AT the World Economic Forum annual meeting that kicked off today in Davos, Switzerland, some 800 corporate bosses are being encouraged to blog, according to the Economist.
“I’m not suggesting that big public companies can’t benefit from more transparency, better customer relationship management, and less corporate brand speak. I just don’t see the kind of raw communication that made the blogosphere what it is (for better and worse) translating directly to big corporate communications. Big companies can take inspiration from the best of blogging and try to evolve in that direction, but in a post-Enron, post-Worldcom world, I’m don’t want CEOs of companies I’m invested in embracing “fast and loose.”
His is an interesting and perfectly understandable perspective. And while I don’t believe that any blogger should embrace “fast and loose,” I certainly understand why CEOs and other higher-ups should refrain from it.
Passion is the secret sauce to successful CEO blogs
But I disagree wholeheartedly that CEOs of big companies cannot blog. To me, bloggers — like great CEOs — are born not made.
They have a passion for their companies, and nothing will keep them from sharing it — even on a blog.
Or Bill at Marriott, who at age 74 still visits 250 of his company’s hotels each year. That’s passion. That’s someone investors can believe in. He never has to talk about the numbers or skate anywhere near Reg. FD territory. It’s ALL about passion for the company and what it does.
So, yes, if your CEO is like this Fortune 50 boss who was overhead by New York Times writer Andrew Ross Sorkin at a fast food restaurant in Davos yesterday, then definitely keep him or her away from the “publish” button.
But if they love what they do, if they can’t stop talking about the company and they believe that part of a CEO’s job is to communicate, then give them a damn blog already.
Update: I forgot to mention Seth Godin‘s 2004 classic on CEO blogging and the six things that a blog needs that most CEOs don’t have. He missed passion (or perhaps that fits under candor).