Updated: Sep 28, 2021
This writing was originally published in the International Policy Governance Association newsletter for board leaders and governance consultants.
Board Leaders: Do You Know Where Your Members Are Lurking?
Prior to a presentation on global trends and challenges for associations, I had the opportunity to speak with the presenter Rohit Talwar (a leading international futurist). I’m always interested in what books these folks are reading so I asked him, “What are you reading these days?” Imagine my shock and surprise when he said, “blogs.”
Huh? I have a 20-year-old college student and a 17-year-old high school student in my life. Aren’t blogs just a lot of personal (sometimes too personal) diaries a la “Myspace” or Facebook? Well, yes and no.
According to Wikipedia (a free content, multilingual encyclopedia written collaboratively by contributors around the world), a blog is “a website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order.” What Rohit Talwar helped me discover is that the blogosphere is so much more than journals – it’s a journey. To get me started, Rohit recommended that I take a look at these:
openBC – the world’s largest truly global networking platform for professionals
LinkedIn — an online network of more than 7.5 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 130 industries
Ecademy – a social network for business people
Spoke – world’s largest online business-to-business prospect database of its kind
In John Carver’s book On Board Leadership, Carver poses the question: “Has [the board] heard from the bold, the radical, the unthinkable – whatever opinion challenges the wisdom of the day?” Carver says that “a board should strive for a wisdom that is not driven by safety or ordinariness, even though it is planted firmly in reality.” Are we board leaders, really challenging our current wisdom?
Thanks to my futurist guide, I now know that the blogosphere can help us scan for and assess the impact of trends, external forces and ideas that shape our owner communities or markets. Blogs can help us research issues and find new ideas. Blogs contain information and insights on emergent and convergent trends to help us determine if those trends are taking us toward or away from our desired End results.
Do we board leaders, know where our owners and clients are lurking? (A lurker is a peripheral participant – someone who doesn’t post ideas.) Blogs are major social networking platforms. It is practically certain that many of the people that matter to us are at least lurking out there. Do you need to do a better job of finding out where they are? How about your board considering blogging as a new channel for ownership linkage? Why not subscribe to two or three blogs that serve the needs and interests of your owners and create postings to encourage input and convey information? Finally, consider creating your own board blog to facilitate an online connection with owners or owner collaboration or to tap into owner expertise and trial new approaches. Membership associations are already well into this new game and you might like to get started on your journey in the blogosphere by visiting some of their blogs such as the following:
On each of these blogs, you’ll find recommendations for other blogs as well as recommendations for good old-fashioned paper-and-ink books. I warn you – it can be highly addictive!
On a personal note: My friend and professional colleague Robert Ballantyne provided the map for this blog journey. Patience as I get my bearings, please! To read about Robert’s own journey through the blogosphere go to http://firstname.lastname@example.org and click on Blog Site Development.