Starry Blue Brilliance

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The Key to Your Digital Transformation Success

"Fairy Kingdom", a cave inside the Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes in Germany by Ansgar Koreng / CC BY 3.0 (DE)Photo: “Fairy Kingdom,” a cave inside the Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes in Germany by Ansgar Koreng / CC BY 3.0 (DE)

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” – Peter F. Drucker, U.S. management consultant and author

Starting a business and staying in business takes courage. It also takes engaged employees.

According to phase2technology.com in “Transforming Internal Collaboration for the Digital Economy,” “the secret ingredient is culture and best practices.”

And what ties culture and best practices together? CollaborationIt’s the key to your organization’s digital transformation success.

Join me Dec. 9-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada for Advanced Learning Institute’s “Intranets, Content, & Collaboration” Conference. Together we’ll learn about reinventing our intranets and creating digital workplaces that drive productivity, engagement, innovation and measurable business results.

To help direct your digital transformation success, be sure to attend these pre-conference workshops:

  • “How to Successfully Build and Manage Digital Platforms that will Engage Employees, Transform Company Productivity, and Rebuild Culture,” presented by Heath Applebaum, Owner & Principal Consultant, Echo Communications
  • “Strategic Priorities for a Digital Transformation within Your Organization,” presented by Shannon Ryan, CEO, Nonlinear

As a conference supporter, I can offer you special pricing to attend this event. Use Priority/VIP Code SBB when registering to receive a $200 discount on Regular pricing.

Please share this information with your networks. The Twitter hashtag is #ALI_Intranets.

In the meantime, watch for my conference posts on LinkedInTwitter, Google+ and Starry Blue Brilliance.

And be sure to stop by the Starry Blue Brilliance exhibit table during the conference to discuss collaboration opportunities!


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Transform the Way You Communicate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Chicago Buildings” photo by Dasha

Next week, communicators from all over the globe will come together to learn and share ideas about reinventing their organizations’ intranets.

If you are unable to attend next week’s 2014 Intranet & Digital Workplace Summit, check out these pre-event stories to help your organization create digital workplaces that drive productivity, innovation and measurable business results.

How is your organization integrating social, mobile and video tools to evolve a traditional intranet?


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Need Help on the Road to a Digital Workplace?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Chicago Roads” photo by Dasha

We could all use some help every once in a while, especially when we need to change, but change isn’t easy.

If your organization needs to change the way it works and how it engages with employees, then “Getting from Intranet to Digital Workplace” by Stacy L. Wilson, ABC can help you get started with three simple approaches.

Stacy is president of Eloquor Consulting, Inc. and has more than 27 years of experience in internal communication and organizational development.

She is also the conference chairperson of this month’s 2014 Intranet & Digital Workplace Summit. During her session, “Roadmap to a Digital Workplace: Paving the Way to a New Way to Work,” Stacy will show you how to help your organization on its journey to a digital workplace, including:

  • How to identify ROI and business needs
  • Technical assessments that support digital workplace planning
  • Developing governance for the long haul
  • The pros and cons of different launch approaches
  • Planning for adoption, communication and training

How are you helping your organization on its journey to a digital workplace?


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Brilliance@Work and the Stars Who Make it Happen: Stacy L. Wilson, ABC

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar communication professionals and their best practices at work.

Stacy L. Wilson, ABC

Stacy L. Wilson, ABC

Stacy L. Wilson, ABC is president of Eloquor Consulting, Inc., in Lakewood, Colorado. Stacy has more than 27 years of experience and has focused exclusively on internal communication and organizational development since the mid-1990s. Stacy and her company specialize in intranet governance, usability and content, and change communication.

Stacy is also the conference chairperson of the 2014 Intranet & Digital Workplace Summit, July 29-31 in Chicago, Illinois. This event is designed for communicators and technologists to learn how to reinvent their intranets and move toward a digital workplace that drives productivity, innovation and measurable business results. For information or to register, visit http://www.aliconferences.com/events/intranet-and-digital-workplace-summit-2014#

In the meantime, read on to learn how Stacy helps organizations communicate more effectively with employees and leverage internal communication to deliver results.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What is most important for people to know about you?
Stacy L. Wilson, ABC: When I left not-for-profit for corporate I needed a new cause. Employees became my cause and passion. My work is focused on making work life better and more rewarding for the employees of our client companies, leveraging technology where possible.

PB: What are you most interested in and speak most enthusiastically about?
SW:
The people and process side of technology fascinates me. I believe organizations too often launch new technology without paying attention to how it affects people and processes. This results in low adoption and poor ROI. I’m especially interested in human psychology and resulting workplace behavior. I enjoy teaching about technology governance, how people interact with their digital tools, and how people interact with online content.

PB: What communication projects are you most proud of?
SW: While working for a child welfare agency in Ohio, I managed the communication budget used to attract foster families. I reached out to my counterparts in a half-dozen other agencies and together (I facilitated) we created the Foster Care Cooperative. Working together and pooling budget, the agencies were able to do a lot more outreach in the community and attract far more prospective foster families. That agency is still in operation today, using the same logo we created in the early 1990s.

In the mid-1990s I led the implementation of the first intranet for Sprint PCS. While we saved the company millions of dollars with it, more importantly, we changed the entire mindset within Sprint Corporate about what an intranet should do. I came over to corporate to lead a similar effort for the entire company, where I laid the groundwork for what today is an award-winning intranet, managed by the woman I hired when I was there. It’s a legacy I probably won’t have another opportunity to create.

In January, I completed a project for the Fortune 100 logistics company mentioned below. This was the most comprehensive digital workplace roadmap I’ve ever been involved with. It is a terrific example of how to engage many users in the upfront planning and requirements definition to ensure adoption and big ROI. As a result, they have a big pool of champions from which to draw during implementation.

PB: What makes you stand out in a crowd of professional communicators?
SW: As a communicator, I want to get employees actively involved in communicating, and I want to leverage communication to achieve business goals. As a consultant, I am highly participatory and collaborative. I think of myself as a teacher when I lead conference sessions, not a speaker or presenter. This is true in my consulting work as well; I teach so the client – or conference attendees – can do things on their own.

PB: What are some communication best practices you’ve developed and/or helped to implement?
SW: My internal communication planning methodology was recently developed into a SharePoint add-on called ElevatePoint Plan. I’ve honed this method during my nearly three decades of communication work. Now, anyone can drop it into their SharePoint to manage the communication planning, implementation and reporting process.

I’ve created an entire suite of communication tools based on past work. This includes tools for digital workplace projects, manager communication, change communication, etc. I often give these away when I teach at conferences.

My methodology for helping clients create governance for intranets and digital workplaces is really important. I’ve used it for many Fortune 500 companies, tweaking each time to improve or customize to their needs. Our clients really love the approach.

My methodology for content migration, while always evolving, is proving very useful for organizations with a lot of old content and a new platform. Our approach is flexible, yet diligent enough to deliver sound ROI.

PB: What are your current projects as you continue to develop your professional skills and knowledge?
SW: My projects include:

  • Creating a strategic internal communication function where there previously wasn’t one, at a specific site (Fortune 150 mining company), including strategic planning, skill training, message assistance and consulting on their digital tools.
  • Evolving the home page and resource area of the intranet (global insurance company), including user research and testing, counsel on integration of social, taxonomy and information architecture direction.
  • Implementation support for a new digital workplace (Fortune 100 global logistics company), including content migration, governance, training, taxonomy, adoption and communication for launch (Will be starting on this project soon).

I’m also writing regularly for SharePoint Pro Magazine sharing what we learn in client assignments. On a personal level, I serve on the Patient and Family Advisory Counsel at the nearby hospital that last year saved my husband’s life. I, together with other patients and their family members, provide direction and feedback to hospital projects from the consumer perspective. It’s a very rewarding effort.

PB: As conference chairperson of the Intranet & Digital Workplace Summit in Chicago this month, what would you say makes this event unique?
SW: The smaller, more intimate size is great. Advanced Learning Institute (ALI) conferences include a lot of interaction and dialogue among participants. Everyone gets to know each other and connect in meaningful ways. As chair, my first task is to ensure learning and my second is to help each speaker shine.

PB: What are some of your favorite resources that inspire your work?
SW: Some of my favorite resources are:

  • John Kotter: Probably the single greatest influence on my work
  • Geert Hofstede: Really useful when working with global clients
  • Mike Klein: I may not always agree with Mike, but he’s always got something important to say
  • Groundswell: Really altered my view of what digital tools should do for the business
  • Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn’s book on culture: I use it all the time
  • Liz Guthridge: Very strategic and always looking at the psychology behind things
  • IABC: Even though it’s going through ups and downs right now, I continue to support the organization that has shaped me as a communicator
  • Roger D’Aprix’s communication model: Live by it
  • Malcolm Gladwell: Blink and Tipping Point gave insight into how to run my business and provide sound direction, Outliers helped me rethink parenting, while I took David & Goliath as direction for small business success; all very insightful

PB: What is your contact information for questions, comments and ideas?
SW: Stacy L. Wilson, ABC (accredited by IABC) swilson@eloquor.com, 303-522-0411 http://www.linkedin.com/in/stacylwilson, www.eloquor.com/blog, @stacylwilson

What are your ideas for topics or people to be featured in future Brilliance@Work profiles?


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Create This Critical Intranet Content for Your Organization’s Success

1024px-2003-08-22_Chicago_skyline_from_Olive_Park_BeachPhoto: Chicago skyline viewed from Olive Park Beach, Ildar Sagdejev, http://commons.wikimedia.org

A highly effective intranet makes it easier for employees to do their jobs, which means increased productivity, collaboration, engagement and profitability for your organization.

Use “9 Types of Content Every Intranet Should Have” by Andrew Wright as your checklist to build or improve upon your organization’s intranet.

For a light-hearted

To learn more about transforming your intranet and the way your employees communicate, register for the 2014 Intranet & Digital Workplace Summit, July 29-31 in Chicago, Illinois.

While you’re there, be sure to check out “Building and Launching a Global Intranet on a Shoestring Budget” presented by JoEllen Saeli-Lane, Director of Internal Communications for Care USA. In this session you will learn how to:

  • Create a platform that is accessible to staff in low-bandwidth areas and on all mobile devices and browsers
  • Determine the critical factors to success on a tight budget
  • Create a global governance structure

What features of your organization’s intranet do your employees find relevant and use the most?


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Use Storytelling to Transform Your Intranet and Your Organization

Pop_transformation_(1444124191)_1024Photo: Feliciano Guimarães from Guimarães, Portugal

Great stories can help you:

  • Create meaningful connections with your employees
  • Transform your intranet into a key collaboration and idea platform
  • Improve your organization’s productivity and profitability

Need some inspiration on why and how to tell great stories? Read “Three Tips to Telling a Persuasive Story” by ePals CEO Katya Andresen.

To learn more about how to increase collaboration and employee engagement to drive business results, register for the 2014 Intranet & Digital Workplace Summit.

While you’re there, be sure to check out “How to Use Your Digital Workplace to Drive Collaboration, Build Trust and Transform the Way You Communicate” presented by James Warda, Chris Catania and Steve Cohen of the Corporate Communications team at Walgreen Co.

The Walgreen’s story will help you understand how to:

  • Build (and sustain) the business case for an enterprise social network
  • Give employees a place where they can become better informed, connected and engaged
  • Build partnerships across the company, which is vital to the success of any intranet initiative
  • Focus on key metrics to measure the success of your intranet

How does your organization’s intranet incorporate storytelling?


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Brilliance@Work and the Stars Who Make it Happen: Jeremy Schultz

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar communication professionals and their best practices at work.

Jeremy Schultz

Jeremy Schultz

Employee communication expert Jeremy Schultz leads a team of internal communicators at Intel in Hillsboro, Oregon.

At the March 20 IABC Phoenix professional development luncheon, Jeremy will present “Trends in Global Employee Communication and How They’re Taking Shape at Intel.”

During this event, you’ll learn:

– What global economic, social and workplace trends are affecting employee communication

– How communicators at Intel are keeping employees informed and inspired

– Ideas and tips from mini case studies – cutting-edge and tried-and-true communication practices put to the test at Intel

Register for the luncheon at http://www.iabcphoenix.com/trends-in-global-employee-communication-and-how-theyre-taking-shape-at-intel/

For more information, visit www.iabcphoenix.com.

In the meantime, read on to learn more about Jeremy and his insights on global employee best practices:

Peggy Bieniek: What is most important for people to know about you?
Jeremy Schultz: Probably that I just love to learn. It’s the big thing that drives me every day. One of my favorite things about internal communications is the constant opportunity to meet the people moving the company, learning about them and their work, and helping them to be successful. That, and drawing ideas from a wide range of sources, gets me up in the morning.

PB: What makes you stand out in a crowd of professional communicators?
JS: I think it’s my combination of technical aptitude and communication skills. I was a math and science whiz in school, got my degree in engineering, and worked as a software developer for several years before finding my way into communications. This gives me the ability to understand my (very technical) company’s products and the business strategies behind them, and then explain them in plain language for a broad audience. My abilities as a writer allow me to do that. I get to tackle projects from hour-turnaround news event reporting to informal blogging to longer-form, in-depth analyses. Writing is a blast, and a skill I’ve found isn’t too common, even within communications.

I like to try new things and push the envelope, so I’ve been at the forefront of using social intranet tools to foster conversation and more employee-to-employee connection. Intel as a company adopted these tools very early, but the communications team didn’t. I’ve been able to change that dramatically over the years, and now our team is helping the company to continue to work more collaboratively and communicate more openly.

PB: What are you most interested in and speak most enthusiastically about?
JS: I like to talk about trying new things, what worked or didn’t work, and bouncing new ideas around. I tend to be more of a synthesizer and improver of ideas versus a creator of brand new ones, so I’m energized by talking through ideas and evolving them with a group. I love to take on and take apart what look to be big problems, getting to the root cause, and figuring out how to solve them.

Content planning and development makes up a big part of my role, so that’s probably my favorite topic when it comes to communications. I’m always interested to hear how other companies plan and produce content, how much they curate versus create, and how they tie it all back to outcomes and business goals.

PB: How did you decide to shift your career from software development to communications?
JS: Pure serendipity. Software got boring—I was working in IT on important but unsexy internal systems. I started working with a career coach to start from scratch, and after loads of research and interviewing and job shadowing, I decided to go back to school and become a naturopathic doctor.

Shortly after I started taking prerequisites, I got swept up in broad layoff. I received an opportunity to find another job at Intel and had about three months to do it. I wasn’t ready to start medical school just yet, and a job in communications opened up. With my career coaching so fresh, I was able to articulate very well how my current skills set me up for success in communications, despite the contrast. I got the job. It was only three weeks between the old IT job and the new job in communications. I decided shortly afterwards to put the naturopathy career on hold. Six and a half years later, I’m still enjoying and growing in communications.

PB: What communication projects are you most proud of?
JS: There are a handful of stories I’ve written over the past few years that I’m proud of. Despite the barrels of ink that the tech media prints on the industry we’re in, there’s still plenty of ripe territory important for employees to understand. My flagship pieces have in-depth analyses of rising competitors, explaining each company’s history, business model, and keys to success.

Over a longer term, I’m proud of how I’ve helped move our department’s use of intranet social media from fledgling to a big piece of everything we do. It took several years, but today employee communications plays a huge role in influencing our intranet and ensuring employees get maximum value out of it.

PB: How do you incorporate strategic storytelling into your communication programs?
JS: Storytelling underpins a lot of the work we do. Our most effective and consistent all-company channel is our global intranet news. We not only dig up and tell individual stories, but we also build out longer-term editorial plans based on overarching narratives tied back to the company’s top priorities.

On the other end of the spectrum, we offer storytelling training to managers and leaders to help them be more effective communicators. That kind of hands-on help extends to helping employees write more colorful, candid blogs, too.

Overall, it spans from asking good questions during interviews—explicitly asking for stories and seemingly minute details that make stories come to life—all the way to using stories to help us reach company goals.

PB: What are some of your favorite resources that inspire your work?
JS: Besides keeping up with a lot of the groups and sites that specifically focus on internal/employee communications—IABC (of course!), the Corporate Executive Board, and a handful of other communities and blogs—I like to read about the latest in journalism and social media.

On the journalism side, I follow groups like Poynter and PBS’s MediaLab, and then I’ve got lists on Twitter and Google+ that include a broad group of creative folks who share interesting things related to communications. I’ve read some great books on interviewing and writing—Jack Hart’s A Writer’s Coach is a particular favorite.

On the social media side, I follow some of the leaders in using these tools to achieve specific outcomes. Not everything that works online applies inside the company, but some of the same principles apply and it’s fun to see how people are pushing the envelope.

Otherwise, I’m a huge fan of Wired and Fast Company. I read a lot, but these are the two magazines I usually read cover to cover.

PB: What is your contact information for questions, comments and ideas?
JS: LinkedIn is probably best: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremyschultz/. I’m fairly active on Twitter (@jschultz) and Google+ (https://plus.google.com/+JeremySchultz/), too. I’m happy to share this information, and I look forward to hearing from your readers.

PB: To learn how to incorporate storytelling in your organization’s intranet, read my post, “Every Great Intranet Reveals a Great Story.”

What best practices in communication would you like to share in future Brilliance@Work profiles? What are your ideas for topics or people to be featured in upcoming profiles?


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Every Great Intranet Reveals a Great Story

Flickr_-_paul_bica_-_hiddenPhoto by paul bica

In January and February’s posts, I shared ideas on how to incorporate strategic storytelling into your overall communication programs. I also provided you with a template to help you get started in identifying your organization’s great stories.

This month, I will share ideas on incorporating storytelling into your internal (employee) communication programs.

Let’s begin by focusing on your organization’s intranet. Use “9 Types of Content Every Intranet Should Have” by Andrew Wright, posted on www.ragan.com, as your checklist to build or improve upon your organization’s intranet.

A highly effective intranet makes it easier for employees to do their jobs, which means increased productivity, collaboration, engagement, and profitability for your organization.

Need some inspiration on why and how to tell great stories? Read “Three Tips to Telling a Persuasive Story” by ePals CEO Katya Andresen, posted on www.linkedin.com.

What features of your organization’s intranet do your employees find relevant and use the most? How does your organization’s intranet incorporate storytelling?