Month: February 2013

Pink Shirt Day: Is the office any different than the playground?

Two days ago, I came across a brutally honest and beautifully written look at the impacts of bullying. Canadian poet Shane Koyczan and a slew of talented animators came together for “To This Day.” The result is a synergy of words and images, movement and pain that create a video to remind everyone that even the most nonchalant words, the ones we often forget seconds after they escape our lips, can change the outcome of a person’s life forever.

As a parent, I’m constantly afraid that my boys will be judged on something arbitrary (and ultimately irrelevant) at a young age and suffer through years of abuse. I’m powerless to help, holding onto the hope that my wife and I can give them both the confidence and self-esteem to push on,  be better human beings and grow up without succumbing to the crippling fear of not fitting in.It’s scary to think all we can do is pray that when we tell our kids they are special (no matter what they hear from other people), they believe it.

I never had to deal with the ridicule or fear, mostly because I developed a love of sports and had enough athletic prowess to play on sports teams at a young age. As a result my social status was easily defined and I was popular. I was never tormented for my pipe cleaner arms, my crooked and stained smile or the fact I was adopted. I was never called stupid, or fat, or ugly, not because I wasn’t, but because I had the protection of the herd. I dressed the part and had the security of relationships created simply from playing on teams with the most popular people.

Fitting in without having to try, the inherited wealth in the currency of youth, let me develop confidence. I wasn’t cursed with an uncool love of books, music, art, computers – things I love wholeheartedly now, but wasn’t strong enough to display then – or any other unfair social poison. My norm was the norm, so I was allowed to walk freely, never in the path of insults or bullies.

If you talk to most of the people in my life, I’d think they’d mostly agree that I’m a nice guy that cares about people. Even back then, I was sympathetic to my friends, hoping to make people smile and laugh with quick comments and funny stories. Basically, I wanted needed to be liked and tried hard to make sure I was.  Sadly, I felt like part of being liked was to be a bully to those outside of my social circle. I used simple mathematics as a justification; if 80% of the people are laughing, it was OK.  The 20%, the one person in a group of five being insulted, was collateral damage in a schoolyard wars. Every insecurity I had/have, well, if I joked about it quickly before deflecting the spotlight to someone else’s most painful flaw, I didn’t have to worry about my issues defining me.

It took me years to realize how hurtful I was. Someone should have shut me up; I deserved that and more.  I’ve tried to change; I’m still too quick with words and insults. I still dismiss people’s ideas and contributions as pointless or wrong, especially at the office. Unfortunately, work is like family. We are randomly put together and told to get along. Of course, we won’t get along with everyone we meet. There are too many factors at play; interests, age, engagement, outlook. Anyone that’s single will tell you how hard it is to find someone that with whom you can share even a few of these things so asking a team of employees with no control of the situation to see eye to eye and become more than just colleagues, is basically impossible.

Not getting along, however,  is not an excuse to treat someone unfairly.

What example are we really setting?

Most parents sit down and tell their children to be nice to everyone. Don’t call people names. Share. Include. We get frustrated and sad when we see kids being cruel but we do the same things every day at the office.

“He’s useless. I wish he wasn’t on our team.”

“She doesn’t get it. How did she ever get hired?”

This has to stop. Now.

I know I’m guilty of these dismissals; I judge a team member’s value on how closely their career goals or measured output aligns to my own priorities. Assuming that because they won’t drop everything to answer a request or don’t believe in the same strategies I do, that they are a less valuable team member. We know little to nothing about any of the people we work with, especially with the increase in virtual teams and part-time employees. We form an opinion on deliverables and arbitrary details shared over conference call lines. When you comment on my energy level or my commitment, do you know that my dad is sick? Do I know if your daughter is being bullied or if money is tight and you are scared you can’t pay your mortgage? Do I even really know if you are happy in your role?

No. I. Don’t.

In an ideal world, we’d have the open dialog needed to get to the root cause of the problem. We’d work collaboratively to solve the problem and assess potential solutions. Sadly, we don’t have the time (or maybe, the desire) to do that for every single person. Those crucial conversations happen quarterly (or even less frequently) and the only real change is a shift to another section of a 9-box, an action that is almost impossible to remove from people’s conceptions.

As a kid, I watched how my father approached his profession. I saw how he valued his patients and viewed work ethic. He never once sat me down and said anything about working every day because that is what work is. He never said to treat people with respect, he just did it. And that’s how I learned. I saw good behaviors and repeated them and they’ve stayed with me to this day.

I constantly ask my boys to “be nice.” If Cillian uses a word like “stupid”, we stop whatever we are doing and talk about why that is such a hurtful term. Why then, do I condone people using similar terminology at work? Or even worse, why do I contribute to the dialog in an equally negative way?

At the start of this month, I made a decision to start having tough conversations with people at work, hoping to find solutions instead of just contributing to the problem. Instead of checking out or giving up on people, I wanted to try to re-engage and find middle ground. It’s important to have those tough conversations, but part of the solution is stopping the hurtful conversations that fill dead air on calls and text boxes on IM.  Standing up for team members and stopping toxic conversations is more than just preserving team health, it’s a sign of respect for the people you work with. Every time we resort to those oversimplifications, we make it harder for a team member to grow.

Is a team member “dumb” because she’s overwhelmed? Of course not, but far too often a mistake at work is no different than wearing the wrong kind of shirt on the playground. It leads to assumptions and rash judgments. We try to be role models for our kids and set a good example, but we should be setting those same examples for our fellow team members. People mimic good behavior. People want to be treated with respect. People want to feel safe to explore ideas and who they are, whether they are 11 or 61.

So this Feb. 27th, when you proudly dress your kid up in pink, remember there are people in your workplace that need your support too.

Ballad of a Collaboration Advocate (a.k.a. About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All)

This song, offered triumphantly by my friend as the opener on his last record, unknowingly documents the uncertainties, disappointments and small rewards of social change in an organization. The song is actually about Gertrude Ederle and her successful swim across the English Channel, but it became my unofficial theme for the “connected” journey at TELUS.

Whenever I speak to organizations or at conferences, people see the end game. They embrace the successes and happily envision that same strategy working within their own org. In reality, it was the failures that no one sees that tells our story.

Both feet together, Slowly progressing, Always in time.
Don’t count the feathers, Just count the wings.
Every day counting. Everything’s changing.

It’s hard to understand the situation until you are in the thick of it. Basically, the day to day consists of asking people to run at full speed into a wall repeatedly, promising one day they will miraculously explode through to the other side unharmed. It’s what is asked of me and shapes how I mentor people in our organization when it comes to collaboration. We count users and survey team members on the effectiveness of learning socially, hoping to reach the tipping point where people aren’t talking about collaborative learning they are simply doing it. The weird thing is, there is no magic metric that can truly say if we are successful.

ROI quickly became a metric that made no sense to me or any interested user / business unit. Engagement? Well, it was important for the HR equation, but the business was looking for a) better value for learning spend and b) better performance.

In the verse I quoted above, Mangan paraphrases nature artist Charley Harper, and hints at how we  must look past the intricate details and create movement and beauty from simplified actions. We must focus on the only the most essential elements of an animal’s form to truly represent its being. This idea extends perfectly to the adoption of collaborative tools. Speaking in language like career development, performance improvements and improved culture make sense on the executive level, but the people actually using these tools are far more concerned with things like feeling  supported in their job and finding an answer when they have a question. Those executive terms are crucial and a much needed measuring stick for the organization, but only surface after people see the value in the tools and buy in on a smaller, grass roots level.

One of my biggest failures – even within my own team (if the learning team isn’t buying into a learning initiative, it’s probably a good time to rethink your strategy!!) – was spending months trying to push enterprise wide use cases and big picture strategy to audiences more concerned (and rightfully so) with their piece of the pie. In reality, most people don’t have the time to invest in a social implementation plan without a lot of hand holding or they simply can’t see the benefits.

I was thrown in the boat, Cast out to sea.
Friendly with waves,
There were sharks below, Hungry for me
So I dangled my legs.

Anyone that’s ever tried to implement social learning knows how it goes. Day one, the early adopters sign up for an account and the rest of the team may sign up, but they probably won’t.  The biggest misconception that people make when it comes to social adoption is that the majority of users actually want the tools and want their processes changed as a result. Curiosity and interest are outweighed by skepticism.  I’ve said the line 100 times, but “if you build it, they will come” only works in Field of Dreams. Most teams still expect the social tools to fail, and are hesitant to dive in. That’s why we need to plunge head first into those shark infested waters.

The biggest advice I can give to anyone is to quickly shift from enterprise initiatives to a more consultative model. For me, global strategy became business unit cold-calls. “Look, I know I don’t know the intricacies of your day-to-day, but I can help you. These tools can help you, we just have to find out how.” You, not the customer, has to take ownership of finding the solution and proving the value.

Victories are often few and far between and the baby steps we take often feel like marathon like runs. I remember convincing a call-centre shift of the benefits of sharing skills informally, knowing it might only be relevant to a few people, and will only impact a few customer conversations. It wasn’t the numbers (obviously), but the created trust and productivity improvement. Maybe it’s one less customer we have to call back or one less person given inaccurate information, but when you talk about customer satisfaction and team member performance, every number counts. Success stories, no matter what the sample size, are the best weapon you can offer to any manager or director.

Social change can’t simply about providing a collaborative tool and will fail if the training is a simple collection of how to documents. The required shift is in behavior, but the role of the learning professional is not to tell a team how to do their job better. It’s to provide solutions that fit into existing processes and hopefully make them better. It’s about understanding the problems and honestly determining if the social strategy is the right strategy for the targeted group.

People often try to gauge and define culture as a uniform entity. In reality, culture should never be homogeneous. Just because your organization values collaboration – ours does, and I strongly believe all should – it doesn’t mean that same culture needs to apply to every group in the same way. If collaborative tools don’t make sense for a business unit or slice of your org, but mentoring/coaching and fair process do, you can’t view that as failure or a business unit being wrong.

For your own sanity, you can’t continually run into that wall when you know it will never crumble. Knowing your audience is as important as knowing your tool or associated behaviors you are hoping to create.

Ideas that help open doors

In an attempt to share, here are a few ideas that helped me make inroads with various audiences. They might seems simple or obvious, but the results spoke volumes.

Using informal skills and micro-blogging not only to share knowledge, but to provide support: The more I talk with our customer facing employees, the more I understand their need for learning is not to learn new technologies or move up the corporate ladder. The bigger concern is feeling unsupported at work. If a customer has a question and they can’t answer, they have to act quickly. Sure, having skills shared freely across the organization helps identify gaps and foster talent, but for the individual – the person being asked to enter skills and answer questions from other employees – the sell is less wasted time. It’s estimated that 19% of a workers day is spent looking for answers, and by being able to identify people with the knowledge to solve the specific customer issue instead of a general knowledge base, we start to have fewer pointless searches. We develop improved trust with our colleagues and the certainty in the answer we give a customer. That’s a performance gain – fewer calls back, higher customer satisfaction – not a learning gain.

The fact the tool provides the channel to give informal recognition and say thanks for the help is just another plus.

Don’t be afraid to look outside of work for inspiration: It’s no secret that some employees view a job as a necessary evil. They cash  their pay cheque and often appear to care about little else. Chances are, those employees won’t care about a new work process that saves time or money, but the thing is, those same people you assume have checked out have passion outside of their job. Maybe they are in a role that they don’t like, or maybe they aren’t being challenged; either way, when you provide a social channel for green initiatives or charity work or create a forum to share hobbies like footie, biking or music, you connect people and get users on the tools for a reason they genuinely care about. They feel connected to other team members and more importantly, those users will start commenting, sharing and participating.

Sometimes, all you need is a spark.

I lit up like a match,
‘Cause I bled gasoline.
Made a torch of myself
‘Till the moon was mine.

Find a work related focus that people care about: Of all our social tools, we see the most traffic and more importantly, the most conversation on anything related to our Customers First program.

Within weeks of being created, the microblogging group was the largest at TELUS. The SharePoint crowd sourcing idea got thousand of responses. Why? Because CF ties into everything we do… including stock value, performance reviews and year end bonuses.

It’s easy to say that employees only care about money, but studies show that people want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Knowing they had a direct channel to something that will hopefully make TELUS a better place to work, a better provider for our customers and a better community ambassador was the trigger that people needed.

Don’t be afraid to bribe people: You would not believe how much traction a gift card or bonus points will create. I have a friend that once said he would go to any gathering (office, birthday, wedding, religious) if there was even the potential for cake. Let me reiterate. He was willing to show up for anything if he even thought cake was apossibility.

Obviously, the analogy is a bit ridiculous, but it fits. People will fill out surveys, sit in focus groups, email suggestions and spend hours performing tasks for the chance to win <em>anything</em>. It’s probably easier at my company because we have access to flashy gadgets, but Starbucks cards, Amazon gift certificates or even free lunch (with cake?) are enough to get someone to pay attention and contribute. The possibility of reward is all it takes to get someone to take the first step. After that, hopefully your message is enough to convert team members.

I know budgets are tight and social is often viewed as the free/cheap way to help people learn, but if it’s vital to your organization, a few carrots are required and worth every penny.

<h3>About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All</h3>

I wish I could offer a blueprint; these are just some observations and successes I’ve seen in our social journey. They might not work in your org, or you might have tried the same strategy and failed.

There’s no right answer, other than urging you try to connect in smaller chunks. You can’t help people that don’t want your help. You can’t force people to be social and collaborate anymore than you can make them be nice. At the end of the day, you can only show them how collaboration might help, and hope they get inspired.

Human Resource Optimization Engine?

Frankenstein's_monster_(Boris_Karloff)After writing one of my most positive and open posts, it’s probably odd to follow with a completely negative one. Make no mistake, I value the input, knowledge and trust of the people in my network, but every day my tweet streams, rss feeds and facebook newsfeeds become more and more saturated with the HR/talent/E2.0 get rich quick schemes.

Case in point; I logged in this morning and the first tweet I saw was something along the line of “Five sure fire ways to get fast content for your organization’s blog.”

I… just… can’t… do… it. I can’t keep reading them.

I’m no genius, and by no means do I think that my thoughts are foundation cracking, game changing gems. What I hope to offer is a perspective built on my own personal values, experiences and personality. My only guarantee is that nothing you read on this page is going to be some sort of Franken-blog of ideas from other people. What I write is will always be my own thoughts that you either connect with or ignore.

And that’s why ideas for generic, rapidly developed content feel so wrong to me, especially when it’s the entry point for a customer to learn about your senior leaders and corporate philosophy.

Social presence

If your organization is jumping into the social world for the first time, is writing about what everyone else is writing about really the best approach? People, more than ever, want to see behind the curtain. I know it’s a buzzword, but people want brands to be humanized and want to connect with the people that drive an org, not the product or service they sell.

In terms of customer loyalty, admitting a mistake and showing how your organization fixed that problem has become more valuable than any number of seamless launches or successful sales. Sure, we all care about why an organization makes money, but wouldn’t you rather get a shockingly honest/frank/surprising view a the senior leadership team? Or maybe what makes a company different?

It might seem extreme, but the fact you see these rapid dumps of HR intelligence nestled alongside SEO optimization techniques is pretty telling and should be a concern for every critical thinker in the industry focused on human beings.

I worked as an search engine optimizer for a few months almost a decade a go. I can honestly say it was horrible. Google had “rules.” Yahoo had “rules.” My day consisted of trying to write copy about jewelry and pharmaceuticals knowing if I followed the exact format of each search engine, I would start to see results.

For three months, I functioned as a robot and I fear HR/learning is moving in the same direction. Do this, this and this and you will be successful. You will gain traffic, support, cklout. How to make friends and influence people is no longer about networks and opportunities, it’s about statistics.

Of course you want your external presence, especially if it comes from the voice of the executive level, to be well written, telling and inoffensive to potential customers/clients. But that same voice, ideally, should be charismatic and extend to an internal, open presence. What we tell our customers has to mirror what we tell our employees, and if either is lip service, both will suffer.

I don’t read a ton of management books, mainly because I find most are simply different recipes made from the same ingredients. I am looking for books, posts, people that challenge me to be better and think differently (a perfect example and a book I can’t recommend enough, Yvon Chouinard’s “Let My People Go Surfing“). I search for that in the brands/products I support, and the organizations I want to be a part of as well.

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing our CEO speak, and that man can inspire the dead. If every employee and customer was given that opportunity, engagement and brand loyalty would soar.

HR Presence

More distressing to me is how these catch all blasts are impacting the process we preach as educators and change agents.  I’m not sure anyone in learning or HR ever fully realizes the trust of our customers, and dumbing it down isn’t going to help. I understand there are plenty of reasons that great ideas are streamlined and reused under the moniker of best practice, but I refuse to believe we can extend that another level and water down best-practices into standard practice without sacrificing growth.

In David Byrne’s fantastic book, “How Music Works“, he talks about how he fine tuned his stage persona from something spontaneous and free-formed into something other people – backing band, vocalists and dancers – could follow. His thought is simple, but so crucial in today’s world.

…did something spontaneously that worked perfectly for us, it could be repeated without any risk of losing its power and soul.

Think about those last five words. Losing its power and soul. Whether we are in traditional HR, traditional learning or (more than likely) some combination of the two, we can’t lose the soul of our work.

There’s nothing worse than dealing with an HR employee that simply follows flow charts and decision tools. You feel like a number. You feel worthless. If we target our thought and content creation to extend past the individual employee and apply simply to the masses, we are losing the soul that ultimately helps us do our jobs effectively.

There are many key factors at play (an increasingly contingent workforce trying to consume a never ending torrent of content and slowly being removed from any form of culture terrifies me), but the simple fact we take less time to consume and process content and prefer to operate in real-time means that most of the power and soul Byrne realized was so crucial to any form of best practice is never realized.

Those factors are also why we are at a critical time in HR. Technology is moving faster than the effective tools and methodology we can produce. The shift from the creation of progressive thought to the curation and simplification of process is only highlighted by the open sharing provided by new social channels. We all need more content.. NOW!

The scary thing is, as educators, we know how important individuality and timing is. No two learners/employees/contractors are the same, so why are we trying to formalize the standard approach of content across every organization? We can fool ourselves and say that informal and social learning help, but if we are all pumping out the same content in the same format, following the same rules… aren’t we just trying to optimize our work to get one algorithm’s definition of proper content?

I don’t have the answers, I’m looking for help. I know you can’t work 1:1 with every employee at your organization (at TELUS, we have a 1:1000 ratio of learning professionals to team members) but a good start is the material we share and from which we learn. Instead of pumping out a post to get some RTs and new followers, wouldn’t it be better to take the time to come up with something that can be consumed and debated, tested and improved?  Wouldn’t it be better to take a breath, challenge yourself to learn from a new source, but also to engage that author so they can learn from you? That’s the value in open sharing and social channels. We can learn from each others experiences, not our rules and shared bookshelves.

I know not many people read this blog, but this is something I really want to explore. If you have a thought on this post – positive or negative – I honestly would love to hear it.

Why is my social network so important?

social-network-iconsLast night, I sat down with my director and had my annual performance review over a few delicious Mill Street stouts. Like any good performance review, it took about three minutes and was largely uneventful. There were no surprises; I guessed my PVAAM score (our score out of 20) exactly and my performance multiplier (0-200%) to within one percent.

In our organization and especially on our team, performance goals are incredibly pragmatic and because my director and I talk on a regular basis,  those goals are adjusted depending on the direction of our organization, my desired career path and any of the new projects that are thrown at the learning & collaboration team. There is little to no stress, disappointment or anger for any of our team members when they see the end result of each year.

That left us to talk about footie, family and the future. It was no different than any night out with any friend, until it became one of the most effective coaching sessions I’ve had since I started working in an industry that didn’t require me to wear a paper hat or fry food for lunch hour rushes.

We talked freely about my thoughts, my insecurities and my strengths – at one point I joked about pushing two chairs together and lying down on a symbolic couch – but the one piece of the conversation that really hit home when was we talked about the transparency with which I write on my blogs. There is little about my life you won’t find on this blog or nestled into the music reviews I write on herohill (you will know I love my wife and two sons fully & completely, care deeply about my job, music, the Tottenham Hotspur, the Steelers & my Giant road bike, that my dad is sick and our oldest son has a CHD) but I said often, it’s more difficult to share as freely with the people who I value as trusted friends.

He was surprised by this, but for me, I can pinpoint the exact moment when things changed for me. When Nicola and I went into the hospital for the 21-week ultrasound, we were run over by bad news. Severe heart defects. Uncertainty. I remember going home and having to call my boss and tell her the news. SAP had acquired BusinessObjects only weeks before, and although my boss was a fair, kind woman, I had no relationship with her. I had to tell her I wouldn’t be at work for a few days, maybe longer if the news was as bad as they thought it could be. I struggled to not break down, and she did her best to support me.

I hung up and could barely stand. We then realized we had to make a list of people that we loved, and have that same conversation over and over again.

The conversations added up. Telling people didn’t make it any easier. In fact, having to tell people that love you and would do anything for you, but ultimately can do nothing to help you, was unbearable. It was heartbreaking. It was tiring.

There’s a line from a fantastic Hayden song (“Rainy Saturday“), a man who has also had to feel the crippling sadness when a perfect future was reduced to best case scenarios and statistics. Probability should never be a requirement for parenthood, but for more and more people it is reality. Over a punchy drum beat and chugging electric guitar he sings:

We should have had some friends come over | you know they called so many times | But we were on a long vacation | on an island so small no one could find

That simple line is exactly how we felt. We were lost, felt alone despite everyone wanting to send us a life raft. We got our strength from each other, trying to go through each and every possible outcome. Preparing for situations we were not ready to deal with and no one should ever need to think about.

It was around that time we did something I would have never imagined doing. We did something I hate more than almost anything in the world. We sent a group email… for the most personal message we’d ever written we used the most impersonal medium we had available. It wasn’t fair to a lot of the people on the list, but neither my wife nor I could have that conversation as many times as I needed to and this was the only solution we could come up with.

The thing is, that email was the best thing I ever sent. People took the time to read and respond. They shared their spirituality or religious faith openly. They didn’t try to solve our problems or transfer sympathy to empathy in the way we often do as human beings. What we got was a collection of heartfelt messages, some only a few characters, others long well written pages.

“I know you two aren’t religious, but we are praying for you.” “You are good people, stronger than almost anyone we know. You will be okay, no matter what happens.”

We held these responses close. When we were sad or scared, it was easier to scan through an inbox then call someone and struggle to choke out the words or have to hang up.

The real gift however was when people shared the email with casual acquaintances or people they knew that had gone through similar – no one ever goes through the same experience – and we started learning about people going through the same sort of issues. We found facebook groups, twitter feeds, and blogs. We saw the good and the bad. We saw the reality. We started getting notes from mothers and fathers that had made it through the initial storm. We saw a future, assuming we got good news when our son was born.

These people became a part of my network. They had the experience to help me, but there was little emotional attachment. I still hurt when I read bad news for these friends I’ll never meet, but their sharing was something I couldn’t have gotten from even my closest friends. I could read notes, posts, and see pics when I needed to, and share on those same timelines.

Basically, I started finding answers.

C Looking So Grown UpOver the last couple of years, we’ve been extremely lucky.  As you can see, our son is growing strong and is adorable, but we’ve had to deal with bad news more often than we’d like. My dad has had cancer twice. Normally, I would have bottled that up, told a few close friends and hunkered down hoping to weather the storm, but after my experiences with our son I shared this with my team at work, people online, people I know through music AND my friends.

The stories I’ve gotten to hear, the support and the dedication – I’ve raised over 5500 bucks for cancer research through my network – is almost overwhelming. I have learned more about my friends, my colleagues and complete strangers than I would have guessed possible.

And that is the power of a social network. It’s built on people of shared interest, support and fascinating stories that only require as much commitment as you can provide. I don’t preach microblogging or informal skills sharing because it’s part of our org strategy. I believe in these tools because they help me everyday, in the hardest and best situations.

My social network helps me find new tools, new jobs, gives me encouragement, provides me context for new experiences and helps me get answers. My social network lets me be scared, lets me fail without judgement and helps me learn from everything I do. All of these things make me not only a better employee, leader or mentor, but they make me a better human being.

When I talk to an organization about why social learning is not an option, but a necessity, it’s because of these immeasurable gifts. It’s not ROI or engagement, it’s giving people the chance to be better.

I truly believe there is a reason we are in HUMAN resources, and decoupling our work from who we are is why so many people are miserable and disengaged at their job. And yes, I do find it funny that a digital network has helped me become more human, more transparent and more trusting, but all of these things (hopefully) make me a better person.

These tools and cultivated/synthesized relationships should never replace traditional relationships (ask Manti T’eo). I’m fully aware I’m connected to many people I’ve never (and will never meet) and while I never take that support for granted, having a strong social network, made me realize I can – and should – focus more on developing and improving my real life relationships. If I can learn from strangers online and share the most intimate details of my life, it’s ridiculous to think that doesn’t extend to the people in my life. My social network helped me learn to say I’m sorry and thanks for sticking with me, even when I couldn’t pick up the phone and call the people that deserved to hear it most.

If you don’t think that potential shift is valuable to you, your team or your employees, I’m not sure how else to sell you on the idea.