The Content of Governance and the Governance of Content (poll)

chicken or eggWhat is the true reach of content professionals (creators, producers, managers, curators, etc.) in an organization? In my experience, thousands of professionals in government, businesses, non-profits and education create complex technical content daily. Mostly likely only a tiny handful would even think of referring to themselves as a technical writer or content strategist. For them content creation is just part of a larger job description. You know “excellent verbal and written communications skills required.” Yet these people create the underpinnings of how the organization operates. They write policy, develop standards, create frameworks, compile best practices, and audit and report on compliance. In short, they take content responsibility for governance.

Without proper governance, an organization devolves into chaos. But if the governed (whether employees, clients or citizens) do not understand the content of the rules, the rationale behind them, or the consequences of following or flouting them, how can an organization survive, much less thrive? And that debate inspired our latest poll question.

Yes it’s somewhat of a chicken-or-the-egg discussion… and generally speaking, the kind of discussion that drives long threads on the discussion list, and hallway converstations at professional conferences. As people who pride ourselves on creating accurate, comprehensive and well-organized content, we govern ourselves almost by instinct. But how well does that translate to the content that comprises the standards or policies that the organization enforces? Which should take the higher priority–creating good content around governance, or following governance to create good content? And why is one more important than the other. Are you involved in creating governance content? How does that color your perspective on each?

As in most of these scenarios, it’s a question that may never be settled definitely. But we want to create some debate, some lively conversation around what otherwise would be a very dull topic. Governance seems dry and boring, but it is the force that makes companies move. Vote, and just as important, add a comment to this post and start a conversation with your peers.

What transferable skills should content pros have to support, or become, senior leadership in the organization?

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Connie Giordano

Connie Giordano is a partner in INKtopia Limited and editor of TechWhirl's Tech Writer Today online magazine. She has been a list member and contributor since the days when 14,400 baud was high speed communications, and Windows 95 was state-of-the-art.

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