Plans are great, now go do it

Plans are worth nothing if they aren’t executed.

Through the first two blog entries, (Part 1, Part 2) we’ve covered much of the planning, collaboration and partnering that goes into standing up a social learning capability in a corporation. It is difficult work. But now it gets harder, but also more fun. Now we get to execute and use some social learning techniques to make the whole thing go. There are four pillars that hold up our social learning temple:

  • Playbook
  • Supporting your stewards
  • Incorporate social into programs and courses
  • Make social learning mainstream

I hope to give you enough detail on each pillar without revealing our secret sauce, so we’ll have to keep it high level.


This was a key component for us for several reasons. Since I had a very small team (me, a co-op and an intern) I needed a repeatable process that could be magnified across a large organization without a ton of manpower. My team, Alison Mohn and Jacqueline Rothman was beyond incredible. I will blog about them soon, but suffice it to say we wouldn’t be where we are without them. But we were just 3 people trying to change an entire corporate culture. It was essential that we were able to do the same things over and over each time we built a community. This allowed us to refine our process, be efficient and handle the workload that was requested and adhere to our social learning strategy.

We used the playbook three ways:

  • We do it for you
  • You do it with us
  • You take it and do it yourself

The playbook also helped re-enforce our strategy of leveraging existing technology and being part of the overall ecosystem. But more importantly, by offering three levels of service, we could spread social learning through a siloed organization with minimal manpower. Simply put, we either build the community for you, you built it with us and learn how to use the playbook, or if you had the skill set on your team, took the playbook and executed it yourselves. We used performance consulting techniques to determine the goals of the community, communications and change strategies and social learning functionality.


Since we are governing around 15 communities, we need to support a wide arrange of stewards with varying skill sets. Since several social learning communities we built support existing ILT programs, our stewards range from savvy to just got a flip phone. We start support by offering virtual workshops on how to be a steward. We cover how to cultivate content, how to groom leaders as teachers and how to set up a blog schedule. We also push to have the role be part of their performance objectives. That way, the company sees a value to the role and stewards are motivated to put in the proper time needed to do the job right.


Any learning organization already comes to the table with a ton of courses and programs. You need to add social learning techniques to them and insist that social is part of anything new that it is created or licensed. If you’re reading this blog, you likely know how to use social for pre-work and post-work. Or how to add it to connect participants and get them to share best practices. Now your skills as a social learning practitioner come into play; you need to move your content into the 21st century.


We call this consumerizing social learning. Social media is so embedded in the real world. In corporate America, it needs to be placed into the culture. It needs to be accessed and used as seamlessly as is it in the real world. You can do that by leveraging the last pillar we covered. You can also do it by mentoring, evangelizing and closing social media skill gaps in your firm. We do this through virtual workshops on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, but also on our internal tool and communities. Getting folks comfortable with external or real world tools makes it easier to break the barriers and increase usage of internal tools.

I think we’ve done a pretty good job of sticking to the plan and adjusting as needed as we implemented. Like any plan, things had to change on the fly. No matter what the circumstance, we focused on was getting something out there, right or wrong, perfect or not. Learn from doing not from talking about plans.


About John Buonora

Social Learning Manager and Strategist working on career number three. An Old School guy with Millennial skills and a lover of my family, sports and food.
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One Response to Plans are great, now go do it

  1. Pingback: Draw up success with a social learning playbook | John Buonora

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