Thursday, August 7, 2008

A blogging CEO

Yesterday, I had a great chat with my CEO, Phil Kerr about blogging. Phil is very interested in having a blog and has already set one up, but it hasn't engaged staff in the way he had hoped.

What do I want to know about my CEO?

I have been thinking about why I would read Phil's blog. In a lot of ways, he is very removed from me. I beaver away every day and am directly managed by a number of people who have the power to say whether I have a job or not, and define what that job is. I only go to see Phil at staff forums when there's discussions about funding and job losses, which I should point out is my choice.

Phil has worked very hard to make himself as available as he can in various forums but I generally choose not to engage in those forums because I lazily wait for news to filter its way down the various levels to me. So, to me, 'Phil' is a nebulous concept as opposed to a real person.

Why should a CEO blog?
I had a check around to see what people thought of Phil's blog and to get some advice for him. The unanimous feeling was that people, staff in particular, were really interested in hearing more about Phil's personal thoughts, plans and experiences as opposed to official business. And that is how I feel. I want to know more about the man who 'leads' me and indirectly has such a huge impact on my working life, my career, my professional hopes and dreams. And in turn, I want him to get to know more about me.

Tips for a newbie blogging CEO
We talked about what Phil would like to achieve in his blog and both acknowledged that it is probably better for him to start afresh with a blog that takes a much more personal approach. There will be a number of issues he will need to address such as privacy, disclosure and time, but they are no different for a CEO as a stay-at-home mum. There are a number of examples of CEOs who blog that may be helpful, and my advice would be to keep things simple.

I suggested that initially Phil's new blog should have the following features:
  • Short, pithy title and sentence explaining what the blog is about.
  • Profile explaining who Phil is, with a casual photo.
  • RSS feed so that people can subscribe to the blog, either through a reader or email.
Blogging is more than writing
I also think that media other than text, such as audio and video would suit Phil's communication and life style. He thinks on the move and is a two finger typist. So I think that recording his thoughts as he goes and then publishing them in an audio file will work well for Phil.

Finally, and probably the most important thing I would say is that blogging isn't just a one way process. Blogging is about connecting with other people in their blogs and taking part in conversations. So if Phil wants to make a success of his blog, he's going to have to take some time to connect with people in their blogs. And the blogs of the staff of Otago Polytechnic will be a great place to start.

Supporting each other in our blogs
Phil has promised me that he will look at starting his new blog in the next week, so I hope we will all support him and give him lots of encouragement. I for one am really looking forward to seeing how he goes.

Some resources for a newbie blogger
PS: To staff of Otago Polytechnic
If you have a blog, please add it to this page on Wikieducator so we have an up to date list to refer to.

Image: 'Happy Beaver' sherseydc


Carolyn said...

Well done Sarah. I know that Phil is a person with lots of energy and enthusiasm for Otago Polytechnic and I don't think that comes across in his blog currently. I look forward to seeing how he sees the concept of blogging now, thanks to you.

infomidwife said...

this is a great idea Sarah, I might suggest this idea to our CEO. I think it is important to see the personal side to our CEO's not just the offical one. I will be intrested to see how this progresses.

Sarah Stewart said...

To be fair, Carolyn, Phil is very motivated and knowledgeable about blogs- I didn't say anything that he didn't already know. I'm sure, it's like us all, it's just getting around to starting and getting into a blogging routine.

Infomidwife: Please do say something to your CEO. There's some fantastic stories about how blogging has helped CEOs to develop their business and build relationships with their workers. The other major issue is that it is being a role model, which in education is a powerful teaching tool, especially if (as a CEO) you are trying to raise digital literacy skills amongst teaching staff.

Sarah Stewart said...

Here's a great article about this very topic.