Today the new blog of the Danish Cancer Society, “Blog om kræft” (Blog about cancer), took off. The voice on the blog is Frede Olesen who’s a practising medical doctor, professor at the University of Aarhus and the head of “Kræftens Bekæmpelse”. Birgitte, Sandra and I have been trying to help Frede and the friendly, devoted folks in communications along the way.
Frede is that type of leader that we’ve been blogging about on stagisblog.com. He’s trying to open up his organization and doing a serious effort to ephasize the importance of the organizations ability to listen. He wants to know if his organization is doing the right thing. Even though he thinks it is. But as he mentioned the other day – actually you can’t be sure if you don’t ask. And that’s why he is asking as he does in his first post on the newborn blog:
“…we want to open our ears and listen to the experiences about the treatment of cancer, that can be told.”
A lot of leaders would tell their colleagues and employees to “know more about your customers/users” – all in the name of “user-involvement” which has become a prominent buzzword in any possible managerial discussion. But how do you do that? Your staff can’t just start listening more. As a leader you have to help them with the knowledge, tools or ressources that will enable them to get to know more about the users of your service or product. As I was once quoted in my masters-program “Employees cannot act on announcements, only on physical change”. I still live by that. Not that you should care about what you communicate, but the only thing that will really make a change is the combination of communication and structural change.
By using the blog as a tool for dialogue, Frede Olesen is installing a good, tangible example for everyone in his organization and the rest of us. At the same time he is collecting stories and comments from the many members of the Cancer Society. Listening is not just about opening channels or sitting still waiting for good information to flow by. It’s about taking action, delegating ressources and taking responsibility for it to happen.
Congratulations on all of it, Kræftens Bekæmpelse!
You can join the debate on www.blogomkraeft.dk where Frede Olesen is blogging until may 1 for a start. The subject is – naturally – the fight against cancer, good and bad experiences that others may learn from and the fundraising campaign at the end of this month.