I have to admit there’s even more to it than my personal lifestance. This same reasoning applies to my cheerleading for organisational blogging, whether it’s inside the firewall or across it.
The questions are the same for any organisation, particularly those whose primary functions are the creation, nurturing, collation and dissemination of ideas, aka knowledge-based organisations aka the greater part of the ‘developed’ economy.
“Who are we?” and “Who do we choose to be today?” “Who do we think we are?” and “What do other people see in us and the things we do?”
This is day-to-day strategic management. There is a textbook view that success depends on developing vision statements and mission statements and cascading management by objectives. Most managers have a different experience. The comply with the performance management systems, because that’s part of their job. But when it comes down to it, these are the questions they really have to answer day in, day out.
What are we trying to do here? Why do we do it? How do we do it? How don’t we do it? How do we know when we’re doing well? How would we like to be seen by our customers, suppliers, competitors and collaborators? How do we measure up to that ideal? What can we do that gets us further towards that ideal?
As a manager, these questions ring truer than any checklist in a management handbook, but how do we answer them? For the brave organisation and the brave employee, blogs can answer these questions, by allowing people to engage in a conversation that goes “This is what I think we’re trying to do here”, “Well I think that’s baloney, it’s like this”, “Hey, perhaps there’s another way of looking at this”. Now in the past, those conversations have gone on in people’s heads or gathered around the water-cooler/coffee-machine. But to deal with the fact that physical proximity to one’s colleagues is no longer a given, we need new ways to do this, to chew the fat, to check ourselves out, to work out what to do today. That’s what you can use blogs for – whether the person who thinks it’s baloney is ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ your organisation.
And just as personal blogging requires an ability to deal with the anxiety of putting yourself on the line and the maturity to accept others as they are, so corporate blogging requires levels of honesty and tolerance that most organisations just just aren’t used to having out in the open. Trouble is, the best way of encouraging these quailities is to explore our own dishonesty and intolerance and gently expose that of others – and that’s really, really hard – it’s going to take a while.
Can you tell, I’m having a slack work period at the moment? Hire me! and get this brain working on your knotty problems.