Do we have our own Vanity Metrics?

Recently I am loving Lead Startup and Consumption Economics. I am reading and consuming so much lately that I haven’t taken time to reflect.

> Take a look at what I am reading currently. Lots to learn

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Friday, I got a brand new Garmin GPS  Heart rate monitor.

 

I’ve been wanting a new one, to help count steps and track distance. lf-lg

I’ve been running 2-3 times (sometimes more) a week for the past year or so. I’d usually run about 30-60 minutes around the neighbors or along a trail. I always bring my gear when I travel to explore the new cities I visit. Last week I visited the White House on my run. And I  don’t run anymore with my phone, as its my only time without a device in my hand and my time to disconnect.  This was hard at first, very “loud” actually listening to the sounds around me instead of the latest pop hit on Pandora. Now, I couldn’t imagine starting the day with it.

Today, early, before it started to get hot,  I went on my first run with my new GPS Heart rate monitor.  After a quick 3 mile run I came back satisfied. For one, because I actually knew the distance and how many calories I burned. I even knew how fast I had run each of the three miles! I felt like high fives were deserved all around. Look at me and all this data and information. I was chatting with my husband reviewing the numbers and he looked at me and said “For as often as you run, you should be running a faster mile than that!” Really? I thought to myself, had this whole time was I measuring the wrong things? Surely the calories and time meant something.

So here’s the thing. Because I was measuring calories and time, they were my vanity metrics (Vanity Metrics as described in Lean Startup are metrics that give the rosiest picture possible , more details here ). Calories burned and time spent running were metrics that look good, but displayed a different way, like the minute per mile, tell a different story.  In other news, I am slow! And probably why I haven’t  had any real changes physically, even though I have been diligent and consistent. The metrics were telling me one story, the one I was believing, but my results showed something else.

How often do we measure things within our lives, and the lens from which we measure, makes it look good, the rosiest picture has been painted.  But turn it a different way, it’s not quite as good as we thought. And then what questions are we asking ourselves? And what problems do we need to solve? Do we measure things in a way, that we try and trick ourselves in deserving an “atta boy” when we really might need a kick in the pants to get moving?

In our personal lives, its comparison. Of families, jobs, opportunities, houses, vacations and children. It our professional lives, its success. Big promotions, new projects, happy customers and traveling the world. What are our true measures of these things? Or are they just our own form of vanity metrics?

In Lean Startup, Reis writes,

The engine is turning, but the efforts to tune the engine are not bearing much fruit (p. 129).

 

What are you doing that isn’t bearing much fruit? Is that considered a failure? Or is it time to pivot, as Reis often recommends.

For me, and my running, its time to pivot and track what I should be tracking instead of patting myself of the back for what I was measuring. Even if I don’t plan on running a race, I want to get better, and go further.

6 Tips for Working at Home

So lately, I’ve been chatting with people who also work from home.

If you are new around here or wonder what my story is, here is a short post where I was interviewed by Microsoft Jobs Blog about how I got my current job (at Yammer, not Microsoft). And there is a Yammer group for us Remote workers, and its odd because you’d think we would want to talk to each other and sometimes we do share articles and tips, but if we don’t work together day in and day out, its not a very active group but we were sharing some tips today to spark this post. (Maybe I’ll write about how to use Yammer as a remote worker, because its helped me feel connected!)

So since working remotely now for 2ish years (and I love it.) I have learned a few things about how it works for me.

  • Get Active! If I am at home I always try and work out in the morning or at least get outside for at least walk before I stare at the computer all day inside. This helps get some fresh air. And when its nice out I can do a quick walk at lunch if I want to.
  • Create a space you actually want to be in! I have a standing desk that helps (and sometimes when I am lazy I just sit at my kitchen table, but I try not to..). I have decorated my office like as a place I want to spend time in. Its not perfect and something I want to re-design but I enjoy spending time here. I have a love seat too that I can go to sit in something more comfortable and I love my bookshelf of REAL books. I just gave a bunch away because I had too many…

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  • Take a break from the screen for lunch or snack. Or you will forget to eat. I have done this.  (I have also burned through an entire teapot full of water because I didn’t hear it…another story for another time).   Don’t be afraid to walk away from your computer for 30 minutes for lunch and sit outside and read or something not electronic for a few minutes just to break the day up. This was hard for me at the beginning because I was like WHAT IF I MISSED SOMETHING!! But I realized that with technology, I can catch up pretty quickly if needed and get to it when I can.
  • Schedule. I like to try and schedule calls in the morning and then use the afternoon to crank through content, review things and catch up on Yammer. It doesn’t always work like that, but when I can create the time of uninterrupted silence, it helps me zone in and focus and bust through the content I’ve needed to get through without distractions. And there are always distractions if you are remote or not! Finally, I try and catch up on Fridays for mundane tasks like T&E so it doesn’t catch me by surprise at the end of the month or something.
  • See people!  Like literally, in person and use Video when you can (no makeup required!). When I can, I try to go to the local office if there is an event or when I need to meet a customer but I don’t go in regularly (mostly because the traffic is horrible and I don’t like to drive). And I haven’t ventured into the co-working spaces yet but its on my list for this next year! I don’t often go to a coffee shop to work, but I know people who do.  Because I travel often I like being at home in between (helps to throw a load of laundry too). And when you can, travel as much as you can to see your team in person! It helps build the relationships to make it better when you are back at home.
  • End your day! Have a stopping time for the end of the day. Otherwise you just work and work and work. (or get sucked into Yammer networks in my case, I could spend hours reading everything…) I really struggled with this when I first started working from home. My husband would come home from work, and I would just work and and work and work (and forget to eat!). So, now I try and set expectations letting him know I’ll be done in 30 minutes and not to bug me until then and then come and grab me away from the computer… It doesn’t always work but its a good practice!
  • Bonus tip… Create a THIS WEEK List instead! On Monday’s I like to make a list of “THIS WEEK” of things I need to take care of and finish and work through that list during the week, instead of a daily TO DO list. This helps me focus on what needs done now (urgency vs important) and what things I can work on in the next week.

 

With using Yammer and other technology like video conference and Twitter, I feel connected to people and to what’s happening. Sometimes you miss the “life” things that happen in your co-workers lives but I just have to be more intentional about getting and keeping in touch with them. And schedule time to catch up. Its good and worth it!

 

So, what tips do you have for working at home?

First Form of Social Media… The Table.

It was during one of the panels during the Social Learning Bootcamp, Dan from BMS said, “Lets not forget what the first version of social media was… the table” when it clicked for me.

I am now focusing on the community aspects of Yammer and helping to connect people of like-mindness and goals together. This is a lot harder than you would think! I am a connector by nature and I love meeting new people and seeing my customers and the community face to face. So the challenge I have ahead of me is interesting because I’ll need to think through opportunities that connect people, thus build a community.

 

Sit at the Table

 

So when thinking about learning in our organizations and what needs to change, I think we need to consider the power of community and the power of the table. I think sometimes we forget because of all the devices, and systems and processes that it is good and well to connect with others and look the in the eyes to truly understand how they are doing and help them along the way.

 

An organization that is doing this and focus on this is If:Gathering. They are doing an IF: Table on the second Sunday of every month. The concept is you invite 6 people, 4 questions and 2 hours of conversation and connections over the table. The 6 people are supposed to change each month, with every new person to host their own table the next month. (Of course you should tweet, instragm and facebook your table!) I love this idea and will be hosting my own IF:Table this summer.

However, I wonder how I could work this similar idea into the fabrics of our Yammer Customer Community and they could do it within their own networks and organizations. These types of connections help build trust as well as relationships that carry over to the online community. Could you host informal learning opportunities over lunch next month at your organization? Would you be interested in attending one that I hosted? I’ll be chewing over this the next few weeks, but if you have any ideas or want to come to my “table” let me know!

What about in your organization? Could you incorporate the “Table” in any part of your learning solutions or programs? Have you done this already

5th Year Attendee at ASTD International Conference

Last week, my team and I attended ASTD (now ATD) international Conference in Washington DC. I have gone to ASTD just about every year I could. I love the people and the community. This year, there were more international people than ever before, and it was incredible to just hear the languages in the hall.

My first year, I remember I focused on anything cultural or internationally focused. The second year I went to every session I could find about social. Last  year my big focus was on Sales EnablementImage.

 

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This year I went to a few sessions for me but mostly I went to sessions to support my personal learning network (PLN). I had friends who had first time speaking opportunities this year, and I wanted to be in the stand supporting them (and tweeting about them!).

The one most interesting session I did attend was Marcus Buckingham about performance management systems. I was curious because at Microsoft we have just revamp our performance management systems, and I was interested to see what he had to say. Plus I have my performance reviews for my team coming up and I needed to take some notes on how to continue to improve the facilitation of the conversation.

After very thoughtful research and insights into why performance management systems don’t work (Long story short, providing feedback is hard and most people do it relative to themselves, and even in a 360 review its based off themselves instead of the people they are supposed to be evaluating. And if you don’t think feedback is hard, try giving some to your spouse or family member, the people whom you love the most…). He encouraged us that there was a way to engage our employees early and often.

He mentioned that feedBACK was fine but hard to give on past things, but we should focus on near term future focused coaching. Meeting with team members to understand what they are working on, how they can work on what they like to do, and if they and the team understand the definition you have of quality. He also went on to explain that quality could change based on the organization and possibly team. This aspect of quality is something I need to dig further into when setting expectations with my team and my leadership.

There was also 4 questions he would ask of managers for the employees every quarter.

  1. Would you hire them again?
  2. Would you want them on your team?
  3. Is this person ready for a promotion?
  4. Are there performance issues?

With laying the ground work with simple question that provided a better framework for evaluating a persons work it was a more subjective way to review someone. And a way I would like to be reviewed as well.

He made an interesting comment, that we need to make and create performance management systems that are based on the user strengths and not based on corporate objectives and use the system as a crutch to align with goals. I’d love to learn more about this, as this was one of the first sessions I’d been to focusing on performance management in the years I have been at ASTD.

What did you learn? What are you applying?

5 Life Lessons from MOM

In honor of Mother’s Day I want to reflect on five of the many lessons my mom taught me.

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(Photo Credit Imaginale Design http://imaginaledesign.com/)

  1. Treat others how you want to be treated. From a very little age this was our standard and a golden rule for our family. And while I don’t always do this, she reminds me that you never know when someone will come back into your life, and you hoped you treated them well. Its not worth it to be rude or disrespectful, you never know how it will impact the reach of your relationships with others. My mom has always extended an extra pair of hands, even when she was tired or had a million other things to do. Her ability to show up and help someone else inspires me. Even when its a Saturday morning, she would be there cheering on her students Karate competition and enjoying conversation with a single mom.  This is hard because we are selfish, but its worth it to remind yourself of this, at least as a baseline.
  2. Its a very small world and most people around you have really good intentions. Drama is hard and it sometimes consumes us. But its a very small world and going back to the first lesson, because you never know how you have impacted a relationship be mindful of the way you interact and treat others. With technology, it makes the world even smaller. People don’t often remember everything you’ve said to them, but they will remember how you treated them.
  3. When no one else wants to do it, raise your hand and step up. Or lean in. This has helped me get a variety of opportunities or projects I might not have otherwise had the opportunity to get. I am always going above and beyond what’s expected of me based on a job description or my goals for the quarter, because I never know the opportunities of learning that come from raising my hand, my next job, my next customer or my next friend.  My mom always goes beyond the call of duty and has had some great opportunities because of it.
  4. Its ok to ask others for help. This one is hard because my mom did it all. And she struggled with this, but when it mattered most she allowed others to help. And she’s not afraid to ask. Recognizing that I can’t do anything alone and that we are better together, I am always asking for help because I know I have people in my life with different expertise and experiences than me that can help with a better product to serve my team or my customers. When I look back on any accomplishments or proud moments in my life, I didn’t do it alone, I had a team of people pulling their strengths to pull it off.
  5. Its not about you. For my mom its about her students. For me, its about my customers and my team. I want to be able to know them and help them from where they are in their journey through life. Even if its just listening to them over coffee or supporting them on their next 5K.  When my team members mother died, we all cried and rallied together to support her. When my team member had a baby, we delivered food so they didn’t have to think about it for the few weeks as they were experiencing so many changes. Its about the relationships and the people that you meet along the way. And sometimes its messy, but that’s what happens when people are involved. But its worth it. Sometimes we forget that its about the people, the way technology has wired us to become consumed with status updates (but this is a topic for another post!).

 

I could probably go on and on but I wanted to keep it short and sweet.

 

Today, reflect back on the lessons your mom has taught you and how has it shaped the person you have become (or not become!)? Would love to hear how you learned from your mom.

 

Thanks Mom!

TRUE LIFE: Diaries of a Middle-Manager

So I get asked a lot how do I get my executives on social tools (see here), like Yammer. The people on the ground, the front line LOVE tools like this. Yet what I find most interesting is managing on Enterprise Social tools and what is the role of a manager in a networked community. This is  something I want to dig deeper than just my personal experiences, so if you have research, please share my way.

For a while, if not forever, managers had the role of dissemination of information. Similar to the role of parents to children, teaching their kids about the world in a way they think they should learn, however far away or close to reality that ends up being.

You’ll need to take note. I am a millennial. I manage millennials and Xers. I am managed by a Xer.

 

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You probably also have experienced this as well. Some roles of your organization are shifting. The role of IT. The role of Corp Communication. The role of Learning & Development. The role of Marketing…. To name a few.

I also think the role of the manager is changing as  well in the social space.

And I don’t mean, because I use twitter, I am a better manager (although that might make another good blog post). I mean internally social tools like Yammer break down the dissemination of information in ways that managers have been holding the keys for ages. What is the role of the manager when my CEO can simply read and “like” a message of my direct reports. How does that reflect on me? How does it reflect on them? Is it a good thing? And what does the role look like if my reports can interact with the CEO without my involvement? What DO they need me for?

 

Three areas for managers to focus —  team, individuals, the company.

  • Team operations – As a manager I have certain things that I liked to do when I attend meetings, as well as when I am participant at meetings. I create a space for us to co-author meeting minutes and notes. No more of everyone take their own notes and someone compile them at the end of the day (and sent over email). I also ask what are my teams “highs and lows” for the week in our Team Yammer group. I do this to see how they are doing and whats going on, what ends up happening is that the lows or the highs spark other conversations. When my team “wins” or does something great, I tag the conversation, this why at the end of the year /quarter or month we can celebrate the team (I used #YES_we_can because the team was the Yammer Education Services aka YES team).
  • Individuals – With allowing people to work out loud on their projects in a variety of groups openly, it allows me to never have to guess what my people are up to. Then during our 1:1s I can follow up on specific conversations or roadblocks and see how I can help remove them to get them to move forward faster. I also use the Praise functionality to give the pat on the back of something small or big, but something worth deserving.
  • The company – By staying connected to a variety of groups that might not be so relevant for my day to day job, it helps me keep an ear to the ground and a heart toward the future of the company. I know and find out things before most people do because I can peer into their groups or spaces and see what they are up to. This allows me to translate and share it with my team on how they should prepare or how our customers will be affected by the other work. As a remote manager this helps me stay connected and virtually walk the halls of other teams and projects.

Your teams need you to serve them. To motivate. To remove and unblock barriers. To help plan and prioritize. And to get into the action, offer up your own hands to get dirty in the work when you need to. Your team needs to be that connecter, and not to stand in the way of connecting the dots for them as they grow and succeed. You need  to help build their networks. And they also need you to get out of the way, and have the opportunity to do it themselves, no matter how much you want to just do it.  And this is amplified in a social networked world. They don’t need you to horde or disseminate the information. If you are like me, my team is educated and has good intention. They don’t need me to be a blocker, they need me to open  the doors and get out of the way. Because at the end of the day, its not about you, it should be about them.

 

Last week I attended ASTD (Now ATD) International conference and I sat in a session with Marcus Buckingham about performance management. His whole talk revolved around the manager employee relationship. He asked managers to ask their employees early and often: 1. At work, do you have a chance to do your best every day? 2. Do you know what is expected of you? 3. Are you colleagues committed to quality (with the definition of quality varying in each organization and team).  Help your employees find their strengths, focus on their strengths and understand the expectations of the quality that the organization needs. You can’t have this level of conversation without actually knowing your team, and really understanding them for who there are and where they’ve been.

 

How do you lead? How do you manage people on social networking tools like Yammer? Do you have anything else to add?

Enterprise Social Scared Straight – The Conference Circuit Recap 2013

Steve and I have been on the road a few different times now presenting a story that we believe in.

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We have visited technology conferences, internal Microsoft conferences as well as industry conferences. Participated in Tweet Chats, webinars, panels and lunches to get to know the community who wants to do something with the next generation of communication and collaboration.

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Something that we feel like the world needs to hear. Something that is at that cusp of a paradigm shift of communication and innovations within the walls of the corporations.

Every time we actually deliver the presentation its actually a varying message. But its similar to the ones that follow but because of the differing audience, we change it up. We try and figure out a key message that we want to stress to the group of listeners who become a captive audience. And this isn’t because we are great speakers, its because we have struck a chord. We are talking about something they care about, something that matters.

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Steve and I encourage the audience not to settle for the status quo. We tell them change is on the horizon if its hasn’t already burst through their walls. And we tell them that we know what it feels like to fail and things go not according to plan. Our talks really come from our stories with customer and our own Yammer journey before we joined the Yammer team.  Stories of hope  that others are doing this and being successful. And stories of when it hadn’t gone well and the customer who is still trying to figure it out.

This picture below was taken at DevLearn in Las Vegas with a new friend from MSFT. We actually had a story about the work that he did for MSFT in our presentation and it was great to meet him in real life. Serendipitous connection made in real life!

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The key points to our message was around how can organizations actually use social to change the way they work and service customers, whether they produce a good or provide a service. We also provided some areas to avoid as common pitfalls for thinking about enterprise social and collaboration – like getting more than one executive sponsor, build experiments with different teams and projects to see how to work out loud and move faster, and the objectives that we hear and how to combat them by providing business value. ( Engagement Tips for leaders blog post) .

What I learned most on many of these trips is that the audiences vary on level of social literacy and use. That this message needs spreading and that its only just the beginning… the movement is moving…  are you in?

 

The conference season is picking back up again and Steve and I are on the road for the upcoming SharePoint 2014 Conference. Our session going to do a similar feel with some fresh perspectives.  I’ll be speaking at the AZ TechCouncil during a Lunch and Learn Feb 6th. We will also be at ASTD National Conference in May and others are in the works and we will keep you updated!

Faith has a way…

The thing that you are most worried about or have the most fear about usually is the thing that surprises you the most. When you actually encounter the reality its silly that you even worried about it in the first place. But you do. You try not to let it consume you, but it does. It’s like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae – wouldn’t be one without it. But the way that things work together and are so intentionally placed in a sequence of events makes me wonder why worry at all? Why are we so fearful of a particular thing when the whole of it seems good enough.

We moved to Arizona because of a job opportunity that my husband pursued. After about a year and a half, it wasn’t going anywhere and I could tell he was so unengaged (<<87% of workers are disengaged, he was one of them). He really wasn’t part of a team or part of a bigger cause, he was over going thru the motions and wanting something more. Surely the grass was greener anywhere else. So he got an another offer, quickly in fact. It was like an end of an era since we both had worked for the company, and a bittersweet goodbye. It’s odd how the people you work with become such good friends that you can’t imagine life without them. Regardless when he started his new job he had a feeling from day 1 (or maybe day 2) that it wasn’t a good fit. How could you even tell that from the second day on the job? Stick it out, I told him, give it 3 months then figure out what to do next.

After spending about two weeks there it was clearly not a good fit. And it wasn’t that they are a bad company or doing horrible things, my husband wasn’t about the rat race and wanted more. So we pulled out our budget, thanks to Dave Ramsey, and shifted some things, committed to some things and he quit the next day. It was a somber experience. Humbling to say the least. Had he failed? Or had he just not done enough leg work before making the commitment? Had they failed for not sharing the expectations prior in a more clear manner. It was weird. My husband has worked since he was a teenager. And this was his first time not working. Of course I made a list the same length of the Mississippi river of all the things he could tackle while he was home, including selling everything we don’t use (we should do this anyways!).

Two long weeks went by (Did you see I only said weeks?). He submitted his resume to dozens of companies around. We wrestled if we really needed to stay in Arizona , what was keeping us here? I challenged him to try something different or new, something not related to what he was doing prior as it might be a good opportunity to spread his wings. He felt like it wasn’t time to give up on his career just yet, he was just getting started and really did enjoy what he did.

A few weeks ago we went to the Harvest Festival at our church. We volunteers in the games area. As we were figuring out who was doing the ring toss and who was going to run the bean bag game, I was pulled aside by a lady who I’ve worked together at the church with prior (specifically  for this event REMIX). She mentioned that an IT position had opened up at the church. I looked at her with my jaw to the floor, did she know that Ed was out of work? That he left a good job and quit another? She didn’t know anything of the job and if it was the right type of IT for him or even if the job was real, but she said to keep our ears peeled. An hour later, Ed was introduced to the chief of staff at the church in-between ring toss throws from the dressed up children. Friday evening we were driving home from a friend’s house and he gives me his phone to read the email with the job description. At this point, IT can mean anything. I pull it up and it says “Network Engineer”, as I read it aloud (because Ed is driving) I get goose bumps everywhere. Every bullet was something he was passionate about in a geeky IT kind of way. The next day he sent over his resume and Monday he had an interview with the Business Manager of the church.

We had so many questions. What did the work look like? Was there a team or was he the only one? What opportunities did a church have for a Network Engineer, what were they even engineering? The questions outnumbered the answers. After the interview and many questions were answered. The big one remained. What do you make when you work at a church? As a man, many of the self-worth comes from what you can provide for your family, and what was the contribution going to look like. He knew it would be crumbs to what he was making before and what he could make in the corporate world. We didn’t even want to think about it, about how disappointed we would be, Ed included had a fear about this. But we knew we had to at least see what the offer was and maybe he would keep looking to see if somewhere else offered anything better. When the offer came, we were blown away about the generosity. As I mentioned in the first paragraph the thing you worried about most, is the thing that surprises you the most? This was it. We had been surprised that the thing we were worried about didn’t need any worry at all.

He starts Monday. And just because it’s a church, it’s not going to be perfect. But we know it’s a perfect timing orchestrated by someone on purpose. He mentions that he would have coffered at the idea if someone came up to him while he was at his previous companies with this opportunity, not even willing to give a look. But because of being humbled and experiencing that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side he had an open mind about the opportunity. He will have the opportunity to lead, to design, to learn and to build in ways that he probably wouldn’t have at either of his previous companies. He couldn’t be more thrilled and I can’t wait for him to get out of the house!

So long story short. We are staying in Arizona. We didn’t know if we would, but now we know… We had to have faith.

 

I wouldn’t want to miss these sunsets.

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Beautiful Things Out of Dust

Have you ever had an idea, which was just once a mere thought. Almost like dust. Something that comes across your mind and you don’t give it too much thought. Or it encompasses you and you can’t stop thinking about it. 

And now you look back and can remember how it ever began and when you were just dreaming of it and how fast the idea took off to become a reality. 

On my morning run I heard You Make Beautiful Things by Gungor. The one phrase that kept sticking out was

“You make beautiful things

you make beautiful things out of dust. 

You make beautiful things

you make beautiful things out of us.” 

Today I look back and take a moment to reflect (something I don’t do enough of) and think about the accomplishments of the ideas and things that were made from just that – mere ideas. A dusting of dreams and reality. Misplaced thoughts and conversations of hope.

What I am thankful for is the opportunity to execute and the opportunity to correct. My ideas are not perfect the first time around. Or the second. Or maybe the third. But with feedback, context and understanding of the needs that this beautiful thing has become a reality and improves every time its executed. 

Two ideas that were merely just “dust” that I was reflecting on – one for work (Yammer Certification Programs) and one for my personal life (REMIX). These were ideas not really that long ago and now  they are programs, with many people involved from the front end to the backstage and so many details in between. I think about the people that have helped to make these ideas a reality and a success. 

And if your ideas feel stale and need a breath of new life – take a moment to reflect about how far you have actually come. Look deep into the needs that you are trying to fill. Think inside and outside the box. Color outside the lines. You might be surprised by how you can orchestrate and adjust the idea to become an even better reality.  

When was the last time you reflected on the ideas that you once had that are now your reality? What ideas are just merely dusting your mind that need to become more of a reality? I’d love to know if you have had beautiful things made from just a dusting of an idea. 

Yammer Edition: Enterprise Social skills leaders need to have

I am on this kick right now of educating leaders and managers about how social can amplify their leadership ability using social tools. I feel like I have written about this before, if not I am sure I wrote myself a note to write that. Recently McKinsey Quarterly came out with a study about the Six Social-media Skills every leader needs (Deiser, Newton). As I was reading this article, and I was highlighting it, scribbling all over it (I know I still print articles that I was to dissect later).

The article speaks about leaders on a personal level to be authentic and to navigate in their own comfort and the information overload. And at the organizational level to think through how to be a role model and stay ahead of the shifts. “Leaders need to excel at co-creation and collaboration – the currencies of the social media world.” Charlene Li in her book Open Leadership, she talks about how leaders are expected to be Open, Social and Transparent – which is probably how they got to where they are today. I see this every day. And mostly I see fear in executives eyes of “What if I say the wrong thing?” Or “What if I spell something wrong” to them I say, it shows that you are human too. And people want to see that. And more importantly, what if you DON’T say anything. I think that’s worse.

So I’d like to dig into these 6 skills and show a bit of tactical and give the nuts and bolts advice for leaders who are using enterprise social tools, like Yammer.

1. The Leader as a producer: Creating Compelling Content

- Its all about short stories. Its about what you are learning from your customer visits. Its about recognition. Video is pretty hot right now and easy to and upload to Yammer for people to watch, like and comment. Its like you are welcoming your teams to come and have a cup of coffee with you as you tell them about your day. Your day, which may seem hectic, and unimportant to the minions below you, they actually do want to hear what you have to say, in a non-scripted way. Video not your thing? No worries, create a Yammer Group – like the CEO Corner or The Leaders Lounge – where you can share detailed updates about what you are learning on the road when you visited your customer. Share what you can. Even the unimportant details are giving the rest of the organization a glimpse of what’s important to you helping them focus on whats important to the business as a whole. Finally within social tools like Yammer its easy to recognize someone for a job well done. And its pretty much free. See this blog post about social recognition (but secret tip — millennials would much rather have a shout out from their leader in a public setting versus some corporate branded Tchotchke.

2. The leader as a distributer: Leveraging dissemination dynamics.

Disrabution competence – the ability to influence the way message move through the organizations – becomes as important as the ability to create compelling content.” So if you, as a leader find a nugget worth gold on your Yammer network, share it with other leaders. This will allow you to start to figure out the different ways the informations literally flies through your organization. I was speaking with a customer, and she mentioned that at a Gartner conference she attended and her big light bulb moment was when she figure out that “the speed at which information and knowledge transfers happen within their organization will be their competitive advantage for the future.” So the speed at which things are shared and transferred can become your biggest threat or opportunity depending on the systems you have in place. It also becomes apparent very quickly who are the infleuncers within your organization. These are the movers and shakers – they might not have the fancy titles that call them influencers – but these are the people who pick where to go for lunch and everyone follows. More importantly these are the people that will start to tip the needle in getting the content pushed to through the right channels – social tools or not.

3. The leader as recipient: managing communication overflow.

This is a huge skill. Something that I think everyone, not just leaders struggle with. What I tell them is give it up – you aren’t going to read every message or every post. And nor should you. Most people can barely keep up with the amount of email they receive not counting the tweets and yams that could cross their computers. What I coach leaders is to focus on the groups that directly impact their jobs and leave the rest. They learn how to tap eachother on the shoulder to bring people and other leaders in when necessary, and to understand how to divde the network so that if there is a message or conversation that their team should see or be a part of the leadership team will be notified. Its also about figuring out what Yammer “feed” setting works for you. One lady I was working with had it set to ALL conversations – no wonder she couldn’t keep up with the messages in her network, she felt overwhelmed but its also because she was seeing non relevant conversations and felt the need to read every single post. Helping decipher these feeds and conversations is similar in real life, I am not sure why people think social should be any different. As a leader, you aren’t involved in every meeting or every conversation or every email sent (thank gosh or you might never get anything done!). Same thing goes for social.

4. The Leader as adviser and orchestrator: Driving strategic social-media utilization.

Its one thing for a leader to start to figure out “social” its another to back up the other social efforts that are going on within your organization to get the rest of your team members up to snuff. Its about figuring how to tap into people who “get it” and help them help others to have that aha moment. Working closely with a customer now who is focusing on reverse mentoring. I have seen it done and talked about in variety of forms but what it comes down to is regardless of age, rank or stature people are helping people up their “social literacy” and building their networks on and offline. So ask someone to help you if you don’t know or offer your help to someone. My guess is that they would gladly take some advice, plus I am sure you have a lot to share as well.

5. The leader as architect: Creating a enabling organizational infrastructure.

This is the age old org chart. Instead of going up the chains of command, which is still needed in some cases, you need to find the person with the right answer fastest, regardless of title or where they sit in the organization or sit physically. By posting and finding experts and answering questions on your Yammer network, this starts to happen without much effort. And leaders should celebrate when something is found, saved or discovered outside of traditional chain of command through tools like Yammer. The report mentions “The leaders tasks is to marry vertical accountability with networked horizontal collaboration in a way that is not mutually destructive”. Helping involve middle management is key at this stage.

6. Leader as analyst: Staying ahead of the curve

I feel like this is a great one for leaders and so hard to do with all of their other priorties. I recently had a C-level complete one of our Yammer Certification programs. She mentioned that she never would have had the chance to learn everything she did in that short time about Yammer and now she can speak more intelligently and work on getting her peers up to speed as well. Its highly unlikely that you , as execs have time for an all day classroom or training sessions, but I do encourage you to get educated and not just believe in the vision, but to roll up your sleeves and get to figuring out how YOU as a leader could be active on social tools. Normally my teams spends about 60-90 minutes with executives from all sorts of organizations. Sometimes we focus big picture and other times we make sure that they have Yammer on their phones and tablets. Sometimes we dig into the wins they are already seeing and other times we go over how to “tap” each other and search for what you are looking for. I think you need a bit of both context in order to help make some of this “social” stuff start to stick in your workflow as a leader.

The report concludes that “It takes guts to innovate radically” and I would add it takes courage a few people to be a bit brave to start to try something new. Regardless if its social or not. But right now, its not a fad. Its not going away. And if I were you – I would figure out where it fits in my toolbox of leadership skills and how to amplify my self as a good leader using the social technologies that we have at our fingertips.

So what about you? Do these skills resonate with the leaders you are or the leaders you have in your organization? Where is the biggest opportunity for growth?