If the CEO can't blog, should they still be CEO?

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"The PR department must take its hands off the blog in order for it to work properly - no fake blog entries written for the CEO, and no vetting posts before they go live. (If your CEO cannot be trusted, even after being trained in how to blog legally and sensibly, not to drop clangers in the posts he writes, then he should not be blogging.)" - posting at CEO Bloggers Club

Also: "In order to blog well, they also have to be the right CEOs - straight-shooters, engaging and with interesting things to say. Sun Microsystems' Jonathan Schwartz is a great one, as are Thomas Nelson Publishers' Michael Hyatt and Five Across CEO Glenn Reid."

Schwartz isn't the CEO at Sun, but he does have his own views - published recently in HBR: "If You Want to Lead, Blog." Says Schwartz:

Many senior executives at Sun, including me, have blogs which can be read by anyone, anywhere in the world. We discuss everything from business strategy to product development to company values. We host open letters from the outside, and we openly respond to them. We talk about our successes. And our mistakes (if you don’t believe me, go to http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/jonathan?entry=dear_john).

That may seem risky. But I’d argue that it’s riskier not to have a blog. Remember not long ago when CEOs would ask their assistants to print outtheir email for them to read, and then they’d dictate responses to be typewritten and sent via snail mail? Where are those leaders now? (Thelast of my contacts of that breed just retired.) Ten years from now, most of us will communicate directly with our customers, employees and the wider community through blogs. For executives, having a blog is not going to be a matter of choice, any more than using email is today. If you're not part of the conversation others will speak on your behalf, and I'm not talking about your employees.

So the question is this: if your CEO can't blog, should she still be CEO? What I'm asking is if your CEO cannot communicate in real time, but needs a PR machine to do her messaging, is she really CEO material?

Now there are CEOs who could blog, but don't. I'm sure Bill Gates would love to blog, but I suspect his lawyers won't let him.

Blogging is becoming, in some ways, a test for company transparency. Speaking of which, why aren't the big boys at Google blogging yet? Bill Gates- you can beat them to this one!

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This page contains a single entry by Christian Sarkar published on November 9, 2005 12:19 PM.

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