It takes courage to let your employees shine.
Think of this. A sword is like a bird. If you clutch it too tightly, you choke it – too lightly and it flies away.
Online shitstorm ensued .
Let me brush aside some critics right out of the door: I am indeed in an easy position here. I’ve got this blog under my name while linked with no organization besides my clients. I don’t have to ask for permission. Nor do I have any conflict of interest. I’m my own boss.
As someone who used to create web policies though, I truly feel how struggling such decision can be when debated in a board meeting. And as someone who basically sells words, like Forrester does, I can understand how much more delicate the situation can be when research is the core value .
What people need to understand is that Forrester is an intellectual property company, and the opinions of our analysts are our product.
The nature of the web is disruptive. Look at what’s going on in the music industry. More appropriately, look at the debates surrounding the future of newspapers. There lies the future of selling words.
The nature of the social web is also person-centric -”hey, look at my profile!”. Narcissistic some would say, but people-istic nonetheless. There lies the future of sharing words.
Resistance is futile.
It all boils down to that. What type of company do you want to be?
As a potential customer, I don’t give a damn about your policies. I won’t read them, thank you. I want the best company with the brightest people. The company that will offer me the best value. This is the company I want you to be. Or I’ll pass.
Of course, CEO George Colony knew oh so well what he was doing. He had just lost two high-profile analysts known for their blogs, Jeremiah Owyang, the famous web strategist & R “Ray” Wang, the SaaS CRM specialist, after having seen a massive brain drain in 2008, Charlene Li leaving in July, Peter Kim the same month & Brian Haven in August.
What a reversal of fortune. But I won’t pity him too much . One of the key factor behind Jeremiah’s hiring was his blog. Yes, his blog. He was the star of Forrester in part because of his hyper-valuable articles and Forrester did gain ground because of Jeremiah’s reach . Cross-pollinization is one term those other word sellers, McKinsey, would use.
So, ask yourself: do you want to have the brightest stars working for you?
Who are they, where are they, what do they do? Sharing, tweeting, blogging, podcasting, livecasting. That’s what they do. Coders, engineers, marketers, analysts, biz dev guys. Pretty much all of them. They’re getting personal online.
These are the people who breathe the web. These are the ones you want. Whichever business you’re into.
Their personal blogs are their new resumes.
Not the pretty static LinkedIn, but their personal blogs . There to be googled & show value over time. There for you to find your next star.
A personal blog is a place -and, yes, one URL- of experimentation. It’s not about so-called personal branding -oh boy, I’ve come to hate that term -, it’s about testing the waters with new ideas. Discussing topics outside of the more confined garden of a company. And getting more opinionated.
Opinionated, I love that. Opinions are what I use to rate people. It’s at the heart of human interaction, like body language. Let’s be realistic, it’s not by reading Ray’s blog that I will be able to re-invent myself as a SaaS specialist. But it’s by reading his blog that I will understand how smart Ray is and, in turn, what value Altimeter can bring me.
Ray makes Altimeter shine.
A star makes your company shine.
Shutting down a star will have one effect. Less light. Like every organic living animal however, your company needs φῶς . The nature of stars is to come and go. Have them as long as you can. Cherish them. Let them bloom, become supernovae. And be on the look out for the next one. Your company will glow. And grow.
Cut the ropes and let them be free.
Great Customer Experience are enabled through inspirational leadership and empowering culture and empathetic people who are happy and fulfilled.
It takes courage to hire bright minds. It takes courage to be a better company.
further reading: What You Can Learn From Forrester's New Blogging Policy Forrester's Blogging Policy Misses the IP Point Forrester Crimps Bloggers: Epic E2.0 Fail You Can't Take The Personal Out of Blogging Forrester To Analysts That Have Their Own Blogs: Umm, No Forrester's New Blog Policy Creates Quite A Stir Forrester's New Employee Blogging Policy: Four Reasons It's Spot On My Thoughts on Forrester, Analysts, and Blogging Why Forrester Made The Right Call About Employee Blogs
- to be fair to the debate, since some called it a tempest in a tea pot, I’ve included both points of views in the further reading section of this article [↩]
- though one could argue that every company is IP-based [↩]
- it actually depends on your legal system, check with someone who sells the right words [↩]
- Dave adds, in all his epicness: “Clearly, no analyst with a shred of talent or ambition will ever likely choose to work for Forrester, assuming this policy is enforced. Best of luck to the remaining losers who decide it’s a good idea to tuck tail between legs and go silently into the night to work as a faceless drone for FR. why not require everyone at FR commute to work by horse & buggy while you’re at it“ [↩]
- look how Sam values that one, read his Forrester card, 3rd point [↩]
- Twitter builds a lot of equity as well, but with less archivability [↩]
- although this Charlene interview is worth a read: “personal branding efforts can greatly benefit the company“ [↩]
- φῶς [pʰɔ́ː̀s] : That which gives light [↩]
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