An internal NSA memo leaked over the weekend, one where the good folks at the National Security Agency provide some tips for their staff to take home and use over the recent Thanksgiving holiday in case they were confronted with a drunk Uncle or angry Cousin who might not be totally pleased with having a member of the family a part of cyber spying, stealing personal information, or whatever else the NSA can be accused of carrying out.
The 5-point document (with supporting examples) can be found here, and if you can overlook the source, history, context, etc., it actually provides a really useful outline of what employees can do to carry the brand message out into their personal lives.
Here are the 5 talking points about the NSA that the agency wanted, or at least advised, it's staff to share while sitting around the holiday table, with some comments from me about how they might be more generally applicable to any organization.
1. NSA's mission is of great value to the nation.
Applicability for you?
Probably some. Obvious if you work for a children's hospital or for Waste Management. Maybe less relevant if you are in some kind of management consulting group or work for one of the local car dealerships. In those cases you want to find someone (other than the greedy owner of the company) that benefits from the existence of your organization to speak up. There must be somebody, right?
2. NSA performs its mission the right way.
Take a page from the NSA, (as well as the example set by the local personal injury attorneys in your market), and stress it is not just what you do, but someone you do that thing with more integrity than the other guys that do that exact same thing as you. Don't worry about proving it, it is pretty much impossible for anyone to dispute your claim tom the moral high ground.
3. NSA performs its mission exceptionally well.
Probably the weakest of the talking points to rally behind. But I suppose in your context the fact that you are still (for the moment anyway), an ongoing concern that is employing people must mean you are doing something well. Don't grab for too much else here.
4. The people of NSA are loyal Americans with expert skills.
Drop the nationalistic bit if that makes sense for you, and go for the standard and universal 'We only have the best of the best here at ACME' take. We all know that to be the case. Everyone only employs top talent, 'A' players, etc. So what if it is not true. Unless you work for Yahoo, apparently.
5. NSA is committed to increased transparency and public dialog.
Your company has an official corporate Twitter account, right? And probably a Facebook page too. And whatever other associated social outposts that the last batch of summer interns set up for you. Forget that the last post was some inane blather last week about Black Friday, the fact remains that you are an open and transparent organization. And you will prove it the first time someone, anyone tweets at you or leaves a comment on your corporate blog.
And there it is. The much-maligned and reviled NSA has just handed you the recipe for indoctrinating helping your teams share the good news about the work you are doing there at the Widget factory.
Think of it this way, how hard can rallying the staff and goosing morale be if even the NSA thinks it can do it?