OK, so I’m stepping away from the fire hose for a moment. I’m today wrapping up, if that even makes sense when you’re on the road, week #5 in my new gig as Senior Community Manager at SDL. Collecting and prioritizing my thoughts and experiences will likely take some time, if only because so many of them do not categorize very simply.
I’m very impressed by how the company treats its people so far. My team is a new one, with a companywide-and-beyond focus (it could be argued that that’s way too big to actually be called a “focus”, but I digress…..) and the work we’ve been given is a dizzying mix of strategic, consultative, tactical and, at a personal workflow level, nit-picky. It’s a good mix and stretches all parts of the gray matter. Others across the company have welcomed us and we’ve dived into projects, processes and events with an inclusiveness that kind of assumes more background knowledge of those projects, processes and events than we might have, but my experience is that we have access to whatever we need to get up to speed, which is nice. No secrets, no land mines to uncover later, etc.
The members of my team have divergent and deep talents, with personalities to match, but the mix works well. Lots of creativity and ‘creative tension’ with resulting collaboration. Learning to work with each other has been accelerated by the light speed pace and pressure under which we’ve had to design, create and deliver our first big Phase One: training and content collateral for our colleagues across the company around social media (I know that sounds broad, but the training goes deep enough to get everyone on the same page, using the same definitions, etc.), along with targeted mentoring and deep dives for certain individuals and some who are already pretty savvy on some platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter, but want to get to specific activities that will help them target specific business and professional goals they have.
Like any large-ish, globally dispersed company, opening eyes to the existence of and personal/professional/business value of community, collaboration and the processes, activities and traits/habits of social media is a kind of awakening process. I call it self-realization…that is, “I AM already part of a community…I just may not have been aware of it due to my regular focus on ‘getting my stuff done'”.
It is my belief that a key component at the beginning of this self-realization is face-to-face, ‘skin-in-the-game’ community management. Hence my travels these first few weeks (Seattle, Britain, Boston, the Netherlands, Los Angeles, etc.). Not only do I get to assist in the delivery of the training and mentoring along with my colleagues, but I get to meet, listen and confer with members of this community. I get to discover their concerns, strengths, desires, goals, etc. as well as see pictures of their children, cats, vacations, and take part in, shall we say, ‘lively’ dinners at which I’ve had more fun than I’ve had in quite a while! Establishing the connections and the beginnings of relationships are central to building trust, and these travels and meetings afford me the opportunity.
Gathering these threads and beginning to weave them into a community with diverse challenges, goals, personalities and work styles is where I am now. It’s one of the most creative encounters I’ve ever had the chance to meet. I will share more the further I go along the journey.
- Building a community management centre of excellence (slideshare.net)
- The 4 Pillars Of Community Management (forbes.com)