#ALI SM Sept 30 Ottawa


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  • So before we start you may be wondering who the hell am I to stand up here and tell you how to engage your employees. If you don't know who I am than that is a fair question, if you do know me, feel free to check the emails on the old crackberry while I do a brief intro. I wear two hats within the public service.
  • In my official duties I work for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada as a Project Manager. My role there is to help employees improve their internal business processes and communication using social media and collaborative technologies. Not surprisingly my work leads me to take on many things: Organizational management Change management Business improvement Evangelization Technical support Ideas generation Employee engagement
  • My unofficial duties revolve around public service renewal. I have been blogging openly about it for the last year and have published a guide on how to get involved within an organization despite the bureaucracy entitled Scheming Virtuously: A Handbook for Public Servants. In short, I have been able to rally public servants from around the country using social media. But that is enough for now, I will share more about my experience a bit later in the presentation
  • We are moving from the 1.0 world defined by Newtonian cause and effect and hierarchical rigidities towards a 2.0 world defined by complex ecosystems and diffused decision making Social media in government is a disruptive technology is that it can drive innovation and improve business processes in ways we never expected because it puts a tremendous amount of power into the hands of those who traditionally did not have it.
  • Thus it is no surprise that often those in positions of authority are troubled by the introduction of these technologies because they tend to flatten the organization. This flattening causes tension which in turn manifests in different albeit interrelated ways.
  • These are all things that I have either experienced first hand, that others have confided in me as problems they face, or are obstacles I have observed others struggling with. Format will be ...
  • I started in government about 4 years ago. Prior to that I worked for the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club. I actually left the team during their cup run against Anaheim. In short I left the most exciting work experience of my life to join government. The shift was overwhelming, and I was sinking.
  • I starting running into closed doors where I expected open ones, fear when I expected freedom and work where I expected fun.
  • So after about a year I started to panic.
  • That is about when I hit the old fork in the road. I was going insane, I was under appreciated, underutilized, and unknown. I was shut out by a system that played by rules I didn't understand, and I almost left, but I didn't.
  • Instead I started to seek out and connect with others who were equally disillusioned. Together we concluded that a career in public service had to offer more than a place where good ideas go to die. My first year in the public service was so atrocious that it lit a fire under me.
  • That fire prompted me to do two things. First, I took on as much as I could within my organization. Second, I started a blog where I could share the lessons I was learning from that pursuit with others.
  • A lot of people tried to dissuade me. They made a face like this one. They called me stupid. They said that I was taking on unnecessary risk, that I was jeopardizing my career, and maybe some of you are thinking those exact thoughts right now. But what it did was allow me to connect to a community; a community that didn't know it existed yet because it couldn't connect easily before.
  • It was a community that was looking for a place to happen. The blog gave them that space, and guess what, if I didn't do it someone else would have it was only a matter of time. Moreover, my blog this is just one small example. Other discussions are happening in other related communities that are facilitated in similar ways on LinkedIn, Govloop, or Twitter.
  • When I set down this path, something I never expected was the amount of opportunities it would bring my way. I went from a relative unknown to someone with a rep for being good at tearing down walls. And what is especially promising now is that there are pockets in within the government that realize the potential of these tools and are starting to turn them over to public servants, beseeching them to tear down the walls.
  • My substantive position is now that of an organizational management ninja where my weapon of choice is social media. My full time job now hinges on my ability to apply social media to government processes to affect better outcomes for Canadians. Moreover, I am invited to speak at conferences like these frequently, my work has been referenced by university professors in the foreword of a book, I've been leading the charge on Govloop North and am in talks with Steve Dressler, been profiled on govfresh, been named one of the top 20 #gov20 heroes to follow, dubbed as part of the public service renewal rat pack, and am the only practitioner currently on the gcpedia steering committee.
  • And all of that is fucking awesome! I've gone from a public servant looking to pull the chute to one of the most engaged and engaging public servants I know. Have I had the chance to be innovative with the tools? Absolutely, I started NIBS. Does my boss have to worry about retention? Hell no, I don't even read my job alerts anymore they go straight to the trash can. And I have done it all on the back of social media because social media in government allows public servants to get involved and make a contributions that would otherwise be impossible or go unnoticed. So let me ask you this, why wouldn't you want to adopt tools that help your organization find the value it so desperately needs?
  • Wherever possible start to remove barriers and filters to the web and the collaborative tools offered there. There is so much choice outside the firewall that the lack of choice (or even the limited amount of choice) behind the firewall is quickly apparent One of the biggest obstacles to innovation / engagement is being denied access to tools w/o providing alternatives
  • And that is why I advocate appropriating technologies internally. If you provide employees with a similar suite of tools behind the firewall that is available outside they are less likely to simply do an end around the organization. Given that social media is so new to government there is a whole lot of learning to do, where would you rather your employees get their feet wet, behind the firewall, or out in public, what would your deputies prefer?
  • Playing safe is a great way to build trust. It allows people to start asking questions, try new things and build relationships. So encourage people to explore possible uses of the technologies and connect them with others doing similar thinking.
  • Once you have trust, work together to set up some concrete goals. Simply throwing information at a wiki or mandating the use of employee blogs is not a goal. The goal should be something akin to better communication, the proactive sharing of information via wikis and blogs in order to stimulate a policy discussion or HR actions. In my work, the goal is usually to improve communication between the policy wonks.
  • Once you have a goal you can sit down and build a common understanding of: the culture what constitutes success what is required by whom and for whom how can we address all of the implicated policy frameworks like ATIP, OL, Accessibility, Values and Ethics to the best of our ability And anything else that anyone feels needs to be discussed prior to getting the ball rolling
  • And what you are actually doing when you do this is learning together. When I sit down with my colleagues, and hopefully when you sit down with yours, what you are doing is learning about the strengths and weaknesses of the organization and identifying opportunities for better collaboration and increased innovation using social media.
  • Once you have those opportunities lined up you should establish guardrails to communicate how the organization (or in my case the policy centre) intends to appropriate the use of social media and what is expected of users using it in order to achieve that intended use. Don't set out to control the process in so much as ensure that you aren't opening the door for employees and then leaving them to wander the halls. If you let them wander than you have no right to get pissed off at them when they go somewhere you didn't intend for them to go.
  • With the guardrails in place it is important to nurture people's interest in the content flowing through the social media (not in the social media itself) As an enabler, my role has been to make the technology as invisible as possible and nurture interest in the content. You don't want people to view the technology as an obstacle – as another thing to learn. I've been able to nurture interest by showing valid business uses of social media technologies in order to communicate better internally – hence the title of this session. And by making participation as simple as possible (e.g. building the templates, including instructions, ensuring consistency, etc)
  • While nurturing this interest focus on attitudes, not age. So many people boil social media down to a discussion about generations, or introverts and extraverts, but the truth of the matter is this: I have seen young people who vehemently oppose social media, older people who embrace it, introverts who share profusely and extroverts who hoard. You can disagree with me all you want on this one, but if you can't do so while proposing a solution, I would argue that your position lacks value. Besides, think of it this way, under what other circumstances would ageism constitute a sound management approach?
  • Which brings me to my next point, technically social media behind the firewall does not present any new people management challenges. Chances are if you were a strong manager before SM you will be a strong one w/it, and vice-versa. I have two pieces of advice for managers: 1) Don't use the spectre of vandalism as justification for withholding social tools: you give people pens and you aren't afraid they're going to write on the walls. What is easier to catch? Dirty words scrawled anonymously on the bathroom wall or something tied to your IP address, your workstation, your Government of Canada log in? 2) Don't deny access to the web because you think ppl will waste their time. Unproductive people in your organization have been unproductive for years without social media.
  • Employees generally don't have a detailed understanding of all of the complex and interrelated policy frameworks that touch their jobs in complex ways unless they work specifically in those areas. How many public servants truly understand information management, ATIP, OL, Values and Ethics, or Web Accessibility? When you shift to a web 2.0 workforce these deficiencies become apparent much quicker. So if you have resources in these fields please take advantage of their expertise. A lot of people think that we can continue to work within the existing policy frameworks, but I disagree. I think that the government would have a lot more to gain by modernizing frameworks than by holding new tools to old standards.
  • There is no delicate way to put this so, excuse my bluntness, but building collaborative systems within your organization, while incrementally better than the status quo, is missing an opportunity. What people looking at implementing these solutions should be doing is working at the enterprise level, which is to say across the Government of Canada. Why should a handful of departments invest significant resources in building Web 2.0 systems that reinforce existing stovepipes? Its like little pigs moving from the house made of straw to the house made of sticks after the former was blown down. What we need to do is get into the big house made of bricks, cook the wolf, get the collaboration monkey off our back and …
  • #ALI SM Sept 30 Ottawa

    1. 1. Putting the Social in Social Media: How to Engage Your Employees Before You Engage the Public to Drive Innovation and Increase Productivity
    2. 6. the agenda p) introduction i) obstacles to engagement and innovation ii) how social media is tearing down silos iii) how to engage with tools for effectiveness iv) q&a
    3. 7. part i: obstacles to engagement and innovation
    4. 8. the ground is shifting social media is a disruptive technology
    5. 9. it's causing tension creating barriers to engagement and innovation
    6. 10. examples moving from, moving to, barriers, and rewards (e.g. innovation and engagement)
    7. 11. people are closed esp. those in authority from a world where ...
    8. 12. people are open to new ideas to a world where ...
    9. 13. reward(s): <ul><li>ideas generation
    10. 14. cross pollination
    11. 15. healthy relationships
    12. 16. motivating </li></ul>people are open barrier(s): <ul><li>can't contribute
    13. 17. group think
    14. 18. adversarial
    15. 19. draining </li></ul>people are closed movement tension
    16. 20. people are controlled by fear from a world where ...
    17. 21. people are given freedom and responsibility to a world where ...
    18. 22. movement tension reward(s): <ul><li>fosters participation
    19. 23. rewards performance and calculated risks </li></ul>given freedom barrier(s): <ul><li>kills participation
    20. 24. race to the bottom
    21. 25. rewards not making mistakes </li></ul>controlled by fear
    22. 26. info is centralized, protected and controlled from a world where ...
    23. 27. info is freely distributed and uncontrolled to a world where ...
    24. 28. movement tension reward(s): <ul><li>situationally adaptive
    25. 29. instantly attainable
    26. 30. serendipity of open </li></ul>freely distributed uncontrolled barriers(s): <ul><li>heavy/slow process
    27. 31. difficult to access
    28. 32. reinventing the wheel </li></ul>centralized protected controlled
    29. 33. publishing the message is controlled from a world where ...
    30. 34. anyone can publish (or republish) the message to a world where ...
    31. 35. movement tension reward(s): <ul><li>engaged voices
    32. 36. message focused
    33. 37. people connected by participation </li></ul>anyone can publish barrier(s): <ul><li>lack of voice
    34. 38. process focused
    35. 39. people are disjointed </li></ul>publishing is controlled
    36. 40. information tools are imposed by the group from a world where ...
    37. 41. information tools are selected by individuals to a world where ...
    38. 42. movement tension reward(s): <ul><li>humanizing
    39. 43. life 2.0
    40. 44. seamless </li></ul>selected barrier(s): <ul><li>just another #
    41. 45. work 1.0
    42. 46. time warp </li></ul>imposed
    43. 47. info is pushed w/o permission from a world where ...
    44. 48. people pull the info they want to a world where ...
    45. 49. movement tension reward(s): <ul><li>signal
    46. 50. asks you to opt in
    47. 51. filters saving time </li></ul>pull the info barrier(s): <ul><li>noise
    48. 52. can't opt out
    49. 53. iterations wasting time </li></ul>info is pushed
    50. 54. people work behind closed doors from a world where ...
    51. 55. work is transparent to a world where ...
    52. 56. movement tension reward(s): <ul><li>deep understanding
    53. 57. constant learning
    54. 58. anticipate issues
    55. 59. decisions can stand </li></ul>transparent barrier(s): <ul><li>how and why obscured
    56. 60. no learning
    57. 61. often too late
    58. 62. poor decision making </li></ul>closed doors
    59. 63. people think in isolation from a world where ...
    60. 64. people think openly with others to a world where ...
    61. 65. movement tension reward(s): <ul><li>innovation
    62. 66. collaboration
    63. 67. work isn't so worky
    64. 68. supportive culture </li></ul>think openly barrier(s): <ul><li>stagnation
    65. 69. disconnected
    66. 70. clock-watching
    67. 71. dysfunction </li></ul>think in isolation
    68. 72. dominated by the professional voice from a world that is ...
    69. 73. embraces the personal voice to a world that ...
    70. 74. movement tension reward(s): <ul><li>real conversations
    71. 75. “ I think we should ...”
    72. 76. passion spills over
    73. 77. leave wanting more </li></ul>personal voice barrier(s): <ul><li>bureaucratic jargon
    74. 78. “ sense around the ...”
    75. 79. dry posturing
    76. 80. boring / distracted </li></ul>professional voice
    77. 81. learning is additional work from a world where ...
    78. 82. social learning is natural to a world where ...
    79. 83. movement tension reward(s): <ul><li>free
    80. 84. accessible daily
    81. 85. omni-directional
    82. 86. fun </li></ul>learning is natural barrier(s): <ul><li>costs money
    83. 87. requires approvals
    84. 88. uni-directional
    85. 89. boring </li></ul>additional work
    86. 90. part ii: how social media is tearing down silos
    87. 104. part III: how to engage with tools for effectiveness how to set the stage for user driven innovation, increased productivity and better retention
    88. 105. remove filters to the richness of the web
    89. 106. play safe appropriate technologies internally
    90. 107. build trust ask questions, try new things, build relationships
    91. 108. understand your goals make sure your team knows why you are doing it
    92. 109. build together create common frameworks
    93. 110. learn together take advantage of overlapping opportunities
    94. 111. establish guardrails let employees know where the organization stands
    95. 112. nurture interest be a principled enabler
    96. 113. focus on attitude don't generalize about generations
    97. 114. manage the challenges be proactive and consistent on all fronts
    98. 115. understand the “risks” social media is rendering the invisible visible
    99. 116. spend where it counts invest in the enterprise
    100. 117. tear down the firewall and party like it is 1989
    101. 119. part iv: q&a