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Lessons from the Upgrade Trenches

Thoughts on Executive Blogs

One of the cool things I get to do at EMC is talk with people about the tools that are available to them, both via EMC ONE or in the “outside world” and how they might use these tools to accomplish their goals. In recent weeks, I have spent a great deal of time talking with some very passionate and interested EMC executives who would like to blog on ONE to share their own experiences, goals and perspectives with the vast EMC employee population.


As I have met with these folks, some recurring themes continue to emerge in the conversations. I have captured the top 3 below (more to come soon) along with my advice to them.


Please jump in with your own advice, experiences and lessons learned, too.


Time and energy or How much time are we talking here?

 

As we know, executives are busy, busy, busy. Not only are they the face of the company in all that they do, but they are in high demand for just about everything because of this. Every activity or meeting they choose to participate in comes at a cost of not doing something else, or turning someone else’s request away. Blogging is no different.


The typical first reaction when an executive is thinking of blogging is to compare themselves to any of the well-known and more prolific bloggers at EMC or another company and think that they have to live up to those same standards for their blog with the same frequency of posts, level of responsiveness, interactions, dialogue and debates. This is simply not true, and anyone diving into something as new as blogging is to some of these folks would instantly feel overwhelmed with that kind of expectation right out of the gate.  


My advice –

Set realist expectations for yourself. How often do you hope to post? Is that reasonable given your schedule? Start by setting a realistic goal for frequency of posts, and if you’re available more often, then that’s great. Don’t be afraid to change your goal if it’s not working for you. This is your blog, and it only needs to be as often as it is comfortable for you to do it – consider once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month as a starting point.


Commitment or How long am I going to be doing this?

 

Nobody likes to fail. Plain and simple. Starting a blog for some people implies that it must go on forever, with no end in sight. The thought of not being able to sustain it sometimes brings about thoughts of failure.


This is really sad for me when I hear this because blogging, in my mind, is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be something you enjoy. It’s supposed to help you de-stress, not make you feel trapped into doing something forever or risk being viewed as a failure.


My advice –

Go into this blogging adventure with an open mind. Do it as often and as long as it is enjoyable and works for you. Do not let it become a source of stress. Instead, let it become another, very valuable means of communicating to people you are trying to reach in a different way. Never, never, never go into it thinking “If I can’t sustain this, I’ve failed.” Some people are natural bloggers and writers, while others are not. That’s ok. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. We’re only human, after all.


Authenticity or Can’t someone else write my posts for me?

 

Back to the time constraints and considerations…Given that time is an invaluable asset in the lives of executives, one of the questions that comes up often is the idea of having a ghost writer for blog posts. “I can have someone else, who knows me and what I do well, write my posts and I’ll just post them. That’s how I’ll get around the time issue.” That’s what they do for their other communications, so the feeling is that it’ll work well for blogging, too. 


No-No-No. No-No.


Not only is this against the authenticity that is at the very heart of blogging, it complicates things incredibly. Elaborate plans and schemes have to be concocted in order to sustain this, and many people have to do the right things at the right time in order for it to work. Not only that, responses to comments and questions become crazy to handle – who’s responding to what? What if they say something other than what you would have said? Then what? Do you correct them? Do you add your own comments? And what happens then? And on, and on, and on…


My advice –

Keep it real, and keep it you. Do not start a blog just because it’s cool. Do it because you want to, for whatever amount of time it works, and do it because you’re committed to doing it authentically. Think of the reasons why you want to start a blog, one of which I’m pretty sure is because you want to connect with and communicate with people, right? Well, this is your chance to let them hear from you. Share what you want them to hear from you.


More themes to come soon…

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