Workplace Evangelist?

What a title! I have spent the past two plus months helping groups with improving their productivity and collaboration with using some of the Enterprise 2.0 technologies that we have implemented inside the firewall. Some folks call that person a workplace evangelist.. Catchy and probably looks pretty good on the old style business card! Since I have been doing this for over two months, it is time to write down my thoughts and observations. First of all, this role is something that I volunteered to do! I have found that using Enterprise 2.0 capabilities has helped me to communicate and collaborate with my global team and our key stakeholders. Some real quick observations were the demand greatly outweighs the supply of trained folks and people love buzz words. Demand is so high for someone to educate, teach and help implement – that I could have easily been busy for 24/7 for years to come. Like everything I do, I jumped in to do as much as humanly possible (till I figured out how to find those that will be successful).  Seems everyone wants to use the new technologies but just don’t know why or how.

I got to listen to plenty of challenges from each group that I have worked with. They basically came down to the following statements:

  • There is no consistent way to capture information or content.
  • There are lots of tools to use, which one is best for me? Or my team?
  • I have too many distractions today; meetings that fill up my complete calendar, emails that just go on and on, instant messages and every once and awhile the phone will ring.
  • Social computing is not work… It is social… (I guess that is why using Enterprise 2.0 saves you from having to listen to social computing confusion)

To help the teams understand better what is meant by this I found that Terry Starbucker’s 7 Essential Truths About Social Media very helpful. For the internal purposes I used and/or modified about 5 of them – fitting the audience that I was dealing with.

  • It’s not a “strategy” (it’s just a tool to communicate)
  • It’s not going to fix all that ails your business units problems (no silver bullets)
  • It will open up your world (just have to be open to making changes)
  • It will expose some basic communication weaknesses (so, be careful when you jump in).
  • It’s not going away (so, learn how to use it).

Usually after going over these truths and the examples that fit each one of them I can assess if this particular team is going to be resptive to making the necessary changes and work needed to be successful using the tools at their disposal. The other day, I was blessed with a quote from the team manager that just blew me away. “We are too busy with work, to work on reducing our workload.” I kid you not! Making changes take time and effort (work). I am willing to help, but I can not be the one that does it all… Almost all of the team needs to be a change agent to make this work. Not everyone, there will always be nay-sayers, but once they see how successful this is making the others or truly reducing their workload – they will come around, they always do. Just need a group that is willing to learn, open their eyes to dream how things could be and then work towards that dream.

Success rate overall, is still coming in. This takes time! Time to get moving, time to keep moving and getting the desired results that the team is looking for. I right now, have to say – this has been about a 50/50 split! My first months of starts, were with everyone that came knocking for help. The second month, I am only taking on those that are willing to give it a serious go. So, maybe my success rate will go up. I only have one month left – so, it better!

I do still love that title! I really enjoy the role… Maybe I can continue this role someplace else soon.

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