Got Yammer? Start a movement.

So someone else may have heard about Yammer at your company. Or maybe someone was directed to “Get Social” (whatever that means) and Yammer was brought in to the scene. Or maybe you have had Yammer in your organization but no one uses it unless it to post “There is cake downstairs.”  One thing is for sure Yammer is in your organization.

“But now what? Isn’t there more we can do?” I say, YES! Start a movement!

OK, but what’s a movement? I recently finished (rather quickly) Tribes by Seth Goodin.

Goodin writes (p.27) about the anatomy of a movement in three parts:

  1. A narrative that tells a story about who we are and the future we are trying to build.
  2. A connection between and among the leader and the tribe
  3. Something to do the fewer limits the better

Step 1  – A narrative – a story!

Create a story about why you are using Yammer. Not just because you need to be social and everyone else is doing it. (Although those a great reasons for a various amount of things). And make it interesting…

Remember the last time you went to a company meeting and the executive told a story… I bet you listened much closer and actually remember and connected, rather than when the next exec presented 130 slides. Do you have a great success story that has happened on Yammer? Don’t wait to share it.  People will “get it” quicker than if you try and explain how to use all the clicky-clicky buttons. Which leads to the  next step in starting a movement…

Step 2  – A connection

So you have you Yammer story. A good story at that. Now you need to find your connections of followers  and build your tribe. Encourage those who are starting to take a step out into the wild (aka Yammer) and connect them with each other. Share things on Yammer that would benefit them.  And remember, it’s not ALWAYS about you.  Leading into the next step…

Step 3  – Remove limits – barriers

Create an warm and fuzzy   encouraging and welcoming environment where followers of your tribe come together. Converse and get actions out of your tribe. Do something. But remember that Yammer is just a tool to facilitate these tribes.

So how are you communicating with your tribe?  What are you telling your tribe?

“most organizations spend their time marketing to the crowd. smart organizations assemble the tribe. (p. 30)”

And you don’t have to be “in” leadership or have a title to be a leader. If you are a great leader regardless of title and status – Yammer will amplify it.

“Nothing online is even close to a substitute for the hard work and generosity that comes from leadership. But these tools make leadership more powerful and productive, regardless of who’s in your tribe. (P. 55)”

“.. trying to lead everyone results in leading no one in particular. This leads to an interesting thought: You get to choose the tribe you will lead.  (P. 65)”

And sometimes most times… its not about you. Didn’t I already say that? Starting a movement isn’t about you, its about the rest of your tribe. It’s about connecting them and making them great. The quote below happens all the time with our Yammer customers. An intern communicates through Yammer directly with an executive. Or when the CEO likes your comment. And thats where the action is.

 “… the top of the pyramid is too far away from where the action is to make much of a difference. It takes too long and it lacks impact. The top isn’t the top anymore because the streets are where the action is. (p. 75)”

And in one of the final chapters he closes with,

“No one gives you permission or approval or a permit to lead. You can just do it. The only one who can say no is you. (p. 138 )”

Take it from someone who started the movement. Its fun, exciting. And people care because they choose to follow. Who are you waiting on to give you permission?  Start the movement.

Tribes is a great read and I want to further pull out my favorite parts and most applicables things I learned and blog about them. In the end Goodin write to the reader to pass the book to someone else, don’t just let it sit on your shelf. Applies to you too. Don’t just sit on the shelf. DO SOMETHING.