Sometimes you make mistakes, but when you do, what do you learn from them?
I've gotten a fair amount of feedback (and a fair amount of fallout) on my post (since modified) about Microsoft logo policy.
I admit, initially, I made a mistake and violated the trust of some of my colleagues by showing poor judgment in posting an internal email.
Bad call. Mea culpa.
The good thing (if being made uncomfortable by negative feedback and flame mail is a good thing 😉 is that it's forced me to think a lot not only about what I hope to accomplish through the blog, but also HOW I hope to accomplish it.
Ultimately, it's the the question of how to stimulate valuable conversation without starting fights or violating trust.
It’s something I struggle with a lot and there’s a fine line.
On the one hand, I am VERY passionate about this company and what we can do for customers and partners (otherwise, I wouldn’t be here).
On the other hand, I want to be an advocate for positive change.
To do that, one needs, I believe, to create a forum for conversation and challenge people to move out of their comfort zones.
This is the essence of blogging.
And blogging by its nature requires an open, honest, authentic approach which may, on occasion, “make Microsoft look bad.”
However, in the long run, the willingness to be open about where MS “looks bad,” will build significantly stronger relationships with partners and customers that contribute to community, better communication, better products and services and thus, ultimately, “make us look very good.”
This is the paradigm shift we are in the midst of.
I am not trying to excuse what was poor judgment on the particular post. It's a philosophy that, in a (cliché coming) “Web 2.0 world” is a pre-requisite for the nature of the communication/relationship that customers and partners expect/deserve from a corporate entity.
That's the strategy, sometimes the execution needs refinement (clearly, so please keep the feedback coming)
However, the idea that a blogger should never be critical of the company or never “make us look bad” is a hallmark, IMHO, of a different era of corporate communications.
The LAST thing I want to be viewed as is someone who resorts to “cheap tricks” for ego gratification or short-term bursts of attention and at the expense of trust.
I’ve been very influenced in my thinking about blogs by a few key books and bloggers, which, if you are familiar with them, may provide some background context.
- www.sethgodin.com and pretty much every book he’s written!
- Cluetrain Manifesto
- Naked Conversations... (written by former MS’er Scoble)
- Citizen Marketers and Church of the Customer blog
- Gaping Void
I am hoping that with the guidance of other MS employees, partners, customers, and an awesome, tolerant, and understanding (at least for now!) manager, I can find the right balance. It's an evolving, but necessary process.
Ultimately, I want to be respected as a thought-leader within the Marketing 2.0 world, both internal and external to MSFT for what I have to say and HOW I say it, all while building bridges, not burning them.
And to be viewed as someone who can deliver real world results (that is revenue) for Microsoft with Marketing 2.0 strategies and tactics.