By top management we refer to the chief executive, executive director, chief general manager, general manager, presidents, executive vice-presidents, directors and other such highly placed functionaries.
While most of them would be in corporate offices, some of them would be heading the zones or regions or departments. By virtue of the position they occupy within the organizational hierarchy, messages coming from them are perceived to be of relatively high significance by people placed at various places lower down across the organization.
People in top management are in charge of steering the organization towards its goals and objectives. Thus they will have to communicate with the rest of the staff on an ongoing basis.
Letters from top management cover areas such as goals, objectives, achievements, failures, competition and other such market-related developments. They refer to plans and prospects, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
They may refer to the vision of the organization, the mission to be pursued and the future. They may also relate to under-performance and business-related concerns. They are often aimed at sharing information and endeavour to enlist commitment, participation and involvement.
They may emphasize the need to regain lost ground, get back clients the business has lost, products to be aggressively marketed, volumes to be built up and the margins that are under pressure.
Letters from the CEO and other top executives have the potential to bring about goal orientation among people down the line. Launching of a new product, takeover of another unit, crossing of milestones, midterm review with focus on non-achievement of specific targets, as well as New Year eve, are all occasions that call for a letter to the staff from the CEO/top management.
Some specific occasions when such letters would be appropriate are as follows:
1. Winning of awards and prizes
2. ISO certification and other such quality gains
3. Rankings and ratings, positive and negative developments
4. Successful innovations
5. Pursuit of excellence
6. Performance highlights
7. Threats of competition
8. Need for strengthening the image
One can think of many such occasions. There may also be letters that express concern, convey displeasure and draw attention to unsatisfactory areas.
Such letters may or may not be fully drafted by the CEO or other top- level functionaries. Factual material and other relevant inputs are often provided by their own secretariats or other functional departments.
In drafting such letters, it should be ensured that the message is carefully worded to convey the appropriate note. Successful leaders attach great significance to such letters and spend much time and effort in drafting such communication.