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Embrace the executive blog

Martha Heller | March 20, 2014
How Michael Smith, CIO of Mylan, used a simple tool to drive a major transformation.

Smith is hardly the only person to use the blog. “The blog has changed the way we communicate as a company,” says Smith.  “Anyone in the company who wants to talk about something has a platform to do it.” In addition to giving voice to employees, the blog helps management understand how well employees are handling change. “With the blog, we can see what employees are thinking about and how the reaction to the transformation is trending,” says Smith. “The blog allows us to be sensitive to our employees and gives us a new level of understanding about our direction.”

A company blog is pretty easy to implement, but harder to sustain. Nina Devlin, VP of Communications, at Mylan, offers some advice:

Prove it: “Some executives embrace writing an executive blog, but others need a lot of encouragement,” says Devlin. “My advice is to show them the results.  When our executives see who is reading the blog, they usually want to post more. We have leaders who embraced the blog once they saw the high level of employee engagement.”

Good enough is good enough: “The blog doesn’t have to be the great American novel,” says Devlin. “The writer just needs to speak from the heart and talk about issues that are meaningful to employees. At first, we had a hard time getting past the notion that 400 people need to vet the blog before we post it. Now, we’ve gotten our executives just to jot down their thoughts and put them out there.”

Be authentic: According to Michael Smith, people who grew up in IT are particularly prone to perfectionism and have the tendency to overthink their blogs. “You need some degree of quality and professionalism,” says Smith, “but if you work on your blog for too long, it will come across as cold and heartless with no emotion or authenticity.”

Stay aligned: But spontaneity should not be confused with shooting from the hip. “Be sure you are aligned with your executive team on what you write,” cautions Smith. “You don’t want the first time your executive peers learn of an issue to be when they read it in your blog.”

Source: CIO


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