.

When the CEO is visiting different parts of the business he checks regularly when talking to employees on his walk arounds whether they had in fact attended a team briefing and how regularly they occur. Now the reason this works is two fold. Firstly it is driven by the CEO, he says to his direct reports, his executive team, I am conducting my team brief with you now so there is no excuse for you not to do the same with your team members. Secondly it very easy for them to use. It is a regular occurence that flows directly from the weekly CEO executive team meetings. This ensures that there is a system, a process in place. The CEO works off has the same sheet of paper that his team has and jots down the top five issues that the CEO wants communicated to all employees. The divisional heads then list the top 5 things and how they relate to the CEO briefings and so on. This ensures that the information is the same for everyone in the company, then the division, then finally the team.

So these are the keys to making Team Briefings work.
1. Make sure that you put in place a simple process
2. Make sure that the CEO drives it and that his direct reports understand the importance to the CEO – not you as the change manager. Afterall you are not their boss, he is.
3. Ensure that the topics are the type of content that management are comfortable and knowledgeable about
4. Provide a feedback loop, again this is part of the process, if there is a question that management do not know the answer to, there must be a formal easy process for them to follow to quickly obtain the answer and respond to the employee.
5. Team briefings should only take 15 minutes, they can also be incorporated into regular weekly meetings.

When it comes to cascading information in a face to face format via management remember that as with anything, there will be some topics that employees want to hear directly from the CEO and others they are happy to hear from their manager. This is why is my previous blog I mentioned that in my experience when it comes to significant issues such as retrenchments, closure of offices and merger of the company employees generally want to hear this from the person at the top. Day to day, week by week and month by month operational issues they are comfortable in hearing from their manager who manages their daily work.

We have an online version of a team briefing tool kit for you to use immediately. For more information visit www.teambriefingkit.com

As always I look forward to your comments.

Marcia

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