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Prepping a State of the Company address

This week, the news cycle will be dominated by dissection of President Obama's State of the Union address. The sixth of his presidency, the tradition of giving an annual report before Congress and the American people helps establish a baseline for our economy, among other key political issues. 

While your firm may be much smaller than the federal government, January is a good time of year to consider delivering a State of the Company address to your employees. In a virtual office, getting employees on the same page is crucial to tackling the challenges that a new year presents. Here are some key questions to answer when updating your employees on where your company stands.

  • What have your employees done well? You don't need an MBA to understand the secret to effective feedback is delivering good news along with your concerns. Congratulate employees who have met and exceeded your goals for them in the last year, and express your gratitude for their hard work. 
  • How can they improve? Maybe your team needs to hunker down on deadlines. Maybe there needs to be more communication between departments. Maybe there was a project that went disappointingly south in 2014. Regardless, acknowledge missteps to prevent repeating them. 
  • What can they look forward to this year? Like the president, set an agenda. By establishing clear goals for 2015, you can generate excitement. If you're planning to hire additional staff, announce some tentative positions you'd like to fill. If you've landed a major new account, emphasize what an achievement you've made together. 
  • What are some pressure points on the horizon? That new client might have a demanding set of expectations that will be challenging for your team to meet. If your business is expanding and can't afford to grow your team at this time, let your staff know to expect more on their plates. 
  • What can you reassure them about? Particularly in startups and other young companies, employees want to know the firm is on the right track. Present evidence that your company is doing well. 
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