Heres the article, I'll post more about it later when I get back from coffee with my wife.
CNN article on CEO blogging (with Jonathan Schwartz of Sun Microsystems).
Alright, coffee is delayed, so I have some time to go into this a bit more. First off, let me point out that I am not, nor have I ever been a CEO. The opinions I have are from standing back and looking at my own thoughts and feelings, and those that have been expressed to me by others.
What are some of the largest problems facing CEOs today?
- CEO disconnect between employees and society at large.
- Inability to influence through the organizational cloud.
- Reliance on traditional forms of communication.
The traditional CEO in so many ways is seen as that man/woman at the top of the organization. Who can relate to them? Who trusts what they say? (since they are just about the Benjamins right?) Who understand where they are going? Why are the only people that really seem to get them are the board of directors?
It is quite funny, but think about this mind-set that many have about CEOs. First off, what does it take to get to that position? How many strings must they hold without letting any slip? Who must you please? (The only people more difficult to please than employees are share holders). Can you perform ethically day after day when you have your board and shareholders demanding one thing while your employees try to push you towards another? Is it easy to be corporate cheer leader day in and day out even when things don't go your way?
The fact of the matter is that a very few CEOs out of the many have undertaken actions that drag the position down. The rest seem to suffer from the inability to differentiate themselves from that group. How is that to be done? Sure, there are always speaking engagements, the occasional article, etc. That does little to decrease the gulf that exists between CEOs and employees or customers.
Seth Godin states in his blog that CEOs should beware the blog unless they have certain characteristics: Candor, Urgency, Timeliness, Pithiness and Controversy. If they don't have that, then "don't bother" (blogging).
I agree in part with that, but well, only in part. First off, I think that almost any attempt at communication (within limits) is better than none. Even a "boring" unpleasant CEO can sit down with somebody that has PR skills and understands what the CEO wants and put together a little piece a few times a week. Sure, it wouldn't exactly be straight from the horses mouth, but we use coaching in every other area of the organization so why wouldn't it be a benefit to the CEO to receive the same attention?
In this day and age with the technology that we have there isn't much reason for a CEO to neglect the tools at hand. By utilizing a blog (and/or podcast!) a CEO is able to take her message directly to the people that want to hear it and justify who she is, what she does, and what her goals are. Many people cannot identify with a CEO and exactly what it is they do. I for one wouldn't mind if CEOs went on a PR compaign to bring the integrity and respect back to the role.
Seth is a brilliant guy, and I think that he is right in many ways. However, instead of just saying "I dont have some of those attributes" and giving up... realize what you are lacking and find someone that can help you with it. My take is: blogging is here to stay so take advantage of it.