How’s your blog doing?
That’s a question I get frequently and I fumble for a good answer. Normally I mention that my readership seems to increase every month and leave it at that.
But the question – and my fumbled answer – are a constant reminder I’ve never established any objectives for this blog. As such, I can’t really monitor progress and there’s no way of knowing whether the number of page views is a useful metric or not.
On a recent transcontinental flight, I decided to take a dose of my own medicine and apply performance management principles to this blog. Using my jumpstart methodology, I started by choosing a mission statement; the overall goal I’m trying to achieve. It turns out this was the key to the entire exercise. While many blogs only provide commentary on things the author reads, I want to provide original content as well.
Mission: To provide a trusted source of performance management information and an interactive discussion of recent developments.
Seems simple, right? But I struggled with several words. Originally, I used the word ‘recommendations’ rather than ‘information’ because I wanted to acknowledge that my views are intrinsically biased, even though I rarely provide vendor-specific content. I went with information as a reminder to stay balanced; there are other valid opinions out there.
I also added the word ‘interactive’ after the first draft. Most blogs are communication devices and have little collaboration. I would like this blog to be more interactive but so far comments are limited to a few people and entries. I didn’t add ‘interactive’ at first because I’m not sure how to make it happen. Of course, that’s completely the wrong reason. I sense a red KPI coming and the need for a specific initiative.
Even with those tweaks, something felt missing. Shouldn’t I add some words that reinforced that lots of people would be reading the blog? I don’t want to be the proverbial tree falling in the forest. After thinking about it for a long time, I decided that number of views isn’t a critical characteristic for me. Views is an ego metric. I value quality over quantity.
From here, the next step is to define strategic objectives that support this mission. Rather than jumping to that step, I decided to test the mission on my customers… you, the reader. Let me know what you think in the comments.
I know this isn’t Jeopardy and these aren’t answers in the form of questions.
How important is direct response to blog entries?
Certainly if it moves the discussion forward. Comments seem to grow in direct proportion to controversial and critical opinions. Though, in those cases, the response reflects Newton’s third law of equal and opposite reaction. Thus, much sound and fury signifying nothing.
My observation is that some of the better comments don’t usually appear in a blog, but in the blogs of others who extend or expand on those themes and ideas in their own blogs.
How can you increase comments that come in the form of other blogs referring or linking to your topic?
How to you get broader linkage or referrals from areas or blogs beyond those with a performance management focus?
Is there some goal you are trying to acheive, beyond your stated mission? I am reminded of Marshall Goldsmith’s 21st Habit (from his book What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There) about Goal Obsession. Goal obsession is not a flaw, it’s a creator of flaws. He describes it as a force that distorts our otherwise exemplary talents and good intentions and turns them into something we no longer admire.
I was in a session you taught on Balanced Scorecard last year and one of the points that you made was that the mission stmt shouldn’t be two objectives pushed together unless there is a natural trade-off between them. Doesn’t seem like you’re following your own advice.
I have a great deal of appreciation for the thinking that I know as Becher’s. It includes always evaluating self, viewing with an inquiring mind and always with very good clarity. It offers the fresh perspective of willing to be proven wrong. Yes, information is more respectful than recommendation. My clarity meter says that the first half is right on, but the second isn’t quite you yet.
Well, you caught my attention… hope all is well with you, Mr. Becher. The Shuey Family says hello and well done.
Thanks for all of your comments. Maybe the KPI I create for “discussions” won’t be red after all!
I think you all have valid points and I’m working on updating my mission statement. Right now, I’m leaning towards ‘top of mind’ to get at the audience issue but not yet sure how I’m going to merge the two objectives into one mission.
Since I’ve met you in December 07 I’ve read many of your entries, not all past entries yet. Each of them inspired a comment or so from me but i didn’t take the time to write. Why? who knows? The point is your entries made me think. How can I apply a quote or other to what I do? Since we work together you know that I am not a VP or anyone else in strategy. I am operations and all that that entails. I like to think that your blog and others who write of similar content write to affect the ‘doers’, those on the front lines so to speak. (So I’m not in sales, but i used to be.)
Your blog provides one way to get out and walk around. Its refreshing that mgmt (esp at SAP) post raw or uncensored ideas/thoughts. It demonstrates how thought is formed. What goes in to your strategic counsel?
I like that you thought of a mission, but really is that necessary? 🙂 Some points that i don’t think you can measure (but maybe you can figure out a way)
1) The fact that your blog forces you to succintly describe an idea or a notion.
2) That the entrry once posted is out there for anyone to take ahold whether its linked to or commented on is a minor point.
3) Implementation of the ideas by others you may never know
4) Executive thought without being published in a book and censored by a billion parties
5) The soft side of manage by walking around. perhaps your employees read your entries. I read my bosses and find it enlightening though I talk to him every day.
To your point about commenting: I’m not really shy but even I get weirded out commenting on blogs on which i don’t know the readership.
that’s it for now. 🙂
Welcome to the interactive dialogue! You make some excellent points; we’ll turn you into a performance management specialist yet. My point isn’t to measure everything but rather to know which measurements are important.
While I know that not everyone will comment, even if they were affected by a particular post, just the fact that I spent time thinking about my objectives clarified to my own mind why I create this blog. And that makes me focus on specific topics and avoid others. So, it’s increased my own performance, even if I can’t measure it.