Whoa. Robert Scoble is once again pushing the envelope for how far he can take blogging inside business. This is Scoble addressing Steve Ballmer:
The fact that Microsoft is even in this position makes me want to leave and join a different company that won’t be pushed around by religious folks. Is that the message you want to send?…Steve, I’m sad. Very sad. This is leadership? What if we were a company in Germany in the 1930s? Would we have taken the same position you just did?
I wonder how many people in an organisation would say this – in full public view – to the big mozzarella? I wonder how many organisations would accept it?
If you read the comments, you can see that he’s opened a big can of worms with some supporting him and others outraged. What he’s talking about involves religion politics and sexuality – an incendiary mixture that a lot of folks would prefer not to touch.
I think the ability to accept, indeed embrace, dissent and controversy can be a measure of an organisation’s strength. Yet there’s a common view that this just isn’t the done thing. Some of the comments seem to suggest that companies shouldn’t have opinions; well companies may not but the people who work for them do, and I think it’s healthy for that to be acknowledged.
I’m surprised by how far Scoble has gone this time. And I think this could be a telling moment. My own feeling is that by accepting this degree of open dissent, Microsoft becomes stronger not weaker – and raises the bar for the rest of the corporate world.
If he carries on like this, we’ll have to call him Robert Sco-balls. Mind you, that could be interpreted in more than one way.