It’s now getting towards the pointy end in preparation to deliver the Work, Connect and Learn Program for Coca Cola Amatil and it’s fair to say, that I’m getting quite excited.
I have been working with this client since late last year to analyse performance needs and develop a strategy and a solution that would enable their engineering and maintenance staff to share knowledge and collaborate across Australian and New Zealand sites. You can read how the analysis and the strategy was developed in my previous blog post Work Connect and Learn Program: The Strategy Phase.
Much of the program and how my client, Michelle Ockers (@MichelleOckers) and I have been working together using a variety of social tools (mobile, SharePoint, Twitter, email, Lync, YouTube) reflects the manner in which employees in companies today can use the same enterprise social tools to do their work. If they don’t have these tools, there are other open source options to consider that enable them to work, connect and learn with each other seamlessly.
I use the analogy that it’s a bit like driving a car. It doesn’t really matter what car (ie social tools) you use, it’s the behaviours (the road rules, the driving manner) that enable you to get to your destination (the result, the output, the performance outcomes). How you get there (the map and the journey), that’s up to you as it varies depending on whether you want to take the long or short road. That’s the beauty of social – it’s a different experience for everyone because we can share how we got to our destination and learn new routes in the process. I wrote about it in the second blog post of the series: How Working, Connecting and Learning is Like Driving a Car.
In this blog post, I’d like to show you my process for developing the modules for the Work, Connect and Learn Program.
The Work, Connect and Learn Program is a 5 week guided social learning program that enables participants to learn how to use the social tools and platforms they have currently available internally – in this case, Lync 2013 and SharePoint 2013.
It is delivered via Lync webinars (designed as interactive “virtual classrooms” that enable participants to interact and engage with each other in Lync through use of IM chat; Whiteboard; Sharing Desktops; Shared Notes). Webinars are delivered twice per week (to ensure people in different time zones can attend) and recorded so that people may revisit the webinar as they need it.
Through SharePoint, we have created a Work, Connect and Learn community (discussion board function), where all pre- and post- webinar activities are outlined and where the conversations happen. I like to think of it as their “Virtual CCA Team Room” open 24/7 where they can work out loud, share what they are working on, connect with colleagues from different sites to talk about their work.
Before every weekly webinar, I record a short video outlining what we’ll be learning in the next week and an outline of the activities that need to be completed. If you’re interested to see the video, just click on the image below.
The program is delivered ONLY using the SAME tools that are in CCA (with the exception of using YouTube as a pre-webinar introduction simply because of an issue using video in SharePoint which we are still exploring).
I felt that it was important that I role model how Lync and the social collaboration functions in SharePoint (along with its document management) can be used and contextualised to suit the particular business need – as the foundation – before we even touch on open social tools that build their own networks externally to CCA.
Therefore, as a learning consultant, I had to create the program using these tools to demonstrate its flexibility in being able to be customised to suit my need – that is, to build a blended social learning program. To an engineer it may be to collaborate around project plans and task schedules of equipment repairs; to a marketer it may be to show and promote drink displays of their product and how they impacted on customer sales.
If I can use the driving metaphor once again, ultimately the tools are the same and I like to think that I’m taking them for a ride and they’re seeing the possibilities to create their own journeys.
The Activities Before, During and After Each Webinar
Every week we have a Module outline that is uploaded into the community that outlines all the activities they need to complete before and after the session. The references were all curated by me (or by my own resource list collated over some years) but I also made a deliberate attempt to find specific engineering or manufacturing examples around the content so that it could ‘make sense’ to this group. Through the process of discovery (and thanks to sites such as LinkedIn Groups; Quora; and YouTube Channels – as well as my friend Robert Sheridan @robsheridan9 who curates YouTube videos related to topics of Knowledge Sharing; Future of Work; and Industry), there were abundant examples of videos that could be used.
I used Evernote to collate all the resources (articles, links, PDFs, videos, podcasts etc) into specific folders for my own ‘personal knowledge management’ and then searched these through the development phase to insert into the program.
Within each weekly webinar, I created a Shared Note in SharePoint where we brainstorm responses and create a shared note (aka The “Flip Chart” paper equivalent) during the webinar that can be used and referred to at any time during the Program.
After each webinar, there are a series of activities that the participants will complete. These don’t take more than 20-30 minutes each week and are all completed within the WCL Community in SharePoint with the aim of getting participants to be comfortable in using the social collaboration functions of this tool to slowly build confidence over the 5 weeks.
The last module of the program (Learn How to Collaborate: Applying the Tools) is an opportunity where they share what problem they have solved in their workplace through social networking, learning and collaboration; who have they connected with across national and international sites and what ideas, problems or issues they they have identified to solve through social learning so that they can then launch into Engineering and Maintenance Community of Practice.
In effect, the Work, Connect and Learn Program will introduce people to each other so that shared and mutual interests may be identified and opportunity for collaboration and co-operation to occur. It mirrors my (and many others) personal experiences when first introduced to social tools and how it enabled them to find others with whom they could learn from.
There’s a whole different perspective that I haven’t covered here in my blog posts and that is what the business, through the leadership of Michelle Ockers (@MichelleOckers), undertook with regards to promoting this program and its benefits to senior leaders and stakeholders for their support and endorsement. Michelle was instrumental in leading the change and creating the change management initiative that went along each phase of this project to promote the key messages out to the sites; the design of the logo and slogan and the involvement of many people across the supply chain and the capability consultants who had various parts to play.
You can read more about this in Michelle’s slideshow presentation 70:20:10 Sneaking In the Social (a photo of me during the analysis and strategy phase is on slide 20). If you haven’t read Michelle’s blog, I encourage you to do so because it’s a great example of working (and learning) out loud.
Next steps for this project is to now look towards how we can support the managers to “manage” the community of practice post Work, Connect and Learn Program. I have “manage” in inverted commas, as I don’t feel a community should be managed – but more facilitated – so that it can be developed, maintained and sustained. I am currently working on a program that would support these community facilitators but that’s a topic for another day…
This whole process for developing this social learning program has been an eye opener for me. In all honesty, initially, I wasn’t a fan of SharePoint (SP 2007). In fact, my previous ex-colleagues could attest to this because my experiences of it was that it was too cumbersome, difficult to use, not intuitive and it lacked the easy fluid social networking and collaboration that say, a social networking platform like Yammer. I know many people would share my frustrations with it simply because there are so many different functions – and I couldn’t FIND stuff! However SharePoint 2013 is completely different. I have been amazed at its possibilities and the links with O365 and Lync.
In the process of learning more about SP 2013, I created a Twitter List called “SharePoint Community” who have been instrumental in teaching me more about this platform, its uses and applications. Feel free to subscribe to this list if you’re interested.