As we look at enterprise social networking and the benefits it enables, it’s clear that the companies perform better when people collaborate. Yet as individuals, collaboration is not necessarily how we’re judged and rewarded. This usually has to do with our objectives which tend to be very focused on being individual contributors. Even executives’ objectives tend to be focused toward organizational performance, and sometimes these objectives can only be achieved at the company’s or other executive’s expense.
When dealing with new people inside a large company, it is common to question why people are acting the way they are and be suspicious of motives. This is often because people don’t understand what your role is inside the company and as a result, that lack of understanding and trust can make getting things done challenging.
Making objectives transparent
When I was at Alcatel-Lucent, one of my colleagues started a conversation on our Engage (Jive) platform trying to determine who we should ask to get permission to publish our objectives. After getting frustrated with the community around asking for permission, I decided to take a chance. I published my job description, my objectives and my accomplishments on my blog. The reaction was mixed, some people thought this was great, some were thinking I was going to get reprimanded and some thought I was showing off. In the end, it turned out to be highly rewarding. First, it gave people insight into why I was doing what I was doing. If there were any other people in the company that had similar objectives, it was a great way for us to connect and collaborate on a common goal and eliminate competing initiatives (or at least be aware that they existed). Second, it helped me make my objectives crisper. Since this was posted as a blog and comments were encouraged, people had the ability to provide feedback, ask questions and make suggestions. Lastly, it showed the community that you could do something that might not be directly blessed and bad things won’t happen.
By sharing this information, it can quickly help people and organizations align better and provide a good base for better collaboration inside your organization. I included a link to this blog when I introduced myself to new people as part of my e-mail signature and had lots of good feedback as a result.
Here is the post that I made (comments omitted and customers removed since I do not own that material), Please keep in mind that this was 2010/2011 and things have changed a bit since then.
Thinking Outside the Cube: What I do (and plan on doing in 2011) in Alcatel-Lucent
Posted by Greg LOWE Jan 19, 2011
Social Media Business Strategist
This position will serve as an evangelist for social media, social networking, and collaboration at Alcatel-Lucent.
Responsible for the definition of a social media, social networking, and collaboration strategy at Alcatel-Lucent, taking into account the various needs of the business and assessing the existing Web 2.0 environment to select best-in-class solutions for rapid social media adoption.
Responsible to interface with both internal and external technical partners for the deployment and adoption of the selected social media strategy and tool throughout the various organizations at Alcatel-Lucent/ Will partner with multiple organizations throughout Alcatel-Lucent for the phased deployment and creation of social networking communities for usage.
- Strong social media and Web 2.0 skills. Familiarity with existing and evolving solution sets and challenges.
- Clear understanding of the challenges facing web, enterprise, and mobile application developers.
- Understanding of social media promotion strategies.
- Ability to build credibility throughout Alcatel-Lucent’s organizations.
- Strong written and verbal communication skills.
- Goal-oriented with a strong attention to detail
To drive a Social Business initiatives from inception to implementation to adoption. This includes Employee engagement as well as extranet solutions with Customers, Partners & Suppliers using Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 tools to drive new ways of working to achieve business success.
- Delivered “Engage” community platform and social network based on Jive S.B.S by focusing on adoption and success. 38,000 (50%) of the employees have signed up in the first 8 months.
- Presented our Engage solution to Ben Verwaayen (CEO) securing his support and endorsement of the platform and the Engage Team as the new way of working in Alcatel-Lucent resulting in better collaboration and communication across organizational boundaries. <URL to the presentation was removed>
- Selected as a finalist for the Internal Evangelist of the Year award (2009 & 2010) by The 2.0 Adoption Council for my efforts to bring Enterprise 2.0 technologies, practices and behaviors to Alcatel-Lucent
- Invited to present at a series of conferences and webinars sharing the Alcatel-lucent accomplishments in Enterprise 2.0/Social Business with outside organizations, demonstrating our leadership in this space. This resulted in customers engaging our sales teams to speak to us about our leadership in this space. Most Notably: <customer omitted>
- Article: quoted in The Economist for our work with Microblogging
- Presented our experiences and demonstrated our leadership in Social Business to <customer omitted> who reached out to our Enterprise Sales Teams as a result of our leadership in the Social Business Space
- Article: Written highlighting Alcatel-Lucent’s accomplishments in Enterprise 2.0: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9179169/Alcatel_Lucent_gets_social_with_company_communication
- Over 800 Twitter followers including Alcatel-Lucent analysts, Customers and other Social Media Strategists
- Over 3,000 followers on Yammer & Engage that look to me for thought leadership in the Social Business space.
My 2011 planned activities (Objectives)
- Blog inside and outside of Alcatel-Lucent highlighting our accomplishments in Social Business
- Lead the existing Engage community by encouraging growth through conversation and comments on the Engage platform
- Research Adoption strategies and work with the Enterprise Community Manager to raise contribution levels
- Work with Rutgers University to deliver a Social Business Survey to select ALU employees to help qualify the value of Social Business tools
- Define the metrics necessary to measure the effectiveness of our key Social Business objectives
- Break down silos (Ugh, I wish I never put this in writing see: Breaking down silos, what does that mean?)
- Reduce duplication of effort
- Foster innovation
- Consult with other areas of Marketing, Strategy & Communications on developing External Collaboration presence