I had the pleasure of attending Getting the C-Suite to pay attention: Strategic uses cases for internal communities to manage company transitions, mergers and corporate initiatives, which was facilitated by Dennis Pearce from Lexmark and Tammy Triplett from Leidos. This session was part of the Managing and Measuring Mature Communities track. Rob Ryan introduced the session saying that Dennis and Tammy would be focusing on change - creating, celebrating, and communicating change. This was music to my ears since change seems to be the only constant in every field and any advice on how to better manage change is always welcome.
Dennis took the mic first and explained that he was going to be talking about two changes Lexmark went through – a rebranding and transitioning from a public company to a private company – and how they used Jive to make it through those changes. He gave us a brief history of Lexmark's usage of Jive (see picture, right), which began in 2012.
In 2015, after 25 years, Lexmark decided to rebrand with a new logo. This was a massive undertaking and Dennis identified three challenge areas:
1. Coordinating the changeover (or "Logos everywhere!") - think of everything that your company logo appears on: signage, business cards, stationary, equipment, products, etc., etc., now figure out a plan to change every last one of those logos.
2. Generating excitement - how do you get people excited and invested in the change?
3. Creating awareness of the branding resource they were building on Jive.
Jive was key in all three solutions. Lexmark was able to create some fun by having people post pictures of the new logo in action. If a building had the logo erected, a picture in a blog showcased the change. This created a little competition and, as "a total bonus," the facilities people could better keep track of which buildings still needed to be rebranded. To generate further excitement, they coordinated launch parties on Jive, again posting pictures and celebrating the new brand in action. Finally, to make sure all employees knew where to go to get help with the new brand, they created a dedicated place and kept it simple. Very clear instructions in bright letters helped people know where to click to get the help they needed.
The second major change is ongoing as Lexmark makes the move from being a public company to becoming a private company. The rebranding was work, but it was still fun; the transition is work and created a lot of tension as people worried about the future of the company. Communication was key in dealing with the challenges of addressing employee concerns while still obeying laws about what can and cannot be shared with the public. Keeping it simple was a mantra as Dennis and his team worked to keep everything as transparent as possible. The JIve group that was built as an information hub used mostly text because, as Dennis pointed out, "no one wants to wade through pictures to find out what's happening with their job." The C-Suite wrote blogs and then responded to comments and questions, even if they had to say, "We legally cannot respond to that question." This transparency and open communication helped to calm people's worries. This was one of my favorite parts of the presentation: Dennis brought attention to the fact that the group became less active as the direction of the company became clearer, so it acted as a barometer for how anxious the employees were feeling. If they were anxious, activity in the group spiked, if things were calmer, there was not as much activity. Dennis's sum up: "The adoption curve does not always have to go up to be effective."
Tammy took the stage next to talk about Leidos and their Jive platform, Prism. The challenge Leidos faced was transitioning legacy intranet users of 20 years into Prism. Leidos and Lockheed Martin combined their IS&GS businesses, which meant 16,000 Leidos employees would be joined by 16,000 Lockheed Martin users on Prism. They had to double their users overnight. To do so, Tammy and colleagues kept the mission simple: "We planned to communicate, communicate, communicate!" They created a temporary free-standing HTML page called Emerge that the Lockheed Martin employees would land on to provide them direct links to the information they most needed within Prism. They also worked with HR to have all employee profiles fed into Prism prior to the official launch.
In addition to the technical aspects of this move, it was a challenge because they were asking Lockheed Martin users to shift to decentralized messages where everyone had a voice, which was a big culture change. To help ease this transition, they revamped all existing help documentation to make sure it was relevant and, well, helpful. They renamed and reorganized their spaces to reflect the new business structure, making navigation easier. And they planned Launch Day events that highlighted the Leidos signature purple and got the CEO into the company ice cream truck handing out cold treats (see photo, left). After launch day, they developed early adopters into advocates. All of their hard work paid off: Within 30 days of launch, they had 75% registered and active users.
During the Q&A segment, both Dennis and Tammy stressed the importance of having at least two members of the C-Suite driving the messaging behind the change your company is facing. Dennis's C-Suite blogged and then answered queries on the blog and Tammy's C-Suite provided strong messaging and on-the-ground visibility to offer support. Any leader in the organization that can direct their reports to adopt the change will help calm anxiety and increase adoption. Tammy also spoke about the need to offer email as an alternative for those new-to-Prism employees that weren't yet comfortable posting on a public forum, a kind of "meet them where they are and take them to where they need to be" philosophy. You have to put content out how your users need it, not necessarily how the organization is set up. Dennis said that the open communications also helped deal with the "glass half empty" crowd because the "glass half full" folks chimed in to remind them of the positive, keeping the conversation from sinking into negativity. Both agreed that the transparency Jive provides has helped to integrate the changes more quickly. Dennis believes that his employees benefit from having the company strategy front and center everywhere on Jive because it helps them to make quick, everyday decisions that are in line with the strategy that is so prevalent.
Tammy and Dennis provided a lot of great ideas any Jive customer can use to help bring about change in an orderly fashion. Please be sure to check out the recording of their session here.
Job well done!