The SOCIAL Shift

Observations on how social connectivity is changing the workplace. And the world. Views expressed here are my own.
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Last Tuesday at around 4:45 p.m., I looked down at my iPhone. The battery indicator was at 16 percent, begging to be recharged. I had tweeted, taken notes, added contacts, snapped pics and even checked back into the office a couple of times. And then we hit the bar for some informal networking.

Fortunately, the preceding excuse for Jive to pay for drinks half-day session with Jive users based in the northeast was actually productive. Lots of users shared their insights, challenges, successes and lessons learned in a dynamic, energetic format that deftly blended presentation and participation. The result was a highly engaging and productive half-day session of Jive users. As I replay the event in my mind, there are 5 things that stick out as important lessons to remember whether you are presiding over a mature community or are still working to gain the internal OK to pursue such an option:

  1.  Help people achieve their goals – stated and unstated – This includes business objectives, workflow and process innovation, team-building goals or even strategic positioning within the organization. If you help your users derive value from the tool, the case for them to use it will be self-evident.
  2. “Measure what you can affect, affect what you can measure” – Focusing your efforts on items where you can quantify impact helps you tell a compelling story about the viability of your tool. Identify those areas and spend your energy and resources to make them work. And then let people know!
  3. Top down, meet bottom up – It’s critical to have executive-level support for an initiative that requires this level of organizational investment. But without people using and benefit the tool, you’re left with an attractive shell. Find and work closely with advocates to build solid use cases early so that senior level advocacy and grassroots action can meet.
  4. Know your organization – You (hopefully!) have a strong understanding of how your organization works. You can use this knowledge to your advantage. Target the high profile business unit or leader. Find “friends” with influence and clout (and maybe Klout if you’re lucky) to drive utilization and champion your work.
  5. Surface great content – As users begin to share great content, be sure to give them the spotlight. Feature their content prominently for other users to see. Publically and privately thank them for their contributions and encourage them to share more. This will help to make your site a destination for expertise and interaction that is related to the work that your employees do daily.

Just like my iPhone, when we as social evangelists do what we are supposed to do, our battery may get drained. The nearly empty battery can be written on our tired brows or well-used, stained coffee mug on our desks. That’s why gatherings like this are important. We can connect with each other and recharge each other to lead our organizations into increasing levels of productivity and innovation. I look forward to helping employees achieve goals, measuring effectiveness and sharing stories and great content. And I look forward to being plugged in at a future gathering to regain my strength.