CIOs run a lot of meetings with their own employees, explaining, encouraging, reminding about some type of transformation underway. Is that good?
I recently spoke to several who frequently hold town hall-type forums with their folks who are distributed around the globe. In describing their efforts, these CIOs sounded a bit exhausted, perhaps jet lagged, from traveling around to reinforce their messages about strategy, their own philosophy, upcoming changes, and so on. One of them mentioned holding 30 of these per year at locations around the world. That's a ton of travel - and that's just the portion spent talking to employees! Never mind customers, vendors, or industry peers.
Instead of running around like a chicken (and by the time you loop back to the first group, they have forgotten what you sound like directly anyway), why not start running a virtual conversation inside the company? Yeah, that's a blog. Why not combine that with a link to a podcast of your town meeting speech?
I can't find much online about named CIOs who blog with and to their staffs, although many comment (sometimes anonymously) in public blogs. Maybe they don't want outsiders to know about what they are doing inside the organization.
So if you've not attempted blogging internally and you are devoting a large portion of your air travel to internal meetings, give this a shot. Cut out at least 20-25 per cent of your trips. Then once a week, instead of going to a meeting, sit down and think about what you'd like to say if you were having a short conversation with just a few folks.
What are some possible topics for a blog entry? Remember a question you've been asked lately and offer an answer. Remind people that change takes a long time. Remind them how much you value what they've done. Promote a recent project. Generalize a concern that you think others share - like worries about the economy or recent executive changes.
Solicit comments. Ask a staffer to help sort through them if the volume is high. And do it again next week - pushing out a link to your blog with other communications and updates. Even if no one responds, they hear you. Call and ask folks what they think.
This 'social' part of social computing and networking (IM is another) may be a way to flatten a steep or distributed hierarchy for just a moment and speak directly -- person to team and person to person.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.