Incent to Share

Photo by Eric Ziegler
Your company doesn't share information.

There are silos in your organization.

Each silo is not interested in helping the other silos.

Enterprise Social tools are integrated into business tools

Enterprise Social tools are still not being used.

Why is it not working?

Culture culture culture.

Technology is not what wins the battle, change and culture, that's what's needed .

Find the incentives for people to share.

Classifying a Community

Photo by Eric Ziegler
Defining categories of communities can be done in many many different ways: e.g. by size (small, medium, large, humongous), types of people in the community (internal employees vs. external clients vs both), etc.

There are so many different types of communities that to be honest, it can scare away even the hardiest of requester for a new community. Last week I talked about the first step that must happen with requesting community managers, setting expectations. Inside that post, I mentioned that some well intended requests come without knowing much about what a community could do for them. So to help them understand what is available, I have often used the following examples to help the types of communities they could build
  1. Pushy Community - Not much of a community, but still there is the need for them in enterprises (hopefully rarely). Success is defined as people reading the information) 
  2. Interactive Pushy Community - This is the first real level of a community, where the push of information is accompanied with the ability to like, rate, and comment with the posts. The community can't post new messages, but they can interact with what is posted, allowing them to engage with the content and the content creators. Success is defined as people read the information and interact and engage with the content. 
  3. Interactive Community - The community is built so that the community members interact with each other, collaborating on documents, asking questions, getting answers, and sharing information with each other. Sometimes email is used to get the community re-engaged or to get the word out on the most important of information. The success of the community is defined by people almost fully interacting and engaging in the community and occasionally relying on tools outside the community to interact with each other. 
  4. Collaborative Community - The community is built so that the community members interact solely using the collaborative tools available, collaborating interacting, engaging with each other within the community. Success for this community is when the community members use the tools available to exclusively collaborate with each other and do not use external tools to collaborate. (e.g. no email).
  5. Inter Collaborative Community - The community is built much the same way as the collaborative community, but instead of just collaborating within the community, the community members collaborate inside the community and with other communities and groups. This community knows they are successful when each of the community members are always using collaborative tools in their day to day interactions. 
You can classify communities how ever you would like. In the above examples, I have laid out some examples of types of communities and how the communities would work, with the hope that when I describe these to an unknowing new community manager, they can pick a type and drive their community to success. 

How would you classify communities to a new community manager?  Would you use the same descriptions or would you describe them differently?  If you used the above example, would you add or subtract from the list?  For each of the above types of communities, what would you say make these communities successful? 

Setting Expectations

Photo by Sarah Ziegler
A friend and I were recently talking about adoption. Specifically we were talking about the adoption of tools that help build enterprise communities. One idea we discussed that I haven't read that much about is:
        Setting expectations.
While I know this idea is not new, I have not heard much about the use of setting expectations for Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business or adopting enterprise social networks. For example, as a people manager, if you have read it once, you have read a million times. To help guide your employees to ensure they know what to do, you need to set expectations with your employees. If you don't the manager is at a higher risk of not getting the best performance out of each employee.  This is an oldie but goody. But why don't we use this same idea in the enterprise for adopting enterprise social tools?

I find that for some people, they just want to create a community because their peer has one (the me too syndrome).  Others have good intentions but don't know where to even start to build a vibrant community. In both situations, neither have defined what expectations they have for their community. In both situations, instead of just allowing them to create the community and have it fail, the requester needs to clearly understand their goals so they can use the technology to meet their goals.

So, step 1: get the requester to define their hopes and dreams for the community they want to build.  Have them define how do they see the community working. Have them, articulate what their goals are for the community.  Work with them to design how the community will work. The key to the success, is to get them to set their own expectations for the community and then have them work to have their community meet that expectation.  

While setting expectations are great for the community, one of the keys to ensuring the community is as vibrant as desired, the community manager must communicate what expectations they have for the community to the community. In addition, as the community grows, the community manager must influence the community to meet those expectations, while being willing to reset their expectations and adapt to how the community grows.  

Setting expectations are crucial, being influential and flexible is equally important.  But then again, isn't that the recipe for success in almost all situations?

New Dogs, New Tricks

Photo by Eric Ziegler
I read a quote recently in Harold Jarche's post, "Old dog, new tricks"t .  What caught my eye first was the quote from Euan Semple's blog post, "Old folks and shiny things". Euan states: 
Senior folks have seen technology hucksterism too many times before to fall for hard sell, but equally more and more of them are becoming aware that, partly thanks to the internet, things are changing as never before. They know that they need to get their heads around what is happening – even if they decide that active engagement in it isn’t right for them or their organisations. – Euan Semple
Of course I kept on reading, intrigued on where Harold was going. Harold follows up the quote from Euan with his own example.
After a presentation to the Conference Board of Canada’s HR Executives Forum, a senior VP told me that there was no way some kid was going to advise him on social media. However, he was was willing to listen to me, as I was in my fifties, seemed to understand his situation, and didn’t make him feel uncomfortable. I think there is a great need to teach old dogs new tricks, especially senior managers and executives – my generation.
What I find so interesting is that in some recent experiences, I have found that the 30 and younger crowd is sometimes equally hesitant to use some of the latest tools, especially within the enterprise. In addition, I have found that the 40's and older group is quickly picking up these tools and using them effectively.  
As I encounter these reverse stereotypes, the question that I continue to ask is, no matter who the person is, where they come from, what their position is in the company, and what type of job they do, how do we help them turn the corner to realizing the power of social in the enterprise?