What do I do if they talk? And if they don't?

February 14, 2019
The original article is published on the Microsoft Tech Community Yammer Blog.

Starting a Yammer adoption program is exciting. We are living this exact situation with a major client these days. The thrill of the project team goes from the innovation perspective to thoughts of uncertainty, from enjoyment to fear.

The people involved know that it is exactly what they need, that it will be great when they reach their goals, but it is also an unknown territory for most of them. At the end of the day, the main concern on those (noisy) discovery meetings is:

What do I do if they talk? And if they don´t?

This is a good moment to catch a breath and speak a little louder: “Hey! Calm down! We've already been there!”  and start giving short answers to some of the questions, like these five examples below (these are real, believe me):

  • What do I do if they talk (post) a lot?
    Your mission will be accomplished. We want them to talk, to share thoughts and information. If things go a little different from your plan, that’s great too! The community will shape their own way.

 

  • I know, but how will I control what they share?
    You won´t. That´s the beauty of it. Trust me, they are already sharing and talking using other tools or at the company lounge.
  • And what if they don´t engage?
    That´s why an adoption program is so necessary. It is the guided ride, the plan to the success. A good adoption program will be tailor made for your company to stimulate engagement and prepare the field to keep the evolution going, acting to correct things, if necessary.
  • How we will organize groups, by department?
    Please, don´t! We want the community to interact based on interests. Help them to understand that and let it flow.
  • But could the user create private groups I cannot join?
    Yes, the same way they can schedule meetings in a private room without you. There is no problem with that, in fact it’s extraordinary!

At this point you, a Yammer enthusiast, is certainly thinking “why are they questioning those things”? The way I see it, this comes from a misconception:

A Social Network is not a collaborative Intranet, in which

users help to create content. It is a meeting point where

people engage to share their thoughts!

Thoughts are not content, and engagement is not a defined behavior, it’s an attitude. Do you want to see an example?

Not long ago I was invited to visit a large company. The headquarters communication officer decided they need a more collaborative environment. So, he asked the IT department to implement a collaborative tool and sent an e-mail to all the managers asking them to use it.

Three months later, it wasn’t going well, and I was called to investigate why.

My first question was:

-What do the people in your community think about it?

The answer was:

-Hmm! We didn’t ask them. Should we?

Collaborative teams are not created by law, definition or through a memo. It’s a mindset people need to engage on. The good news is:

People want to engage! Help them to do so and stop saying

what they need to do!

And remember, your job is not to control, but to manage:

Help them to start walking and enjoy the ride.

It's very pleasant to see how communities create their own personality and corporative voice, and it's great to be part of it.  By the way, your corporate culture has a great impact on that process too, but this will be subject for another post.

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Luiz Vianna is the CEO at Mult-Connect, a Microsoft partner company for cloud solutions, especially Azure and Office 365. He managed several O365 projects, from communication change management to the development of technical solutions, helping customers to adopt and engage their personnel on O365, including Yammer. In 2016 he was the architect of YPost, a powerful analytics tool, specially designed for Yammer, that allows communication managers to have a more accurate control and deeper analysis of their Yammer activities (available in the Microsoft Global Catalog – OCP). He is also focused on developing AI solutions to solve problems and improve communication processes.

Luiz is also author of the books “Prepared to win” and “Social Transformation”.

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