Communicating with Leaders Using the “CNN Effect”


Exceptional senior leaders are foremost visionaries, whose mandate is to inspire other leaders to follow them to achieve specific goals. Their core responsibility is to produce results. Their bottom line is to increase business and generate a target income level, at a minimum cost and expense, to produce a healthy profit and a good return on investment for shareholders.

When educating senior leaders about the importance and power of recognition and rewards for achieving these business goals, it might be best to learn about and use what I call the “CNN Effect” to get the message across.

I like catching CNN updates when traveling because it is a great way to hear the latest and most important national and worldwide news.

Check out the CNN format below which is used throughout the network’s TV medium for disseminating information. Now apply this same “CNN Effect” in working with your C-suite leaders to promote, inform and educate them on employee recognition practices and programs.

Scroll Bar Advisories

Find a visionary leader. Give them your vision. Keep your message short and sweet.

You might tell them about the latest training of managers and say it in about 15 to 25 words like, “Have you seen the new on-line training video for helping managers use recognition to improve business results? Let me send you the link.”. Or prime them for more with, “We’ve just launched our new recognition website. Would you like me to send you a report on the website analytics in six months time?”

Tweet: Find a visionary leader. Give them your vision. Keep your message short and sweet.

Breaking News

It’s just happened. Good news or bad. Keep your leaders immediately informed and come with a solution.

Share the story of an employee providing exemplary customer service and suggest a phone call or personalized letter from the leader acknowledging them. Even when an employee is missed at a career milestone event, tell a senior leader so their leadership position can correct negative misperception and unneeded gossip. When follow-up survey results from award recipients reveal perceptions of leaders not presenting awards in a meaningful and honoring manner, direct a leader on damage control and immediately suggest individual coaching sessions or training for senior leadership.

Developing Story

No surprises. Tell them what’s happened and what’s on the horizon.

Only 53% of organizations have a written recognition strategy. Yet 97% of companies who do have a recognition strategy are aligned with their company’s business strategy. Continually educate your leaders on employee recognition with the latest research and make the connection to business results and employee metrics. Make sure they know the progress of new recognition programs and outcomes from employee engagement surveys especially related to employee recognition.

Special Report

Educate them. Give them a review of successes and the business impact of recognition.

Provide at least an annual special report for your senior leaders on how education and training has improved employee recognition. Build your business case for the impact and results of on-line, in class, and blended learning programs contributing to the success of recognition programs and practices. Since only 46% of senior management view recognition as an investment, give them tangible and intangible evidence of how education and training improved recognition and demonstrate the linkage and ROI to business results.

Use the CNN Effect to capture the attention of your leaders. You’ll communicate better value, prove the power of learning and enhance your recognition practices.

Q: What is the best method you use to get your senior leaders’ attention about employee recognition?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.