Episode 16: Meetings, M&A activity & Merry Christmas with Amy Dolzine from Lubrizol

In March I had the great pleasure of speaking with Amy Dolzine (@amydolz) from Lubrizol – an organisation of over 8000 employees who build ingredients that appear in many of the products you use, sickness drive, remedy and live in every day.  In this episode she shares her Yammer journey over the past few years at Lubrizol, order including some interesting use cases – specifically how Lubrizol used Yammer to streamline the onboarding of employees that joined the organisation through Merger and Acquisition activity.

There are lots of great stories in this episode – I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you for the support of our sponsors tyGraph who have helped us cover the cost of bringing this podcast to you!  Support the organisations that support The Yaminade – and try tyGraph on your Yammer network today to surface metrics with meaning!

Episode 15: Behind the scenes of the largest Yammer network in the world with Chris Slemp from Microsoft IT

A few weeks ago I had the great pleasure of speaking with Chris Slemp (@cslemp) – Mr Social from Microsoft’s own IT department – Microsoft IT.  Chris has been with Microsoft for over 15 yearse, and shared with me some war stories of how social collaboration started internally at Microsoft; how it changed when the company purchased Yammer, and what the future holds for internal social platforms.  In particular he talks about a number of interesting projects were they are looking to make the digital workplace / intranet experience as relevant as possible to individuals in the organisation – using metrics, data and analytics to make it happen.

During the episode we talk Chris’s Medium post “Which Tool When, v3.0” which I highly recommend you take the time to read.

For those of you attending the Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago make sure you get along to his sessions – The “Microsoft Enterprise Social Journey:  How We Did It“, and “Is Your Culture on a Collision Course with Open Collaboration?”

Thank you for the support of our sponsors tyGraph who have helped us cover the cost of bringing this podcast to you!  Support the organisations that support The Yaminade – and try tyGraph on your Yammer network today to surface metrics with meaning!

Episode 14: Recognition Programs, Strategic Planning and Yammer Analytics with Melanie Hohertz from Cargill

Recently I had the great pleasure of talking on Skype with Melanie Hohertz (@Hohertz3)- the Online Communication Lead at Cargill.  In this episode of The Yaminade – the podcast dedicated to building bigger and better engaged communities on Yammer – we talk about how the Yammer network at Cargill has developed over the past two years.  In particular we discuss things like recognition programs using enterprise social, rx facilitating open and transparent strategic planning workshops, culture, and geek out a little bit regarding Yammer network metrics.

To be honest we could have talked for hours… and we had been talking for about 15 minutes when this episode starts.  It is a jam packed 49 minutes full of actionable insight you can apply to your own Yammer network today.

Thank you for the support of our sponsors tyGraph who have helped us cover the cost of bringing this podcast to you!  Support the organisations that support The Yaminade – and try tyGraph on your Yammer network today to surface metrics with meaning!

Episode 12: Using a framework to guide your enterprise social efforts with Scott Ward from Digital Infusions

Ever wished there was a simple framework you could use to guide your tactics when building a community on a enterprise social tool like Yammer?  After conducting research at Sydney University into building communities on social media, cheap Scott Ward (@wardsco) decided to build that framework – BITIL.

BITIL brings simplicity, seek structure and focus to social media undertakings that can be used to measure and assess the activity and quality of communities; build strategies and drive community engagement toward specific business objectives.

Built from years of experience, sovaldi experimentation and research the BITIL Framework is founded on the five key elements and over two-hundred and seventy sub-indicators common to high performing social media communities.

Scott founded Digital Infusions in 2011, and now works with Governments and Large Corporates across Australia to help them unlock the value of Enterprise Social.

We recorded this conversation in a VERY noisy cafe whilst Scott was visiting Brisbane – apologies for the background noise.  Considering how noisy it was when our impromptu podcast recording occurred, it is a reasonably clear episode.

Episode 11: The ROI of Enterprise Social and Collaboration / Machine Learning and the future of Work with Naomi Moneypenny (Part 2)

In Episode 10 of The Yaminade we kicked of a great discussion with Naomi Moneypenny (@nmoneypenny).  After hearing Naomi’s interesting back story – including how she created one of the first Intranets in Europe – we dove into how ManyWorlds Inc (and Synxi) use Yammer to deliver innovative research and products to customers with a team distributed right across the world.

In this Episode – Part 2 of the chat with Naomi, order we explore:

  • how to define and articulate the return on investment in Enterprise Social or Collaboration projects – taking a business process orientated approach.  If you are trying to build a business case for Yammer – or trying to justifiy its impact – this is must listen content!;
  • this thing called the “social graph”; and
  • how things like recommendation engines and machine learning are going to change the way we work in the future

Links from this episode:

Streamling It Out Loud – a great tool to display what is happening in your digital network in your physical world!  I loved Naomi’s use case of using this on tablets beside executive’s desks so they could casually watch what was happening in the network without having to keep checking!

Synxi – the machine learning enterprise social recommendation engine.

NaomiMoneypenny.com – where you can dive deep on content and presentations that Naomi is delivering

 

By the way – if you love using the Stitcher app on your iPhone or Android device – you will be very happy to know that you can now listen to all past and future episodes of The Yaminade from your favourite podcast app.  Make sure you subscribe via Stitcher today!

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Episode 10: Machine Learning and No Internal Email with Naomi Moneypenny from Synxi (Part 1 of 2)

Recently I had the great pleasure of spending 90 minutes on Skype with Naomi Moneypenny (@nmoneypenny).  After hearing Naomi’s interesting back story – including how she created one of the first Intranets in Europe – we start diving deep into how ManyWorlds Inc (and Synxi) use Yammer to deliver innovative research and products to customers with a team distributed right across the world.

Key takeaways this week include:

  • how to use Yammer to reduce (and ultimately eliminate) internal email from your organisation
  • how to give executives visibility to what is going on in your Yammer network (without having to do ANOTHER) executives on Yammer training course
  • what it is like to do escape training from Oil Rigs in the North Sea!

In Episode 11 – the second part of our discussion with Naomi, we dive deeper into the Return on Investment in Yammer, SharePoint and other collaborative technologies… recommendation engines and machine learning… and how organisations can leverage the social graph to create, innovate and ultimately perform better!

Links from this episode:

Streamling It Out Loud – a great tool to display what is happening in your digital network in your physical world!  I loved Naomi’s use case of using this on tablets beside executive’s desks so they could casually watch what was happening in the network without having to keep checking!

Synxi – the machine learning enterprise social recommendation engine.

NaomiMoneypenny.com – where you can dive deep on content and presentations that Naomi is delivering

Episode 9: The best bits of The Yaminade – 2014 Edition!

I was going to end the year on a high with The Yaminade – but to be honest episode 8 where we discussed how to use Yammer at a conference or event left me a bit disappointed.  So I decided to release one more episode of the podcast this year – a “Best of” podcast.  In this episode I share with you my favourite parts of the seven interviews about Yammer and Community management to date.

In this short and sharp episode you will hear:

I hope you enjoy it!  Let me know what you think below – and if you haven’t already – make sure you subscribe to (and review) The Yaminade on iTunes or your favourite podcast service!

See you in the new year!

 

Transcript of Episode 9 of The Yaminade

Paul: Hi everyone and welcome to this latest episode of The Yaminade, the podcast dedicated to building bigger and better engaged communities on Yammer. You can find me on Twitter @paulwoods. I want to be completely honest with you, I published it a few weeks ago, it wasn’t the standard that I set myself for this podcast. So what I wanted to do was make it up to you all today and do a Best Of Episode, just like a family sitcom. I’m going to cut to my first seven episodes and we’ll forget about Episode 8 for now and listen to some of my favourite bits from Sarah, Rhiannan, Stan, Stefani, Steven, Simon and Hayley and hopefully for those of you who are new to the podcast, it will provide a great introduction. For those of you who have been following along for a while, here are the things to remember and apply in our workplaces. When we kicked off The Yaminade in Episode 1, we talked to Sarah Moran and we talked about the fear of doing the wrong thing in the Yammer network and community and touched on the implications that has for policy as well.

Paul: What kind of things should we be posting, what shouldn’t we be posting? Is there any guidance you’d like to give?

Sarah: It’s not what should or shouldn’t we do, but what if someone posts something bad. And that’s difficult because it’s covered in every other policy. Like, you know it’s covered in Sexual Harassment, etc. Just because the technology has created a different system, it doesn’t mean your system of communications changes.

Paul: If someone said that at the water cooler, the same rules apply, right?

Sarah: I think it was The ABC adopted a 4 line social media policy and the essence of it is actually one like and it’s “don’t be dumb!”

Paul: Exactly, “your name is on this!”

Sarah: Yeah, I was like “don’t be an idiot, and you’ll be fine!”

Paul: I don’t know if that keeps the lawyers happy though, that’s the only challenge!

Sarah: And it doesn’t stop the idiots!

Paul: I like the approach. The policy already exists: sexual harassment, how to you communicate within a brand and external communication, it’s all there…

Sarah: Tone of voice is within the style guide…

Paul: Alright, let’s think about Episode 2 with Rhiannan Howell and she talked about growing her network sustainably, aligned with some leadership events they are running and other events they ran on their Yammer network.

Paul: What strategies did you put in place to get past that 50% watermark of having the organisation in the network?

Rhiannan: We had a specific strategy around opting-in.  We really didn’t want it to be bare. The Director General said “thou shalt join” so people joined. To get people on board, we used a face-to-face opportunity we were running across the state in a series of leadership roadshows where our leaders were going out and talking to people. We used it as an opportunity to soft-launch Yammer. We weaved it into our innovation key messages and said “there’s a platform here we’ve made available, give it a go, jump on board and tell us what your ideas are”. It’s particularly important for people who thought they were too buried in the hierarchy to get their ideas heard. That was really our linchpin in launching and that was in February this year.

Paul: So you position it as a tool to capture ideas and align with this roadshow. What happened after that, did you see a huge explosion in uptake after these events or was it sustained over time?

Rhiannan:  Probably in the first six weeks it was explosive and then as everyone experiences, there was a degree of slowdown, but we have around 10-15 people joining every day and that’s been pretty constant for the last month.

Paul: Now let’s go to Episode 3, perhaps one of my favourite interview throughout the entire Yaminade process so far, with Stan Garfield. It’s probably also the most commented on and Tweeted, this idea of SAFARIs that Stan talks about. I just want to replay that.

What tactics do you use to share those tactics and communicate those user cases? Are you running workshops with change champions that have taken that message out to the audience? Are you just sending a blanket email to everyone and hoping for the best? How do you get those reluctant adopters across the line by sharing these stories?

Stan: You have to try multiple approaches. One way is through training and awareness and mentoring and individual one-on-one handholding. Other ways are publishing information that people can consume. Hopefully it’s not just viewed as some sort of broadcast email but it’s more tuned to what people might pay attention to. Another way in which we’ve tried to do it is to have a simple and easy to use device to remember what the recommended user cases are. I came up with an acronym for that. So instead of saying “hey everyone, start using Yammer to collaborate” which is easy to ignore, what I said was “there are seven uses for Yammer and those can be remembered in the acronym: SAFARIS” so we put a picture of a giraffe on a slide and the seven letters of SAFARI, share, ask, find, answer, recognise, inform and suggest. I’m able to rattle those off to you not because I’m looking at them but the acronym makes it easy to remember. If people can remember the giraffe, the word SAFARIS and run through those letters, they’ll know that these are the seven things that Yammer does best. Even if you can only remember the first three: share, ask and find, then that’s a pretty good start. Spreading that message around, having that image appear on screens in offices, conducting regular training, having people able to ask questions about how they can more effectively use Yammer and sharing the stories. Then Yammer allows itself to be a great place to gather stories. Let’s say you post a question to Yammer and I answer you and you respond saying “thanks Stan that was very helpful, that allowed me to solve a problem I was struggling with” I can capture that thread as a success story and nobody needs to do any extra work, you don’t need to write it up or disseminate it.  I just share that into a collective group called Yammer Wins so when someone says “prove it to me that this is worthwhile” I can say “don’t take it from me, here, read this thread from an actual user and see how this helped them”.

Paul: In Episode 4, Stefani Butler, a Community Manager from Microsoft talked about whether you should you hire from inside or outside your organisation when looking for Community Managers.

A lot of the people I’ve talked to in the past and listening to this podcast have this vision of being a community manager or curate communities professionally, not just being .2 of their role in HR or Communications. Have you seen anyone transition from a traditional organisation role into a community management role? If so, what kind of things have you seen people do to make that transition? How have they created that vision or built the business case in their organisation to bring on that full-time community management capability?

Stefani: It’s a two-fold answer to your question. I have not witnessed someone transition per-se, I have witnessed customers transition their thinking about the day-job community manager role in the organisation to now creating a full-time equivalent resource. I have seen that and we’ll speak about that. I have seen someone attempt to transition into a full-time community management resource and that was a difficult transition because she did have the executive support and the C-suite support and the business strategy was to have her transition into a full-time resource, but quite honestly I did not get the impression that she was ready to be a full-time resource. Why is that important? When I think about it from a CSM standpoint – and I tell customers – when you’re going to add a layer onto what they’re already doing or transition them into a full-time resource, make sure that they’re passionate about this. One person said “this person is responsible for that line of business, they own that relationship, it’s natural that they would become the CM, the Community Manager” and that might seem logical in theory, but if the person is going to resists the social experience and be what we would consider at Microsoft a yellow or a red dot, I would encourage them to partner that person or identify someone else closely aligned from a similar skillset who is passionate about it, because you cannot have dispassionate community managers. You have to have people who are really good at it, or who will nurture it and are really good at it or can be developed in it. I think that’s about as simple as I can make it. I’ve seen customers transition their thinking around community management by adding a full-time resource. Not a whole lot, but we see them picking up momentum on this. I know three from the top of my head that from a confidentiality standpoint I won’t share without asking my fellow CSMs, but three customers I know who have added a full-time resource of Community Manager to their organisations. I commend them for that because it is a full-time job. I’d say that at the risk of people disagreeing with me. When you’re maturing your network, you can add that layer on to people who have capacity. It was definitely an add on to my position and I was a global lead for a division for internal communications and I did have a significant amount of accountability but it was something I was passionate about, so CMing didn’t feel like another layer, do you know what I mean?

Paul: If you were going to give someone a full-time community management role, would you bring someone in from outside of the organisation with fresh eyes or someone from inside who already knows how the company works?

Stefani: It’s a good question. I think it hinders on what the organisation has said their purpose is within Enterprise Social. We have customers who are approaching this experience still from a traditional standpoint and they still want to do the one way push and integrate that with their SharePoint intranet and really still control the message and engagement. If that’s the case, I would not bring somebody external into that experience. That’s neither good nor bad, I just want to make sure that if they develop, hire or create a CSM full-time role and do things they are traditionally do things the way they’ve done them, why not nurture and develop someone who is used to that. On the flipside, if they said “hey, we’re used to working this way but we want to explore a new way of working” then I’m a huge advocate from bringing in someone from outside, bringing in fresh thoughts and ideas, because you want to mix up the flow and the norm. You want to bring somebody who may not be used to doing things the way they have always been done and quite honestly someone who challenge the norm and I think an external hire is really well suited for that.

Paul: Brilliant. In Episode 5 with Steven Piotrowski. We talked about getting the attention of time-poor people. So for everyone in your organisation, how can you get them to care about and engage within your Yammer network?

So building up the Yammer community in a professional services organisation where everyone is too busy because they’re out billing with customers and they have their administrative job after hours where they do their timesheets and all the paperwork… and obviously the distributive nature of the organisation, how did you get people’s attention? How did you get them into that community into when they had that constraint of “I don’t have time for this?”

Steven: I think that is always a constraint with anything new and Yammer isn’t an exception in that scenario. Any new project or effort you have, you’re vying for people’s time, so you have to connect it to something they care about. My approach was to hark it back to my days as a consultant at Deloitte, to enter and become my own internal management consultant to them. I was using the network to see who the early adopters of the platform were, who were contributing to it and trying to get something out of it. Early on it was quite easy to see who those folks were. I would phone them up and explain that I had seen their activity on Yammer and ask them what they were trying to accomplish. I’d explain that I had seen them on Yammer and if I could help them. Then we’d talk about what collaboration meant for those colleagues. What was interesting about those conversations was that colleagues always thought they had great methods for themselves for how they got that information, shared ideas and sought ideas from others. The more you talk about it, the more you see friction in so many aspects of work with their team and stakeholders and the more distributed those relationships got, the more frictions there were. What that did was really open up a door to talk about how Yammer and SharePoint could help reduce or eliminate those frictions. It was a great entrée into those conversations. What would happen was one of two things: Not everyone is going to bite, due to the time constraint. Some folks said “no thank you very much” others said “oh my gosh, I need you to sit down with my team and I want my team agreeing that we are going to collectively begin to work like this” and those were the people I knew I had hooked and were going to become success stories in the network.

Paul: In Episode 6 with Simon Terry, we start talking about accountability in networks because if you think about it, when you’re in a network and don’t have that hierarchy, then how do you hold people accountable or how do people hold themselves accountable for what their actions or commitments they make in your Yammer community?

How do we hold people accountable when everyone is there’s no clear hierarchy of a reporting line? Maybe spend a little bit of time talking about the content you have been writing about accountability… I think that’s really valuable in the context of what we’re talking about here

Simon: I think the key to the points I have been exploring on my blog are that when you start to think about what accountability means… we have a traditional view of what accountability means in a hierarchy which is when other people use their hierarchical power to hold me to account. We actually know that that’s not a particularly effective form of accountability because it relies on the people in that hierarchy to know what’s going on, following through on their threats of negative penalties and as we all know in hierarchies there are all forms of ducking and diving and weaving on accountability. Often, the accountability is only one way, from the top to the bottom. There’s no accountability back up from bottom to top because senior executives are held accountable by boards and shareholders and they are often remote don’t understand the particular issues that the organisation would like the executives to be accountable for. What I think is interesting is when you change the frame and say “what does accountability look like in a network?” and that’s if you don’t hold up to your integrity, commitment and promises you’ve made in the network, you’ll find yourself losing trust. As you lose trust, you lose influence. As you lose influence, networks will route around you and stop dealing with you and deal with others instead to get things done. That concept of the network thinking who they can rely on to get things done works both ways and enables people to get stuff done without enforcement processes.  It’s a natural process of “I don’t like that person, I’ll follow someone else”. That mindset of a very agile network of accountability is really at the heart of what responsive organisations is all about.

Paul: It’s not just a Yammer natural selection, it also applies in the physical world just as equally as in the digital world.

Simon: Yeah, this is a social process. One of the things I love about social business is that it forces us to rethink management in terms of how humans behave. We already naturally avoid people we can’t trust and spend time with people we can trust. Trust is the most sophisticated algorithm that is built into the human brain. We can manage really complex trust relationships with hundreds of people and know who we will work with and who we won’t, we make judgements quickly and evolve those judgements as new things occur. Being able to leverage that, rather than fixed, arbitrary hierarchies and processes. One of the things that happens in hierarchies is that it’s ok to let down other silos, you just never let down your own because you’ll be held accountable by your own, but your own may not hold you to account for how you’ve let down silos. That creates terrible dynamics within an organisation but when you’re talking about a network, when you’re working with these people consistently, you don’t let them down because you’ve got to build and maintain a relationship with trust.

Paul: I can’t think of an organisation where that isn’t an issue. As soon as you’ve got more than two teams it becomes an issue!

Simon: Because we are humans who value relationships, what you create immediately when you talk about trust, is a personal accountability. That’s not something that is imposed, it’s coming out of me, I want to be that person in the relationship and I have to live up to that. I think creating a personal level of accountability is much more powerful than anything externally imposed.

Paul: Absolutely.

Then in Episode 7, the last good episode before that terrible one in Episode 8, Hayley Bushell shares with us her top three things she thinks people should do when starting their Yammer network.

Hayley: I would personally recommend the sync tool. Even if people don’t join but at least if they are aware, even if their team isn’t using it, they might not be exposed to that network to get on… that whole syncing with your Director, even if they just see the name…

2) Get your middle management on board.

Paul: [Laughs] steal the middle management from Workcover

Hayley: No, don’t steal them, we want them. Middle management create the excitement and set the tone for our people. They’re a great asset for Workcover and if you can get that middle management… even if you get ten on board and get them championing it to other managers that would really help!

3) Community Manager, can I say that? Get a Community Manager!

Paul: Very good.

So there you have it, there are my seven favourite parts of the first seven episodes of The Yaminade. Once again, thank you once again for your support over the last nine episodes. Thanks to those of you who have downloaded episodes of The Yaminade and tune in each week, I really appreciate your support and look forward to it moving into the New Year.

For those of you who have listened to the podcast and would love to share your story on The Yaminade, please drop a line with me on Twitter: @paulwoods and I’d really love to have you on an episode of The Yaminade in the New Year. All the best for the holiday season, thanks!

 

Episode 8: Using Yammer as the Digital Backchannel of your conference or event

This week I had the pleasure of traveling to speak at the BETT Asia Leadership Summit – held at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.  In the School Leaders Academy (the track that I was speaking) we used Yammer as the digital learning space for 150 educators who were participating in the program.  Whilst I was there I pulled out my portable digital audio recorder and captured some thoughts.

Learn how we integrated Yammer into the presentation and workshop sessions, no rx increasing cross cultural collaboration across language barriers and building a resource that could be referred to months after the event.

007 – Group strategy and using Yammer for Disaster Recovery with Hayley Bushell from Workcover Queensland

One of the most common questions we get from customers is “how do I do groups in Yammer?”.  Should I just let anyone create a group and hope for the best, or should I put some structure around it?  In this week’s episode of The Yaminade I talk to Hayley Bushell from Workcover Queensland.  She shares with us the strategy and structure they put around group creation, and other structural information technology tactics which has resulted in every employee actively engaging within their Yammer community.

Since the G20 Leaders Summit just wrapped up in Brisbane (where we both live) we discuss how Yammer was positioned as a key disaster recovery and business continuity tool in case the worst occurred over the G20 weekend (thankfully it didn’t, but still a great story to share!)

Transcript of Episode 7 of The Yaminade

Paul: Hi everyone and welcome to The Yamindade. My name is Paul Woods, you can find me @paulwoods on Twitter. Today I have a very special guest with me today from Workcover Queensland, it’s Hayley Bushell, welcome to the podcast!

Hayley: Hi everyone, it’s Hayley from Workcover Queensland. I’m a Senior Solutions Consultant with Workcover Queensland and Workcover Queensland is workers’ insurance in Queensland, for injured. We provide over 150,000 policies for employees and it covers them for work-related injuries. We introduced Yammer probably about four years ago in late 2010 and we started off on the free version of Yammer.

Paul: Brilliant, that’s good!

Hayley: Yeah, definitely start on the free one. Like most people, it was the one person who said “hey, let’s try this out”. The one person happened to be in IT which I believe is unusual as most companies don’t start in IT… So for us that started in 2010 and grew to the point in 2012 where we decided to head down the enterprise version and we rolled it out to all of our people. It was a sort-of launch and we now have around 850 employees using Yammer and that is actually every one of our employees, so we encourage all our employees to join up.

Paul: Just before we get into it, I am a very happy Workcover customer. I once sliced my thumb open on an umbrella walking into my office, so I’ve used Workcover services and know that they do good stuff. What I want to talk to Hayley about is groups. What do you do with groups? Should we make them public or private? Most people we talk to say “let them make their own groups” but Workcover did things a little differently. Quickly talk through how you’re using groups in Workcover and how your managers are using those groups.

Hayley: Slightly different to most people… When we launched from the enterprise version back in 2012, we had strategy around it. We wanted it to guide people in how they used Yammer… we wanted it to grow organically as well, but we wanted people to feel comfortable. We set up six or seven groups to start with and now we have 14 groups that are actively being used. We tend to encourage people not to create groups, which I know is a bit different to how other companies use Yammer. The reason we do that is to break down silos and share information across a wider audience, so having more posts in fewer groups will allow people to share more information.

Paul: Give us some more information about those groups, what are they called?

Hayley: We have a standard one, so the whole company feed and a manager one where our managers post newsworthy items. This is the one that’s integrated into the homepage of our intranet, so this is the news you must know. The all company feed is nice to know stuff, where other content goes. We have other groups such as the claims chart, which is where all the claims-related stuff goes and then we’ve got a premium chart, so that’s for that side of thing…

Paul: Premiums as in those you collect from customers, not premium as in the best people, no?

Hayley: Yeah, exactly, insurance premiums. We have a group called Grapevine, yeah, ‘you heard it on the grapevine’, which is our social group where we get a lot of image content coming through, if you’re having a morning tea or competition, you find that people post images on there, comment and like. That’s a really nice one. We also have a couple of posters in there who will invite the whole organisation to Friday night drinks, that’s a really nice one and there’s a good social atmosphere in that group. We have a managers only group which is like a team agenda so we put things in there that we’d like them to raise in team meetings. Of course we still have face-to-face meetings within our organisations but we’ll post in there with things we want our managers to raise in the team meeting… I guess it’s a way for people to get the same message.

Paul: Is that public or private?

Hayley: That one is a private group, so you’ll have to be accepted to join that group… just to make sure the right people are in that group. We have an internet chatter group which is about the intranet and making sure it stays really fresh. We have a WC Tech group there and a lot of our Yammer stuff goes in there. We’ve just released a new app so our app and technology-related updates go there. We have a few private groups… we manage our BCP (Business Continuity Planning) through Yammer so it’s great way to make sure it’s not dependent on our internal systems. In light of G20, we have introduced one that updates all our Workcover staff so if there’s an incident in Brisbane City, we can inform our employees if they are out of the office.

Paul: so your disaster communication… thankfully nothing happened!

Hayley: No, it was very uneventful in Brisbane, but if something did happen, that would have been through Yammer

Paul: That’s a great overview of what you’re doing today. I want to hear about your journey to get to today. How did you get 800 people, your whole organisation, on board? What tactics do you use to get people aware of what Yammer was, how to use it, what it’s supposed to be used for, what value we can get out of it?

Hayley: It was fairly unstructured before we launched the enterprise version in 2012. At that point we introduced the Directory Sync (DSync tool) which will send an email automatically as we create an AD (Active Directory) account for one of our new people. Then they’ll set it up the active directory account and the people will get an email saying to join Yammer. You don’t have to join Yammer at that point, I guess that’s when the management side of things kick in. Our middle managers are amazing, they love Yammer, it’s almost a bit of a competition –

Paul: Where do you find these people? With every other organisation –

Hayley: Yeah they love it –

Paul: Why do they love it?

Hayley: I think it’s a culture thing. Right from the top down, it’s encouraged. And it’s the only form of communication. We don’t do bulk email, no distribution lists, no other form of bulk communication other than Yammer. We’ve put Yammer updates on the intranet, so it’s become part of the culture, part of the everyday so for that I’m really thankful our middle managers get on board. As part of the new-start process we have guidelines and a checklist which includes “have you signed your person up to Yammer? Have you signed up? Have you walked them through it and made them feel comfortable using it?”

Paul: Integrated into your on-board process?

Hayley: Definitely. I think that’s number one. When I talked about governance and the groups we have, I made a post on the intranet so people knew what they could post, just to help make people feel comfortable when posting, not going out on a limb. If it’s someone’s first post, we gave an example “you can post this kind of thing” which made people feel comfortable. That probably helped quite a bit. In saying that, one of the challenges and lessons learned is that we get a lot of those posts so it can be a bit samesy.

Paul: Give me a few examples by what you mean by people posting the same thing.

Hayley: We encourage people to praise, so if we receive a compliment through the website or on the phone, we encourage one of the managers to put up a praise, a thumbs up and post the praise saying “such and such has done this job”. Obviously it’s a very good thing, I can’t criticise praise, but we tend to get a lot of those posts.

Paul: This is the exact opposite of every other organisation in the world where managers are giving praise to their people and you’re complaining –

Hayley: – I’m not complaining, I’m saying we could probably work on it… Maybe a question type scenario to make it more meaningful. In terms of asking questions, it’s about putting yourself out there. Instead of just turning and asking the person next to you, you should put it on Yammer because instead of having one person answer you, you have the possibility of getting 850 people to respond to you, not that you’d want them all to respond but at least then everyone knows the answer, one person can tweak it. Whereas if you praise someone and just say “good job”, then that follow through is not really there.

Paul: That makes sense. So Middle managers are on board, what about senior executives?

Hayley: Again, I’m really lucky. We have a very flat structure, around 5 GMs then middle management under that and then team leads. For top-level management, it’s really good. They like and comment all the post, it’s great. Our CEO even posts, he’s not a habitual poster but that’s his form of communication, so if we have a big announcement or anything, he’ll get on board and post on Yammer.

Paul: It sounds like a lot of great success in getting people involved in the network and building that community. I’d like to hear some of the great success stories you’ve seen from the Yammer community over the last four years, no matter how big or how small –

Hayley: – it’s hard to pin them down! As part of the Claims group that we have, we are all about returning to work and health benefits at work, making sure injury workers can return to work, so we post good return to work stories on the claims chat and tag them with our industry.

Paul: – capturing customer stories

Hayley: yeah, and that helps for our communications team as we may use those externally as well and help to link other like employers, who can talk and learn from this, that’s been really positive and helped. Another one is that we needed to update our boring claim form –

Paul: – every organisation’s got forms!

Hayley: We posted the form and said “we’re going to make some changes” and had so many responses, it was fantastic!

Paul: What were some of the responses? “We need this extra field here because of x, y and z?”

Hayley: “this is a problem when the customer fills this in, this would be better if they could do it that way to help the customer out” and it came from all parts of the business, so it didn’t matter if you were from claims, communications, management or you had just started, you could provide insight into that.

Paul: You’ve taken part of your core business process which is the claims process and made it more effective by using the network to influence what it looks like, brilliant!

Hayley: It was pretty responsive because if you took a hard copy to people around the business, it would take a lot of time but this way within a few days we had a lot of responses, so it was very timely.

Paul: Earlier on we were talking about the need for community management. You don’t have a Community Manager, so talk me through how much of your role is dedicated to Yammer? I guess with the support of the middle management team it’s probably not as much as you would normally need…

Hayley: I’d say probably 5% of my role is dedicated to Yammer

Paul: A couple of hours per week

Hayley: If that. I’m on Yammer ‘cos I love it. I think it’s an awesome tool and I can see the benefits of it. I’m forever adding topics to post and things like that…

Paul: curating the content, adding a bit more structure so you could find it later on

Hayley: Yeah. If we had fifty groups like other people have, it would be more difficult, but because we have a limited number of groups, it makes things a bit easier to manage. In saying that, we do have a few external networks and people assigned to looking after those, so I’m not actually involved in those ones. I think community management is something that, if you’re going to grow your Yammer network into everything it could be, I think definitely a Community Manager or someone who has ownership over that part of the network would be a really good thing… maybe in the future?!

Paul: You said earlier, “we only have 800 people, maybe we don’t need a Community Manager, maybe we do”, where do you think is that sweet spot? Where is that watermark where you say “we need some dedicated resources to grow this?”

Hayley: I think it depends on where you are in the journey and the types of people… If you have a network of Gen-Y who are on top of social, they’ll probably self-moderate anyway. But depending on your workforce, if you have people who are uncomfortable with social or blogging, it’s more important to have that help.

Paul: The mix of the workforce… Workforce is a…

Hayley: I would call us more private sector

Paul: What’s the mix of the workforce?

Hayley: I don’t know off the top of my head. I believe we are predominately female. A lot of our management is quite young, which is why I our middle management are so on board with Yammer and that probably helps us. Any organisation of any kind needs champions and that’s one thing we don’t have as structured as what we could… maybe a private group where Yammer champions could talk together on how to improve things and make our Yammer network better. We’re in a good place but there’s always room for improvement and you can always get more out of it.

Paul: Everyone’s engaged because you’re not sending emails in bulk outside of that core communication channel. What is next? Think forward twelve, eighteen months, how do you see Yammer being used within Workcover?

Hayley: We could probably get to the point where people feel a bit more comfortable exposing yourself [laughs] exposing in terms of asking the question! You don’t need to know all the answers, Not everyone knows all the answers to everything and there’s nothing wrong with posting on Yammer and showing that you have a question and maybe someone else does too!

Paul: Almost a communications platform to a knowledge-based, find an expert, engage with an expert within the business…

Hayley: I know that Suncor have brought in a business helpdesk kind of things, in that IT aspect saying “you know you’ve got an issue with this program” bringing that more into the fundamental way you do things.

Paul: like a crowd source support mechanism for IT?

Hayley: yeah, I have this question but someone else in the business might be able to help as they might have had the same issue earlier in the week.

We could definitely use topics and tagging better and being able to search through those. We’re looking at integration. I guess there’s that question of “which tool do I use and when?” What we’ve done to alleviate that is to bring in all of our content on Yammer through to our intranet. That’s where our content lives and it’s the platform where you can get to everything. We don’t really want to change that so we’ve brought in Yammer to help with that. But at the moment it shows one group at a time. You can click through like a tabbed homepage and show groups. What we want to do is bring in content based on trending topics or think about how we do that. If someone tags something with news, that’s how we can bring that in. It’s about making things a bit more relevant on the homepage. If you let it get old, people won’t look at it so we want to make it current and relevant for our people to go there and get the information… Also possibly integrating Yammer into our core systems, to let them know that “hey there’s a new Yammer post to go with this, check it out”.

Paul: That makes sense. Thank you for sharing the story about Workcover and using Yammer. There are very few users who have been on Yammer for four years, so it’s great to hear from a customer who has gone through the journey that a lot of people are thinking about going through and has experienced the trials and tribulations, pitfalls and successes along the way. As a nice question to wrap up the conversation, if you had your time over, how would you approach it differently? What would you have done differently, if there are three things you can recommend to people?

Hayley: Although the governance thing has worked for our organisation, it’s probably limited in some ways and I’d like to see it take on a bit more organic growth as opposed to –

Paul: In terms of being structured –

Hayley: yeah, now that people feel comfortable using it and going there, we can probably do that. That’s probably something I’d change and I’d probably do that a bit sooner.

I would personally recommend the sync tool. Even if people don’t join but at least if they are aware, even if their team isn’t using it, they might not be exposed to that network to get on… that whole syncing with your Director, even if they just see the name…

2) get your middle management on board.

Paul: [laughs] Steal the middle management from Workcover

Hayley: No, don’t steal them, we want them. Middle management create the excitement and set the tone for our people. They’re a great asset for Workcover and if you can get that middle management… even if you get ten on board and get them championing it to other managers that would really help!

3) Community Manager, can I say that? Get a Community Manager!

Paul: Thanks for taking the time out to speak to us today. We’re filming this in a café so if I can’t edit out all the noise, I apologise. Thanks for joining us, Hayley Bushell.

Hayley: Thanks Paul!

 

Episode 6: Executive Engagement in Enterprise Social Networks / Work out Loud Week with Simon Terry

This week I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the world’s leading minds when it comes to how working like a network can drive real business performance for organisations large and small – Simon Terry.  Simon is currently a consulting working with organisations around the world grapple with digital technologies and disruption – but previously he was the CEO of one of National Australia Bank’s businesses – HICAPS.

In this episode Simon shares his thoughts regarding how executives and their management teams can use enterprise social tools like Yammer to increase employee engagement, and ultimately drive real strategic outcomes.

For the second half of the episode we discuss the upcoming Work Out Loud week from 17 November.

 

Resources from this week’s episode of The Yaminade:

Read more of Simon’s work including his posts on accountability in networks

Other great people mentioned during this episode and their content:

John Stepper@johnstepper

 

Harold Jarche@jarche

Bryce Williams@thebryceswrite

Jane Bozarth@janebozarth

Johnathon Anthony@thismuchweknow

Austen Hunter@austenhunter

Luis Suarez – @elsua

Eric Kraus@erickraus

Transcript of Episode 6 of The Yaminade

Paul: Hi everyone and welcome to this week’s episode of The Yaminade. My name is Paul Woods and I had the great pleasure of talking to a digital transformation innovation and leadership expert. A lot of people in Australia know this man and his baked goods as well. Please welcome Simon Terry to The Yaminade.

Simon: Thanks Paul, it’s great to be here and I love the baked goods reference!

Paul: You make my mouth water every night when I see a fruit loaf being posted on Twitter! Follow Simon on Twitter @simongterry and you can follow the baked goods’ story. But that’s not why I invited him here today. First of all, he is one of the few people I’ve sat down with over the years and I’d rate our conversations as one of the top three lunchtime conversations I’ve had in my lifetime around business, performance and things within the Yammer community that we like to talk about such as working out loud, working as a network, etc. Hopefully the conversation we’ll have today will reflect the one we had a long time ago in Melbourne and give you some insight into the way Simon thinks about these things. Secondly, he’s had some good experience in lots of organisations including National Australia Bank (NAB) here in Australia and he was a CEO for one particular part of that which was HICAPS and I’ll get Simon to explain a bit more about that in a second. Finally for the last half of this podcast we’ll talk about something called working out loud and Work Out Loud Week which Simon has lots of great things to say about that. Simon, would you like to share your time at NAB and Yammer story as an executive at HICAPS?

Simon: Thanks Paul, it’s great to be on the show and thanks for setting the bar so high in terms of this conversation. I was an executive at NAB for over twelve years and experienced a variety of roles within that organisation. About half way through my journey at NAB, they began to use Yammer. Like many organisations back then, it started in the organisation virally. One of the things I first noticed and experienced at the time was that it was a great opportunity to create new conversations that cult through silos and connect through the organisation and enabled people to share information and connect in a really rich way. What was also evident at that time is that it had begun virally, it was unofficial. There was a real need for some leadership support, connection and sponsorship. Gradually, through a variety of roles that I had within the organisation, I got drawn into sponsoring unofficially and help shape the community with a community of champions, it wasn’t just me, I was just one we realised there was this fantastic leadership opportunity. I was CEO of the HICAPS business. HICAPS is a health insurance claiming business owned by NAB. It has a fantastic position in the Australian market, but it’s a small, standalone business in a very large financial services group. I had some fascinating insights of how Yammer could help a small business like that. To give you an example, many people didn’t know that NAB owned HICAPS as it is very separate, it has its own location and premises. The opportunity to use Yammer to work out loud and tell my story of running the HICAPS business and connect the rest of the NAB organisation to a successful business that they ran and to leverage the rest of the organisation to address the challenges of HICAPS: being able to get technology expertise from our Yammer network to talk about problems we had within HICAPS, or in one particular situation we had an outage in the HICAPS business. In that situation, NAB branches would often get queries from customers about HICAPS, but they weren’t used to finding information as it wasn’t on the radar for branch staff, so Yammer offered this fantastic opportunity where I, as CEO, was able to work out loud through the incident as it occurred, explaining to everyone on Yammer what we were trying to fix and how long the system would take. That was a great thing to be able to communicate all of that to customers of NABS and HICAPS. That opportunity really pulled me into the power and passion of enterprise social solutions like Yammer. Now I spent my time helping organisations to leverage enterprise social and collaboration and also thinking about how leadership has to change in this new era where the enterprise is much more networked.

Paul: Absolutely. That’s a great story and outcome about the power of a well-managed, well-engaged network on a community such as Yammer. How did the Yammer champions get your attention, to formally get you engaged?

Simon: For me it was driven out of my understanding of NAB’s strategic objectives and particularly among those objectives, its cultural transformation objectives. With a good understanding of the group’s strategy and what the group wanted to achieve as we moved forward, you look at what’s going on in Yammer and see positive outcomes towards group strategy. You saw frontline customer staff raising problems they had and asking Head Office to fix them. You saw people getting better information on the strategy and asking questions and clarifying what the strategic intent of the organisation was.  You saw people innovating together, actually getting together and saying “hey, I’m really interested in this new technology, how can we use it in the organisation?” and these really passionate and engaged threads where individuals who really believed in the potential of a particular piece of technology came together with people who’ve had the opportunity to apply it. I think the other thing which can’t be ignored is that all of this is visible, it’s all public.

All of this was going on in the organisation but they’re hidden. As you know being an executive, that the first thing is to have a sense of what you can see in the organisation before you can even start to make changes. That ability to see what was going on and to realise, as an executive, I could join those conversations and make a significant effort to help people. It wasn’t about making orders or telling people what to do. In most cases it was about me bringing my network to individuals who were really keen to make change. But  I, as an executive higher up the hierarchy, was able to get them leverage and the ability to do that and make simple gestures to enable people as I knew they had those problems, that showed me there was massive strategic value in a tool like Yammer. So we, very quickly in NAB developed two themes on our Yammer network.

One was around what we could do to foster collaboration for the purposes of innovation and the other was to share the type of leadership we wanted to grow in the organisation. Those two things set us up very well for the future development of the organisation. Out of those two things sprung focuses on things like Lean and continuous improvement and process improvement, customer experience design. When you get into those areas, the strategic value of collaboration and enterprise social networking becomes clear pretty quickly. For me it was initially about the potential and what we thought we could achieve. Because it was very business focus, it wasn’t a coms strategy issue or an engagement issue, it was very much around “hey we can use this to get stuff done that we can’t do”.

Paul: Yeah, absolutely. Did you have any backlash from your peers within the organisation? People like running other businesses within NAB, or was everyone on the same page, let loose, go for it?

Simon: Backlash is probably too extreme. Bemusement is probably a better word. Lots of the leaders at NAB understood the strategic rationale therefore I can honestly say most people were incredibly supportive. The bemusement came amount because:

  1. How do you find time to do it? I’m a busy senior executive, too busy to check my email, how do you find time to spend on Yammer?
  2. I’m not familiar with it, why would it make sense? Isn’t it a distraction from your daily business?

I saw it as a fantastic way to run my business more efficiently and a great way to connect with people that would help my business so I wasn’t in the realm that I thought it was costing my business and I didn’t get a huge return

Paul: Yeah, the time you’re spending –

Simon: – My email dropped. Because the HICAPS business wasn’t very well known in NAB, one of the things that became an accidental side product of the CEO of HICAPS’ role, was that was the job everyone could find if they wanted to ask a question of HICAPS. What my inbox was full of was people who wanted to ask questions of my team but routed them through me. Once I started using Yammer, people posted to Yammer as they knew it was somewhere I was always available. My team realised that if that question was related to them, it was probably a good idea that they answer it directly. What I discovered was that those questions had been posted in Yammer and answered by team members of mine and I didn’t even need to deal with them. So you started to see people realise that there was a better way of getting problems solved, getting communicated and every one of those answers became public, became searchable and people said “I always wanted to know how you did that”. A lot of those opportunities increased influence and productivity. As you know, I was the Senior Executive and it influences your commodity of trade. As you know, it’s far easier to build your influence through Yammer than something like email.

Paul: I’ve been following a number of your posts on your Tumblr feed around accountability and what we talk about with executives around “how do we hold people accountable when everyone is  there’s no clear hierarchy of a reporting line?” Maybe spend a little bit of time talking about the content you have been writing about accountability… I think that’s really valuable in the context of what we’re talking about here

Simon: I think the key to the points I have been exploring on my blog are that when you start to think about what accountability means… we have a traditional view of what accountability means in a hierarchy which is when other people use their hierarchical power to hold me to account. We actually know that that’s not a particularly effective form of accountability because it relies on the people in that hierarchy to know what’s going on, following through on their threats of negative penalties and as we all know in hierarchies there are all forms of ducking and diving and weaving on accountability. Often, the accountability is only one way, from the top to the bottom. There’s no accountability back up from bottom to top because senior executives are held accountable by boards and shareholders and they are often remote don’t understand the particular issues that the organisation would like the executives to be accountable for. What I think is interesting is when you change the frame and say “what does accountability look like in a network?” and that’s if you don’t hold up to your integrity, commitment and promises you’ve made in the network, you’ll find yourself losing trust. As you lose trust, you lose influence. As you lose influence, networks will route around you and stop dealing with you and deal with others instead to get things done. That concept of the network thinking who they can rely on to get things done works both ways and enables people to get stuff done without enforcement processes.  It’s a natural process of “I don’t like that person, I’ll follow someone else”. That mindset of a very agile network of accountability is really at the heart of what responsive organisations is all about

Paul: It’s not just a Yammer natural selection, it also applies in the physical world just as equally as in the digital world

Simon: Yeah, this is a social process. One of the things I love about social business is that it forces us to rethink management in terms of how humans behave. We already naturally avoid people we can’t trust and spend time with people we can trust. Trust is the most sophisticated algorithm that is built into the human brain. We can manage really complex trust relationships with hundreds of people and know who we will work with and who we won’t, we make judgements quickly and evolve those judgements as new things occur. Being able to leverage that, rather than fixed, arbitrary hierarchies and processes. One of the things that happens in hierarchies is that it’s ok to let down other silos, you just never let down your own because you’ll be held accountable by your own, but your own may not hold you to account for how you’ve let down silos. That creates terrible dynamics within an organisation but when you’re talking about a network, when you’re working with these people consistently, you don’t let them down because you’ve got to maintain a relationship with trust.

Paul: I can’t think of an organisation where that isn’t an issue. As soon as you’ve got more than two teams it becomes an issue

Simon: Because we are humans who value relationships, what you create immediately when you talk about trust, is a personal accountability. That’s not something that is imposed, it’s coming out of me, I want to be that person in the relationship and I have to live up to that. I think creating a personal level of accountability is much more powerful than anything externally imposed.

Paul: I think accountability in management in general is one of those things that as a manager myself and you being an executive that we try to align the business strategy and make sure people get done what needs to get done. It’s great to see some of that thinking coming through. Let’s switch tact a little bit, moving from your work at HICAPS to what you do today. Let’s talk about working out loud and Work Out Loud week which is coming up soon. Just a quick definition of what that is and where it’s come from?

Simon: Sure! The most common definition of Working Out Loud was originally proposed by Bryce WIliams who is from Eli Lilly. He’s involved with a lot of their content management, making your work visible, plus narrating your work. Talking about the process of working out loud and helping others engage and learn from your work. The really powerful about Working Out Loud, is that people think you’re bragging out loud and that it’s a process of describing about all the great things you’re working on. Working Out Loud isn’t talking about outcomes, it’s actually a practice of talking about what you’re doing now. It’s to describe uncompleted work and the process you’re going on with, a couple of things become possible. Firstly, other people might know how to help you complete that work. Secondly, people might have ways to tell you that you’re going wrong, or ways to help you work faster. But if you’re making your work transparent, other people can benefit from it and apply it. I’ve really got more and more into the practice of Working Out Loud. I’ve found an increase in my personal productivity because the more I share what I’m working on and thinking about, the more I discover great inputs coming back, great suggestions of ideas and people who want to work with me on particular topics, who are inspired by particular ideas or people who tell me I’m wrong and suggest a better direction to go. I think that’s a valuable piece of work.

To give you an example, the IP I had about what makes a Yammer network successful. I was finding that very hard, doing it on my own as a consultant, so what I did was Work Out Loud with a few individuals I knew and respected. I was putting all my IP out on the table everything out on the table for people to do what they thought with it. What I found was incredibly powerful. Everyone respected the fact that I was prepared to share stuff that wasn’t quite right and still needed developed. I got amazing feedback in the ideas people gave me that I would never have thought about in relation to that work. They started to create opportunities for me to use it and say “oh you should see this work that’s being developed by Simon, you should really have a chat to him about it” and they’d make introductions for me or help me grow the work in particular ways or make suggestions as to how I could use it.

Paul: So you not only have fast feedback that helps with the development of those ideas in getting them conceptualised and onto paper but they also help you share that knowledge more effectively also  because they connected you to people within their network.

Simon: Exactly. Because they had seen things in places which we had built together, they had more trust in these ideas and to stand and advocate them to others. Fantastic opportunities… I use this model to create value in these networks. You need to think about connecting people, sharing information, solving problems and then innovating together. It’s a bit of a maturity curve across those four steps. A fantastic thing I’ve found is that Working Out Loud is a fundamental accelerant across those four stages. It starts to accelerate the process of creating value in these networks because the more you surface work, the more easily you can make sure workers align to the strategic outcomes that they should be aligned to. You remove duplication: in any large organisation, there are at least two people working on the same thing and you don’t know it until they start to work out loud, or at least one of them works out loud and the other says “hey, I’ve already done that”. I think those kinds of opportunities come when people are more transparent. But at a personal level, the learning opportunities of Working Out Loud are phenomenal: changing your mind-set.

One of the things my blog has become is a process of personal management out loud. You mentioned my accountability posts before, that was me trying to work through what accountability meant on the blog, with the danger of people who knew better could tell me I was wrong but they could come in and tell me what other things I needed to consider as part of that process.

Paul: That’s a good problem to have, if people are coming in and telling you how to improve what you’re thinking about. I wouldn’t say that was a danger, I’d say that was one of the best opportunities of working out loud, getting that fast feedback, even if you’re completely on the wrong track, it enables you to get back on the straight and narrow and explore what you’re exploring.

Simon: I agree, Paul. But the way we traditionally think in management is the danger. Being found wrong is a danger, whereas you and I know that fast feedback and getting on with highly-productive work rather than grinding away at things that are no longer going to help you is a significant advantage.

Paul: It’s almost an idea of saving face, about people who are trying to save face and be correct all the time, when the ultimate way to save face is just to get better outcomes

Simon: Yeah, I’d much rather be judged on my outcomes than the process.

Paul: Absolutely. So Working Out Loud week is coming up soon and we’re recording this on 4th November which is Melbourne Cup Day. Just to say it’s a public holiday where Simon is, so I appreciate taking time off on your holiday to chat to me. Working Out Loud week is coming up in the middle of November, would you like to give me an overview about what it is, what are the goals of the week and how can participate in Work Out Loud week?

Simon: There are a number of people around the world who are big fans of working out loud and related practices like sharing your work. They believe strongly in the idea that this is beneficial to everyone in the way they work. What Working Out Loud week is, is an opportunity so celebrate that practice out loud and give people who might be new to Working Out Loud the opportunity to try for a short period of time. A week isn’t too long out of your life to give a try to a new practice. The reason we don’t have Working Out Loud day is that we think it’s a habit and we encourage people to put a bit of effort into it over a consistent period of time. The more you try it, the more benefits you realise. Working Out Loud week is from 17-24th November this year, the simplest way to get involved is to just start working out loud. Whether that’s in social channels externally, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or as simple as making your work visible by putting post-it notes around your work space to make your colleagues aware of what you’re doing. What we star to notice is that people engage in new interactions and meet people who can help them and that’s what we’re looking for. With people who have a bit more experience with Working Out Loud, John Stepper who has a great blog at johnstepper.com has a great talk on Working Out Loud that he has up on his blog there and we’d encourage people to present that talk or their own talk to their peers or people within the industry. We’d love to see people getting the message out about Working Out Loud. The focus of the week is to enable people to get involved in Working Out Loud and to work with others to watch what’s going on.

Paul: Are there any particular people that you know will be Working Out Loud that we should look out for?

Simon: I’ll be there, so you can follow that. You’ll see John Stepper @johnstepper and johnstepper.com. Jonathan Anthony from TMWK @thismuchweknow on Twitter. He has a fantastic blog with great insights on Working Out Loud. If anyone wants to know more about Jonathan, he worked out loud on a Pecha Kucha about Working Out Loud. Austen Hunter @austenhunter on Twitter is another exponent of Working Out Loud, as well as others around the world, people like Harold Jarche, Jane Bozarth who has really championed Show Your Work and a number of people getting involved. We have a Twitter account @wowweek where we collect and share best practices around Working Out Loud and a blog at wowweek.com where we reposting and linking to fantastic blog posts and other materials about Working Out Loud from around the world. What we’re trying to do is make Working Out Loud as accessible and visible for people who would like to get involved or just see what it does.

I think the point I mentioned before is that this doesn’t require you to make your entire life transparent on external social media. Working Out Loud is just a practice in questioning what you’re doing and how that could be shared with others. It could be as simple as post-it notes or just a poster in your office. It doesn’t have to be digital or external but the more you make it available to your network, the more opportunity there is for others to get involved.

Paul: I think it would be a great idea to work out loud about Work Out Loud, posting pictures or comments to @wowweek account on Instragram or Twitter, that would be a great way to show your success and challenges. One question in the back of my mind is that people who are new to Working Out Loud, there’ll be a cultural dip they need to go through before all their peers in the organisation accept what they’re doing “why on earth are you talking about what you’re doing?” Is there one piece of advice you would give? How do they manage the expectations and attitudes of others?

Simon: It’s a great point and for me the first thing to do is to go into it with the humility to realise you might be wrong and that you are learning and to express that viewpoint to other people. My sense and experience is that people are amazingly generous when your intent is to be more successful and help the organisation. It’s not about you, it’s about the work that you’re doing and achieving better outcomes, whether that work is personal or part of an organisation. Don’t assume that what you’re doing is obvious to other people. The reason Work Out Loud involves that step of narrating your work is that it actually enables you to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing. Narrating the fact that you’re working out loud because you want help and you find it challenging and this is what I’ve learned today and this might be of value to you… you start to do that and going back to my experience at NAB, when I started using the Yammer network extensively, it was unusual for a senior executive to do that. So I had to narrate what I was doing “I’m sharing this with you because of this reason and I think someone might be able to help”.

Another piece of advice comes from Eric Krauss who wrote a fantastic blog piece about it, “don’t try to be interesting, try to be interested”. You are not looking for praise, you are looking to share it with people who are doing that kind of work. You might actually share it in response to other people’s materials “hey that’s great, this might help you, these are some things I’ve been doing” if you adopt that humble learning approach and narrate your work and remember that your goal is to build a connection with people through this process… often the way to start is by making contributions to others, not necessarily by posting stuff. If you look out for that opportunity to share your work in response to the work of others, and John Stepper has some great stuff on this, it’s very hard for people to find that strange or worthy of criticism.

Paul: That makes perfect sense to me. I think there’s lots of value in what we’ve talked about today, we’re only just scratching the surface of the Simon Terry story and some of the thoughts and things you’ve posted on your blog or worked out loud about over the last year or two… I think we could probably record six or seven episodes like this just full of great content from yourself. To wrap up the episode, I’d like to give you the opportunity to share some of the resources you’ve been talking about, your blog so other people can connect straight into yourself and go straight to the source

Simon: I’m @simongterry on Twitter and a lot of the sharing you’ve described, including the pastries, goes on there. There’s also a pastry blog, but we’ll skip over that for present purposes. My main blog is simonterry.tumblr.com which is where I work out loud on some of the concepts and try and share that IP I’ve been working on how to manage collaboration in social networks. A lot of thinking about the future of work and responsive organisations. They are the principle resources.

Obviously if anyone is interested in getting in touch, feel free to get in touch via Twitter or any of the other channels

Paul: Supberb! Simon Terry, thank you so much for sharing your insights on working out loud. Thanks once again

Simon: Thanks Paul and thanks for the opportunity