The Buck Stops Here
by Ian Doescher
President Harry S Truman is known for, among other things, a sign he had on his desk in the White House that said, “The buck stops here!” (The sign shown on the right is the actual sign Truman had–the image is taken from the Truman Library website.) This sign demonstrated Truman’s recognition and embodiment of the fact that, in the United States, there is no higher authority than the President. While people below Truman might continue to pass the buck, not wanting to make decisions, take responsibility or give the final word, Truman recognized that it was his role as President to make the hard decisions, even when it was hard and the decisions weren’t popular.
If you are a regular reader of the Pivot blog–and I hope you are–you may have noticed that I write more than my fair share of articles. When it comes to our blog, the buck stops with me. I won’t claim anything like the nobility or fortitude of Truman–we just decided, as an organization, to put a single person in charge of making sure there is a new blog article each week. If someone else is too busy to write their article or misses their deadline, the buck stops here: I write the article for that week.
When it comes to maintaining a blog for your company, I think three rules are particularly important:
- Set a schedule: you can decide if your blog will come out daily, weekly (like the Pivot blog), biweekly, even monthly. The goal is to set a schedule that is realistic and achievable for your company, particularly for the members of the staff who will be writing.
- Stick to it: once you set the schedule, it’s important to stick to it. That’s why setting a realistic schedule is so important: if you set out to write a daily blog, unless you have set aside staff time and resources to do so, you may be setting yourself up to fail. If you want to develop an audience for your blog, you need to reward readers by providing a consistent schedule. If the schedule jumps all over the place–two articles in a row, followed by silence for two months, followed by three more articles in a row, for example– it will turn off a potential audience that never knows when to expect your next entry. Set the schedule, then stick to it.
- Put someone in charge: someone at your company has to be the Harry S Truman of your blog. Not every company will handle it the same way, but Pivot has chosen to make the editor of the blog (me) the same person who reminds our blog writers of their deadlines each week (me) and posts the articles on the website (me). Your company may split these roles among different people (for instance, I’m no longer the person who post the articles on Pivot’s social media pages). The point is, one single person needs to be in charge of making sure there is an article ready every time the schedule calls for it–whether daily, weekly, etc.
Don’t be surprised, then, when you see more than a few articles on the Pivot blog with my byline. It’s not because I’m special, it’s not because I have more profound things to say, it’s only because, when it comes to the Pivot blog, the buck stops here. Where does the buck stop at your company?