Before I get into the recommended format for the weekly CEO Newsletter Update, I need to give credit to the three people who inspired it.
The first is David Cancel who demonstrated the value of a weekly CEO newsletter. The second is Gokul Rajaram whose medium post inspired the overall structure of my newsletter, and the third is Mathilde Collin, Founder and CEO of Front, who inspired me to be more transparent and to use the weekly CEO Update Newsletter as a mechanism for discipline and accountability.
Big, big thanks to you, all.
Now, let’s get into the structure.
There are 4 main sections I include in every week’s issue…
- The “Top of Mind” section
- The “How We’re Doing” section
- The “What Your Working On” section
- The “Encourage Feedback” Section
I like to start out the newsletter by talking about what’s been on my mind. That may sound a little arrogant, but chances are, if it’s top of mind for the CEO, it should be top of mind for the team.
This section can be written in paragraph or bullet points, but the idea is to highlight only the most important and critical topics, such as:
- New product/feature launches
- Major policy changes
- New executive hires
- Changes/pivots to stated goals and strategies
- Big wins and accomplishments…
…you get the idea. Just keep it short and keep it sweet.
And remember, if everything is important, nothing is important. So pick the 1 – 3 most important things your team needs to know, and leave the rest for the next section…
Next, I like to review how the company is doing as a whole.
This is the part that your team will really care about it, because whether you realize it or not, “How are we doing?” is the question that’s always on everyone’s mind.
My advice: Just tell it like it is and avoid spin.
Nothing…I repeat NOTHING…will kill a culture faster than a delusional or dishonest leadership.
So while you can certainly add context, try to keep it to the facts. For example, here’s how I updated the company recently when we fell behind on one of our stated quarterly objectives...
GOAL #1: Add $50k in new MRR by the end of Q3.
STATUS: Behind (but still able to catch up)
- COVID had us playing catchup, but things are back on track
- The new onboarding flow is showing promise…activations are up 35% MoM
- 3 webinars planned for Sept. should close the gap, but I won’t sugarcoat it…we may miss this one
NOTE: Hopefully, this goes without saying, but your company should have stated goals, rocks, key initiatives, or whatever you like to call them. If you don’t, check out this article to learn more about how we do strategic planning and goal-setting at The Scalable Company.
This is your chance to get a little personal.
Every once in a while, My team asks me what I’m reading, or what podcasts I consume.
I also often find myself reading an article that provides a key insight or breakthrough and think “YES! Everyone on the team should read this!“
This section is the place where I answer those questions and share those articles.
I always like to include a request for feedback, even if it’s something as simple as…
Please pass any questions or thoughts onto me, personally. Whether you grab me in the office, or drop me an email or Slack message, just know that I’m here. 🙂
It can be true that a request from the CEO for feedback doesn’t always elicit the most honest responses, but by asking for feedback, you’re laying the foundations for a culture of trust.