Ben Verwaayen

On-line chat goes political …

I have experienced at first hand the power of regular on-line chats between senior managers and their ‘people’. The most striking, which I believe helped change the entire culture at BT, were those involving BT CEO Ben Verwaayen and BT employees which I describe in the article on this blog: The future of leadership communications.

Now Gordon Brown is going to have on-line PM questions. I wonder if I might be so bold as to offer Gordon some advice:

  • sit at the PC yourself and type the answers in your own words … if this doesn’t come across as being authentic Brown, you’ll look like an idiot who doesn’t get it …
  • don’t surround yourself with PRs giving you fulsome advice on what to say – say what YOU believe and say it with passion
  • DON’T let some PR screen out questions before you see them – you should see ALL the questions, including the abusive ones, even if you don’t choose to answer them – if you don’t know how people are feeling you cannot have an authentic conversation with them
  • keep your answers short and simple and DON’T write the sort of meaningless political tripe attributed to you in the BBC article: “My aim is to ensure we utilise all the innovation at our disposal to improve public services in this country and to give more power to those who use them” … what the hell does that mean????

This could be the start of something very powerful. Or, it could be another meaningless political stunt confirming David Cameron’s view that Gordon is: ” … an analogue politician in a digital age”.

Over to you Gordon!