Leadership, Social & Cooperation

Senior manager blogs: reality check

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in August 2011 ……

This is part 2 of a 3-part series on senior manager blogging inside the enterprise. Part 1 “Pseudo senior manager blogs“.   Part 3 A Paradox?

Blogging ethics

Blogging ethics are based on three fundamental principles: authenticity, transparency and interactivity. Posts are not intended to be internal press releases carefully crafted by a corporate communication director. They are not intended to be one-way, top-down communication tools. They should be the “voice” of the blogger. Readers should be able to comment, ask questions and even respond to other readers’ comments. Ideally, the blogger gets involved in the discussion.

A blog that is truly the voice of the CEO or very senior person is a powerful communication tool. It may be the most direct, human contact employees have with the senior person, especially in very large organizations.

A question of priority

I’ve spoken with a number of enterprises that have senior manager blogs and asked them how it was going. About one third said it was tough going and several said the blogs had not lasted long. Sometimes it was a concern about how to handle negative comments, but mainly it was a question of time. The blog was not a priority for senior managers.

However, I did speak to one enterprise where the CEO has been blogging for over a year. He does his own posts and gets a lot of comments. The communication department (who is not directly involved in the blog itself) feels it has been good for employee engagement.

The blog fatigue factor

However, even when a blog starts well, it may be hard to keep up the momentum.  One intranet manager said: “None of our senior managers write their own posts or read and respond to comments. Then they wonder why the participation is low. Usually they don’t get past one or two blog posts before the novelty wears off.”

A few companies are experimenting with co-blogging. They hope it will solve the blog fatigue factor. They have rotating senior manager blog and encourage executives to take turns at blogging. In one case, the effort has been a great success, with some of the posts being among the most widely read articles on the company’s portal. However, it takes time to help the senior people develop their communication skills, which leads me to the topic of the 3rd post in this series: should senior managers be blogging at all?