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 favorite part of speaking and meeting people is learning their stories and seeing how our lives are interconnected. Social media is a very personal thing. For me, especially so (if you’ve read any of my other posts you’ll know why). So I want anything that I present, educate or facilitate to be deeply that, personal. Otherwise, whats the point?
Stop trying to be interesting. Just be interested.
I don’t know where that quote came from, or if its the saying is exact. Regardless, its a lot harder than it seems. I don’t have children yet, but I do have friends and family, and this seems to be a key pillar when in how we establish our relationships offline and online. I see so many people who are dying for a bit of authentic attention, for someone to just care, truly interested, about what someone else is doing, saying, learning, experiencing, feeling. Have you ever been on the phone with someone clearly doing something else, and you know they’re not really “there“? Yeah. Thats what I am talking about.
This past November I spoke as the opening keynote at #techPHX a local technology conference. Last year I presented a session about using Enterprise Social Technologies within the walls of your own organization, aka Yammer. This year my focus was about the external uses of social technologies as well as providing a few of predictions for 2015. It was fun to get the audience involved and engaged so early in the morning. And try to really be interested. Plus, who doesn’t love memes & mullets?
Click here to see the recordings (mine will be up shortly).
Now, I get thats being interested, truly, is the complete OPPOSITE of social media and how everything is portrayed, but wouldn’t our conversations within our community look a bit different if we were genuinely interested. Early on in my career, I had a boss that did just this. And it stuck because when I had other leaders who weren’t as “interested” you can tell. So what does this really look like?
Here’s 2 things you can do to be more “interested”
- Ask questions and care about what is being answered by listening.
- And when someone asks you a question, really answer them.
I mostly need this reminder for my own reflection and learning most of all, especially during the crazy busy holiday season. Maybe someone else needs to hear it too.
And, if anyone knows where the saying came from let me know. I’d gladly source it!
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.
People thought I was crazy. Leaving the comforts of familiarity and moving too many miles to count to an unknown start-up. Leaving behind the white picket fence. The great job and incredible manager. And friends and family. Then moving again! We were crazy. But that’s because big risk equals big reward.
So I started to write the chapter in my life with the title, “Yammer – taking me places I never imagined“. Quickly, we wrote this chapter together, and all over the world, you all included! We thought and wrote our pages as we were living them. Our story has characters of all walks of life, industry, and passions. We wrote it not knowing what would come on the next page.
And now, it’s time to finish this chapter and begin the next chapter. I’ve joined Hootsuite. Read more details here
My advice to you, don’t be afraid to write a new chapter. Even if there is risk. Even if you aren’t sure what story will be told in the chapters that follow. Fear, is the one way to miss out on authoring the pages of your life.
Dream big. Author your own pages. Title your own chapters.
And don’t forget that at the end of the day, its about people.
(Selfie of my last training session with Yammer! They are PUMPED!)
It’s about people who you can share and re-live the stories you have written — that matter most.
I wanted to capture my contributions to Yammer and Enterprise social in one post, more for my own knowledge but feel free to check out these links for more information!
View recording of my presentations of Yammer at Microsoft Conferences: Channel 9 Speaker (Includes Topics such as Power User Training, Enterprise Social Scared Straight, and Best Practices for overcoming Organizational Barriers to success)
Read more about my story here: Microsoft Careers Blogs
Yammer Blog Contributions:
Other Yammer Related Articles & Blogs:
ASTD Blog Publications:
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.
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
In honor of Mother’s Day I want to reflect on five of the many lessons my mom taught me.
(Photo Credit Imaginale Design http://imaginaledesign.com/)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Steve and I have been on the road a few different times now presenting a story that we believe in.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.