A very common question…What should I post to Yammer?

What should I post to Yammer? [Or insert tool of choice] 

I get this question often when I work with a variety of people, end users, admins, leaders. These people who are trying to figure out how to use the social and collaboration tools.

For me personally, this is a non-issue. But its because of how I am wired. I am a connector. It feels natural for me to share what I am up to, what’s holding me up and why I am working on the things I am focusing on. It’s also how I have been working the last 10 years of my career.

A few years ago I ran a globally dispersed team. I shared with my team “Don’t ever let me guess what you are working on”. Not because I am a micromanager, but because I was trying to instill some habits of “working out loud“.  I would pull up a team member’s Yammer profile and see where they’d been posting, which groups they’ve been working with and where they were at with certain projects or initiatives.  I didn’t want them to work in their own silo (or email inbox). They didn’t need to include me (or @mention me) on every conversation, I could look for myself. Likewise, I didn’t need to be included in every email they sent either. During my1x1s with my team members, it became less about status updates, and more about strategy, roadblocks or working sessions.

Sharing links to articles of relevant industry news or blogs is easy and usually the starting point for many people. I believe there’s more that could be shared. More context. More details. More intrinsic knowledge behind the decisions.

Here’s of 5 ideas on what you could post to Yammer:

  1. Be interested instead of interesting.
  2. Ask questions.
  3. Reflect on your day. Answer, who did you just meet with? Why? What is the decision that will be made?  What lessons did you learn from your most recent project?
  4. Reflect on your week. What were your high’s and lows from the week? Why? what have you accomplished? Where are the roadblocks?
  5. Reflect on your learnings. What did you learn from the webinar/training/conference you attended? Was it worth it?

Often we don’t take enough time to reflect and digest what we’ve experienced. Myself included. But these opportunities of reflection become the building blocks of context that ourselves or others will need to make better decisions in the future.

 

For more great ideas of what to post, read Jane Bozarth’s Show Your Work.   Working out Loud week is coming up in June 2017, check the link for more details and resources about how you can get your teams involved.

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.

MORE:

  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.

 

LESS

  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!

 

5 Things you can do to be Interested in your followers

I remember hearing this saying a few years ago and it blew my mind.

 “Stop trying to be interesting. Just be interested.”

I am not sure exactly who coined the term as I’ve seen a few memes and quotes of it since then. And I’ve seen and said it a variety of ways. Regardless the meaning stays true.

A few days ago I met with a friend to work on her social media plans for the remainder of this month and dream for the next year. She’s an author and speaker and wants to continue to improve her platform and her following. We talked about campaigns and calendars, scheduling and showing the imperfectness of her children and holiday décor. People love peering through the looking glass to see how you really live life. And in a world of “connectedness” people still feel lonely or that no one is listening to them.

After talking with her I came up with a quick list of ways that we could all be more interested in our followers regardless of the platform or medium.

  1. Be Helpful – Share an article you read that would help them based on what they shared. Maybe its tips for running faster, or how to save money by meal planning, or shopping advice for the holidays. I think the more related to their personal life the better.
  2. Encourage them–  Share a note to encourage them along the process even if you don’t have any advice to add. There’s a lot to be said when someone encourages another and could help motivate them.
  3. Respond – For one week, pick 5 or 10 followers and write back a response to their posts. Like a real response, not a bot response or a one word “LOVE” response. I’ve done this a few times, sometimes with people I don’t even really “know” and its been fun learning more about them and building a better foundation for a relationship.
  4. Share a story – There’s something great about hearing a story about something similar, especially if you want to show some empathy (or humor!). It brings a human element to a very processed, calendar and scheduled feed of noise. Just be careful that you don’t try and “one-up” the person trying to make yourself look better with your story.
  5. Listen  – Follow up or ask someone about something specific that was shared. It shows that they actually read and listened and remembered. Enough to ask and care about what’s happening behind the screen.  This is powerful, and rarely happens online, let alone in other relationships.

What about you? Do you have any tips or things people online have done to show that they were truly and genuinely interested in you and you in them? Any business that is doing this well?

 

Here’s a post by Eric Kraus about Interested vs Interesting in Enterprise Social networks and a bit more about the background of culture if you want to explore further.

 

Lessons Learned about Workplace Communications – Part III – Workflows & Business Process

Lesson # 3 Workflows and Business Processes matter!

This was an early lesson I learned working with so many companies throughout the years. Many wanted to start something “new” with these collaboration tools. Something different, or outside of their normal. When actually, going back to their business processes would help further the change.

I’d highly recommend partnering with teams and departments willing to embrace and try their business processes with some elements changed, replaced, incorporated with the new set of tools. Instead of starting something new just for the sake of another way to communicate, tack on to an initiative that is already in motion.

If you know me, you know how much I love “tables”, more on that later. But my point here is this, Get a seat at a table that already exist. There may and will be opportunities to create more, new, different, special, tables. But for now. Pull up a chair to one that already is within the walls of your organization.

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For example, let’s say your department is project based. How your team, group celebrates wins and discusses lessons learned after each project? Do they conduct post-mortems (if they don’t, they should do some sort of reflection regardless!)? How can you work with technology as a tool to enable knowledge sharing after a project? What would that look like? How does that need to be prepared, facilitated?

This leads me to the next point, with starting small and specific. Notice how I didn’t say to replace all your internal email communication with this shiny new tool. That’s unrealistic for most, and too drastic of a change for the rest. Starting small helps create habits.

If you are on a team, start with a daily round robin of what everyone is working on, weekly share the highs/lows, once a month post a picture of your desk/client/environment and what you are most proud about and what you would like to change/do better. Using examples that tie even closer to the business process, the better.

Finally, celebrate the #WINS! I have learned that its pretty hard to argue with experience. I enjoy Twitter, and I often use my experience to show the power of Twitter and social networking beyond what is stereotyped(Read 140 Characters Changed my life).

It is life changing. It does matter. Working together with our network of people right within our own walls of our organizations could have a huge impact to our clients and employees. Encourage employees to find their own win and start telling their story! The more personal, the more impact!

 

Did you find that working with teams or departments who are more willing to weave new tools of communication are easier or more difficult to find within organizations? Why do you think so?

Sustainable Training

I often get asked by my clients, with the pace of change how do you keep your training materials up to date?

There comes a point in time when you just give up.

Or there comes a point where you know there is a different way.

Because I’ve worked at start ups and software companies where product changed at least weekly, we had to be creative and a strategic in the way we created and maintained training materials.

If  I am creating something brand new, immediately think about longevity. How long is this document, presentation, course, job aid, video going to last? When will be used? For how long? What’s the purpose and the audience behind it? Answering some of these questions helps me narrow down the actual output created.

If I am working with maintaining existing material I work through a simple change matrix. Based on a scale of 1-10, a team member works through number of people impacted, look and feel (UX) change, and workflow impact. After agreeing on a rating for these few factors the numbers would add up to a specific change level and we’d focus on the working through materials from there.

Sounds like a lot of work, but it was pretty simple once it was in place. We can quickly focus on updating the materials appropriately for the change to support the performance we expected out of the impacted audience.

I’ve created these for the sanity of my own teams, but also to help set expectations with customers and our own leadership. Having a clear picture of what and when will be available and up to date based on the specifics of a change, made working with the teams easier.

Finally, the other way I focus on sustainable based training, is by focusing on the workflows or business process. Building this type of training materials and programs could be more involved as they may overlap systems and be cross functional.  If you create training based on use cases of a workflow, this could mean less maintenance. One could assume that the process changes less often than the product. I understand it may not always be the case, but primary this is what I have seen with my experience. These programs took longer to design and build, but they took less time to upkeep. I will probably write more on this so stay tuned.

If this is something that your organization needs help with, drop me a line. Would love to help figure out what the factors and scale are for creating sustainable training programs and documentation.

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Leaving Yammer – Yammer Contributions

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.

Image Today, 13_49_32

 

 

 

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

 

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

Aim Fire Adjust – Learning so much through the journey

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.