Blogging As A Communications Tool For Internal Executive Relationships
It's great to see the weight put into communications methods that contribute to stronger business relationships. However, when a technology tools are squeezed into every aspect of a business, we often overlook those skills that really create lasting results. After all, many of the great leaders in our business world today, didn't have half the technology currently available.
Andrew Carnegie managed thousands of employees without a blog, or even a computer. Benjamin Franklin traveled the world sharing his message, created followers, before he even discovered electricity. Every culture has examples of great and powerful leaders that didn't have anything more than their own voice to share the messages that persuaded millions.
Perhaps people hope that new technology will help them rise above others, but the truth is, it's the person and their relationships that create greatness.
Blogging is being investigated as a new profit generating tool for business, that allows them to reach all corners of their customer base. A tool originally designed to facilitate project management went mainstream as a personal publishing tool, and is now being called back to the business world.
In Ellen McCarthy's Making Blogs More Than Just What's for Dinner (Washington Post) she explores a meeting of business professionals who are looking at blogging as a tool to reach their customers, inspire their employees, and build a better business. Before your company tries blogging as a marketing tool, consider it's value to improve internal relationships-- especially those relationships that connect the executive circle with every employee.
Benefits of internal executive blogging:
Helps establish a uniform understanding in a disbursed company. As an executive you can present one message to all employees, if well presented this means one vision over a company that doesn't see much of its parts. Anything you can deliver over the Internet can be reference by a blog.
Shares dry corporate details in a personal forum without filling mailboxes. Instead of a company-wide memo, a single weblog entry on the Intranet can be read by all employees. Going a step further, readers can enter their comments and questions to be answered by the appropriate department.
Encourages contextual links that make the message more meaningful. Instead of repeating background information, web logs encourage contextual linking of background information. Comments are encouraged, referencing archival materials is easier than paper communications.
If useful to the intended readers it strengths relationship value. Content must be of value to the reader, and when it is, it contributes to stronger relationships with no geographical constraints. You can create a unified message for a geographically dispersed organization at the cost of only your time.
Helps disconnected employees share information with each other. Web logs are easy to publish through a browser and can be hosted anywhere. No matter where your employees are located, they can read and publish your your company weblog internally. Lessons learned at your small branch in Bangkok can benefit a larger London office.
Be selective about the medium used. Some messages are better to deliver face-to-face (video) or verbally to retain an emotional connection (audio). Not every post on a weblog needs to be only text, include anything relevant to the meaning of your message.
Still invest in the relationships close to your responsibilities. Never let technology replace great interpersonal communications, strong peer bonds, and the strengthening of relationship with those to whom you interact. If you hide behind carefully crafted messages you'll lose respect and your message becomes sterile. Be seen, be heard, be personable.
Use the weblog to convey factors that shape your company. Convey vision, social norms, expectations, positive improvements, and ongoing corporate status as content for your weblog. These areas shape the actions of your employees, regular clear messages in this area will help people grow the company.
Balance your communications strategy letting the weblog support face-to-face interactions. Help readers feel connected to face-to-face activities that they may not have privilege to attend, or may have missed. Tell your readers where you've been and why it's important to the progress of the organization.
Convey a common message to those who are responsible for action. Speak directly with your audience, share factors of influence and ask them for the action you desire. Creating a common message about vision, corporate short term goals, customer service, and acceptable practice must be relevant to those who are responsible for action.
Help employees understand your true motivations. Take time to help employee understand your passion for what the company does and how it helps the customer. Create a culture of improvement around the core principles of the organization.
Before you do anything, seek to improve your own communications skills. No matter want medium you use to share a message with others, if your message isn't well constructed you might as well scream at a wall. Technology tools only amplify your message, they don't necessarily improve it.