Lee's 'Better Communication Results' blog

A blog to help YOU communicate better for better business results!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Communicating with intent: The importance of earnestly being

Reading a few posts on this morning's bus ride to the city, I am struck by the locquacity of some of my peers.

I loved Pete Shinback's views on why CEOs don't transition from the dining table to the bedroom; Shel clearly and aptly (again and as always) highlights the difference between strategy and tactics -- blogs are great but they may not be the answer to your question, it depends on what question you are asking and why.

For example, one of my clients has no formal KM (knowledge management) plan at all. So, I will forward them a copy of Suw Charman's case study on a pharmaceutical company who has introduced blogs (without calling them blogs) as a KM tool, with what would appear some success.

Similarly, another company I am acquainted with has a bunch of employees who are flat out trying to get all their work done in order to meet their tight KPIs. They are probably going to find it hard to introduce blogs as a KM tool, simply because no one has the time to a) learn the software, or b) time to post. The company needs to look at it processes and its staffing levels before it can consider the luxury of blogs.

From what I can tell, anecdotally, there is a 'take-up' rate of around 10% for internal blogging -- that is, around 10% of the workforce will go to the trouble of setting up their own blog and regularly posting to it.

Sure, the numbers may vary from one company to the next -- there will always be outliers -- but from what I can tell the engagement rate with blogs is probably a fair indication of the engagement level of employees; the happier you are at work the more likely you are to want to contribute to the company's pool of knowledge. The more unhappy you are, the less likely you are to contribute by blogging -- and only an employee with a 'fire me' wish is going to slag off their employer (for everyone to see) within their own company walls (as Chris Hannegan quite rightly points out - and hat tip to Neville).

Now, it is the rare employer indeed who can boast a workforce of more than 50% who are pro-actively engaged, who are looking for ways to make a positive difference to the company.

Championing 'blogs' as the salve for all of your KM needs is somewhat presumptuous at best and downright unethical at worst. But for the 'stars' within your company who WANT to contribute, who WANT to be part of the success of the company, blogs may well be a great outlet for them.

And if senior management join in the conversation (even though the conversation will often appear a one-way monologue -- how many interal blog posts actually get comments to them? Not many, I would guess) then even better -- any grass-roots initiative embraced and encouraged by senior leadership has a better chance of success.

More to follow once I have digested two of Amy's contentious posts (and the other one is about her very lucky husband!)...

Update: have corrected the link to Suw's study