27 September 2023

Setting the scene for the month ahead

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Bruce Kasanoff* suggests that everyone — not just chief executives and leaders — should send out an email at the beginning of the month, stating what matters most to them in the weeks ahead.

As I type these words, the hair on the back of my head is standing on edge.

I’m remembering the concerts I’ve been to at which the audience desperately willed a band back onstage.

At these events, the encore wasn’t just a lame tradition; it was a chance for a few thousand people to express their gratitude for a spectacular performance.

Now, imagine a leader who can motivate people like that.

Not many, right?

What if the first email a chief executive sent each month was to all of his or her team members?

Here’s an idea about a way to be far more connected to the people you lead.

First email is the practice of a leader addressing his or her very first email each month to all of his or her team members.

It’s a personal, heartfelt note.

It addresses the leader’s view of their number one priority for the month ahead.

(It might not be about work, but most probably will be.)

At present, it’s just an idea.

But I’d love to see it morph into reality.

More than that, I’d love to see leaders put so much time, effort and emotion into this practice that their team members actually look forward to each note.

That’s why I started this issue with the encore analogy.

It may sound corny — I hope not — but to me, it seems logical to aim that high.

The first email has the potential to accomplish numerous goals in a single action.

If written from the heart, it can make a leader more relatable.

It can cut through the clutter of conflicting messages and goals, making clear the one thing that matters most.

More importantly, it can impose on each leader the obligation to sit down on a regular basis and figure out what actually matters most?

By the way, you don’t have to have a big title on your business card to adopt this practice.

Every single one of us can start each month by sending a first email to the people closest to us.

As someone who already sends out two newsletters each week, I can tell you that at first it takes a bit of effort to sort out what matters most to you.

Those first few attempts can be a struggle, but eventually, this question begins to occupy your thoughts.

For example, most weeks, I start thinking about this newsletter on Sunday: What is important and interesting enough to write about?

The first email has the potential to spark a similar habit.

*Bruce Kasanoff is the founder of The Journey, a newsletter for positive, uplifting and accomplished professionals. He can be contacted at kasanoff.com.

This article first appeared at kasanoff.com.

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