I’ve been on the road lately and talking and working with a variety of customers in every industry and level of maturity around social media and adoption. I’ve been noticing a few trends and things that keep coming up… We … Continue reading
My mom get’s social media. She gets on Twitter Chats, she pins, she likes, she gets it. As I was explaining in a bit more depth about Hootsuite and how I am currently using it for an upcoming event I lead. It dawned on me.
Social Media is kind of like cooking with a crock pot.
I hate cooking. Love to eat. Cooking just feels rushed. Or hurried. Or I don’t know what, but I don’t enjoy it. I am always SO stressed. However, I love meal planning. And I grocery shop, but more or less, I like the pantry stocked for basics of a quick throw together meal (like tonight’s was black bean, corn, and mango salad, so easy and so good). I also love to sit around the table. Anyways, my favorite cooking tricks is the crock pot. And since its almost fall, its almost time to bring it back out again…
Why? Because you fix it. And forget it. And its really hard to burn something. Like it’ll probably something else will happen with your meal first before your crockpot dinner is ruined.
What do you need for crockpot meal to be a success?
- Recipe (or not) – I like a starting point. And then I just add whatever I have. Always more veggies. Always more greens.
- Ingredients – (Canned, fresh, spices!) I like a lot of variety and not afraid to mix and match. Again, more veggies and more greens.
- Right temperature – too hot, you’ll dry everything out. not hot enough, it’ll take FOREVER to cook.
- Side dishes – so, unless its an entire meal in the crockpot (and it totally could be) what else are you serving?
- A good crock pot – I’ve had some that get TOO hot, or some that are way cheap and break too easily. Ours is literally from the 1990s and its worn. And good.
- TIME! You have to have patience and time to get the crockpot meal done right. Trust me. I’ve rushed too many of them.
These 6 things could be similar in social media as well.
- Recipe – its your plan. Doesn’t have to be elaborate, just evaluate and get your thoughts down before you start down the meal and realize you forgot the main ingredients.
- Ingredients – Its what you are pulling together to make it taste good! Take stock first, and literally go shopping if you need something! And then don’t be afraid to add a pinch of this or that, or turn up the heat!
- Temperature – Turning up the HEAT – This one in social media is tricky because you’ll need to run some tests, to see what resonates with your community and your communication mediums, what is HOT for your community, and what isn’t worth investing in.
- Side Dishes – I think this is the opportunity to partner with other people, brands, products to build a really good “meal”.
- Equipment – You have to think about the right tools. And you know, you get what you pay for. You might be lucky snagging a deal at a garage sale but, do your research. Know what you want, for what you need. And be prepared. (I could go on for days about this…)
- Time – Learning new tools, brand awareness , community building, networking, all good things, but really they do not happen overnight. Microwaving your food has a completely different taste.
I know those viral videos trick us into thinking WE could be the next big viral THING and customers lining up at our door, but reality is, probably won’t last and you want something that lasts, thats meaningful. I don’t think people microwave their food thinking they will get the same results after a crockpot or another type of meal.
What do you think? Have you ever had a good or bad crockpot meal? What was it about it that you enjoyed?
OK, so who is hungry. I wish we could all eat dinner together. At a table. It would be great.
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?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
These 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?
This past December I graduated with my Masters of Education, Technology and Leadership. I wrote about my FIRST semester in this post. (Oh my – I cant believe how fast/slow it went). I learned a lot in school. But probably not as much as I have learned this past year.
And by the last post I made it really doesn’t justify how much I have learned and been up to. Almost a year ago within a world I had no business being in I jumped in both feet. I leaned on a great coach, business adviser and consultant who became a dear friend. We tried things. Failed at things. Added new things. Took away the bad things and kept on adjusting. Like the angry birds method. “Aim. Fire. Adjust.”
So I guess thats what I will do with this blog going forward. Aim. Fire. Adjust.
I’d like to write about social enterprises because I see that every day. I’d like to write about my journey as a new manager (got lots of stories). I’d like to write about what its like being on the road all the time or how great it is to work from home (YOGA PANTS!). I’d like to write about the customers I see and the lightbulbs that go off. I’d like to write about what its like working for the largest software company in the world after working for a startup.
Is that OK with you? If that works – I will start there.
No promises. But bug me to write more, ok?
And if you’d like to do a guest post let me know.
Collaboration. Social. Innovation. These are the buzz words that fill my twitter feed today.
This week I have the pleasure of attending a few of our customer internal leadership summits, expos and all hands meetings. These two customers are in completely different industries and do not even remotely compete however the message is very very similar.
Seems to me like this buzzword is flying around in organizations today. A few months ago I found out that there are people who have the sole job of a “Collaboration Relationship Manager”. I am not sure if I agree with this or disagree – but I do find it a bit weird. Your role is to help manage the collaboration relationship? Huh?
Recently I finished the book “Organizations Don’t Tweet, People do: A Manager’s Guide to Social Web” by Euan Semple and learned great lessons throughout the book. One of the key messages that also aligns to this post is not to make “collaboration” an initiative and to really do it. In every project, nook and corner office of your organization find ways to collaborate. To get better, faster and to not settle for the status quo.
Think about your organization today and where would you lie on the scale if you had to actually measure your “collaborative” efforts? What’s the picture that is being painted by management? What are your current barriers to a more collaborative environment?
Semple (p. 70) says, there is “no point in having knowledge if people don’t know you have it, and if you are not prepared to share it .. “
If you really believe what Semple says above, what tools, resources and guidance are in place to share freely in your organization? Social platforms and tools like Yammer help “to increases the quality and frequency of the conversations that get your job done (p. 107).”
But in reality, what is collaboration all about?
Semple (p.132) defines collaboration,
True collaboration is a succession of … small examples of the willingness to help another person….Collaboration is a shared willings to address problems or opportunities and often to contribute hard won personal experience to doing so. You want there to be as few barriers to collaboration as possible.
Don’t turn collaboration into an initiative but make it easier to do so. Dont talk about doing it but instead increase the frequency and quality of those conversation that get your job done. Don’t just think that you will naturally be wiling to collaborate on your next project, just do it.
What does your organization look like in terms of “collaboration”. What are YOU doing in order to make your self more collaborative? What’s holding you back?
Leave me a note – would love to hear all about it.
In Jim Haudin’s Book, The Art of Engagement, he goes into great detail to lay the foundation of engagement tactics that are not only solid in proof but also in evidence. He gives you piratical advice that you can apply today – to the projects, change iniatives, technolgy advance and stratgy meetings you are setting up for next year.
From the other two posts I have written in reflection – Being apart of something big and Voices from the trenches – this final post in this series is going to walk through Haudin’s keys to engagement. I, of course have social business on the brian and will be looking at these points with the social technology point of view, but they could honestly be applied to any strategic movement.
Keys to Engagement
- Connecting through images and stories
- Creating pictures together
- Believing in Leaders
- Owning the solution
- Playing the entire game
- Allowing people to practice before performing
I may have written about this before but I will always be an advocate for imagery over beautifully crafted and highly strategic words. Think about drawing a picture. You can’t draw a picture if you haven’t thought about what you want it to look like in the end. Even if it is a simple picture, you still need to look at it from a bigger picture. Of course you could just start drawing and see where the pencil takes you, but don’t expect anyone else to understand what you are doing or to jump into the picture and help you.
Haudin uses a great activity, which I want to start using with the teams I work with. He calls it something to the effect of Napkin iterations. Providing a cocktail napkin to the team, encourage the team to draw their business landscape. As a team share what you have drawn then continue to iterate and build one picture until the picture accurately shows the current state (or future desired state). When I thinking about bringing social tools into the organization to help improve business velocity and accelaration I could not think of a more perfect way to misinpreret what that means, plus that could mean something different for each function of the business. If the goal is to move your business to faster and quicker results, how can we help visualize this and do it together? By creating visual iterations of the big pictures you as a team will be able to see if what you said really shows what you meant. Plus as with collaboration, your single idea of what the big idea is will be better with the ideas of your team.
Some look at me with puzzled looks, as if they don’t have a watercooler. But we really talk about the conversations people are having and what they have done to contribute to them, or benefit from them. With the social tools, such as Yammer, they provide these water cooler conversations to become visible and actionable. Instead of their associates grubling behind the back and not doing anything about it, leaders truly have charge about them in creating the change.
When you begin to involved people to make their own conclusions and solutions about the strategy — they feel engaged.
Haudin writes, ” when conclusions change, behavioral changes often follow (p. 129).”
How can you encourage your employees to learn rather than take what is served to them to discover their need for the change. Think about the last time you showed a group the “answers” for the change and how that worked out? My guess is that if someone showed me the answers to a problem that would encourage apathy not engage me.
Thinking about your business. Do all your employees know the fundamentals pieces of your business? Like where the money comes from, where it goes and how much your organization keeps? If not what can you be doing to help them understand and see that at the very basic level. Sometimes people forget what it is like to be new or not understand. Haudin talks again about maps, and how no matter the skill level or the educational level of a person – they still have to be able to read your map.
The last thought about engagement is practicing. Now I go back and forth on this – practicing does not always equal training. It could mean that some people need more help than others and some need some advice with coaching. It means that people need the tools that get them to the next level. But practicing also means a sense of trust and safety to fail. This can mean huge results when thinking about decisions about the change.
In my previous post, I briefly cover some ideas that Haudin talks about the roots or the foundation of engagement.
But what about the voices that matter. So the people in the trenches might not be engaged, but why? What is holding them back? In the book the Art of Engagement, Jim Hauden speaks to the voices from the trenches.
Before I even dig into that, I want you to check out the Disengaged Canyon. I found this a few years ago and have fell in love with the amazing way that the visual representation very accurately shows the organizations that I work with. Here is a short video but you can get the picture…
So what do these voices from the trenches say? How can you get them over this fear of actually engaging abd being a part of something big? So what is holding people back from just “getting it” and doing the right thing of accepting the strategy?
The voices (reasons) of why I can’t be engaged if…
- I am overwhelmed
- I don’t get it
- I am scared
- I don’t see the big picture
- Its not mine
- My leaders don’t face reality
These are things that change agents in the organization working with the senior leaders and managers should aim to overcome. The reality is if you don’t take a “strategy” off of someone’s plate, they might not be sure of what to do with the new one you just added. And then people just work to survive, forget looking at the big picture. Haudin uses the analogy of relevancy and communication. He talks about if your communication were similar to a stand up comedian, would you get a laugh from the crowd or would you hear crickets. If you think people might not get it, what can you do to test it to the crowd? And what would the crowd do if they read/heard them?
Haudin compares the Big picture to a TripTik vs. a GPS.
When you travel with your TripTik you always know “You are here”. You see the context and the surrounding areas. However when you use a GPS you are strictly dependent on the satellite connection and/or 3G. Now this isn’t a debate about which is better or not, but I have experienced this as well. If I travel somewhere and get a GPS I honestly have no idea where I am in relation to anything other than my specific destination. I have no sense of a bigger picture. And sometimes that hurts me when I am trying to get where I need to be because I have missed it. What maps could you provide your employees to better get the BIG PICTURE and so they know where the You are Here sign is on the strategic journey of engagement?
Also imagine that the strategy or the process you are trying to change could be visualized to be on top of a puzzle box. What would that image look like?
This book does a great deal of explaining how important visualization is – because its hard to draw something that hasn’t been thought out in great detail. Going a bit further with the puzzle analogy, how complex is the “puzzle”? How many pieces will it have? Think about these things as you begin to get people to think about the big picture.
You can’t create beautiful powerpoint slides that force people to make the change or to make them more engaged. You also can’t force the “aha” moments. One of the key things I have learned from this book and that has been validated by the work I have done, is that you can’t turn on someone’s lightbulb for them nor can you make them change. You can, however, create an environment where the aha moment might take place and let it happen. You can help facilitate it and be there to coach and mentor the people along the way. All I know is that I don’t change because someone tells me to, nor am I engaged because its the best for our business. I am engaged because I know what I do falls in line of something bigger than me and I have and understand the big picture.
What about you? What tools do you need to see the picture on the puzzle box? What aha moments have you recently had and what was the big revelation?
Its not that Yammer was the wrong tool or couldn’t do what we expected it to do.
Its not that we didn’t have the business justification, case and ROI mapped.
Its not that we didn’t take secure measures for the users information.
Its not like no one used it.
Its not that it was abused, or someone was harassed.
Its not that the people weren’t ready and easily adapting to it.
It really wasn’t any of that.
It was some one who is higher than me, wayyy at the tippy tip-top of the organization didn’t agree. Without any explanation, clarification or justification – she wanted it off.
It was a pride thing. It was that someone didn’t have their voice heard and they were going to make sure it was heard. That was it. End of story. Yammer was cut off from our organization.
Honestly I thought I was going to lose my job, because I initiated the whole thing (see blog posts about Social Media and SAP) . I invested weeknight and weekends of time energy and research. I promoted and loved and believed in it from the bottom of my heart. I had seen a huge communication issue and saw it starting to erupt with positive findings and information.
But it was like she said NO and it was like they cut off dialog happening at the watercooler. Funny thing about it, they can’t control real watercooler chat either..
Do I think it will come back, of course. Same story (as with telephones, email, IM) different technology… hopefully by this time I have moved on. Or she has.