Inspired by Phil Komarny’s post, How Being Social Made Me A Better CIO, I thought I’d share how blogging has made me a better CIO. Ironically, I’ve often spoken about this in talks and presentations, but I’ve never blogged about it until now.
Here are four things I’d credit to my blogging experience, after nearly four years and over 500 posts.
Blogging has made me a better writer
And being a good writer in today’s email infested world is crucial to leadership, collaboration, and influence. We can all agree that concise and effective writing is important. Blogging uniquely develops those skills.
Writing for a blog is different than other forms of writing. In my attempts to embrace a bloggy style of writing for this platform, my writing in the office has become much sharper. Contributing to the fleeting whirlwind of the interwebs requires one to craft clear and compelling missives. I’ve embraced many journalistic techniques in my writing here that have paid huge dividends at work. Well-crafted text is required to effectively and efficiently obtain the information or support you seek, or to otherwise instigate or influence the actions you desire. But you won’t necessarily get that by continuing to write in the same formats over and over again. Taking a step outside of typical business communications and into blogging can be jarring, but immensely effective in informing one’s technique.
Blogging has helped to shape my thinking
And leadership is all about thinking – collecting and synthesizing ideas, considering alternative and competing viewpoints, recognizing roadblocks, and analyzing options and pathways. Blogging widens one’s horizon beyond the four walls of a particular organization, and helps to bring some of that outside perspective back home.
I take in a lot of information, from a wide variety of sources. This stimulates my thinking a great deal. But not everyone around the office wants to talk (as much as I do) about new ideas and concepts and strategies and how they might be applied specifically or generally. Blogging is a great outlet for all of this. What’s more, the act of writing forces me to crystallize my thoughts on the matter. And then others (from all over the world) who are interested can chime in. We can engage in discussions and debates, share ideas and inspirations. Which leads to more inputs and more sources, feeding the cycle all over again.
Blogging has helped me to stretch my comfort zone
And personal and professional development is predicated on pushing one’s boundaries. Doing what we’ve never done before is how to learn something new, to gain new experience, to test ourselves and develop new skills. Blogging has helped me to continually experiment with the new – covering new topics, sharing more thoughts, and experimenting with new approaches (like the video interview series I launched last year). Trying new things for myself helps me to grow and also to encourage others to push their own boundaries.
A lot of people know me as a blogger now, and they seem to make the assumption that I’ve always been comfortable putting my thoughts and ideas out into the world freely. But it’s been a very gradual process over a long period of time. I stuck a very cautious toe into the social media waters at first, and very incrementally waded in as I got used to things. Each step of the way was a little bit uncomfortable, but a gradual approach taken steadily over time has greatly expanded my comfort zone. I’m now much more able to put my thoughts and ideas forth, not only online but in my day to day work as well.
Blogging has helped to establish my personal brand
And this is important to leadership from two perspectives – being known, of course, but also knowing one’s self better.
The process of writing so many posts has helped me to better understand my own interests, opinions, and thought process much better. Just as individual ideas crystallized for me by writing about them, noticing the larger patterns that I followed has helped me to better see how I think. There’s a bit of self-awareness that comes along with all this writing and publishing, which is helpful in shaping other choices in work. Not the least of which is getting a better handle on one’s strength’s and weaknesses and accounting for that in how teams are organized and projects are run.
Blogging has helped others to get to know me better, too – how I think, my opinions, where I get information and inspiration. This has helped me to build deeper relationships with those I know from my regular networking circles and to branch into new networking circles. It’s also very useful to situations where someone is trying to get to know me. When hiring or being hired, a quick Google search allows both interviewers and interviewees to learn way more about me than a resume or official company bio could ever afford. The same is true for speaking engagements or similar activities.
Keep On Bloggin’
So, I’ll continue blogging, interested to see where the next 500 posts lead me. I recommend it to you as well, particularly if you are or aspire to be a CIO or any type of leader. It may be a little uncomfortable at first, but it’s well worth the effort. And if blogging just isn’t your thing, find another way to push yourself and to grow personally and professionally.