There are some good things happening in your corporation that need more visibility and recognition.
There are some things happening that are terribly wrong.
You have a good idea that needs support.
You feel disconnected with what’s happening at the top and in other parts of the company.
or there could be a zillion more problems that this idea could address. (I’m seriously reconsidering this format because many of these grootship ideas could address multiple problems.)
Send an email to your CEO. Although I can’t confirm it, my hypothesis is that everyone thinks they are so busy and they get so many emails that they couldn’t possibly reply to you, but in reality, because everyone thinks that, nobody sends them emails.
Oh sure, they probably get a lot of status emails from their VPs and whatnot, and I’m sure they really are super busy, but I’ll bet they don’t get too many emails from people on the front lines. Or if they do, it’s probably a bunch of disgruntled employees just ranting on what a horrible job they’re doing. So don’t be one of those kind.
Here’s what you need to do when emailing your CEO:
- Be brief.
- Be respectful, even complimentary, but keep it sincere.
- Ask for a specific request that he or she can do easily or delegate to someone else.
You might be surprised at what kind of response you’ll get. They have a reputation to keep, and it’ll probably be fun for them because it’s so out of the ordinary.
You can also try this with other relevant executives that might be able to help your effort.
And if they are really helpful or don’t seem to mind the correspondence, then go ahead and open the correspondence by emailing them more often. Be careful not to abuse it. Maybe start with once a month, or every couple of weeks if you have something relevant to say. It will only take a few back and forth responses in a respectful conversation to become ‘known’. And that can be very beneficial down the road.
Your CEO is a human being just like you. And a sincere online conversation between two people can sometimes break down the barriers of titles or positions.
Try it. What have you got to lose?
7 thoughts on “Email Your CEO”
Maybe a subject line starting with [News from the front lines …] subject
Somewhere in the text a short presentation of who you are or/and what do you do for xyz
Excellent suggestions, Didier! Thanks for sharing.
Yes, be sure to include who you are and what you do briefly. Also a good subject line is necessary.
Good call, Rex. So true that we think the “big guys” won’t listen. But another angle on that is something you indicate: the leaders need the information from the hands-on workers as much as the employees need information from the top. So many valuable insights can come from the “bottom” up.
And as you say, there’s really no need to be intimidated, as long as the email is succinct and respectful. I’ve been amazed, for the two times that I’ve done it, how quickly Seth Godin responded to emails of mine. The giants really ARE human beings…
I had an opportunity to do this, and it had some unexpected results.
One of the CXXs where I work (I forget his exact acronym, but it’s big and powerful, yet not “CEO”) sends out a monthly e-mail to the troops. A recent one asked what would make us happy. I replied, pretty much along the lines of your post: respectful, short and concise, and 100% relevant to our business and our future success.
Didn’t hear anything for a while, and then stuff hit some fans: My boss heard I wrote, got nervous and wanted to know details; a follow-up went out to the company and included my words; a few coworkers buzzed about it. COOL!
But then… nothing. Maybe it was just HR PR, maybe what I proposed was too radical, maybe maybe maybe, whatever.
Or so it seemed.
In crafting the note I (finally!) articulated what I wanted to do in my industry, what I can offer, what I can do and want to do. So although “they” may not care, now I have a better way to tell others what I want to do, and can see that I need more. Might not seem like a lot, but it’s gold to me.
We’ll see if this lands me on the moon yet, but I’m glad I did it.
That is such a great story, Ted. Thanks for sharing.
Some people get jealous when they see you become successful at doing something out of the ordinary, especially when they could have done it themselves but just didn’t think to do it. That’s the risk you take by being remarkable.
And, like you experienced, when you do something out of your comfort zone like that it may or may not change things ‘out there,’ but it will change you on the inside and give you the power to do it again… and again… and… that is how you become remarkable over time, because your comfort zone is expanded and you are able to do all kinds of great things.
Yep, pure gold. And I hope to see you on the moon someday (whatever that means.)
And, yeah, heh, I just think the moon would make a great rest stop while shooting for the sky.
Be formal but do not be a machine….