New Year Resolutions for your Network

This year New Years Resolutions were really getting a bad rap. I don’t know why, most of us are guilty at not keeping them from our own accord.

Last week I asked a group a friends what their New Years Resolutions were. We got to talking about how some people just don’t make any New Years Resolutions for whatever reason.  One friend commented, “If you want to make changes, just do it. Don’t wait until January.” And I think she’s totally right. Just do it. Don’t wait.

I would assume that the changing of the year sparks a bit of hope in all of us. We are celebrating, reflecting of the past 12 months. The pain from our failures and the fist bumps of our successes. We anticipate the following months that include our dreams, and the next chapter and seasons in our life.  We already know what we need more and less of in our lives.

Most people know that writing out a goal holds you more accountable.

Most people know that setting a plan in place helps you take steps needed to achieve the goal.

Most people know that sharing the goal, with a trusted friend or spouse creates another layer of vulnerability and trust of obtaining the goal.

SO why are we so down on New Years Resolutions? Or why do they get such a bad rap. Fear, pride, laziness, comfort, and insecurities get in the way of obtaining the goals we’ve set forth.  Or sometimes the timing is all wrong. Or the market is all wrong. Or everything is all wrong.

As I was thinking about Resolutions, I starting to think about how we could make them for our own our Social Networks. Here’s a list of some simple resolutions you could start to implement today, regardless of network you participate in.

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  1. Focus – Use this time to refocus, reprioritize the spaces you participate and engage in. And bring it.
  2. Celebration – Showcase and show off the connections, serendipity, stories. ALL THE TIME.
  3. Consistency – Engaged users engage users. Schedule it. Daily, monthly, quarterly. Focus on activities that improve the quality of your consistency.

 

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  1. Excuses – Just ask. Just do it. Whatever you are holding back, go forth. And stop finding excuses. Is it time to ask the Director for some support? Do you want to try changing up the annual conference/meeting/kick off to include something different? Do it!
  2. Unanswered – Don’t leave anything without a comment, @mention or LIKE. Enlist others to help with this. Do something that tells the person on the other end that they are heard, valued, noticed. EVEN when you don’t have the answer. Or know the right person.
  3. Trolls – Just don’t tolerate this type of behavior. There are other places these people can be like this. OR maybe, engage them in a way that’s beneficial to the community, like giving them a project or opportunity for them to use their strengths.

 

What do you think about New Year’s Resolutions? Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Why? Why not?

 

Oh! And Happy New Year from my family to you and yours! Its been a wild ride this past year and I am excited for 2017!

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PS. We hosted a “Mad about Plaid” New Years Eve Party, hence the plaid. HAH!

 

“Do you hear what I hear?” 2015 -Year of “Listening”

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 are really good at the push. We have so much content. We have mastered the art of one way communication. Like mastered, no need for more training on that. You get it.

But where I see brands and companies struggling is really, actively listening. Asking another, “Do you hear what I hear?” My guess is no, probably not. We don’t hear what you hear because we are so loud talking about our own stuff, I cant even hear what I should be hearing myself let alone what you are hearing.

So my big bet, my big prediction for 2015 in terms of “social media”?

Listening.

We need to do more listening. Everyone. As a whole. As people. Its not a business listening to another business (B2B), its people interacting with people, truly hearing what they have to say.

Its also taking the opportunity to say, yes, I’ve heard you. Good. Bag. Ugly. But I’ve heard you.

What does this look like?  Filter the noise. Focus on the person. Remove the jargon. Be interested. 

This doesn’t mean you problem solve everything. This doesn’t mean you have a response for everything. Sometimes just being heard is enough.  And we should let enough be enough.

Interesting vs Interested? And thoughts from #TechPhx

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?

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Click here to see the recordings (mine will be up shortly).

Check out the Storify here.  

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” 

  1. Ask questions and care about what is being answered by listening.
  2. 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!

Is the CrockPot similar to Social Media?

The other day I was talking to my mom and I was explaining to her about some of the details and functionality of Hootsuite and my new job. 

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?

  1. Recipe (or not) –  I like a starting point. And then I just add whatever I have. Always more veggies. Always more greens.
  2. Ingredients – (Canned, fresh, spices!) I like a lot of variety and not afraid to mix and match. Again, more veggies and more greens.
  3. Right temperature – too hot, you’ll dry everything out. not hot enough, it’ll take FOREVER to cook.
  4. Side dishes – so, unless its an entire meal in the crockpot (and it totally could be) what else are you serving?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. Side Dishes – I think this is the opportunity to partner with other people, brands, products to build a really good “meal”.
  5. 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…)
  6. 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.

First Form of Social Media… The Table.

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.

 

Sit at the Table

 

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

5th Year Attendee at ASTD International Conference

Last week, my team and I attended ASTD (now ATD) international Conference in Washington DC. I have gone to ASTD just about every year I could. I love the people and the community. This year, there were more international people than ever before, and it was incredible to just hear the languages in the hall.

My first year, I remember I focused on anything cultural or internationally focused. The second year I went to every session I could find about social. Last  year my big focus was on Sales EnablementImage.

 

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This year I went to a few sessions for me but mostly I went to sessions to support my personal learning network (PLN). I had friends who had first time speaking opportunities this year, and I wanted to be in the stand supporting them (and tweeting about them!).

The one most interesting session I did attend was Marcus Buckingham about performance management systems. I was curious because at Microsoft we have just revamp our performance management systems, and I was interested to see what he had to say. Plus I have my performance reviews for my team coming up and I needed to take some notes on how to continue to improve the facilitation of the conversation.

After very thoughtful research and insights into why performance management systems don’t work (Long story short, providing feedback is hard and most people do it relative to themselves, and even in a 360 review its based off themselves instead of the people they are supposed to be evaluating. And if you don’t think feedback is hard, try giving some to your spouse or family member, the people whom you love the most…). He encouraged us that there was a way to engage our employees early and often.

He mentioned that feedBACK was fine but hard to give on past things, but we should focus on near term future focused coaching. Meeting with team members to understand what they are working on, how they can work on what they like to do, and if they and the team understand the definition you have of quality. He also went on to explain that quality could change based on the organization and possibly team. This aspect of quality is something I need to dig further into when setting expectations with my team and my leadership.

There was also 4 questions he would ask of managers for the employees every quarter.

  1. Would you hire them again?
  2. Would you want them on your team?
  3. Is this person ready for a promotion?
  4. Are there performance issues?

With laying the ground work with simple question that provided a better framework for evaluating a persons work it was a more subjective way to review someone. And a way I would like to be reviewed as well.

He made an interesting comment, that we need to make and create performance management systems that are based on the user strengths and not based on corporate objectives and use the system as a crutch to align with goals. I’d love to learn more about this, as this was one of the first sessions I’d been to focusing on performance management in the years I have been at ASTD.

What did you learn? What are you applying?