The End of the Beginning: Laying the foundation for a strong community
It has been a little over a month since our new Chief Learning Officer announced that change was amidst us and that all learning professionals across North America and UK would be embarking on a transformational journey of change over the next 2 years.
Following the announcement, all L&D professionals were “invited” to join a private group on LinkedIn to begin getting to know each other as individuals apart from what he or she does at work. What initially started out as formal banter around “A Little Bit About Me and My Work” has now transformed into a collaborative online space filled with the active sharing of best practices, regional community news, fun facts, and even more so, comments to, adds and builds of those initial discussion posts with reactions and additional content. As Vanessa DiMauro would say, my fellow learning colleagues are effectively using the social channel as a means to engage with each other leveraging the design elements within the ESN itself. We even have some colleagues sharing photos and videos!
What I personally found most inspiring and transformational is how our Chief Learning Officer (CLO) uses the ESN as a space for a weekly leader blog to tell stories, which Torben Rick identifies as a powerful medium to inspire and drive change. Our CLO provides a weekly download of his activities (both related to the change execution and personal updates on weekend excursions with family) for all to view and get to know him better as our leader. I mentioned in my previous blog post that his active participation and contribution in the online community has truly been a key BIG (small) win. Colleagues see him opening up both professionally and personally as a sign that he appreciates and truly welcomes openness, transparency, trust and wants to honestly build a strong community of learning professionals. Not only is he driving organizational change to centralize, standardize and create efficiency through common processes, procedures and standards, but he is also leading culture change by laying the foundation and being more open, transparent, and collaborative himself.
The momentum that is building up within the online social platform has added fuel to the change-related work as well with the establishment of core change workstreams. Learning colleagues have been able to get to know other as thought partners and subject matter experts socially via LinkedIn that has accelerated the efforts to collaborate and get work done outside of the online space. Networks, learning and work is coming together and the lines are becoming more gray as different workstream groups collaborate on individual SharePoint sites to build new ways of working through structured processes, standards, and procedures. The social networking has enabled employees to become more empowered to innovate collaboratively on new ways of working buying into the fact that agility and flexibility in processes, systems, structures, policies and decision making as a whole is integral to becoming a cohesive learning organization in the 21st century and what Eric Savitz argues is critical to the future of social businesses.
What I now feel is the end of the beginning as my colleagues and I have transitioned from networking to learning and online social collaboration, I look forward to seeing if all three components (networks, work and learning) stick and come even closer together as we form one global learning community.
To conclude, I would like to share the below infographic by Torben Rick as useful strategies for how we as learning and organizational change professionals can lead, drive and accelerate organizational change through online social networks and ESNs: