Catalyst West – Inspirational Leadership

Last week I had the opportunity to go to Catalyst West  – a faith based leadership event.

I feel like I need a whole week to process everything that I learned. I really want to unpack and figure out how each of the things that I learned apply.

Highlight of nuggets that I can’t get out of my head (some may need more context):

Andy Stanley

“Your current response to opportunity, adversity and calling is MAKING you currently.” 

“Better to make a difference than a point”

“Actions may speak louder than words and sometimes actions echo into the next generation”

Jim Collins

“Good is the enemy of great.”

“Never confused personality with leadership”

“Ask people what they think ahead of always telling them what you think”

“Don’t spend time being interesting, be interested”

“Good intentions is not a cover up for incompetence”

Tom Shadyal 

“Money doesn’t end poverty, love will”

“Without the low note in a song, you wont recognize the high note”

Chip Heath 

“We can never be perfect but we can be better. Bolder.”

“Thinking too narrowly concludes to narrow framing – focus on a different thing.”

“Take a step back from a decision. Add distance. Sleep on it. Think short term. Think long term.”

“10/10/10 Rule – When making a decision think whats the impact 10 min from now, 10 months from now 10 years from now.”

Christine Caine 

“The relay race hinges on exchange zone. We are a part of a divine relay. And its all about the baton. We are building the next generation. You are only here in your faith today, because the generation ahead of you didn’t drop the baton”

“Tolerance isn’t endorsement”

“The issue isn’t injustice. Its sin”

“Nothing can kill you faster than spotlight. It is better to be marked by God than being marketed by Man.”

I love nuggets. Not chicken nuggets (seriously, whats a chicken nugget?!?!)

Anyways, I also finished a new book, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Its a must read. It was exactly what I needed to hear about leadership, women, families and relationships. I will write about that in an upcoming post.

So last week was one of the best weeks I have had in a long time. I was inspired  I had fun. I was encouraged. My cup is full. “Spilling over” is more like it. I feel like I have the energy to tackle the world. Sometimes I just need a few days of focused growth and learning. And last week was it. I felt like a sponge looking thru a new lens of opportunity and leadership.

When’s the last time you felt really inspired? What did you learn? How did you share what you learned? Did you actually change?

TRUE LIFE: Social Onboarding

This is a guest post by my team member Paul Agustin. 

First off, I want to thank Allison for this opportunity to contribute to her blog. My name is Paul Agustin (@PSAgustin) and I am the newest member of her team. Working at Yammer, I’m constantly amazed at its many uses in the workplace. I’m using Notes to take and maintain minutes from meetings with clients as we map out how to roll out training to them. I’m sharing Files with my colleagues for feedback and discussion, utilizing their countless stories and experiences. I’ve been able to discuss and share ideas on upcoming projects with co-workers on the other side of the country, some whom I’ve never even met. Yammer is really changing the way I’ve viewed “working.”  As I’m writing this, I can’t believe I’ve only been at this job for about two months. That’s not a typo. I’ve only been at Yammer for two months. How many people can say, they’ve been able to achieve full productivity in less than a month? (I should have written this blog a month ago, but I was off being productive at Yammer.) Since Day 1 at Yammer, I’ve been able to hit the ground running and I don’t think it would have been possible, if Yammer wasn’t used as part of the onboarding process. Now, you must be thinking, Yammer for onboarding?

From the get go, I’ve been immersed in Yammer. Before my official start date, I was given access to an external network called Yammerversity. This gave me a chance to work in Yammer right away and expose myself to its different features and functionality. (I came from a company that did not use Yammer, so this was my first exposure to it).

Through this, Yammer and I were able to achieve a couple of things:

  1. I became familiar and comfortable with my new job role.
    As more and more people continue to use Yammer within a company, it becomes a knowledge repository. Conversations specific to my team and around their notes and files, are a treasure trove of information on getting up to speed. Being able to see the discussions behind every webinar and presentation, really helped me to know what was expected of me and how I could immediately contribute to the team. Part of my onboarding process was to go through the Yammer certifications. As I was going through them, I shared my feedback on things that needed to get updated and how to improve some of the quiz questions. This was then used to update our certifications.
  2. I was able to learn about company culture and get access to job related resources.
    Cynthia, who led onboarding at Yammer (@CynthiaCHanson) put a fantastic Preboarding Note together that contained links to various e-Learning modules covering Yammer basics, the history of Yammer, and the culture of the company. By the time I stepped into the office, I already had a sense of the people and the company. Once I was given full access to the home network, I was added to a group called Yammer New Hires, which had additional Notes on benefits information and company sites I should be aware of. The best resource of them all though was all of the conversations that had already happened. When I had questions about our commuter benefits, I did a quick search and found my answer. If I couldn’t find an answer on Yammer, I could post it to the company (in the appropriate group, of course), and know that someone will be able to help me out.
  3. I was able to start to build relationships and network.
    The first thing you’re supposed to do once you’re granted access to the Yammer home network, is to post a #bammerintro. (Bammer is a nickname for a baby Yammer, or a noob.) In your Bammer intro, you are to introduce yourself to the company and share a bit about yourself. Folks across the company can “Like” your message and reply with their own welcomes and greetings. This one little exercise is a great start to building relationships. When I finally visited the company headquarters, people already knew who I was and I knew who they were based on our interactions in Yammer. I already felt like part of the team, before I actually met Cynthia, Natalie, Kristin  and Louise in person.
  4. I was able to feel engaged and valued.
    “Working out loud” in Yammer creates transparency in what I’m working on and what other people are working on to. Allison has mentioned me on conversations that she thinks are relevant to me or that I can provide value to. Through this transparency, I can see my comments and suggestions are being read and used. Just the other day, I put together a deck about what do now that you’re a Yammer Certified Power User. Allison loved the idea and wanted to use it in our other certification programs.

social generationThese are just a few of the ways Yammer has eased my transition to my new job. If you’re looking for a way to jolt your onboarding program, try making it a little more “social,” you’ll be pleased with the results. I know I was.

Thanks Paul! You’ve been great addition to the team and I know these learnings will be good for others to read. So, how about you, have you tried to “socialize” your new hires? What are you learning? How can a tool like Yammer help facilitate and enable those conversations and communities?

“Paint” by Numbers but Different Results, is that how we train?

Last week I went to a Art of Merlot to celebrate a good friend’s birthday. We were instructed to all paint a similar picture. In the end we were supposed to end up with something close to Van Goghs’ version of the red poppy…

 

We were all given the same materials (canvas, paint, brushes) traced the same outline of the painting (using carbon copy paper) and given the same instruction from the art teacher.

 

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Yet when we finished… (see below) everyone had their own interpretation of the instruction and the medium and the colors and ultimately the final product. If you look at them they all look “similar” however they are all different and not exact replicas for what Van Gogh originally created.  (mine specifically requires a two drink minimum to view).

 

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Was it that some of us just didn’t listen to the instructor? Or some of us had had too much wine ? Or was it that we wanted to express our own perception of what was being painted?

 

Either way I think this is similar to how “training” is looked at. Everyone is given (or hopefully) given the same tools, instruction and we expect the same results. But the reality is that some interpretations come out a bit different than others.  Some excel and “paint” wonderful things and go above and beyond your expectations taking the materials a step further. While other some need a bit of remedial assistance (my case with the painting! I needed the teacher’s assistance every brush stroke). Is this such a bad thing ? Or is there something wrong with the expectation that everything will come out just the way we planned when we have given everyone everything without letting them choose on their own?

 

Have you ever had a “color by numbers” type of training session? Where you thought everything was given to your learners and it turned out they did something completely different? What happened? Would love to hear about it!