Succeeding in today's economy requires lighting-fast reflexes and the ability to communicate and collaborate across the globe.
Communicating and collaborating well does not have to drain your energy and creativity by spending extended hours engaging in regional and global telephone conferences and exchanging many email messages. Using new technology, like blogs, wisely can allow you to show and tell colleagues in other parts of the company and the world what you are working on without having to be present. Just allow yourself and your associates to shift your attention from supervision to collaboration over internal and external networks.
A blog is a web page made up of usually short, frequently updated posts that are arranged chronologically—like a what's new page or a journal. The content and purposes of blogs varies greatly—from links and commentary about other web sites, to news about a company/person/idea, to diaries, photos, poetry, mini-essays, project updates, even fiction.
Many blogs are personal, "what's on my mind" type musings. Others are collaborative efforts based on a specific topic or area of mutual interest. Some blogs are for play. Some are for work. Some are both.
Blogs are also excellent team/department/company/family communication tools. They help small groups communicate in a way that is simpler and easier to follow than email or discussion forums. Use a private blog on an intranet to allow team members to post related links, files, quotes, or commentary. Set up a family blog where relatives can share personal news. A blog can help keep everyone in the loop, promote cohesiveness and group culture, and provide an informal "voice" of a project or department to outsiders.
There's growing anecdotal evidence about the grassroots impact blogs can have on leadership.
The rules of thumb for assessing leadership illustrate the importance of taking the pulse of followers through interactive conversations in order to stay in attunement with them. If the critical mass of thinking within followers is more complex than proposed leadership, that leadership can only take control through intimidation or force. Once it grasps power, the more complex thinkers will go into hiding, exile or premature graves. Revolution will certainly be on the horizon.
Internet guru Dave Weinberger says blogs are a growing force in commerce because they provide a more powerful voice to individuals. "If companies allow their employees to blog, [they] have the opportunity of engaging their customer in the sort of genuine conversations that build real customer loyalty."
The ever-shifting cultural and commercial tides cause continual adjustments in our approaches. What was once trusted (government, big corporations) are now suspect. What was taken for granted (truth in advertising) is now subject to lawsuits and fines, even reviews by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The continual erosion of trust and truth are giving rise not to the marketing machines but to authenticity. Authenticity spreads virally, especially through the Internet. Authenticity for old school marketers is hard because it's their job to stage, craft, and simulate. Today, it's not selling so well.
Sources: BusinessWeek, October 3, 2005, "Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change" by Don Edward Beck and Christopher C. Cowan (Blackwell Publishing) and Creating Customer Evangelists at: https://www.customerevangelists.com