Art of Engagement (part 1) – Being apart of something big

I recently finished the Art of Engagement and I want to share what I learned and the highlights from it. Obviously engagement is a HUGE piece in organizations and their success. It’s what make the organizations tick, what makes organizations step up and beat out the competition.

Haudin does a great job of explaining how to take senior leaders,

“on strategic road trip that focused on looking through the windshield instead of in the rear view mirror… (leaders should) ride the winds of change rather than be blown away by them. (p. 11)  “

A huge aha and learning moment for me was the part when Haudin talks about the foundation of creation and executing stratgies around engagement.

“Success, competitiveness , and vitality were not determined by the sharpness of the vision of  and strategy of the brightest few, but by the learnings, understand and execution speed of the slowest many. (p.12). “

Haudin also talks about the basics in the first few chapters, or the “Roots of Engaging people”. These points aren’t new but they are fundamental to understand when people aren’t engaged and the reason why.

People want to:

  • be apart of something big
  • feel a sense of belonging
  • go on a meaningful journey
  • know that their contributions are making an impact difference

The example that they give in the book is how Disney leadership performs in the Main Street parade in Magic Kingdom. The new leaders get to see first hand  that their contributions are making a difference in their customers lives.

So that leaves me thinking, what could your organization do to give a similar perspective to your employees? What could you do to let them know and understand that their contributions, regardless of what their job is, are for a bigger purpose. Is it bringing them to a customer visit? Allowing them to sit in an industry event? What about bringing the outside in for a new perspective?  What could you do to help your organization share that bigger purpose?

On thing that my organization just did was bring in 3 of our customers from varying backgrounds. We got to hear their story, the pains and the success of their journey. We got to listen to how they were changing the way their organization was doing things. And it was cool. It sparked some realizations for myself, of where else could we improve engagement if we brought the outside in?

What are you doing in terms of engaging your employees? How can you help share the knowledge that you are learning and the battle scars you are learning from doing that such thing?

Part 2 I will talk about the “Voices of the Trenches” and the reasons why people aren’t engaged and what I learned from the book. Part 3 – “Keys to Engagement” 


Why Yammer Failed

Check here for what happened next… 

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.

I couldn’t live without…

What’s one piece of technology you can’t live without?

Smart Phone

I honestly don’t know how I lived without one. I used to have a simple phone that I would primary used  for texting.

I got my first cell phone when I turned 16 because of driving and for emergencies. By the time I started college my family used cell phones so much that we got rid of our land line almost 7 years ago. Plus anyone that called the house was for my mom, and they could call her cell anyways.

Now I have a phone with internet and email and social media networks and calorie counting apps, and map apps and everything in between. I just have the blackberry and most days it drives me crazy. But I think one reason why I couldn’t live without it – is when I forget it.. I feel lost. It keeps me connected – to my friends and family. If something happened, they would let me know. Without a cell phone… what.. send smoke signals? 🙂

However, over the past few years I know how important having real intentional time with people can be. While it may not always be practical to see all my friends (they live in all states and countries) thank goodness for the phone (and FACEBOOK) to keep us connected. I just know how important it is to have that real time together to grow and communicate face to face.  I think cell phone should be an enabler – but not take the place of face time.

What technology do you wish would disappear from the world?

Blue tooth headsets. Or may just the people that wear them out. At dinner. At church. At the grocery store. They are so annoying to me. Our company got them for us to be “safe”.. I refuse to use it. They don’t fit my ear and I am more focused on getting it to work and sound correct that it is more unsafe than not. Also I think people are talking to themselves… until I realize they have the blue tooth headset in. So annoying. See picture below. If that was my husband and I on a date… not off to a good start…









What about you? What could you NOT live without?  and what technology do you wish would disappear from the world?

My Online Graduate Program: Semester 1

I am in my second semester at George Washington University.  I am studying to get my Masters of Education, Technology and Leadership. The program is great and the staff is really helpful to online students. This is a really perfect fit for me and where I want to go in the future.

 Honestly, I couldn’t wait to get started again in the program. I learned a lot in just one semester about technology, where we are headed, where we are, what the struggles are as organizations, institutions and more. I have also expanded my little bit of IT knowledge (little bit, meaning I know the difference between a hub and a switch. My husband is proud.).

Things I like

  • I get the whole week to do school, and at my leisure and when my schedule permits it – I can do school work during lunch breaks, after dinner, early Saturday morning, waiting at the airport. I really like this. A lot. My friend is in an MBA program at a local school, andshe has to drive to school three times a week (30 mins away from her each way) to sit and hear someone blab about whatever and then give you assignments they could have easily just sent via email. Hearing her horror stories of wasted time reminds me why I like GW.
  • The school week starts on Wednesday and ends Tuesday. This provides the whole weekend to work on projects. This worked really well. And I got used to the rhythm of the schedule. Plus I didn’t feel like I had to save Sunday and catch up on everything..
  • The diversity and background of students. Loved getting to know the different students from all over the world and in all types of walks of life. This was a diversity that a local university can usually not provide. Also being online community you have to connect alot more than in a normal class.
  • Collaborating in Real Time. Using the collaboration tools (see GoogleDocs Post)
  • Researching.  Being able to research and having it mean something. I spent time reading and researching things that I was actually interested (unlike undergrad) and I learned a lot about those things. (like Enterprise Collaboration, Social Media for education, and iPads in the classroom). I have some new topics for this semester, and am excited about those.

Things I dislike:

  • Missing Social Media Aspects. The web system doesn’t notify me when someone replies to a comment I have made. Maybe I am just accustomed to everything else I use that does it – So you have to log in, remember which thread you responded on and check to see if anyone read it. Also there aren’t any “liking” features. Since we get graded on participation, sometimes I just respond – “I like what you had to say.” or ” I agree”. This seems a silly post and I wish I should just like it.
  • Group Projects – just as in a real class, you have group projects. Sometimes they work great, and sometimes you end up on the phone scrambling around at the last second because someone isn’t pulling their weight.
  • Sometimes the content is outdated. This doesn’t just happen with online courses. But tonight I watched a video from 2002. That’s 9 years ago. This video has a note with an update  saying they don’t even use the technology any more. It wouldn’t be that hard for the profs to mix up and find fresh content.
  • Still having to go through power point slides. DEATH

Anyways, I am really excited for this next semester. I am taking Computers in Education and Human Development and a Research Class. I will keep you posted on what I learn this semester…

Global Pilot Groups for eLearning

I wanted to post something this week about a project I worked on last year. I have been meaning to write about it for awhile, because it was something that was truly new to me in all ways.

I created an eLearning course from an instructor led course. Doesn’t sound too terrible…. Backing up – this also was a HUGE change in the way that our company does purchases (aka “Shopping Cart”). The instructor who was leading this course was awful. There were HUGE training gaps, mis information, poorly written guides (11 pages of BS)… and more. After seeing some of her reviews – I vowed if any one ever wrote something like that about me – I would hang up my ambitions for training.

I did some things that I normally don’t do for eLearning projects, but now I will do going forward. It took more time, but it was well worth it.

  • Storyboarded – I know how important this has become when creating elearning. Alot of times the way that a in-class instruction is set up, isnt necesarly the right way to set up an elearning. I began to white board, chunk and story board the topics and slides and activities. I also wrote a script (only after my second time recording the voice over for the whole thing…). By doing this type of preparation it made it easier to communicate to the SMEs of how the final course would look like.
  • Created an Elearning Plan – I created a timeline with the different events that needed to happen before this could be rolled out successfully. I thought about who would be invloved, what timing would be considered, how we would communication to different stake holders and so forth. My allowing myself time to think about these things – I took time to gather information without skipping certain groups.
  • Internally Tested – with our LMS! – As learned the hard way from previous projects — we tested  the course once it was in its beta stage within our LMS. This was important to test it that it was passing scores correctly, gaining access and everything was working properly. This sounds easy, but it wasn’t. We learned that for whatever reason our LMS cant support SCORM any more (something I used and put in there for about a year) and now it only works with AICC. No idea what changed.
  • Pilot Group – I asked my SMEs and instructors for people who would be good candidates to test this eLearning. I work for a global country, so the cultures had to be taken into consideration when rolling this out. Usually our pilot groups consist of users right around the corner from myself. But since this was going out to eveyerone, I needed to make sure it was culturally sensitive to our European associates as well as our Malaysian associates.  They were provided instructions and given 2 weeks time to complete the eLearning. They also had a survey to complete asking about navigation, culture, language, content etc. This provided myself with alot of insight into the users.
  • Regional Feedback Sessions – For each region, I held a feedback session. I created spefific questions I wanted the different users to answer (such as how many PRs do they normally submit a year, did they attend insturctor led training, what was their job at my company, etc) and then I had them answer what was Tempting, what they Liked and what would they Change. Each of them had opportunities to answer these questions and provide feedback. One of the biggest things I learned, is that the associates were glad that someone cared about their feedback and they were making a difference. Which, honestly – I did care! No one in northwest ohio could have provided me the feedback the global teams did.
  • Changes Made – After looking through the meeting notes and surveys – I created a presentation of the reactions, feedback and changes to be made. This was communicated not only with our pilot group but also with some senior leaders. This was important for myself and the participants to know that their feedback was taken into consideration and something was done about it. I made the changes that had been noted as the most important ones for the final roll out.
  • Tested Again – After the changes were made the SMEs, Insructors and my internal team ran through it again to make sure everything was good to go within our LMS.
  • Communication! – We communicated in local newsletters, our intranet announcement section, our internal blog, front and center of the log in page. (Basically we plastered it!) Also we informed the people that would get asked about it the most and created a template response for them to respond with when an associate asked about the training.


Since this go-live of October we have had over 150 associates log in, take the eLearning and receive access from it. My next step is to survey these associates to see if the eLearning  is meeting their needs. And if not what can we do to help them.  I know this was a lot, however we knew the impact was going to be large and far reaching and it needed to be done correctly.

Do you do all of this for your eLearning roll outs? What other things do you do? What do you skip on? What should you be adding to your roll outs?


Traditionally Changing….


It’s always different when you experience it first hand. Change is hard.

This year was the first year that I didn’t celebrate Christmas with my family, instead I went to my husbands family. There wasn’t an option to do both bc of distance and energy. Anyways – rewind a bit to my years of growing uo and celebrating Christmas.

My family is known for the traditions at Christmas. We knew what we would eat and when, which church service we were going to go to on Christmas eve, when to open our stockings and what treats we would have after Santa. We are a food and lots of presents family. And games of course. Some Christmases, when we were little we even did plays and skits and songs for everyone.


This year it was different. We celebrated christmas at my house last year bc it made sense bc of the wedding, so it was only fair to switch up thanksgiving and christmas the following year (meaning this year).

My husband’s family doesn’t have traditions and each year it’s different. Also there weren’t many presents under the tree, and stockings only for decoration.  I survived, but it was different. I felt like I was on the verge of tears all day long, not because I was sad, but just coming to the realization that life is starting to really change. 

So I really started to think about this – change- piece again. Often times I embrace change with wide open arms… But this one I don’t know if i can let go… I get antsy with life wanting to  GO GO GO and for whatever reason that is…. This tradition, of Christmas eve and day,  I want to hold on to… As long as I can. I hope that in my job now I can truly see how hard some changes are for people.

What things are you holding on to? What is an area of your life that you just can’t change? What traditions are you not wiling to let go? But….What should you be changing?

Challenge for 2011! I’m posting every week in 2011!

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog once a week for all of 2011. I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way and encouraging others when I can. I used to be an avid blogger about my life (been blogging since I was 16…) just got out of habit. Also should consider doing this for my internal work blog….

If you already read my blog a BIG THANK YOU. I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes along the way.

Let’s see how this goes…