Internal Blogs as a Management Tool
I may be coming late to the party and only just catching up, but it occurs to me that blogs could be (are?) an incredibly powerful internal management tool.
Here’s one way I could see it working. There is a blog to which, initially at least, only partners have access. The managing partner (firm leader / practice group leader, whatever you want) could blog regularly about what’s going on in the firm / practice, not just restricted to the formal announcement of new business wins and losses, but actually addressing issues of interest to partners, answering candidly, and allowing partners (anonymously if necessary) to pose questions to firm leadership about what is happening and why things are happening the way they are.
As firms get larger, more dispersed and more complex, the disaffection of partners (in professions and businesses of all kinds) is becoming more evident. I get calls all the time enquiring about my availability to consult on the issue of partners’ unhappiness and their feeling that they are treated like employees in an increasingly corporate culture.
Of course, this feeling exists because it is accurate – partners ARE treated like employees, and a blog would be a way to involve them, provide interactivity and participation, resulting in the feeling of ownership that all firms say they want their partners to feel.
When partners (and other people) say they want more or better internal communication in firms, it doesn’t actually mean that they want to hear more from firm leadership (although that’s how it is usually translated.) What it actually means is that people want to be listened to more – they want the chance to voice their views and to have management take them seriously. Internal blogs would allow this.
Professional firms (along with other types of corporate entities) always SAY they want to be consultative and participative, but the truth is that often managers in such firms are often terrified of participation. They would be frightened of what would be seen as open dialogue and discussion of firm management issues (horrors – open dissent!) However, there probably could be no better way to re-energize today’s bloated partnerships than using today’s technology to engage, enthuse and involve the partners.
And one day – who knows? – firms might act as if non-partners were real citizens, too.
Are any firms out there doing this already?