Leadership blogging and the leveraged effort curve

IMG_5853.JPGI got a xmas present from Rick Estenson, a VP at 1st National Bank of Northfield where I bank. (Rick’s also the guy who sponsored my Northfield Rotary membership earlier this year.)

Rick gave me Seth Godin’s new book, Small is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas. (The photo is my laptop with the book, Rick’s xmas note, and an image of both Rick and Godin on my screen. Click to enlarge.)

On page 6, Godin writes about blogs as a leveraging tool. (He originally wrote this for his blog back in March of 2005, posted here — Godin’s Leveraged Effort Curve — and the book has a slightly different version.)

Knowledge workers get paid extra when they show insight or daring or do what others can’t. But packaging the knowledge is expensive, time consuming and not particularly enjoyable for most people. As you get better at what you do, it seems as though you spend more and more time on the packaging and less on the doing.

… The exception?

The intense conversations you can have with your customers and prospects, especially via a blog. Once you get the system and the structure set up, five minutes of effort can give you four minutes of high-leverage idea time in front of the people you’re trying to influence.

The book adds this to that last sentence: “This is pure, unadulterated leverage. The stuff you actually get paid for, with no overhead.”

Godin’s insight — “among highly-compensated workers, the percentage of the [knowledge] work you get paid to do goes down as you get paid more” and that “packaging the knowledge is expensive, time consuming and not particularly enjoyable” — is stunning to me.

In the Why keep a weblog? section of my Leadership Blogging Guide, my #1 reason is “Leverage your leadership interactions that otherwise disappear.” I’ve long understood the ability of a blog to leverage the interactions, the conversations, the influencing and being influenced.

But it never occurred to me to frame it in terms of ‘packaging the knowledge,’ especially the higher-level knowledge that leaders get paid to use. And it never occurred to me that a leader spends a relatively small percentage of their day on this high-level stuff — thus making it even more important that they find ways to leverage it in ways that don’t take a lot of time.

Cool. Thanks, Seth. And thanks, Rick.

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