Last night, President Bush delivered a measured and humble State of the Union, the annual address to the nation about matters of importance to the executive office. It's traditionally one of the most watched and analyzed speeches of the year.
The presidential "State of the Union" is called for in the Constitution. If you're a corporate CEO or president, where's yours? When is the last time you talked openly and frankly about the organization's status and your vision for its future? Speaking to the stockholders doesn't count. It's a speech that your employees and customers need to hear, an explanation of your values and priorities for the coming months and years.
Too often, leaders are hesitant to share this kind of information because they're concerned about disclosure. I would say that it depends on what you're disclosing and how you present it. President Bush effectively laid out his objectives and highlighted a few key people and events from last year without giving up any national secrets.
If you're in any kind of leadership position, I urge you to give a "State of the Company" speech every year...and embrace it as a great opportunity to motivate your staff and keep your customers informed. They'll thank you for it.