South-Western - Management  
Inside Player: Top Management's New Role
Topic Communication
Key Words communication, strategy
InfoTrac Reference A86651554
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News Story

Creating a culture in which managers and executives truly communicate will enable them to better understand the organization's goals and objectives.

Kraft Food Service - Steven Rudnitsky, president, believes that you have to manage internally to insure that everyone understands the company's vision and strategic direction. This also includes managing across functions so that every division employee is working off the same page. He created a more open and interactive environment by conducting quarterly town meetings. He encourages people to challenge the status quo and focus on the clearly defined business objectives.

Dow Chemical - Michael Parker, president and CEO, states that this is the toughest environment the chemical industry has faced in more than 30 years. He created the Corporate Operating Board, a 16-person team consisting of his direct reports, to facilitate information sharing and knowledge of the corporate missions, values, strategy, and direction. They meet for one-week each month and set strategy. This provides Dow's senior leaders the opportunity to focus on the big picture one week a month, while they can then focus on their particular area of responsibility the other three weeks of the month. Parker feels this improves teamwork within the company.

Delta Air Lines - The events of September 11 were devastating for the airline industry, and required a different strategy. Leo Mullin, chairman and CEO, created an internal communication effort so that all managers and employees understood the company's plans for the short term. This included daily status reports as to how and what the company was doing.


Describe the different approaches these three companies have taken to communicate internally. What formal communication channels do they utilize?

Source Chuck Martin, "Inside Player: Top Management's New Role," Chief Executive (U.S.), May 2002.
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