Thursday, 28 February 2013

Yammer on Tour in London

Today's marginalia are about the Yammer on Tour in London event that took place on 26th February.

It was for me an inspiring day with more than 500 passionate attendees and various speakers talking about increasing the quality of internal communications and facilitating employee engagement inside our organisations throughout the use of Yammer.

I still have to do lots of thinking – and practice - about what I listened to and learnt. Indeed, internal social media is a topic so vast and challenging.

During the day I had the chance to happily write down lots of notes. I would like to share some of them with you by hoping that you might benefit from them in some way.

Some marginalia relating to the keynotes:

Nikos Drakos (Research Director, Gartner):

  1. CLOUD: Everywhere
  2. MOBILE: Anytime (we need to meet our people when people need it, at the moment)
  3. SOCIAL: Everyone (people interacting with each other, socially.This changes the fundamental of management)
  4. INFORMATION: Anything (the information is available to everyone at any time. This changes the way we do things, analyse information)

Within these 4 forces there is something disrupting/distracting: in fact, we like to anticipate things, get predictability...but this is something which is not fit for the next stage.
Therefore, the key message here is: WE NEED TO ADAPT.

Adam Pisoni (Co-founder and CTO, Yammer):

ACCELERATING THE PACE OF CHANGE. Dealing with disruption as a way of life”

Efficiency vs Innovation: efficiency can affect our ability to change. We are often working on the wrong things. While looking more and more at efficiency we are not getting the ability to change. When others figure out what we do and how we do it and they figure out how to do it better than we do, disruption can come very easily.

To improve our products and service we need to be able to adapt.

Key message: do not frame what we do but ask ourself the question: “How can we help our customers resolve their problems?
This is not just a CEO question or a team level question. This is a question for any employees.

Here is where Yammer can help: more transparency inside the organisation; communication throughout the whole organisation. Yammer helps companies being more adaptable, dealing quickly with change.

  1. ALIGN: creating alignment on corporate values to provide the best customer experience; asking employee for personal commitment openly; helping each other more efficiently.
  2. ORGANISE TEAMS on the WAY WE PROVIDE value. Organisations offer products and services that are reflections of themselves; working cross-functionally.
  3. EMPOWER EMPLOYEES to INNOVATE on how we provide value. Employees need to feel empowered in order to find ways to innovate.
  4. ADAPT: (a Japanese term KAIZEN means CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT). It is OK to make mistakes and it is OK to look at constantly improving. “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got” (Henry Ford)

Key message: we all need to ask ourselves at organisational and individual level: What business am I in? How can I innovate?

James Patterson (Chief Product Officer, Yammer):

Yammer enables companies to be more OPEN and they employees more CONNECTED; to make organisations work across 4 information silos easier.

  4. DOCS & APPS

In the second part of the afternoon I attended an interactive workshop: Getting your whole organisation working social.  During the workshop some best practices on how to build a Yammer community inside organisation which improves employee engagement and increase the quality of internal communications were given by LexisNexis, Gatwick Airport and INSEAD.

Some marginalia relating to the workshop:

Laurie Hibbs (HR Director) - talking about the lessons that LexisNexis UK learnt with regards to the use of Yammer inside the organisation.

  • Free love within a framework. Giving people the opportunity to communicate and encouraging them to use the media while at the same time exercising some sort of corporate control; managing the network is important so that people feel it is not a waste of their time.
  • Yammer is about adopting a 'pull' not 'push' approach
  • Content has to be unique to Yammer (e.g. ideal for broadcast information, groups of interests)
  • Make heroes the people who post. Make people feel comfortable. It is OK to practice, encourage people to experiment and not be afraid of trying
  • Getting your executives on board. It can be challenging for many since this requires communicating and writing in a different way. However, if they don't use it people may use that silence as a way for not using the tool either. It is also important that executives posts are genuine
  • There is a link between the social use of Yammer and employee engagement. It seems that the more engaged employees are those who use the social media but you need to constantly nurture communications, collaboration and dialogue
  • New social leadership: Yammer creates new leaders inside the organisation, people who can work in any jobs...Finding them is vital for the company because they are the influencers. Yammer gives VOICE and evidence to them.

Caroline Thorpe (Communications Manager) – talking about the benefits of using Yammer inside Gatwick Airport.

  • Getting all employees in one place
  • A cultural shift and a new way for asking questions. People are not recipients any more, they create news and they tell you what is going on in the organisation. If employees see something to be fixed they say so. This cultural shift leads to many improvements for the business.

Zoe McKay (Project Manager) - talking about the lessons that INSEAD learnt with regards to the use of Yammer inside an international organisation.

  • There is a need for changing the way we communicate by adopting a conversational approach.You no longer are part of the conversation if you want to control it.
  • Yammers changes the way of communicating and addressing problems inside the company across the globe
  • Steering group - having the Leadership team buy-in is fundamental
  • Empowering middle managers to use the media is vital for the alignment of every employees to the corporate strategy. The organisation should give middle managers the power; managers need to feel they are capable of owing it to make its best use.

I would like to express a huge thank you to all the people that made that event so interesting and allowed me - and I believe many more others - to learn something new about this valuable topic.

Revolution happens not when people adopt new tools but when people adopt new behaviours”
(a quote reported during the event by Thomas Scott, Communications Director, Carlson Wagonlit)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: Book Review for the Journal of Internal Communication

Today's marginalia are about the book review of "The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And their Employees)" by Patrick Lencioni. 

I was very pleased to write it for 'The Journal of Internal Communication' Vol. 1 February 2013, published by Gatehouse.

Below is a copy of the article with my book review. I hope you can find it helpful and useful, while as always I like inviting you to fully enjoy the original source.

As the article mentions, I believe this book is very worth reading, especially for those managers who wish to foster effective relationships and communications with their team members, help them find meaningfulness and fulfillment in their job, gain a better understanding of both rational and emotional reactions of their people and ultimately foster employee engagement. 

The whole Journal of Internal Communication published by Gatehouse contains contributions by various authors and writers. I encourage you to read it. In fact, you might find information about employee engagement and internal communications that could be beneficial to you, your people and your organisation. 

Monday, 18 February 2013

The Digital Workplace and Intranets workshop

Work is something you do...not a place you go to”
(Mark Morrell)

Today's post relates to 'The Digital Workplace and Intranets' workshop that I attended last Saturday 16th February, organised by The PR Academy and led by Intranet Pioneer Mark Morrell.

The session covered the impact of the digital workplace on employee engagement and it was a great opportunity to explore the latest thinking on the topic from an expert in the field.

Below are my marginalia, some of the notes that I wrote down during the workshop plus additional information extracted from the material that Mark Morrell himself gave participants on that day.

“What is a digital workplace?
  • Work from any location or while mobile
  • Same or similar online experience (make sure people get a consistent experience)
  • Collaborate, search, complete tasks, news
  • Choose what tools to use that help you (you need to justify their effectiveness to work)
  • Measure the benefits and encourage usage (you want encourage people to use it)

How do you implement it?

  • Align to other strategies ( overall business strategies, communications strategies, IT strategies, HR strategies)
  • Digital Workplace is wider than intranet
  • Plan for short, medium and long term
  • Who is the biggest influence? (these people need to be involved)
  • Who is affected?
  • Who will create, support and implement it?

Engage with senior managers (Steering group)

Senior managers need to endorse and buy-in to your strategy; commit time and efforts; be at the decision making level and represent the key functions of your organisation that are the first priority and/or the biggest factor in whether it succeeds or fail.

To get the authority of the steering group, they need to understand what your strategy can do to help and make a difference. In that respect, showing evidence of success is important for any business proposition to senior managers

Connect with everyone
  • Comfortable with Digital Workplace (people need to be happy with using Digital Workplace tools)
  • Adopt and benefits from new ways of workings
  • Digital Workplace is seen as good and people want it (people should not be left out but feel the benefits of something that is there for them)
  • The culture is strong on 'doing things online'
  • Easy to collaborate and share knowledge
  • Everyone is encouraged to use digital workplace
Digital Workplace must suit your organisation and culture.

  • Maximise the benefits and minimise the risks (balancing out the priorities: What is good? What is taking too much?)
  • Steering group to lead
  • Set roles and responsibilities (it is a combination of people and roles)
  • Integrated – not separate – from how wok is done (what you do as work and what you do in DW are related)
  • Publishing standards which are consistent and appropriate
  • Confidence with the digital workplace's integrity

Policies that engage
  • Engage with and support people to change how they work
  • Balance risk with rewards of engaging and sharing knowledge
  • Encourage ideas to improve the business and reward success
  • Build a more informal, less hierarchical, structure
  • Manage so people feel they can approach any person for help or offer advice
  • Criticism of policies and decision is taken seriously and positively
  • Trust people to behave online responsibly and sensibly

Policies that incentivise
  • Recognise and reward shift to digital workplace
  • Incentivise knowledge sharing using online tools
  • Performance framework rewards outputs not time
  • Pay for furniture, phone and broadband at home
  • Train managers on how to manage people remotely
  • Flexible working hours

  • People should be confident that DW is there whenever they need to
  • Provide laptops, smartphones, broadband and tablets to homeworkers (it is important to provide people with what they need to work effectively)
  • Available 24/7, 365 days
  • It must be fast (always)
  • BYOD (Bring your own device: people like to use their own device)

There are some challenges to be considered when talking about DW (e.g. security risks; barriers to investment relating to organisational culture and technology infrastructure).

However, there seem to be huge opportunities and benefits such as:
  • reaching and communicating with more remote staff
  • better use of time
  • more productivity
  • lower absenteeism (fewer people are sick, people feel better about life)
  • people turnover (e.g. if you allow flexible work people are more likely to stay in a job and knowledge can be kept in your organisation)
  • business continuity
  • environmental (e.g. saving fuel and travel costs, reduced property costs)
  • employee engagement: engage people in your organisation, encourage better collaboration, improve the culture, adapt to changing ways of working, make an impact on the bottom line.”

I find it so vast, challenging and fascinating the topic of digital workplace, the way we have been experiencing our digital working life, working relationships and engagement at work.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Inspirational Quotes about Work

Work is love made visible.”
(Kahlil Gibran)

Today's marginalia are a collection of quotes about working relationships, employee engagement, internal communications, achievements at work, leadership and team work.

I found some of these quotes very inspiring and I would like to share them with you.

You may have already heard about some of them. However, you might also find yourself new to some others and perhaps find in these the inspiration and motivation to do something differently and better today for the good of yourself, your colleagues, people and the organisation. 

Let's try to have a look below. 

Is there any particular quote that holds your attention and brings you some positive energy? That may be the inspiring quote for your day at work.

A successful man continues to look for work after he has found a job.”
(Unknown Author)

By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”
(Mark Victor Hansen)

Careers, like rockets, don't always take off on schedule. The key is to keep working the engines.”
(Gary Sinise)

Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.”
(H.L. Hunt)

Don't set compensation as a goal. Find work you like, and the compensation will follow.”
(Harding Lawrence)

Everyone enjoys doing the kind of work for which he is best suited.”
(Napoleon Hill)

Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.”
(Vernon Sanders Law)

Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master and you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty.”
(William J. Bennett)

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
(Franklin D. Roosevelt)

Hard work is painful when life is devoid of purpose. But when you live for something greater than yourself and the gratification of your own ego, then hard work becomes a labor of love.”
(Steve Pavlina)

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.”
(Sam Ewing)

Highly developed spirits often encounter resistance from mediocre minds.”
(Albert Einstein)

I am exhausted if I don't work.”
(Pablo Picasso)

If you can't excel with talent, triumph with effort.”
(Stephen G. Weinbaum)

If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.”
(Jesse Jackson)

If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all.”

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
(John Quincy Adams)

Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
(Vince Lombardi)

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.”
(Albert Einstein)

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
(Albert Einstein)

I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”
(Ralph Nader)

It's never too late to be who you might have been.”
(George Elliot)

Laziness may appear attractive but work gives satisfaction.”
(Ann Frank)

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goals: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.”
(Louis Pasteur)

Live neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day's work absorb your entire energies, and satisfy your widest ambition.”
(Sir William Osler)

Never work just for money or for power. They won't save your soul or help you sleep at night.”
(Marian Wright Edelman)

Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them.”
(Ann Landers)

Our lives improve only when we take chances - and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.”
(Walter Anderson)

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love.”
(David McCullough)

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”
(John R. Wooden)

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”
(Emile Zola)

The greatest oak was once a little nut that held it's ground.”

The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.”
(George Eliot)

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it."
(Pearl Buck)

Throw yourself into some work you believe in with all you heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.”
(Dale Carnegie)

To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.”
(Pearl S. Buck)

We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”
(Jesse Owens)

We know where most of the creativity, the innovation, the stuff that drives productivity lies -- in the minds of those closest to the work.”
(Jack Welch)

When people go to work, they shouldn't have to leave their hearts at home.”
(Betty Bender)

Winning is important to me, but what brings me real joy is the experience of being fully engaged in whatever I'm doing.”
(Phil Jackson)

You got to like your work. You have got to like what you are doing, you have got to be doing something worthwhile so you can like it - because it is worthwhile, that it makes a difference, don't you see?”
(Harland Sanders)

You've achieved success in your field when you don't know whether what you're doing is work or play."
(Warren Beatty)

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”

Monday, 11 February 2013

Book Review for the Engage for Success Website

If you had already come across some of my previous marginalia you might have seen Patrick Lencioni's name being referred to. In fact, as some of my preceding posts indicate P. Lencioni is one of the authors whose books I found holding my attention and enjoyable to read.

The very first book that I read written by P. Lencioni was 'The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive'. In this work the author elucidates about the importance of creating organisational health in any business and presents his view on the ways of achieving it.

Recently, with great contentment, I have written the book review on 'The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive' which has been published today on the Engage for Success website. From the website you could download a copy of the book review if you wished to have it.

I do hope that anyone of you interested in and passionate about the topic would read the book review and benefit from it in some ways.

The Engage for Success website is a very rich source of material relating to employee engagement which I do encourage to visit! You may find some ideas and tools very relevant to you, your people and your organisation.

Indeed, I can only be very happy today to contribute to the material presented in the Engage for Success website.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Small Engagements: e-book

These marginalia are about the 'Small Engagements' e-book written by 50 members of 'The Employee Engagement Network' and produced by David Zinger, global expert on employee engagement.

'The Employee Engagement Network' is made up of over 5600 members passionate about employee engagement. Very happily I am one of those and one of the 50 members that gave their small contribution to the creation of the e-book. While the ideas were collected last month in January, the e-book has just been released.

The idea of the e-book came from David Zinger who, at the very beginning of 2013, asked members of the network to think about either a small idea or action that we would like to focus on to help increase employee engagement in 2013. 

What's Your Small Idea or Action to increase Employee Engagement in 2013?

The concept behind this request was that small things, when implemented and given focused on, can lead to big results. The power of small things. We can all help facilitate employee engagement with committing ourselves and putting our efforts to small ideas and actions.

My idea - that you can find and read among all the others – was focusing on:

SELF-AWARENESS – becoming more aware of ourselves, behaviours, actions and impact on others. Reflecting on and learning to consciously adopting engaging behaviours with our people.

While I have always put all my energy into this - since I believe in its importance - I equally believe we can only continue to improve and learn to be more self-aware throughout all of our different experiences. Therefore, this was my idea given to the network's e-book.

I enjoyed reading all of the other small ideas and actions. While some contributions are practical and can be implemented into day-to-day life, others are more conceptual. Most probably this is why I found the e-book enjoyable to read. However, it was the entire process and exercise of contributing with ideas and actions from all members that was very interesting to follow!

I would encourage you to have a look at it (you can find it on both The Employee Engagement Network website and David Zinger's blog). 

Perhaps, in one of those ideas and actions you could find something that you also would like to focus your attention on this 2013 to help facilitate employee engagement in your workplace.

Small, simple and free - just say thank you”.
(Susan Walker)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Storytelling and Business

The inspiration for today's post comes from one of the chapters included in the 'Gower Handbook of Internal Communication' edited by Marc Wright.

The chapter I am going to focus these marginalia on is titled 'Storytelling and Business', written by Ian Buckingham and Paul Miller. I totally enjoyed reading it and I am looking forward to reading more resources from the authors.

As the title indicates, the chapter's topic relates to storytelling within the business context. However, I was fascinating by the way the authors presented the case. By extrapolating information from many others fields of studies, works and real practice experience they drew a compelling picture of the need for storytelling within organisations.

The below marginalia are pieces of writing selected from the chapter. As always, while hoping that you will enjoy reading these marginalia, I encourage you to take pleasure in reading the original source.

Stories are one of the most effective ways in which we communicate our view of reality to others. And if we are all seeing the world differently, then how much more important is to share our story and give others an indication of our view of the world, particularly if we happen to be in a leadership role or need to enlist others to help deliver?

And how essential is this process of communication in the business world when we talk in our team, groups and organisations about being on the same page?

We receive information about the world around us through our senses, we interpret the world through sensory information...

Stories might be defined as the art of drawing attention to a very specific series of events that require the audience to see, hear, feel, taste, smell and think.

Story is the art of taking another person on a tour of a different world or world of view with the aim of elucidating a particular point of possibility.

In the world of the story, in the specific view created, is an implicit set of values and beliefs.

We all understand that stories are never a replacement for vital information or indeed action but...people need purpose and they need to make sense of their lives, stories give them that. Even (or especially) stories about the business give them that.

While information assists knowledge, stories and metaphors create emotion and meaning. Stories and metaphors have a lasting effect because they make an emotional imprint on us; the sense is retained because stories create a felt-experience.

If leadership is partly about inspiring a community of individuals to undertake a collective endeavour, then stories are essential to articulate that vision.

If you are delivering the 'who we are' (brand identity), 'this is where we are going' (mission/vision) and 'this is how we are going to get there' (strategy), don't rely too much on statistics alone to land the message...give (people) comparisons to help (them) understand, give (people) the story.

But for storytelling in business to have an impact and be useful, it presupposes acceptance, honesty, conscience, involvement and ethical objective.

It is true that some people are more adept or at home with left-brain (rational) activities, but they all have lives, a beating heart and a story to tell. 

The question in all our work is, how much of yourself are you leaving at the door when you enter work? (With) stories you break the work persona and create easy connections with others.

The exercise of revealing something of people life story is often the catalyst for deepening relationships with colleagues and with teams.

Stories are lying around waiting for a simple question to bring them to life...There will be a story behind your answer.”

It's sobering to reflect that much of what governs our lives is the sense we make from the stories we're told”
(Ian Buckingham and Paul Miller)