Web 2-0

Training is key to leveraging social media for building brand value!

If you take it at face value that leadership is influence, then you best be influencing your employees use of social media before you are influenced by it in ways you may or may not like. As an HR professional, were trained to manage and mitigate the risks of our employees’ actions to our organizations. For many this has led to the knee-jerk reaction of banning social media in the workplace altogether, as if we were some rogue dictatorship of a country like Syria or Cuba. Yet as the Turkish prime minister has recently discovered, blocking your people’s access to social media is about as futile as attempting to prevent a flood by covering the cracks in your dam with your hands.

More forward thinking organizations are coming to this realization sooner than their less progressive counterparts, and are taking the social media bull by the horns. MasterCard is an example, is one such organization. And at the heart of their strategy, what I would consider a major factor in their successful adoption of social media as an organization is training. This piece by Jeanne Meister highlights some of the steps the company has taken in recent years to actively influence their employees use of social media, and turn them into brand ambassadors.

Many of the steps the company is taking such as building a training and communications plan, posting in person social media training sessions at offices around the globe, distributing short educational videos via social media channels, and using reverse mentors (where younger millennial generation employees mentor older senior executives) to get them up to speed on the latest social media platforms and trends are all training and organizational development strategies we can all implement and utilize to lead similar efforts ourselves.

I would go as far as to tell you that not only can you turn your employees into brand ambassadors using some of these techniques, but go beyond and convert your best customers into brand ambassadors leveraging some of these strategies and tactics. Engage your employees, your investors and owners, and your customer base. Encourage your customers to post pictures and videos of themselves using and enjoying your products. Have your communications and marketing teams reach out to these customers, and get the stories behind their pictures and videos; these customers are telling the story of your brand- get their permission to highlight their excitement and enjoyment when using your products and services on your site. Bring attention to their efforts, and turn them from fans of your products and services to ambassadors!

There are just two roads you can travel to success in today’s digital and socially connected business climate. You can either lead with social media, or be led by it. 

Alex Santos

Alex is a co-founder and Managing Member of Collabor8 Learning, LLC, an instructional design and performance management consultancy. His firm collaborates with organizations to enhance the way they develop  and train their people. To learn more about Collabor8 Learning, click here.

Alex can be reached at 786-512-1069, alex@collabor8learning.com or via Twitter@collabor8alex.

Enable Social Learning just like Zappos

If I had a dollar every time someone asks me to give them an example of social learning, I’d be a… (insert your favorite pile of money phrase here) -ionnaire.  You know the old saying.  The term itself has become very muddled from its roots back in the days of Vygotsky and Bandura, with visions of today’s web 2.0 and social networking technologies.  Let’s get something straight here, once and for all-

Put your instructional design or performance management toolbox away here.  You’re not going to be designing any social learning today.  Social learning happens mostly serendipitously, and not be design.  Look for employees learning from one another, from a customer, or from some resource outside of your organization.  Yes, that’s right, from OUTSIDE of your organization.  Believe it or not, your networked employees are learning all the time from within and from outside of your organization.  Take it from one of this decade’s most innovative and forward thinking CEO’s,  Tony Hsieh from Zappos―

“Hsieh’s biggest bet is that Zappos has more to learn from smart people outside the company than inside it.”

That’s right, one of Tony’s biggest bets going forward is squarely on what we endearingly call― Social Learning.

Alex Santos

Alex is a co-founder and Managing Member of Collabor8 Learning, LLC, an instructional design and performance management consultancy. His firm collaborates with organizations to enhance the way they develop  and train their people. To learn more about Collabor8 Learning, click here.

Alex can be reached at 786-512-1069, alex@collabor8learning.com or via Twitter@collabor8alex.

 

Are you fluent in Wiki yet?

Wikis are one of the most underutilized tools in the instructional designer's toolbox. As trainers, it is imperative that we engage the learner beyond the classroom in order to effect real, permanent, and quantifiable changes in behavior. Yet, often times I find designers and trainers unwilling to engage their audiences beyond the classroom with this tool. Several reasons for this exist.

wiki_LG

Firstly, some training teams lament they are constrained by IT policies not conducive to collaborative tools. Some training managers have even asked,"

Can I implement a wiki bypassing IT altogether?" While the answer is yes, you can go with a SaaS vendor and be up and running in under ten minutes, it is advisable to not bypass your IT team and instead model the collaborative spirit you want to see in your workforce. You must be the change you want to see in the world, even if you sometimes feel like strangling your IT people.

Secondly, trainers and designers often lack knowledge of the power, flexibility, and ease of use of today's wiki software. Sure, we've all performed research on Wikipedia, but few designers and trainers have experimented with open-source wiki technology. As performance engineers and learning strategists, we must tinker with the latest tech and evaluate its utility for our learning systems. Failure to do so ensures we miss out on opportunities for our learners, as well as for our own development and understanding of the many ways technology is changing the training landscape. For far less money than many training teams spend on over-hyped learning management systems, it's time we spend a fraction of that budget on tailoring a wiki to engage learners and to supplement our training efforts outside of formal training events.

Finally, there are fears and misunderstandings of this technology. The main fear is of the unknown. While most people have used Wikipedia, it is but one example and not an ordinary example of what wiki technology is capable of. Yet, since it is the most common reference point for most people, many mistakenly draw conclusions about the technology from this vantage point. Fears of this technology range from how it can be used to support a community, to the cultural effects on the organization from having such an open and transparent technology available to all. Having a wiki in and by itself does not a collaborative culture make, and without content worth maintaining or people who care to maintain it no wiki in the world can grow and flourish.

The capacity to build and engage a community of learners is one which I believe will be essential to your relevance as an instructional designer, teacher, or trainer. In fact, “social learning” was already added to one of the nine existing Areas of Expertise in the ASTD Competency Model (middle tier). You can begin increasing your fluency with wikis as a social learning technology by downloading and experimenting with Tiddlywiki, one of the many open-source wiki platforms available. Tiddlywiki is a wonderful personal notebook you can use to familiarize yourself with the technology before moving to larger and more complex systems. Simply download it, save it to a place in your computer, and create a shortcut to it from your browser so that you can access it readily whenever you want to make a note.

I suggest you get started on building this competency and adding it to your repertoire sooner rather than later. As always, please don’t hesitate to write if you need help or have a question, we’re here to help you succeed! Would love your comments on Tiddlywki, or on your own use of wiki technology at your organization below- regardless of platform .


Alex Santos
Alex is a co-founder and Managing Member of Collabor8 Learning, LLC, an instructional design and performance management consultancy. His firm collaborates with organizations to enhance the way they develop  and train their people. To learn more about Collabor8 Learning, click here.

Alex can be reached at 786-512-1069, alex@collabor8learning.com or via Twitter@collabor8alex.

Too many chiefs, not enough Indians

Recent posts have asked whether companies should designate a Chief Collaboration Officer, and who within the enterprise should assume the role of Chief Collaboration Officer.  I've never been one hung-up on job titles, and don't see a need to find someone to assign the title of Chief Collaboration Officer.  What's next- a Chief Social Officer? A Chief Teamwork Officer? A Chief Engagement Officer?  Anyone for a Chief Culture Officer? Collaboration is the competitive advantage of the decade if you can learn to harness it, but just like teamwork before it, harnessing it's power is going to take a cultural shift in the organization that should not rest on the shoulders of any one chief, but on the shoulders of everyone.  In the case of collaboration, the heads of human resources and IT should enable it by implementing the right people policies coupled with the right technological infrastructure for the organization.  But like many enterprise-wide initiatives, the cultural shift in mindset should be communicated and modeled by the leaders of the organization and reinforced throughout by mid-management ranks.

Chief_Collaboration

More than assigning an individual the job of championing collaboration, companies should recognize that this cultural shift requires all hands on deck.  HR policies and IT solutions should be put in place that enable people to collaborate effortlessly with one another-especially when workflows and business processes are identified that can be improved or accelerated by social technologies.  In these situations, baseline measures on the efficiency of the business process should be taken to then compare once social initiatives are put into place.  Barriers to collaboration should be removed, and individuals who excel at collaborative behaviors should be rewarded and celebrated.

While I agree with Jane Hart and others that point out that a Chief Learning Officer is at times ideally positioned to take over the collaboration lead, I'd much rather see a leader emerge from the organization.  This individual should be a role-model for others in the enterprise, one who others look to for direction on how best to excel at their roles.  Additionally, this organic leader should champion the organization's social tools of choice, and articulate to others how to best use them.

By not taking a top-down approach, this individual will from the offset have more credibility than any head of learning, IT, HR, or other chief within the firm.  More structure and hierarchy are not how to achieve a more collaborative enterprise.  Social enterprise technology is unleashing a powerful wave of decentralization that will transform and disrupt traditional business hierarchies, and this revolution will be led from the ground up.


Alex Santos
Alex is a co-founder and Managing Member of Collabor8 Learning, LLC, an instructional design and performance management consultancy. His firm collaborates with organizations to enhance the way they develop  and train their people. To learn more about Collabor8 Learning, click here.

Alex can be reached at 786-512-1069, alex@collabor8learning.com or via Twitter@collabor8alex.

3 questions for adding a social perspective to your performance analysis

Performance_Analysis_Flow_SM

Where exactly do social media technologies fit into current instructional design models?  My answer might surprise you, but it goes back to the performance analysis even before the decision to develop any instruction was made.  Even before determining if there is a skill deficiency in the performer, instructional designers, human resources leaders, and IT leaders should consider the potential for social media tools to improve collaboration and find the information employees need in order to perform. You see, in Mager & Pipe's Performance Analysis Flow diagram under the heading "Can we apply fast fixes?", there is already a decision box for "Are resources for the performer adequate?"  When thinking of solving performance problems and preventing them from occurring in the future, its useful for designers to realize the potential for social media tools to serve as a resource for performers.  Social media tools can serve as repositories of information for the performers, and not just learning assets maintained by the designers or the training department.  Tools such as wikis, forums, collaborative work spaces, and blogs can be implemented and "moderated" or "maintained" by an instructional designer or other resource for accuracy.

Assuming learners require more resources to perform, you should be asking yourself three key questions upon reaching this decision point in the flow diagram:

  1. Where are the resources required by the performers located?
  2. Can social media technology enable performer(s) to acquire the resources?
  3. Is this a "fast fix" my corporate culture would embrace?


Alex Santos
Alex is a co-founder and Managing Member of Collabor8 Learning, LLC, an instructional design and performance management consultancy. His firm collaborates with organizations to enhance the way they develop  and train their people. To learn more about Collabor8 Learning, click here.

Alex can be reached at 786-512-1069, alex@collabor8learning.com or via Twitter@collabor8alex.