Over the past four posts, we’ve covered how to set up a social learning capability. My team and I built this at the large company where I work and now due to a re-organization and staff shakeup, I’m using these strategies to stand it up once again.
What I hope to do, and by extension hope that I have shown all of you, is how to do this and avoid some of the bumps I encountered the first time. So what did I learn and how am I working to adjust?
I mentioned this in a previous blog and it is worth reiterating: you must continually cultivate and nurture your sponsors. In a corporate setting, old hierarchies can be difficult to change culturally. They also often change structurally, which mine has recently. It is better to stay ahead of these changes than get run over by them. Sponsors will have varying degrees of comfort and knowledge of social media, so education and managing up are critical skills.
ALWAYS TEACH AND SHARE
You will get very frustrated telling the same people the same thing over and over again. You have to fight the urge to scream: WHY DON’T YOU GET THIS! This is a lesson I wish I was better at; though I don’t think I’ve yelled at anyone yet. You are likely the social trailblazer and that’s part of the job. The more you teach, the more people will get it. This is also the area where you can find your champions and trend setters. Latch onto the ones who get it; they’re the best ones to spread your message.
NEVER LOSE SITE OF METRICS
I admit I do not easily gravitate to metrics. I totally understand the value, but I am not the first one to dive in and design metricing reports. That has caused me some issues and I am overcoming them this time by tapping into people who love metrics. This is a common lesson that we preach but sometimes forget ourselves – if you don’t know something, ask someone who does. I can’t give you the magic answer to metrics, and not because I’m not good at it. Measuring learning is tough, measuring social learning is tougher. Social learning is an intermediate indicator. Defining the goal of your social learning capability and the pieces inside of it will help you measure its success. A lot of times social learning pushes to a goal but can’t directly cause a goal to succeed. Don’t oversell.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Someone asked me if it was worth sending a colleague to get a social learning certificate (I won’t mention the program). I am a big believer in learning through experience. Some people may feel more comfortable getting information in a classroom, but I always thought it was ironic that people sit in a classroom to learn how to use social tools. I think the best way to learn and get better at this is to jump in. Get a Twitter account and follow thought leaders like @julianstodd @hjarche or @JaneBozarth That will lead you to other thought leaders (maybe like myself @jbuonora). Get involved in chats like #lrnchat, which is held every Thursday at 8 pm ET. And just get out there and practice social learning. If your company has communities, build one, or use one that exists. I really believe you learn social learning by doing social learning.