Know your impacts

I came across an absolutely fantastic quote last night (courtesy of Daniel Goleman) that completely describes the crisis we face as more and more organizations embrace and adopt social learning.

In an attempt to describe ecological goals, Goleman boiled each choice down to the following:

Know your impacts. Favor improvements. Share what you learn.

From an ecological standpoint, these three steps make perfect sense, but the value of each step applies nicely to the world of social learning. Unfortunately, when it comes to social learning and collaboration, the first (and most crucial) step is often overlooked.

We’ve all sat in front of steering committees and CFOs and presented the inherit benefits of collaborating and connecting employees, often in an attempt to derail the arguments of ROI and wasted time. The thing is, I think we’ve share too much.

Years ago, a learning professional helped provide access to the right content. Access, was the biggest hurdle we faced. Now, everyone has access to almost every article, blog, link, tweet or photo. Now the biggest challenge is filtering the ever increasing flow of information.

Essentially, learning professionals have become curators, not hunters. Our biggest goal should be to help learners find the information they want, when they need it.

So what is the “impact” of contributing to the conversation? Is a RT or a +1 helping or hurting? We should be focusing on quality, not quantity. It’s fantastic to know we are moving towards a world where sharing is a foundation for learning, but we need to determine why we are sharing. Is it just to share? Or is it because we are contributing to the progression of a discussion?

For 2013, my goal is to eliminate on “bad habit” per month. The first of which is the fact I share content freely, after only reading snippets. My goal is to be responsible in my sharing. No more RTs without providing context. No more links without any indication of why it’s important.

It might mean less dialog, but hopefully it will be more meaningful dialog.


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