Great Leadership Requires Great Communication – Duh!

The problem with my title is everyone knows this, but then why doesn't everyone do it? Because we get caught up in our egos, making office politics king, instead of creating open lines of communication so everyone is in the loop.

The CEO (Tony Hsieh) of Zappos (a brilliant online shoe company), published an email to his employees on his blog that explained why they laid off 8% of their employees. It was a brilliant way to communicate to the employees of Zappos.

The first email let everyone know of the hardship of making the proactive move to layoff 8% of their people.


"Today has been a tough, emotional day for everyone at Zappos. We made the hard choice of laying off about 8% of our employees. The layoffs will affect almost every single department at Zappos. In addition, we are also looking at closing some of our brick and mortar outlet stores in Nevada and Kentucky."

"This is one of the hardest decisions we've had to make over the past 9.5 years, but we believe that it is the right decision for the long term health of the company. The rest of this email will explain why..."

Read the rest of the first email to his Zappos employees here.

The next email that came explained the ramifications of the move and what changes the employees should expect. I can't say enough about being open and honest about a company's choices with everyone. When we let employees and customers in on the thought process behind a decision we create understanding and trust. If a company explains the rationale of their choices, the employees will accept and actually make a difficult process easier.


"Last week was a tough week for everyone, as we went through the process of laying off 8% of the Zappos family. At the same time, it was also heartwarming hearing all the stories of Zappos employees and ex-employees getting together for drinks Thursday night after the layoffs as well as over the weekend."

Check out the follow up email to their employees here.

This is a great example of how you can open the lines of communication at your company. Don't forget to take notes because we can all learn from Zappos.

Sidenote: We definitely don't use the word "duh" enough.

If you liked this article I know you'll like:

Share this Post