Big story in the New York Times this morning about Lee's Garage, Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr.'s internal Web site. "While Mr. Scott's postings are usually written in a careful, even guarded manner, they can often be revealing," writes the Times. The postings show "a defensiveness and testiness with critics that Mr. Scott normally keeps under wraps."
The site was made public by Wal-Mart Watch, an activist group trying to get Wal-Mart to improve its wages and benefits. The Times article provides an overview of responses by Scott to managers' questions and concerns about all kinds of issues. There are no smoking guns in the answers, which pretty much reflect what Scott has said in public speeches, but, the article points out, "in these confidential e-mail messages to managers, he delivers far blunter insights in much greater detail."
We also learn how Scott's responses are generated. A company spokesperson explained that a public relations assistant screened the questions and Mr. Scott dictated responses to an aide. Which means the responses aren't drafted by a ghost writer, but instead they represent the actual words coming out of the actual CEO's mouth.
Whatever you think of Wal-Mart, it sounds like good executive communications to me.