For your first ten employees as a founder, you not only have to be very clear on the why and the what, but you have to be comfortable occasionally venturing into the how too. You have the context of the entire company all in your head, but no one else can read your mind. So, for a bit, overcommunicate.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably living far too much in category three — filling your time responding to people because, well, that’s what we’re supposed to do, right? People ask for our time and we give it.
The first step is to take a look at your corporate values, and determine if the employee shares them. This assumes of course, that you have corporate values. And honor them. Companies have values in order to give employees a north star when faced with complex decisions.
CEOs often forget that their company exists solely to solve the problems of their customers. And while “focus on customers,” isn’t a step only to be taken during an apocalypse, it has outsized importance when everything around us is changing.
This is the time to surround yourself with a support network. You need people to act as sounding boards, to answer questions, and to solve problems. You need people to connect with and keep you grounded.
This step is straight-up not about whether to communicate. It is about what to communicate. Stress is uncertainty about and the inability to affect the future, so telling stakeholders how bad the future might be without giving them something to do won’t make them feel any better.