Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why not to blog . . . or how to do it

On this post by B. L. Ochman, we find "10 Reasons Your Company Shouldn't Blog," mainly focused on her advice that CEOs shouldn't blog.

I especially enjoyed this comment by Mark Brooks:

CEOs time is extremely precious. The best way to extract a blog out of a CEO, and keep it colloquial is to interview them twice a week, then transcribe, then edit to something interesting. The time impact to the CEO should be 10 minutes per interview. Transcription and editing and posting time an additional ~60 minutes per interview.

Whew, fortunately, I never had this advice when I started this whole thing two years ago. I might never have started. But at least if I followed Mr. Brooks' approach, someone on my staff would know what is going to be posted before they read it here.

But, poor misled Mr. Brooks, thinking CEO time is precious. In fact, it is the least valuable time in an organization if things are working right. And, if things are not working right, it is even less valuable.

13 comments:

Heal Spieler said...

Thanks so much for linking my blog! I feel honored. I love reading your blog, because it's a good way for me to keep up on the "big picture" of administering quality care, while I work on improving my medical skills on a more "micro" level.
Adina

Anonymous said...

My (former) hospital's CEO has a weekly publication similar to a blog but more along the lines of 'thought for the day'. Some of these were very eloquent and thought-provoking. When I wrote him once to compliment him on the quality of his writing, he confessed that "the ideas are mine", but he has a professional write it. Then I was po'ed that he was using hospital money on essentially a public relations ploy instead of on patient care, plus the implicit dishonesty.
In contrast, I can tell your writing is your own - but does it really take 2-4 hours to craft a post?!!
And ps you are sooo right about the CEO's time - it's the making things work right that earns your $$. Keep up the good work!

nonlocal

adamg said...

And, if things are not working right, it is even less valuable.

Unless you work in an industry where you might be a former colleague of the treasury secretary, in which case it could prove to be quite valuable.

Oh, wait, you're talking about the good of the organization here, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

is that what you tell them during your own contract negotiations?

jmg said...

Keep blogging dont listen to the twits you are as important as everyone else anyway i like your blog it makes me think there are decent people up there. I've always thought everyone in the hospital should help care for the patients. As a patient my fav people were the tea ladies.

B.L. Ochman said...

Happy to inspire your post, but compelled to point out that it's Ms, not Mr. :>)

I am happy to find your blog, which had escaped my purview somehow.

CEO time spent interacting with customers is the most valuable time of all. Blog on.

Paul Levy said...

Thanks, fixed it!

Marianne said...

And the fact that the hospital employees get an unfiltered view of what's on your mind and on your priority list...priceless.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the statement above made by b.i. ochman saying “CEO time spent interacting with customers is the most valuable time of all.”

John Shook said a manager has two objectives:

1. Get each person to take initiative to solve problems and improve his or her job

2. Ensure each person’s job is aligned to provide value for the customer and prosperity for the company.

CEO time with the patient does not accomplish these objectives. Programs like SPIRIT and encouraging transparency are what it is all about. Great work Paul.

nasov said...

It's going to be so interesting in a hundred years -- I can picture somebody publishing (whatever that will mean) your blog in celebration of a hospital anniversary or some such. Will they understand how different this was in its time? How will they view the transparency debate and the union debate? What will they think about the handwashing campaign -- that we were savages? Maybe they'll just ask "What were the Yankees?"

e-Patient Dave said...

B.L., it's great to see you here!

So, what's up with this advice not to blog?? I'd agree in the case where someone really doesn't have anything to say and doesn't have a clue how to write engagingly - is that normally the case?

I gotta agree, though, with Paul's view that in an excellent organization the CEO's time (though "valuable" in a compensation sense) isn't producing any value on the front line. I still adhere to Robert Townsend's view in the 1960s classic Up the Organization that the CEO's job is to set direction, then carry water for the team and get out of the way.

And whaddaya mean a good blog requires skilled programming? A fabulously cool one can have great programming but I think all Paul wants is a free megaphone, which Blogspot provides. Yes?

Thanks for dropping in!

Jason Nesbit said...

I am a Management Fellow at a 400-bed hospital in the mid-west. I am just begining to learn about the C-Suite and one thing I have observed is that a CEO is very busy. Whether you see your time as "precious" or not, I am sure it is difficult to find the time to make these posts. I appreciate your dedication to the blog. I often feel that I can learn more over a lunch hour of reading your blog than I did the entire morning prior sitting in meetings. Thank you. From a non-BIDMC employee--thank you!

Douglas said...

No question, a CEO's time IS Valuable.

And you are using some of yours to set a tone and example that you, as the head and leader of the organization, are open, thoughtful, and accessible, and that those are attributes/values that are important to you and, by extension, to the organization.

Bravo.