The chapters don’t end in our story. There’s more to be written…

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.

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(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.

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Keep calm and Yammer on

 

 


 

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 101 Video

Yammer Blog Contributions:

Using Yammer to roll out O365

This is not your Parents Training Software

Using Yammer in your Training Programs

Social Onboarding

 

Other Yammer Related Articles & Blogs:

L&D Calendar Spotlight

Afterglow from ASTD 2014

Yammer for Internal Knowledge Sharing

ASTD Blog Publications:

Making you Yammer community work – Tips & Best Practices

Social Learning Fear Factor

 

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?

Enterprise Social Scared Straight – The Conference Circuit Recap 2013

Steve and I have been on the road a few different times now presenting a story that we believe in.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

Yammer Edition: Enterprise Social skills leaders need to have

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?

TRUE LIFE: Social Onboarding

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

social generationThese 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?

I have learned so much.

And I haven’t written anything down. Who am I? I used to blog all the time. I got my current job from a blog post I wrote. (more of the story here)

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.

Stop making collaboration an initiative. Make it a reality.

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.

Collaboration. 

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.

The Art of Engagement (part 3) – Keys to Engagement

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 

  1. Connecting through images and stories
  2. Creating pictures together
  3. Believing in Leaders
  4. Owning the solution
  5. Playing the entire game
  6. 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.

As I work with many leaders in our customers organizations, I often ask them what they think is being discussed at their water cooler?

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.

 

Check out the other (Being apart of something big) Part 1 or (Voices from the trenches) Part 2 of this recap.

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”