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

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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.

 

YES TEAM

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?