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There were so many excellent submissions for the 2014 Jive Awards that we wanted to shout from the rooftops, but we decided to do one better and share these customer stories in our community. The first customer we want to highlight is Pearson, who took home the 2014 Work Better Together Jive Award. What follows profiles Pearson's journey through transformation when their new CEO, John Fallon, took over the company's leadership. Shout out to Kim England and Dina Vekaria for submitting this excellent awards submission!

 

Collaborative Leadership: How the New Workstyle Is Transforming How Leaders Lead

 

The tried and true top-down leadership model seems to be evolving much like the workstyles of the average employee. No longer can executives write up an email, click send to the company, and expect change to happen. Employees want to feel engaged in company strategy. They want to have a voice and take an active part in the destiny of their company. At the same time, leaders know things move fast and staying on top of the pulse of company morale and employee productivity gets tougher. Executives are also very aware of the increased demand by employees for transparency.

 

Creating an open dialogue

What typically happens when a new CEO takes over the reins? He or she begins the process of putting his or her leadership in place and the effects slowly trickle down throughout the company. Transformation is often slow, there is little to no transparency, and new initiatives that hold promise can become muddled because not everyone understands the big picture or how they fit in.

 

When John Fallon, CEO of Pearson, was handed the baton from former CEO, Marjorie Scardino, at the end of 2012, he wanted to create a dialogue with employees to talk about how he could best lead the company into the future. He began by embracing the company’s Jive employee collaboration solution, known as Neo.

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Fallon’s vision for Pearson included a company-wide transformation called the Global Education Strategy (GES) to strengthen the company’s position as the world's largest education company. The GES represented the most significant restructure the company had undergone in its 150-year history.

It began with a series of Neo blog posts from Fallon and other executives. From this, company leadership gathered feedback, collected bottom-up content and questions in a collaborative manner, and monitored real-time data about how their messages were being received. The GES space launched on May 23, 2013 and generated a huge amount of interest—40,000 sessions in one day—causing a load issue within the community environment.

 

Demonstrating transparent leadership

Fallon says that using the company’s employee collaboration solution was not only an efficient and effective way to communicate about the company restructuring but that it also demonstrated transparency.

“Our strategy to use Neo to communicate was to change our culture to one where our leadership is open, transparent. Our next steps are to continue working with the executives and to help the next level down take a similar approach.”

Comments from employees about this approach are overwhelmingly positive:

“I feel valued by the amount of inclusion that is taking place with the new strategies. It's important to know how we are affected in our current positions.”
“The GES space on Neo is a great way to find everything that gets lost sometimes in waves of very long emails.”
“GES space on Neo and org charts-- both helped me to see how everything is going to fit together.”


Continuing collaborative leadership

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Each member of Pearson’s executive team blogs regularly. Some even add selfies and address topics that are not always connected directly to the day-to-day job of leading the organization. They ask questions, create debate and invite opinion. Executives also want their messages to feature in the trending content around Neo. And since the introduction of Impact Metrics with the upgrade to Jive 7, they even engage in some healthy competition over who is having the biggest impact.

 

What could have been executed in a traditional top-down manner, GES turned into an opportunity for the whole company to collaborate around a major reorganization. Pearson desired to change their culture to one where their leaders are open, transparent and available and they are well on their way to making this so!


We can't wait to see how they take the next step and work with the executives on the next level down to continue this transformation. We know it will be a success and we're proud of how the Pearson team is working better together in Neo.

   

SOCM 2015 cover.jpgBecause community management is a relatively new discipline many of those who run communities have never done a community management audit or benchmark to understand what they are doing well, what they are doing poorly and where there are opportunities for easy wins - small investments that have a big impact.

 

One of the reasons for this is that until recently, there was little data on the community management approaches that matter so we couldn't consistently assess performance or make apples to apples comparisons. Last year's State of Community Management was the first time we could reliably do this and the research found correlations between engagement and value with the following attributes:

  • Full-time community manager(s)
  • Multi-tiered advocacy programs
  • Executive engagement
  • Regular schedule of programs or events

You can download that research here, thanks to Jive's support. One of the more exciting things we were able to do because of that research is to audit and benchmark the performance of an organization's community management approach and I presented how to approach community management benchmarking at JiveWorld14, which you can watch here.

 

Why go to all the trouble of auditing when it seems to take so much time? For a few reasons:

  • It often documents what you are sensing but have not articulated, helping you really see what's missing
  • It backs up your own assessment with research and gives you credibility when you ask for resources or investment
  • It exposes you to expertise or approaches that you may not have considered

 

Interested in finding out how your community management approach stacks up? You are in luck.

 

By contributing to this year's 2015 State of Community Management research (do it now - the survey is only open until February 27th!), you will receive a score for where you are in the eight competencies of the Community Maturity Model, helping you understand where you are doing well and where your approach might benefit from some new techniques.

 

You can take the survey and get your score here: State of Community Management 2015 Survey

I’m honored to address this community with my first post as Jive’s CEO! As many of you know I was a customer for many years before I even came to Jive. When I joined just over a year ago, it was because I loved the product. Now I love the company – and all of our customers – like family.

 

As CEO, I will use my passion for the company and our customers to support you and drive our business forward. Jive is an innovator in our market and we have a clear vision for how to move forward. We have the right team in place to take Jive to the next stage. And as you would all agree, we have the right products – whether for your internal collaboration or external community needs – to do just that.

 

Thank you for supporting Jive as all of you do. You continue to invigorate, challenge and inspire us every day. Our commitment to you is to continue to change the world with apps and software that help people connect, communicate and collaborate.  I’m more excited than ever about the direction we are taking Jive and I’m thrilled you are on this journey with us!

In my last post Getting started with Jive for Project Managers, I introduced using Jive as a Project Manager's utility for organizing project collateral, a place for collaborative discussions and planning, and a community for telling the story of a project as it unfolds.

 

Now we're back and getting our hands a little dirtier.  In this post, I'll discuss setting up our Project using Overview Pages and Activity Pages.

 

Overview Page

The Overview page is a Jive tool that uses objects called Widgets to present content and information.  Widgets typically contain links to content, display raw information, or are interactive with the user.  The types of Widgets to use on your Overview page will vary depending on the specific needs of the task at hand, but there are a few that I find especially useful regardless of what kind of Project I'm running.

 

Unanswered Questions

This is probably my all-time favorite Widget.  It gives me a quick snapshot of the open issues affecting my project.  Nothing is as helpful to a PM as quickly seeing the issues that are pending and being able to quickly examine and act on them.


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Recent Activity Widget

Recent Activity gives me a quick snapshot of what's been going on since I last visited my project, and I can interact with the conversations happening directly from the landing page without having to do the extra legwork of loading each of those discussions in a separate tab.


Featured Content

A must-have for any project.  Content that is 'for everybody' like project plans, issues lists, scope trackers, technical documentation, and test plans should be added to the Project's 'Featured Content' and displayed via the Featured Content Widget.

 

View Doc

This Widget is extremely flexible.  It simply displays the contents of any Jive Doc specified.  I use this mainly for key personnel rosters, but you will find many things to do with this Widget.  The important thing to remember about the View Doc Widget is: Don't over-do it.  Don't point it at a particularly hairy or complex Doc, just keep it simple.

 

Featured Places

This Widget is great for pointing users at other key Jive Places relevant to your Project.  For example, let's say that you're running a cross-functional project that is the work of 3 separate teams within your organization.  You could use this Widget to display the team Groups on the Project page, or to give your Project some external context.  You could also link to a Group that is a knowledge base containing helpful resources about the work you are doing.

 

Recent Blogs

Another one of my favorite Widgets.  This one shows me, in most-recent order, links to Blog Posts that have been published in my project.  Since I use the Project Blog to publish status reports, this implicitly becomes a 'Status Report' Widget.  Stakeholders now have one place to look for a quick, comprehensive history of the Project.

 

Categories

If I'm using categories to manage a large volume of content, then it can be helpful to display the categories I'm using so that people have a visual reference and a quick link to the categorized content.

 

Upcoming Events

For efforts organized around a tight deadline or key events, an Upcoming Events Widget can be helpful for displaying key dates in the Project.  In order for these to appear in the Widget, you must publish Events into the project.  I strongly recommend that you do not create an Event for every single meeting or activity on the project -- only do it for key dates, otherwise you will have a flood of events that could've just been sent out as calendar hits, and you dilute the significance of the really important Events.  Using Events + the Upcoming Events Widget is all about adding emphasis on very important, non-routine dates.

 

Activity Page

Activity pages are best for smaller teams, simple projects, or projects where you just want to focus on what's happening right now.  Two-thirds of the layout is focused entirely on Recent Activity and the other one-third is left to you to curate.  The advantage of using an Activity page is that you don't have to worry about curating a lot of content for presentation on the main landing page.  Keeping it simple helps you focus on the critical efforts at hand without a lot of extra setup and curation to slow things down.


Whereas the Overview Page uses Widgets to present information, the Activity Page has an similar tool called Tiles.  Tiles can contain both static and dynamic content. Developers can create custom Tiles to display content from other sites and systems.  Below are some of the Tiles that I consider key when running a Project with an Activity page.

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Upcoming Events

There are two flavors to this Tile; an automatically-populated one, and a manually-populated one.  Manual is definitely simpler because it doesn't require that you create Events in the project to display anything in the Tile, you just give the Tile textual information about events and the dates are displayed on the landing page. Automatic is useful if I have more dates to show, or if I want others to have the ability to add Events to this Tile by creating an Event in the Project.


Helpful Links

This Tile is extremely flexible.  By providing it a hyperlink, title, and a link to an image for a link icon, it displays a list of whatever links I define.  I use this Tile to provide quick links to the Project Blog and Unanswered Questions on the Content tab, or to link to external systems that play a role in my project, such as a test environment, or development tools.


Featured Content

Making an encore is the Featured Content Tile.  This Tile displays items that I add to 'Featured' posted within my Project.  I use this to provide quick links to Project Plans, tracker Docs, contracts, and other important collateral.


Key Content and Places

Key Content and Places is a Tile that can present any content or place within my current Jive instance that I specify.  If there are other Groups, Spaces, or Projects critical to my Project, I can link to them here; likewise, if there is content posted elsewhere that plays a role, I'll link to it here as well.


Featured People

Featured People is a quick, visual way to denote who the key players in my project are.  I use this Tile as my personnel roster.


Activity + Pages

For customers running on Jive Cloud, a third option exists in the group setup called 'Activity + Pages.'  A Place Page is a way for a Place owner to have a blank canvas with which to display information using Tiles instead of Widgets.  When you provision your Project, you can add up to 5 Place Pages to organize your Project collateral to your heart's content.


The advantage to this setup over Overview + Widgets is that Tile Pages are fully responsive on mobile web.  Whereas Overview pages and Widgets are incapable of being rendered at a narrow, mobile width, Tiles were designed with this in mind explicitly from the beginning.  The means that anyone, anywhere can interact with your project in a fully responsive page that retains your community's personality and branding, and the total view of your curated Project collateral is preserved.


For more information about Place Pages, checkout: Sneak Peek: Deep Dive for Place Pages (beta)


Thanks for checking out this post!  In my next post, I'll discuss managing a Jive Project once it is up and running.


Let's hear from you in the comments below

  • How do you like setting up your Project pages? 
  • What are you favorite Widgets and Tiles?
  • Do you have any Widget or Tile 'hacks' you're proud of?
  • Have you developed any custom Tiles, and how are you using them?


Read the next in this blog series: Jive for Project Managers III: Running Your Project

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