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Adoption. There, I said it. I got it out of the way. In fact, I'm gonna say it again: adoption. When I work with our customer teams responsible for rolling out and/or maintaining Jive, that word (adoption) evokes a bit of uneasiness. It's as if adoption has become synonymous with monster and it's easier to look the other way than stare it down in its brutal face. And for good reason.

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  He's not very scary once you get to know him.

 

Driving adoption calls upon us to be good (I mean, really, really good) at managing change. See, therein lies the catch: change management is more or less dealing with change for other people. It's not just your own reaction to the change that you have to worry about. No, it's the reactions of hundreds or thousands. In order to truly drive adoption, we have to anticipate how the people within our organizations are going to react to the change and have a plan to address those reactions.

 

It doesn't matter if you are about to launch Jive or launched Jive several years ago, change management is equally relevant to preparing for launch as it is to expanding the use of Jive across your organization over time. And it really doesn't have to be as daunting as it may seem. This blog series will focus on change management as the foundation from which you can successfully drive adoption. The series will focus on three topics:

 

  1. The basics of change management
  2. Do's and don'ts of managing change
  3. Lessons learned from our customers

The series will focus on internal community challenges though many of the points are certainly relevant to external communities as well.


What is change management?

Change management is an entire field in and of itself. As a field, it was born by combining the engineering field's mechanical focus on change (systems and processes) with the psychology field's human focus on change (people). In large part, this is because the concept of change management began in the manufacturing industry and that industry's focus on achieving efficient, systematic quality. For our purposes, let's simply think of change management as a methodology that is used to transition teams and/or organizations from a current state to a desired future state. It's a mouthful, I know.Let's break it down as it applies to a Jive internal community:

  • The current state = the existing intranet, email, and/or other tools that may be used inconsistently across the organization
  • The desired, future state = all employees on Jive, using it consistently across the organization
  • The transition = everything that you're going to plan and do to make the desired, future state a reality -- to get all of your employees on Jive and using it consistently across the organization

Or, if your organization is already on Jive, it might look more like:

  • The current state = Department A using Jive as if they wrote the book on best-practices, but Department C avoiding Jive altogether and using email
  • The desired, future state = Department C using Jive even half as fantastically as Department A
  • The transition is everything that you're going to plan and do to make Department C use Jive even half as fantastically as Department A

 

See, the transition is where the change management happens. Articulating the current state is comparatively easy. Articulating your desired, future state is also comparatively easy. The hard part is figuring out what you need to do to make the change happen: the transition.

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   Change management in action: the transition is life or death for this little guy

 

If the transition is where the change management happens ... how does it happen?

There are many schools of thought about change management. Most notably, there is John Kotter's seminal eight step process and Jeff Hiatt's ADKAR model. If you have time to study Kotter and Hiatt, I encourage you to do so. If you don't, then I humbly offer a synthesized version of all I've learned and taught about change management as it relates to Jive through the Five W's + H + R (the R is my addition) that many of us learned in grade school: what, why, who, when, where, how, and report. The R is pretty important to change management.

 

What

You have to be able to explain what it is you are trying to accomplish. Customers who have worked with me probably get sick of me reminding them to focus on the what first and before anything else. It's very easy to jump straight to the how. After all, that's where the solution is and it's way more fun to think about the answer. But first, tell me: what's the what? Your "what" may be similar to the statement that describes your desired future state. Or, this may be refined to be a bit more tactical. Try to find a way to state it in one sentence or a even better, a few words. Think of defining your what as if it's a tagline you want everyone to remember. Think about it from the perspective of the audience. Think about it in terms of an actionable statement (hint: actionable = using a verb). For example, "Enable online collaboration hub for reseachers" is a much stronger statement than "Researcher collaboration group."

 

Why

Once you are able to articulate the what, you need to be able to state why it matters. This is essentially a matter of stating the value proposition. Think about it in terms of your audience wanting an answer to the question "what's in it for me?" There are times when the reason why it matters cannot be articulated by thinking through why it matters for the audience. In these cases, think about engaging leadership to communicate the what and why statements. In so doing, your why statement essentially becomes leadership directive, which is often an excellent motivator. If you can get leadership to deliver the what/why messages, even if it's not a leadership directive, it creates a valuable sense of urgency and natural buy-in.

 

Who

This one is simple but easy to overlook. Who will be impacted by the change? Really, really think this one through. It's easy to overlook all who may be involved, but this is critical to understanding if different populations require different messaging and/or instructions. Often it takes thoroughly diving into individual use cases to identify all of the parties involved. The time is well spent since the second part of this step is understanding the population(s) in order to tailor communications to them and more effectively socialize the change. For example, you might find that your who consists of end users as well as organizational managers.

 

When

Timelines help us process and accept the change we may feel inclined to resist. It's the difference of being told you have to have surgery vs. you have to have surgery next week. The latter allows us to more readily accept what's about to happen. The former creates more anxiety because we are not sure how long we will be in the uncomfortable state of certainty. When you think about communicating the timeline, allow yourself a bit of buffer in your all-employee communications. For example, if you are targeting an April 15 deadline, tell your general population the change will happen in the second quarter. As you get closer, refine the communication: it will happen in April; it will happen in mid-April; it will happen on April 15. Of course, you will have to communicate the dialed-in timeline to leadership and the project team, but you can save yourself from having to reset expectations by keeping it vague at first and refining along the way.

 

Where

Think about this in terms of where the action will happen. If it's an intranet replacement, this may be as easy as turning on your computer, going to your bookmarked URL and voila you're in the new intranet. If this is a more in-depth use case, the "where" is likely a container in your community. For example: A space in which to do X or a group in which to do Y.

 

How

Once you have your users where you want them, it needs to be very clear what actions you want them to take (or they can take). This will vary use case to use case, but if you think through the details of what the user will do, then you can design places within your community to facilitate these actions. For example, going to a help space and not having it be immediately clear how to find an answer or ask a question creates a frustrating user experience. Design to facilitate desired actions whenever possible with lightweight how-to instructions available for those who need such tools to reinforce their learning process. Try to keep the detailed how-to instructions to more complicated processes.

 

Report

Finally, it is crucial to determine how you will know you've been successful. What will you measure? How will measure it? To what will you compare the measurement against (baseline) to demonstrate improvement over time? But here is the more crucial part: once you know, share it. Report out on your organization's progress. Celebrate the wins and be transparent about where there is still room for growth. Even better if you can put a goal around it that leadership supports as a key priority.

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  These change management steps will help you get to the future state

 

Now what?

You may arrive at your five W's + H + R in a different order than what's shown above. That's okay. For any future desired state, you may have numerous W's + H + Rs. That's okay, too. For every what, you may have multiple why's and who's, etc. That's also okay. Just remember to phase what you tackle so that it is manageable. Taking a phased approach not only keeps your workload more sane, it also makes the change easier to manage for your organization. Guide the change you want to see and let the structured methodology of change management help you drive more adoption across your organization. Think about what that is meaningful to you right now. Then think through why it matters. Then think of who it will impact, when they will need to make the change, where it's going to happen, and how they will do what you need them to do. Then, think through how you will measure your success.

 

Put together your plan and you'll be ready to start driving adoption!

 

In the next part of this blog series, we'll cover the do's and don'ts of change management.

 

See: Part 2: Best Practices for Change Management in your Community

Welcome back! This is the third and final post in my series about using Jive Projects as a communication and collateral hub for project managers. In my first post, I discussed the value of using Jive for project management, the information architecture of projects, and the content types available. In post #2 I talked about laying out the Project landing page using Overview, Activity, or Place Pages.

 

In this post, I'll discuss running the Project; the processes I as a project manager use to rev the engine and bring the Project to life.

 

Following your project

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 7.36.13 PM.pngBy default, when you create a Group or Project within Jive, you 'follow' it in your Connections Stream. I find, however, that as the manager of a project, it's critical for me to be constantly tracking the conversations happening in the Project in order to understand the issues and blockers and be able to succinctly articulate the status of everybody's efforts to project stakeholders. For that reason, I follow all of my projects in my Inbox. I do not, however, have e-mail notifications turned on for everything in my Inbox; only for direct replies and mentions (this is just my personal preference to cut down on the amount of e-mail I get). Every morning when I open my Jive Inbox, I have a list of updates to catch up on and acknowledge via my Inbox, and for the ones that I need to address discretely, I open them into new tabs to address one-by-one once I've finished my morning review.

 

If the flood of notifications becomes too much to bear, or if one Project in particularly is noisier than others, I find it helpful to use Custom Streams. I can either create a stream for all of my Projects, or one stream dedicated for a particularly noisy project.

 

Discussions, questions, and answers

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 7.40.51 PM.pngAs the Project Manager, I ensure that all issues, inquiries, or actions are entered into the project as Discussions marked as Questions. One of the key benefits of using Jive instead of email is that everybody on the team works out loud. Our conversations are open for everybody on the team, and as a result everybody on the team benefits from the reduced friction and the transparency. That value is only realized, however, when our teammates buy into that philosophy by posting to Jive instead of writing an email. This can take some gentle 'reminding.' I will often use Jive Anywhere OWA cartridge to convert e-mails to discussions to encourage the sender to collaborate on Jive to find answers.

 

I also ensure that all Questions get answered. I use the Unanswered Questions widget to keep track of open items, and I place it front and center so that those hot topics are the first things anybody sees when they navigate to the Project. I can answer Questions myself if I have the expertise to do so, or I can @mention a subject matter expert to address the question for me. Replies that are Helpful or Correct should always be marked, and if the Discussion author doesn't do it, then I as the Project owner can do it as well. Once Questions are answered, they no longer appear in the Unanswered Questions widget-- Checking them off of our to-do list, but retaining the information for the record of the Project.

 

Publishing important documentation

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 8.11.57 PM.pngA project isn't just about the conversations, but also the project collateral and documentation that is published. Jive Docs can be used to publish a project charter, project plan or WBS, tracker documents, requirements documentation, meeting notes, configuration guides, rosters, procedural lists -- or just about any other kind of documentation you can dream of. Anything that you would otherwise publish with a word processor and email out to people or post in a network drive, you can publish natively in Jive to give quick access of that information to everybody in your project.

 

Other people in the project will by default have editor rights on all of the documentation you publish, giving them the ability to contribute to the final product. Versioning helps users understand what's changed in a Doc over time, and revert to older versions as required. Structured Outcomes gives the team the power to designate content as 'Official,' increasing its search ranking, 'Outdated' to decrease its search ranking, as well as drive a variety of other actions.

 

The advantages of documenting this way goes back to our philosophy of working out loud. By making all of the information about the project easily accessible to all team members, on any desktop or mobile device of their choosing, people can collaborate more effectively because the barriers between people and information are broken down.

 

The Project Blog

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 8.17.12 PM.pngMy Project Blog is critical for me. As I mentioned before, the Blog is where I post regular status reports. Just like any Blog on the web, it needs regular updates to stay useful, fresh, and curate a following. I recommend posting at least one new Blog Post every week for the duration of the project.

 

One really great thing about using Blogs instead of just regular native Docs is that Blogs can be followed discretely without following the entire project. If I navigate to mycommunity.mycompany.com/groups/mygroup/blog I am presented with a page that contains the full text of all of the Blog Posts published in that Place. In the right-hand menu, I can 'Follow' just as I would any other Jive Place, but when I follow a Place's Blog, I only get updates when there are new Blog Posts. This is extremely valuable for project stakeholders, executives, or teams working tangentially to my project, who only want to follow the regular status reports without following the rest of the content in the project; it allows them to follow only what's important-- the updates that the project manager provides through Blog Posts.

 

With the introduction of News in the latest release of Jive Cloud, subscription streams can be setup to point at Blogs.  News provides a vehicle for high-profile projects to be showcased for users across the organization via the project manager's blog posts.

 

Beyond the functional advantages, Blog Posts *feel* different from Documents. It's not just about recording details in a report-- it's about telling the story of your project as it unfolds.

 

Finishing your project

Two things signify to others that I've closed out a Project; publishing a retrospective, and archiving the project.

 

I typically conduct a retrospective meeting with all of the project stakeholders and personnel. This is a pretty common practice, but publishing the notes from that meeting gives others an opportunity to include their own feedback to be documented as outcomes in that same retrospective doc. I also link out to any key reports, discussions, or deliverables that were key, and I ensure that all open Questions are marked answered.  The final leave-behind for the project is a single Doc that has a summary of everything that happened, what went right and lessons learned, and an index of all of the useful or important project collateral.

 

The last to-do for closing out my project is archiving it. By archiving a Project, the content in the Project goes into a 'read-only' state. It will still be indexed and discoverable by search, but users can no longer modify or reply to the content inside of that project.

 

Final thoughts

I've really enjoyed walking through the use of Jive for Project Managers. I look forward to your feedback on this series, and I encourage everybody to share your thoughts, ideas and best practices here in the Jive Community. Thanks for reading!

About a year ago, I was the internal enterprise community manager for a high tech company in the San Francisco Bay Area. I can tell you, employee engagement was always on my mind. We had a large population of employees nearing retirement age with an average length of employment around 20-30 years. On top of that, most of our new hires were recent college grads, so we had an influx of millennials and all of the challenges that came with it. I like to think of it as the double-whammy of employee engagement: how to keep the tenured employees stimulated while engaging the millennials in any way possible.

 

There's a lot of blog posts already out in cyberspace that talk about employee engagement. We can learn about it from an academic point of view, we can talk about it theoretically, and we can even put it into a cool infographic. And while I do love a good infographic, I want you to come away from this blog with actionable things that you can try in your communities. Let's start with the low hanging fruit.

 

1. Make existing programs better by bringing them into an online community

Do you already have employee engagement programs in place at your company? You can add dimension and depth (as well as increased employee engagement) to these programs by bringing them into your online community. You can use your community to better support the program's objectives by implementing things like transparent leadership communications, online Q&A, information sharing, and public acknowledgement of goals and rewards.

 

Some employee engagement programs that work well in a community include:

  • Innovation award programs
  • Idea jam sessions
  • Employee recognition programs
  • Employee volunteer programs
  • Group fitness/health challenges

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  Idea jam sessions like this can be conducted easily in an online community

 

One note of caution: if you are looking to increase employee engagement in a community setting, you first need to be sure the right program strategy and resources are in place within the corporate organization. Do this by starting upstream from the community. What exactly does that mean?


It's not enough to have an employee volunteer program, then open a group in the community called "Employee Volunteer Program." That bird is not going to fly. You'll need to make sure you have the right components of a volunteer program already in place such as: team leads for each of your sites, an active group of volunteers from each of your buildings, and ideas for volunteer activities that are both supported by the company and fit the passions of your employees.

 

Then when you create your online communities to support these activities you can add more layers to the employee engagement cake, such as assigning a community manager for the group, recognizing an outstanding employee volunteer each month, supplementing the recognition with pictures from the real-live party you threw for them, and asking their co-volunteers to congratulate them on their work. Do this every month, talk about it in real life and talk about it online and you will have a more engaged employee volunteer program (and more engaged employees as a result).

 

One little trick Jive has used in the layer cake of employee volunteer engagement is giving back to the givers. Within our "JiveGives" group, Jivers raised money for a kitten and puppy Snuggle Express event for the volunteers at our Portland Office which in turn raised enough money to host another Snuggle event at a local school, see The Snuggle Express rolled into Portland thanks to some Jivers!

 

2. Face the facts: Engage with employees how they live.

Admit it. You've been looking the other way as employees started using their mobile devices (like iPads and mobile phones) at work. You may have even denied the fact that you use your own mobile phone to check emails at night. I'm going to hold your hand and look into your eyes when I tell you this, these little devices are a powerful and integral part of the future of work. Another thing you might have noticed more is people are working outside the office (gasp) or even making their own work hours (what?!). The good news is that this digital transformation plays into employee engagement because employers can choose to support these new habits rather than discouraging them.

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These days, we're just as likely to work from a sofa as a desk.

 

At Jive, we are admittedly ahead of the crowd. So I will tell you what I've learned about engaging employees by embracing how they live:

 

  • Figure out how to make your systems work with mobile. THIS. IS. HUGE. Go on and get your IT and Engineering teams fired up because this is a challenge for them. If you are an email work culture, better figure out how employees can receive emails on their mobile devices (I really hope you've gotten that far already). If you have systems that employees need access to after hours, such as Concur for expenses, consider encouraging the use of the mobile apps provided by these companies. Provide clear instructions for your employees on how to use them (if they are not available or obvious already). Make sure your fabulous online community is set up to be mobile friendly. Depending on your version and whether you are on-premise, hosted or cloud, the actual how-to will vary.
  • Give employees a longer leash. 100% transparency here, I take the train to work and often have to leave early to catch a train to pick up my kids from school. Then I often work from home in the afternoons and at night. Do I take conference calls on the train? Oh yeah. Do I hold video calls when my kids are in the next room? Yes I do, regardless of the fact that the kids have been known to video-bomb on occasion. I need my work and my life to be integrated, not separated. And my work gets done when and where I need it.
  • Autonomy is key. Do you tell your employees what to cook for dinner or how to get their kids ready for bed? We assume that you hired competent professionals who are awesome at what they do. Give them the freedom and autonomy to choose how to get it done. It might not be the way you would do it, but guess what? Autonomy is one of the key components of employee engagement. Don't believe me? Watch this cool video by RS Animate and Drive called "The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us." It's one of my favorites mostly because I want to draw this fast. I really do.

3. Erase the line between leaders and employees.

Do your employees know the details of the company's annual strategy? Do they feel comfortable chatting with the vice president they meet in the hallway? It's highly likely that there is an invisible (but very real) line between your company's employees and its leaders. At one company I worked at, one executive made a point of looking away whenever he passed employees in the hallway. This is the worst sort of disconnect. How can we engage employees when our executives are actively disconnected from them?

 

Connecting execs to employees can be a pretty big challenge. After all, company leaders tend to be the busiest people around. The last thing they have time for is kissing babies and shaking hands. I would argue that just like in politics, company leaders would do well to get out among the people and do more baby kissing.

 

So what does this look like? At Jive, we encourage, inspire and assist our executives in regular personal blog posts. They write about what is important for the company, for employees, and for themselves in a personal voice. They encourage employee comments and feedback. We take these blog posts and pull them into a news feed specifically for leadership content which is featured on our Jive internal community home page News feed.

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Executive communications via megaphone are ineffective. Try blogging instead!

 

Do you have leaders that refuse to blog? Convince them to participate in an Ask-Me-Anything session. It can start as a yearly event or even quarterly if they are up for it. Develop a list of questions in advance and allow people to post questions in a community group dedicated to the event or if the event is WebEx, have participants send the questions in chat. Provide notes and follow-up conversations in your community group.

 

4. Keep it real and make it personal. Feel something.

Your attitude, especially the attitude you take to work, can either build or erode employee engagement. On top of that, every interaction you have with another employee as a chance to increase engagement. Make each conversation you have online authentic and strive to be positive.

 

How can you be more authentic at work? Tell your story. If you have a community (and the blogs are enabled for your site), you have the power of blogging in your hands. Don't waste it. Write a blog about your experiences on the job. Write about a team outing, write about your weekend activities (as long as it's appropriate for your community and work culture). Take the risk and put yourself out there.

 

At the last company I worked for, we launched Jive as pilot with a very limited number of people. We set very few rules. What happened was a beautiful thing. We had people blogging and meeting online. Collaborating on ideas and chatting about work. People met across time zones and geographies in a way that is impossible in a real life setting. We started to feel something about going to work. And isn't feeling something a huge part of employee engagement?

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Telling your story connects you to others on a human level, making it easier to get work done.

 

Within Jive, employees are encouraged to blog. We are asked to post a blog after our first week of work and are actively encouraged to keep them coming. We've had people share some incredibly personal life details in their blogs. And while it doesn't directly tie to the company's bottom line, feeling connected personally to my coworkers, even the ones I've never met in person, is a powerful thing.

 

5. Finally, never underestimate the power of fun.

Having fun is a natural part of life. Think of the times in your life when you felt the most fully alive (or engaged in the experience) and I bet that you were experiencing the phenomena known as FUN. Fun can be a tricky dance partner, however, especially when you attempt to bring her to work. And like rainbows and unicorns, fun can be an intangible thing for some organizations. Granted, it feels like Jive is on the "more fun" end of the spectrum with our endless beers on tap and a gigantic stuffed ape in the office, so I realize this might be a little hard to pin down for some.

 

My advice on this one, look to the natural cheerleaders in your company. Ask their advice. Fun for your company might be an annual cubicle decorating contest for the holidays, or dressing up on Halloween. Fun might be getting everyone together for a Bike-to-Work day or having a summer BBQ up on the roof of your building. Figure out how fun works for your employees and make it happen.

 

Bringing fun online with Jive.

I think it's important to know what's possible even if it would be impossible at your office. Everyone needs stretch goals, right? Besides the beer, the amazing free snacks, the cocktail hours and cupcake parties, the way Jive has fun the most is in our online community. Employees have started some really hilarious groups, with stellar examples such as "Let Me Photoshop that for You" and "A Group Where We Post Nothing but Kittens." And admit it, at 3:30 in the afternoon, would you rather have another cup of stale coffee or this waiting for you in your community's activity feed?

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I'd take a playful kitten over coffee any day of the week.

 

Take a deep breath and repeat after me, fun is good. That didn't hurt much at all, did it?

 

To sum it up, employee engagement comes back to one key focal point: people. Bringing people together, removing barriers between people, encouraging honest and open communication, and having fun! Each of these factors increases employee engagement. And using your online community for these things can put more power behind your engagement efforts.

 

So tell me, how do you use your online community to bolster employee engagement? Send me screen captures of your kitten groups today!

 

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Check out our new white paper called "Every Screen is a Desk: Engaging Employees in a Work-Anywhere Era"



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And if you're a fan of slideshare, check out: Employee Engagement in the Work-Anywhere Era

We're delighted to be shining a spotlight on the lovely Patty McEnaney for the 'How I Work' blog series. It was a pleasure interacting with Patty, and she's one of the biggest cheerleaders I've seen for others within the Jive Community. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!


(P.S. - Wondering why this is not coming from the fabulous Libby Taylor? I'm a 'behind the scenes' Jive Community Manager both across social media and in the Jive Community, and I'm happy to be helping Libby with this blog series.)


How I Work - Patty McEnaney.jpgLeigh: Where do you work?

Patty: I work at Envestnet Asset Management, headquartered in Chicago, with offices across the U.S. and one in India. Envestnet is one of the largest providers of wealth management solutions to independent financial advisors. The firm has an entrepreneurial spirit and a can-do attitude, which really appeals to me.


Leigh: How would you describe your current job?

Patty: My title is Director of Knowledge Management & Social Strategy. My job focuses on organizing content, team workflows/documents and processes to build solutions for enterprise social collaboration. Our goal is to improve knowledge transfer, communication and collaboration.


Leigh: Are you familiar with the Jive WorkTypes? If so, what was your WorkType?

Patty: I'm an Explorer/Planner, which I learned was the predominant WorkType among Community Managers attending JW2014. I laughed out loud when I read the descriptors for my WorkType. It's so "me." At the next JiveWorld, I want to be in a room with other Explorers/Planners. We would get a LOT done!


Leigh: How do you think your WorkType (Archived) plays into how you get work done in Jive?

Patty: Seeing connections between unrelated ideas, disparate concepts and different "systems" helps me identify ways to organize information and build relationships. This WorkType is key to building new things and creating new connections, which is what I love about my job.


Leigh: So how do you use Jive at work (internal community, external community, etc.)?

Patty: We launched an internal community in August 2014 for knowledge management, collaboration and communication. In December, we launched a Water Cooler site, EnvestnetConnect, to promote greater connectedness across offices and as a way to preserve our culture as we grow.

 

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Leigh: What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?

Patty: I use a PC at work. At home, I work with an iPad, and a Dell laptop. 


Leigh: Tell us what you use for your mobile device?

Patty: iPhone 5S

 

Leigh: Pick one word that best describes how you work.

Patty: Focused.


Leigh: Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?

Patty: Twitter, NetFlix, iBooks, TED


Leigh: Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

Patty: My iPad holder, which I have connected to the handles of my road bike so I can "ride" on my trainer and watch "Call the Midwife."

 

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Leigh: How do you stay organized?

Patty: My mother taught me that "order in the house is order in the mind." I've applied that to work and home. One of my biggest compliments is from a friend who told me that it looks as if no one lives in my house! It's peaceful and serene.


Leigh: What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?

Patty: I surround myself with Help documents for users, Jive Software announcements, and good articles about transformative change, like this one. Those inspire me to focus on the needs of our users and keeps the collaborative, positive spirit of "Working Out Loud" top of mind. I also have five cube mates (we're in a row of six) who are supporters of HIVE and provide useful feedback and encouragement. Being around them lifts me up.


Leigh: What do you listen to while you work?

Patty: I listen to the thrum of my colleagues on the phone serving our clients. That provides a wonderful backdrop to my thoughts and is inspiring as well.

 

Leigh: What's your best time-saving trick?

Patty: Using Amazon to send pre-made care packages to my son. He's a freshman at University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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Leigh: How do you balance work and life?

Patty: I'm very organized, both at work and at home. And, I think putting yourself in new places helps open the mind to new thoughts and ideas. My husband and I went on a bike trip in California wine country in October, 2014 and a change of scenery helps to refresh one's perspective.


Leigh: What's your sleep routine like?

Patty: I love sleep and do it as much as I can.


Leigh: Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Patty: I am an EXTROVERT, in all caps. The specified item was not found. was a great way for me to connect with so many people, but I imagine it would be difficult to be an introvert at JW!


Leigh: What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?

Patty: "Only connect." This comes from one of my favorite books, Howards End, by E.M. Forster and has resonated with me in the world of work and in my personal life. It's one of the reasons I met the delightful Libby Taylor and how I've met so many wonderful Jive employees and community members. I've learned so much from being a part of this community and I am grateful. 

 

It was such a pleasure learning more about your workstyle, Patty. Thanks so much for sharing your valuable time with us!

Studies have shown that when knowledge sharing and collaborative systems are used effectively, they can raise knowledge workers productivity by 20 to 25 percent. Moreover, enterprise-wide collaboration systems are predicted to become the primary communication and decision-making channel for organizations in the future. Despite the growth in the number of online knowledge sharing systems, Gartner estimates that 80 percent of knowledge sharing efforts will "not achieve the intended benefits due to inadequate leadership and an overemphasis on technology.”

 

I recently completed a nine month long research project as part of my graduate work with Northwestern's MSLOC program designed to understand how an individual's knowledge sharing behavior within an online community is influenced by their level of trust and/or perceived safety within their organization. The following are insights from my research, analysis and subsequent reflections. I hope these results can help you with your knowledge sharing efforts in your communities.

 

How this study came about

 

Both theoretical studies and real world knowledge sharing practices have demonstrated that merely providing a forum is not enough to drive an individual’s knowledge sharing behavior. The challenge stems from the inherent difficulty of asking individuals to share their knowledge, particularly in the 467209147.jpgpublic, and what can be deemed risky, environment of a virtual community. Regardless of the technology chosen, organizations must understand how to successfully deploy social technologies by creating an environment conducive to knowledge sharing.

 

Psychological safety, or your sense of being able to show yourself without fear, and institutional trust, your willingness to be vulnerable to the actions of another, have been shown to influence knowledge sharing behavior. To build on previous research, my study was designed to test the relationships between knowledge sharing behavior, psychological safety and institutional trust from the perspective of individuals using online communities within organizations. Furthermore, the study was designed to potentially provide insights into ways that organizations can encourage knowledge sharing behavior.

 

Findings and interpretations

 

Trust is a must

The clearest finding from this study is that institutional trust has a strong relationship with both psychological safety and knowledge sharing behavior. Institutional trust was the only measure correlated with all other measures and institutional trust provided the study’s sole correlation to knowledge sharing behavior.

 

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The silent player

While a key hypothesis of the study was that psychological safety would have a direct and positive relationship with knowledge sharing behavior the data analyzed did not support this hypothesis. Instead, the data revealed an indirect and discrete role played by psychological safety in shaping an individual's level of trust and subsequent willingness to share their knowledge.

 

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It’s not about me

Another key finding to emerge was the idea that individual knowledge sharing behavior is greatly influenced by environmental factors and not personality traits. An individual’s self-consciousness was not found to influence their knowledge sharing behavior. Instead, an individual's sense that their peers and manager supported the online community, their perception of others’ benevolence (or goodwill) within the community, and their organization's norm of sharing were found to influence knowledge sharing behavior.

 

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These findings demonstrate that an individual’s knowledge sharing behavior is more strongly influenced by the values, cues and perceptions derived from external influences (such as managers, peers, and organizational norms) than by personal preferences or self-consciousness. This is further supported by the themes that emerged from the qualitative analyses, as the most cited reason for sharing knowledge was to help others and the most cited barrier was lack of use of the online community.

 

Interestingly, none of the demographic variables were found to influence knowledge sharing behavior, affirming that environmental aspects influencing an individual’s knowledge sharing behavior go beyond organizational size, tenure, function, platform used, etc.

 

Implications and recommendations

 

Given both the predicted rise of and known challenges with implementing knowledge sharing technologies, knowledge sharing practitioners and organizations alike have much to gain from a better understanding of how to drive knowledge sharing behavior, one individual at a time. Those aiming to increase knowledge sharing behavior cannot look at one particular variable as an automatic means of encouraging the desired behavior. While trust is clearly a significant factor, it is influenced by a variety of elements.

 

This analysis suggests that in seeking to drive knowledge-sharing behavior organizations must evaluate how individuals perceive their environment’s norm of sharing as well as the perceived level of peer support, manager support, and goodwill of others within the online community. These measures can be used to understand an organization’s readiness for a online community before implementation while also providing areas of ongoing evaluation.

 

Overall, these findings support the notion that knowledge sharing success requires greater emphasis on a climate and leadership that encourage the right behaviors rather than a focus on technology used or individual contributor characteristics.

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