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This June really stirred things up for me. The Enterprise 2.0 comprises a numer of interesting areas of Social. I’ll return to some of the areas that touched me most. This time it’s about Communities in general and Community Managers in particular.Here’s the seminar on the subject of “Community Managers: What They Do. How to Be a Great One” here.

This – and a lot of the other seminars got me into reflecting mode: What have I learned myself in those early days of communities? So I’ll list a few learnings from my own acting Community Manager in the early days (history in this case is less than ten years ago, circa 2003 – 2006, pre Facebook). I then belonged to a carreer network by the name of Shortcut.nu. Although still around, Facebook and other networks have taken its toll…
In the year 2002 or 2003 we were allowed to create “groups” that we would run as community managers (but of course the term wasn’t established at that date) and I saw the opportunity to learn some. Out of my seven groups the “Cafeliv” intended mainly for freelancers and others who feel like sharing ideas and thoughts at cafes. Some years earlier I met people working in cafes in The Village of New York. A picture that’s been with me ever since.

What’s a “Community”. Well the word is of course established in the English language, but for us not having it as mother tongue we need to understand the meaning of the word. Wikipedia says this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community – “The term community has two distinct meanings: 1) A group of interacting people, living in some proximity (i.e., in space, time, or relationship). Community usually refers to a social unit larger than a household that shares common values and has social cohesion. The term can also refer to the national community or international community, and, 2) in biology, a community is a group of interacting living organisms sharing a populated environment. A community is a group or society, helping each other.”

They continue: “Since the advent of the Internet, the concept of community has less geographical limitation, as people can now gather virtually in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location.”

Here are my learnings:

You need a purpose for the coummunity: Why should I join this group? What’s in it for me? Can I help others? What can I expect? Note: The purpose may in some cases be “to meet others” – especially true in freelancing communities as we often work alone. The social part may be a purpose.

You need a direction: What can we expect? Like any company you need a Vision, a Mission, a Strategy – and plans on how to get into action.

You need to know group dynamics: Things happen when people meet. We know that a group with new tasks and/or members need clarity. This means telling the purpose of the group and presenting members at every meeting. More mature group – listen, step in only when needed, coach on activities.

You need to know the effect of Critical Mass: What number of people is needed to get started? To grow? To become viral? To manage over gaps? For a discussion two may be enough, for a party eight or ten? This goes for the community survival as well as for activities. Few enter a group with ONE member. But with ten – and having a good trend? Same thing goes for activities. Time to reveal a secret: Other CMs and I convinced 3-4 menbers to join in at an early stage in the list of events. And it paid off!

You need to be able to see, to be a good host: What great people are in your group? What do they need? And we as a group? Sometimes you need to ignite and create energy in the group – sometimes the opposite is needed, leaving space for others to grow. Moderation may be needed at some meetings: how to get the quiet speak up and the dominant to leave space?

You are not alone: You’re not a great CM if you do everything single-handed: You may need cross connect with other CMs in other dept’s or supporters/SM agents. You can delegate to community members. Cross-meetings with other groups, cross-fertilizing of ideas beteen communities. “Sharing is caring” is really true here!

Your activities need to be known: You may think that you’re spamming – but you need to communicate a lot in the beginning. Once you have the people spreading the word you can start relaxing and moving into feeding phases.

Learn about “the tipping point“: What key people need to be active to reach the tipping point? The tipping point is when things change over that edge. When will most people get an electric car instead of the ones we use today? Another interesting one is when one guy starts dancing wildly on  a square. Strange guy… But one person joins in. Then there’s another one. Suddenly a little crowd. Feel the power to let go of your fears? You are reaching the tipping point. The activity probably did it a bit before you. Read more about the tipping point in this excellent book by Malcolm Gladwell.

When it happens – share! Create a feeling of “I want to belong to that!” You may think what happens in your community is known by “everyone”. It’s not! Nowadays you have sooo many channels to share stuff in: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr photos, videos and more!

Stories: get people to tell stories of what your achieve: It’s like in the press: an article is worth 10-20 times the value of an Ad – since someone else is telling the story – support them, push them – when you support an individual or a group – you also market your community. Today, most managers think their work is known troughout the corporation. Mostly, it is not. Share! Again – there are many tools for this today – update your intranet! Make it truly social!

Show results! “Seeing is believing“: Make people share their success!!! Video, pictures, blogs, microblogs, streaming video. Discussions in our communities often flew far. Members got new jobs, assignments – even married and got kids! Again – share!

Encourage, but don’t over-enthusiaze – the victory often takes a lot longer! People joining your community should have a positive attitude – balanced with a realistic expectations.

So, how do these reflections relate to YOUR community? Your intranet? Your workplance? Please let me know!

I’ll return to HOW to do all of this soon…

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Du vet hur vi ibland pratar om våra säljare i verksamheten. “Ordermottagare” säger någon. Ibland är det sant. Jag har själv varit i verksamheter som är så perfekt tajmade att vi kunde ställa varorna på lastkajen – så kom kunden och hämtade. Det är få förunnat – och på en överutbudsmarknad som de flesta av oss möter dagligen krävs något HELT annat – att kunna förutse behov LÅNGT innan kunden själv gör det.

Men hur är det med er IT-avdelning? Ser de era behov långt innan ni själva gör det – eller springer de på ideliga brandkårsutryckningar? Går deras tid åt till detta är risken att det strategiska och tekniskt framåtblickande tänket går mot noll. Här är en verksamhet som revolutionerar filmklippningen. Vad skulle detta motsvara hos er?

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The mechanics of how our brains shape our memory is one of my main topics while scanning media. As most management consultants, I too fall into habits. and for now, it’s a lot about memory.
Just the other day I learned that a memory that’s here to stay takes about a week to be established. Searching for patterns of learning, I added Scrum to this. Or rather, Agile Project Management. With its repetitive manner and team-shaping effects, it’s inevitable it’s gonna kickstart amygdala, hence enforcing memory imprints. Agile/normally calls for 30-day “sprints” with deliverables able for test in some way. Also part of the winning concept are the daily short (5-15 minutes) of feedback and short-term planning.

I have to look more into these neurological-agile openings!

What do YOU think?

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Inte många företag jag jobbat på – eller haft insikt i – klarar av att hålla en rimlig koll på vad personalen

Har gjort – arbetat med förr
Gör idag – vad INNEBÄR arbetet? (jo, detta är vi nog bäst på… Men är vi BRA?)
Vill göra imorgon – det som dina medarbetare strävar efter… (Jovisst, detta fångar vi ju upp i medarbetarsamtalet. Ja, vissa gör väl det. Men på många ställen får jag svaret “tjena!” dvs det görs inte på långa vägar. Och ni som gör det – följer ni upp? – En gång om året (i nästa medarbetarsamtal) är för sällan! Vi missar ofta att ambitionen att sträva någonstans är en mycket viktig drivkraft för vad jag gör idag. Här nedan finns en skiss på en modell som jag skapade en gång kring år 2004 tror jag – med en grupp som kallades “Akademikerpoolen” – ett gäng arbetslösa akademiker jag tyckte behövde göra något annat än handlingsplaner. SÅ vi inventerade kunskaper och erfarenheter. Hur – se nedanför bilden!

Arbetet med PAJAS-modellen bygger på att vi

* vi utsätts eller skapar situationer privat (P i modellen)
* vi väljer aktiviteter (A i modellen) i förhållande till dessa händelser
* vi glömmer ofta bort vad vi gjort och vad det pekar på för kompetenser

* vi gör likadant på jobbet (J och A i modellen)
* kan dra nya slutsatser av dessa situationer (S i modellen)

Denna modell får ni gärna låna och sprida! Framför allt fungerar den bra hos individer och grupper som tappat sugen för att “jag är värdelös” eller “vi kan inte och har tappat sugen”.

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So you’ve just got at few days off? Or  if you’re fortunate – a couple of weeks. And when you arrive to that place – or just accidentally opened your eyes to your garden at home – things grow. Rapidly.
But – before you cut branches and mowe the lawn – wait for  a minute… Move around, check what’s happening. What flowers never made it before? What advances have been made in that apple tree? You may have to let that tree go – but take the chance to learn how Mother Nature would handle this if you weren’t there! Now go ahead. But spend less energy on this and more on the following:

“What can we learn from the Garden?” A lot, it seems! But only if we are willing to open our eyes – and mediate. That is “understanding, finding conclusions – and cross-fertilize with your own areas of expertise”. Like Management. And Leadership.

Summertime is in many countries a time when juniors and youngsters get their chance to try this thing “WORK”. What are their expectations? What are their ideas? What new can they bring to your organization? And your ordinary subordinates – what will they do once you’re on vacation? Before you start mowing the lawn, why not examine the Garden of Work together? There are excellent ways of doing it! You will find hints in Lean Leadership, Six Sigma tools – and my coming book on the LUCK Concept.

Meanwhile – are you willing to try?

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We learn great many things from game developers on how to keep gamers gaming, going deeper in the game, investing more. It strikes me over and over agaian – those are all tools of à great leader.

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