Five months ago I handed off a new Office 365 environment to an inspired governance team. They had a clear direction, set goals, metrics to define success, and a game plan to gather low-hanging fruit. #MyWorkHereIsFinished
Yesterday, I attend their monthly governance meeting. Coming into this meeting my curiosity was g centered around what level of success they had, and what I can do to keep them organized for the next sprint. We met in the same room we did five months ago, and I lead with the following question: Where have you had success? Everyone from the 10 person teams chimed in “Yammer”! I said, “tell me about it”. They went on with glowing reports about, the reduction of “All -company” informational emails, and that they have lots of engagement from users. I probed and asked, “Is it just corporate communications that are posting content, or are other areas of the organization contributing?” They said “No, all the business units are posting. Sales deals, updates from construction sites, and other ‘good to know’ stuff that is happening in the company”. Within the same breath, the team also had clear ideas about the struggles they have had with Yammer. “Some user’s don’t ‘DO’ Yammer. They say they don’t have time for that.” Company culture information is not business critical and understandable if someone is in a busy season and just doesn’t have time for it all.” Personally, I get it, I get busy and company culture takes a back seat to my more pressing needs. This is why I like having this information segmented into a single App or area. So when I do I have time I can choose when I engage with that content. If it came into my inbox as email, it would just be noise and add more for me to manage or distract me during a busy season. The key is being empowered to choose when is a good “appropriate” time to review and engage with the broader organization.
I followed up with the question “What would you like to do about those who are Not-engaged and are missing out?” The team quickly spun up a few ideas, like:
Each department champion going one-on-one to make sure that everyone is aware of what content is on Yammer, and they know how to use the tool and set up the notifications that fit their tastes.
That sounded like a great idea. Notice I didn’t come up with the idea the team did.
So then I changed gears away from Yammer and went more general. “What has not gone well?” they said “There has been a lot of change over the last five months. We have a new Executive team that is not located here at the corporate offices in Michigan.” Now THAT is a challenge. A few things rattled through my mind:
- Physically distant
- Different Regional culture (Midwest vs. East-coast)
- The new executive team possibly does not understand the vision shared by the rest of the organization.
- New leadership usually means large changes to processes, communications, and expectations.
After the team took an apologetic tone for not completing their other stated goals of rolling out OneDrive and Teams. My response was “You all know that a person and an organization has an absorption rate for change? Yeah we as people can only handle so much before we shut off our curiosity that sparks learning. Let me tell you a story – people have a threshold to absorb a certain amount of change over a period of time, You all have done very well with the changes facing the organization, and digital transformations.”
I co-coach my daughter’s U-12 girls travel soccer team, over the week-end we played in a local tournament. The girls have been playing up a division all season and really growing but in this tournament got blown out, 7-1, 3-1, and 12-0! I heard one girl coming off the field after our 12-0 drumming say …”We suck.” at which I replied “Those girls play year-round, have six subs on the bench. We have one sub and for some games no subs, and this is how you played all season long. You guys have done well, and can’t compare yourself to them.” At this point someone from the governance team said “So were 12 year-old girls?” the whole room roared with laughter.”
I think they got the point. Governance and digital transformation is tough work. They have done well-accomplished success with Yammer and still have a ways to go but this is not a sprint it’s a marathon. The rest of the hour was spent talking over next steps and priorities, and at the end of the hour, everyone looked more engaged, empowered, and optimist for the next battle ahead.
Governance and digital transformation are core to business success. In the Microsoft case study for Trek Bicycles, they said “We always bet on technology”. I agree but it requires more than just a big win, but lots of small consistent wins. My take away was as to take a similar coaching approach with governance teams and check up on them on a by-yearly basis.