Academic journal article Management Quarterly

Communication from the Top Down

Academic journal article Management Quarterly

Communication from the Top Down

Article excerpt

Chris Hamon, PE, chief executive officer of White River Valley Electric Cooperative in Branson, MO, is the 2009 recipient of the J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award conferred by the electric cooperative industry's Spotlight on Excellence Awards program. The award memorializes the late J.C. Brown and his unwavering dedication to the importance of communication as a vital link connecting electric cooperatives with each other and with their consumer-owners, and to advancing the cooperative business model. The nominees for this award demonstrate through their actions a clear understanding of, and commitment to, the strategic role of communications in employee, member and community relations.

The judging panel in this competition is comprised of communications professionals representing the electric cooperative industry as well as recognized experts from outside the industry. All possess senior-level experience. The judges this year noted that under this CEO's leadership his cooperative achieved especially impressive results with its communications programs. They cited his demonstrated commitment to supporting the communications staff and continuing education for all cooperative staff.

Some of the particular strengths of the communications program at White River Valley are the inclusion of communications issues at the top level of the cooperative's strategic planning process; the development and implementation of an integrated marketing and communications plan; the embracing of new communications technologies such as social media and other electronic tools; and the use of a variety of survey and feedback tools to assess the effectiveness of the cooperatives member communication efforts.

Mr. Hamon's commitment to the importance of communication was evident in the addition two new communications positions for the cooperative--a marketing coordinator and a key accounts manager--as well as all employee meetings designed to keep all staff informed on critical industry issues. White River Valley also demonstrates the importance of measuring the effectiveness of communications strategies, employing a number of evaluation tools and revisiting the programs goals on an ongoing basis.

Evidence of the success of communications program stewarded by Mr. Hamon includes a number of awards and some impressive benchmarks. …

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