There have been four or five occasions over the past ten months where I have found myself in disagreement with some corporate action and tempted to open up a new post and write about it.
So far I have resisted the temptation, but every time I do, I ask myself the question: “What would Scoble have done?” — in reference to ex-Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble, who earned the reputation of being a voice of candor in an organization viewed rightly or wrongly as impenetrable with a wall of highly managed corporate communications.
This blog is a personal possession that predates my employment. I talk about my professional life here — more in the interest of disclosure and reality than promotion — but it is not a corporate communications vehicle and as such, represents an interesting balancing act for me between personal and professional opinions.
Since my job description does not include the responsibilities of an ombudsman, I am not losing sleep over any ethical cowardice — none of these issues are Karen Silkwood whistle-blower types of things. People don’t die, wetlands don’t get poisoned … but they are actions which I feel, on occasion, either undermine our reputation (which is in my job description), will annoy our customers, (customer satisfaction is in my job description), or present a picture that is less than flattering.
I do push these issues very hard internally. I just fired off an note this morning on a new issue and will work towards some type of resolution as soon as I can, but airing that issue in public — and the issue is public because we published it and are being called on it in public — is not going to accomplish anything other than to pose a rhetorical question into the ether asking for another point of view.
I helped develop our corporate blogging guidelines — they are concise, less than two pages in length, and basically apply a Golden Rule type of guidance. They are not restrictive — they don’t hold bloggers to any standard of review or prohibition, aside from the sensible mandate not to divulge company secrets or material information that could affect the share price.
So, this is basically a disclosure statement that I am not the corporate ombudsman, nor am I going to tempt the fates by poking the hive with a stick.