CEO organizes breakfast meetings with chosen employees from different departments to improve company communication.
When managers of growing companies begin to focus on their own corners of the universe, camaraderie gets lost and communication mix-ups mount. Such was the case at Phoenix Textile Corp., a 56-employee institutional linens distributor based in St. Louis.
To stave off future miscommunications, CEO Palmer Reynolds began hosting monthly breakfasts with the president. She invites five different employees -- one from each department -- each month to join her at a local restaurant. "I learned how well we thought we were communicating and how much we weren't," Reynolds says.
"People get to know me. I get to know them. They get to know each other and, most important, what each other does," she says. On a recent morning outing, the sales department learned that the production department also had quotas to meet. As a result, the two groups ended a longstanding tug-of-war. Such direct communications have helped contribute to Phoenix's growth from $1.43 million in 1983 to $24 million in 1989.