Notes to the Top

July 29, 2009

Notes to the Top

  I was reminded today of some information I read a few months ago about President Obama. Apparently his correspondence director makes sure that Obama sees 10 letters or emails every day from average Americans. Some of these letters are positive and some negative but they are clear reminders of how Americans are suffering and thriving today. President Obama also reads them aloud at certain meetings when he looks around and notices that people are losing touch with the common man or woman. I am sure they come in handy.
When I wrote my first book on CEO reputation (CEO Capital), I mentioned a CEO who started every weekly management meeting with a tape recording from a call center where people complained about the company’s service. The CEO felt that it was important to remind his team that there was still plenty of room for improvement. The Obama example above is similar to the company CEO one I told.

I think that this act of customer awareness is a practice that could help many CEOs who sometimes forget that the purpose of a business is to create a customer, to quote from the late Peter Drucker.

Both presidential and CEO leadership needs to be reminded who they serve to safely steer their country or company reputations in the right direction, especially in these tough times.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

  • Jordana Strosberg
    Posted at 15:54h, 11 August Reply

    I pop by your blog from time to time. Great site! Just noticed this article about Obama reading “real people” letters. At GM, our leader is doing a very similar thing. We have a Tell Fritz section on the site where consumers can leave a comment/note to Fritz. He actually responds to a dozen or so letters every few days. If I wasn’t in GM communications, I wouldn’t believe that it was actually him doing it…but it is! I think this direct contact with real people is quite helpful.

  • Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross
    Posted at 16:35h, 11 August Reply

    Jordana, glad to hear that. I have been to the Tell Fritz site and it is super impressive. Appreciate the comment. Best,lgr

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