A State of the Company address, sometimes called by its acronym, “SOCA,” is a critical part of getting your Vision and your plan to achieve it “shared by all.” Simply put, it is a speech given by the Visionary or Integrator to update your entire workforce on your recent progress toward your targets.
It’s not as glamorous as the U.S. President’s annual address to Congress, but it is no less important! The content of the SOCA should be simple:
In most EOS companies, a SOCA is presented at least once per quarter. The audience is everyone in the company, from senior leaders and mid-level managers to frontline employees. It should be brief enough to keep folks interested, but substantial enough to convey key messages – no longer than 45 minutes.
Here are some of the ways we’ve seen companies deliver the message:
Some companies use a combination of the methods above, mixing it up from quarter to quarter to keep things exciting.
However you deliver the message, make sure you open the floor for questions before you end the meeting, or provide a way for people to submit them publicly if you use a recording. Asking and receiving an authentic response allows folks to more deeply understand and buy into the Vision. Furthermore, those who work in the trenches sometimes ask questions that reveal a flaw in leadership’s thinking which, when addressed, improves the Vision or heads off trouble.
As you plan your speech, remember that your audience has not been present in your leadership meetings and is not privy to the company’s successes (or failures) and what you’ve learned as a leadership team. What do they need to know to get – and stay – excited about working at the company? What things are you celebrating? What challenges do you face? What’s been happening, and what should they expect in the future?
Also, consider telling stories, especially some with a bit of humor. This will make your presentation much more memorable than a boring recitation.
Consider this as a possible speech outline:
Your SOCA will evolve and its quality will improve over time. Don’t worry about making it perfect – just do it! And do it regularly to ensure that your entire workforce becomes steeped in your Culture and feels they share in your journey and experience. That’s the kind of workforce that will propel your company to new heights!
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