Friday, June 01, 2007

Why Do This?

A month or so ago, I got an email from Steve Levy who was going to be on a panel on blogging at the Kennedy Conference in Las Vegas. To prepare, each panel member contacted a number of bloggers and asked them to respond to six questions regarding what they were doing, why they did it, etc., and what impact it had, if any, on their business.

The conference came and went, and while I wasn't able to attend, by all accounts it and the panel of which Steve was a part were both well recieved.

I really hadn't thought about it much since I responded to Steve's request for my thoughts on the subject until today when I noted Kent Blumberg's post on the same subject. In reading Kent's post, and since over time I too have been asked, and as my friends who keep telling me to "get a life" continue to ask me about it, I can save myself some desparately needed time and send them this link. So for all four of you who have asked, not counting immediate family, here's what I sent to Steve:

1. Why do I blog? At first I just thought it might be fun to try since I had not done anything like it before, although since I write an internal newsletter every day that goes to everyone in our company lots of staff members here felt I would find it a natural extension. I also felt it was another channel to communicate with our members and other professionals interested in various aspects of career management at the executive level.

Since we are an organization that has been preaching the value of building a personal and professional network based on members helping each other for the past 19 years, when blogging came along it seemed like another opportunity to try and help as well as learn from others in the field.

2. What do I prefer to blog about? For good or for ill, I have been running around in the career management/HR/Staffing World for more than 45 years. Worse, I have never been known to lack an opinion (although I certainly can’t express them with your clarity or humor). That said, I tend to blog on topics where most of us are still searching for answers (e.g. what is effective leadership really?) or on subjects about which I feel strongly (e.g. education, business and personal ethics). My readers are concerned about a variety of provocative topics (e.g. age discrimination, job security, and compensation.) I try to keep them up to date with what we’re learning from our vantage point. My favorite topics are those that have the potential to really help readers improve their professional lives – even if it’s a tip that just gets them home a half hour earlier or a little saner after a long meeting with their boss.

3. Where does the inspiration come from? Much of it comes from the 45+ years on both sides of the hiring desk and the observations and “learnings” that come from the mistakes we have all made along the way. Much of it also comes from our members. The issues I talk with them about both by phone and email cover the waterfront and often have to do with effective career management in a digital age.

4. Who do I blog for? I approach my blog the same way I approach the networking meetings that we have around the country and in Canada. The blog is a forum that is open to anyone, ExecuNet member or not. Our meetings have always been that way. All we ask is that people come in the spirit of sharing and helping others. The blog is the same as far as I am concerned, it is one of the reasons I like the idea of allowing people to comment and add their own thoughts. One of the factors that make groups such a powerful force in problem-solving is because people bring different sets of experiences to bear. Blogs can be another forum that enables meaningful connections to be made.

5. How has blogging impacted the business/brand, etc.? I honestly don’t know, probably not a lot, although we certainly have received some very nice comments and commentary from many in the blogosphere who feel it makes a contribution, so that is great for the ego. In terms of our business, ever since we started in 1988 the vast majority of our members have come to us by referral, and I’m pleased to say that is still the case, so while it may be that the blog has caused some people to become aware of us who weren’t before, usually they have talked to a current or former member or a search consultant by the time they get to us.

6. When do you find time to blog? Now there’s an issue! Often I don’t and by the time I come up for air, the issue that got me thinking about saying something I sometimes feel is “old news” so I pass. Where folks like you and others on your panel find the time I have no clue, but I stand in awe, that’s for sure. All that said, I usually try to find time at night or on the weekend. It is very hard for me to blog during the business day. I have to find time to put my thoughts together, and for me, that means some quiet time.

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