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  1. Norfolk Area Entrepreneurs ROUND 2: Connect w/Amazing People to Start Companies/Projects With

    1 Comment

    Click Here to Apply!

    Wanted to share info. about a great service that seems super relevant for this crew – FounderDating (no, it’s not romantic).  Norfolk Area of FounderDating is kicking off Round 2 of accepting applications into this private group for people looking to find a Co-Founder of their startup business!

    Click here for more info on FounderDating.com

    FounderDating (FD) is an invite-only, online network for entrepreneurs to connect with cofounders. What makes them different?

     

    • High Quality – members are carefully screened for quality and readiness (no recruiters, etc.) Applications and members’ identities are confidential, but a few of the folks who are part of the network are former founders or early employees from: stackmob, snapfish, Zynga, Loggly and Gilt just to name a few.
    • Balanced – 50% engineering & 50% non-engineering
    • No Idea Necessary – FD is about the people, so you don’t need to have an idea, just be ready to work on a serious side project

    Upcoming Round: September 20th, 2012 Norfolk Area

     

    Deadline to Apply: September 10th, 2012 Apply Now http://members.founderdating.com/application/

    If you have applied in the past and received an email about not being accepted in Round 1 you will be considered for an invite in Round 2   Zack Miller and I can  work with any type of groups like alumi associations, professional organizations, and government agencies to ensure their members know about FounderDating and can apply.   Just let us know how we can work with you to announce this round and opportunity to your club via email or other appropriate channels?  If so, I’ve included a small blurb below.  Also, we are happy to jump on the phone/skype or scheduled a face to face visit and tell you more about us or answer questions about FounderDating.com. You can read more about FD on here and here   Here are Photos from the Round 1 Members Kickoff:

    Member Building Activity

    Member Building Activity

     

    Jessica Alter of FounderDating at Hatchnorfolk

  2. Do you want to invest in Hatch? Its an incubator ya know

    Comments Off on Do you want to invest in Hatch? Its an incubator ya know

    I went back to my northern roots on that title hey!  Wanted to share an email I received from Zack Miller of We are Titans about the incubator for startups he has created called Hatch! There is a deadline for applications coming up fast. So make it a point to check it out and if you are serious about your idea for a business, well then what are you waiting for?

    Now that is one side of the equation the other side is investing.  If you are wanting to invest some serious money in some businesses that are not yet supported and are in your own backyard.  Well here is your chance.  To start investing today reach out to Zack Miller at [zack dot miller at wearetitans dot net ] about the details about how being on the ground floor in your community with investing is the new black!

    +++++++++ Below is Zack’s Email to the Community ++++++++++

    Friends:

    A lot of people talk about generating new high-tech jobs in the region and attracting fast-growing startups to downtown Norfolk and other parts of the region.

    We’re done talking.  This summer, we take action.

    On June 15, the visionaries who created Start Norfolk and brought TechCrunch to Granby Street are launching Hatch, an 11-week long startup accelerator.  Hatch will put a handful of teams from around the Mid-Atlantic region through the crucible and create new companies.

    We know this will work because we’ve already done it.  The two weekend long startup marathons known a Start Norfolk resulted in the formation of 19 companies.  Many of them have already launched their products.   And that was just two weekends.

    Imagine what we can accomplish with 11 weeks.  This time, however, we can’t do it alone.  The startup companies can’t quit their jobs or put them on hold for 11 weeks and still eat and pay rent.  That’s why we’re raising $25,000 for each team.  As a result, we need $200,000. 

     

    If you invest $10,000?  A cornucopia of payback.  First, publicity.  Hatch will be a very public event.  The City of Norfolk has contributed the Design Center, a retail space near the corner of Main and Granby Streets (directly across the street from the new urban park, The Plot).  People walking and driving by will see the companies working around the clock (and your logo on the storefront window).  The center, which has great meeting space, will become a hub and hangout for area entrepreneurs and their service providers all summer.  Also, we’re great at getting press coverage.  Here’s what we got for a couple of weekends and the TechCrunch event.  Imagine what we’ll get for an 11-week event.

     

    http://hamptonroads.com/2011/11/entrepreneurs-gather-norfolk-spawn-startups

    http://hamptonroads.com/2012/04/hatch-norfolk-aid-firms-growth

    http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/how-an-accidental-entrepreneur-found-a-big-idea.html

    http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/28/dc-richmond-and-points-south-lets-plan-the-first-tc-mini-meetup-in-the-virginia-area/?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150645653272842_21587251_10150645963302842#comment-box

    http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/02/the-first-of-the-tc-mini-meet-ups-dc-norfolk-and-richmond/

    http://youtu.be/PtI-DZb3uOshttp://hamptonroads.com/2012/04/regent-worker-wins-business-prize-d8nightcom

    http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/16/aeir-talk-gives-a-fathers-autistic-kids-a-voice/

    http://www.altdaily.com/features/news/what-can-happen-in-a-weekend-start-norfolk.html

    http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/local_news/norfolk/entrepreneurs-gather-for-start-norfolk

    http://insidebiz.com/news/its-techcrunch-time

     

    Next, you’ll also get equity.  We’re forming a fund that will get equity in each of the teams that is accepted into Hatch and receives a $25,000 stipend.

    Finally, you’ll get satisfaction.  You’ll be part of the solution to making Norfolk an even more vibrant downtown community, a magnet for technology startups, and a regional job-creator.  Plus, you’ll be the part of the first and only angel investor fund in the area.

     

    Hatch is coming.  Become a part of it today.

    Cheers,

    Zack Miller

  3. Lethal combination of books for any business! #startnorfolk

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    Since I am heading off to #StartNorfolk in a couple hours wanted to share some info with the folks that will be there this weekend to consider picking up this lethal combination of business books as they kick off their business dreams!

    I have read 3 and half of these books (Meghan and Nancy still working on yours!) and I have come to the conclusion! If you are a business owner, getting a business off the ground, reinventing your business, and or innovating your business these 4 books have to be read together!

    Suggestions while reading these books:

    1. Take notes with a pen and paper (old school I know)

    2. Highlight and dogear the crap out of these books. You will come back to those, TRUST ME@

    3. Start constructing the what, how and why plans, strategies, tactics and metrics for your business or career development while reading.

    4. Find the patterns of how to’s and why’s between the four books – WRITE THEM DOWN! They are there!

    5. Encourage many at your company to read these 4 books together.

    6. Talk with the authors online. They are all available & very conversational!

     

    Pick these books up today if you have not already. I have made it easy and provided a link to the books on amazon and also the authors online information. Have fun!

    As Pictured above top to bottom:

    1. Rework written by Jason Fried @jasonfried Founder of 37signals

    “Most business books give you the same old advice: Write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors, yadda yadda. If you’re looking for a book like that, put this one back on the shelf.

    Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you’ll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don’t need to be a workaholic. You don’t need to staff up. You don’t need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don’t even need an office. Those are all just excuses.”

    2. Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard @thebrandbuilder of

    TheBrandBuilder.com or additional information at SMROI.net

    “Use this book to bring true business discipline to your social media program and align with your organization’s goals. Top branding and marketing expert Olivier Blanchard brings together new best practices for strategy, planning, execution, measurement, analysis, and optimization. You will learn how to define the financial and nonfinancial business impacts you are aiming for–and achieve them. Social Media ROI delivers practical solutions for everything from structuring programs to attracting followers, defining metrics to managing crises. Whether you are in a startup or a global enterprise, this book will help you gain more value from every dime you invest in social media.

    You’ll learn how to:

    • Align social communications with broader business goals and functions
    • Plan for effective performance measurement
    • Establish clarity of vision, purpose, and execution
    • Implement guidelines and operations for effectively managing social media
    • Get started by “listening before talking”
    • Integrate social media into long-term marketing programs, short-term campaigns, and brand initiatives
    • Use social media to deliver real-time, optimized customer support
    • Leverage mobility and the “on-the-fly” social media culture
    • Measure FRY (Frequency, Reach, and Yield)”

    3. Interactive Project Management Pixels, People, and Process by Nancy Lyons @nylons and Meghan Wilker @irishgirl of Clockwork Active Media

    “As an industry, interactive is different. The work entails elements of software development, marketing, and advertising, yet it’s neither purely technical nor traditional “agency” work. Delivery methods are different, and because the industry is relatively new, the gap in understanding between the clients buying the work and the teams building it is often wide. Enter the geek girls guide. Nancy Lyons and Meghan Wilker don’t just tell you how to deliver digital work, they demonstrate how to think about it.

    Interactive Project Management: Pixels, People, and Process helps clients, agencies, and industry professionals better understand the critical role of interactive project management, and presents a collaborative, people-focused approach to delivering high-quality digital work.”

     

    4. The Power of Unpopular by Erika Napoletano @readheadwriting of RedHeadWriting.com

    ErikaNapoletano.com

    “Every successful brand in history is inherently unpopular with a specific demographic. Somewhere along the way, people felt they had to be popular in order to be successful, when in fact, the opposite is true. The brands playing in the space you want to dominate have already figured out the inherent power of being unpopular. In The Power of Unpopular, you’ll discover the difference between flash-in-the-pan brand tactics and those designed to place you miles above the competition.

    • Brand Personality: What’s yours? Explore the importance of taking a stand and why brands become road kill without a distinct personality.
    • Community: It’s the number one thing that unpopular brands have figured out—learn how to build yours.
    • Brand Advocacy: It knows no scale and your fans don’t care how big you are. A guide for businesses on the proper care and feeding of their biggest asset.”

    I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Olivier, Nancy, and Meghan over the years. I know one of these days Erika and I will meet IP (In Person, looking forward to that!!!). Jason and I have only occasionally tweeted back and forth.  So there are my disclosures. In no way was I paid or asked to write this post. I just sharing great people with other great people I know!

     

  4. Change Executors vs NaySayers

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    In running your business, project, or strategy where do you focus:

    1. Time

    2. Energy

    3. Rewards

    4. Attention

    5. Resources

    So this is a fundamental path you and your company are going to need to examine for moving into the next evolution of business.  Will you be accepting mediocrity, status quo, and “well that is just the way we do things here” if dedicating too much of your focus on the NaySayers in these areas…YES!  Business leaders, workers and agents of change really need to start looking at these fundamental activities to get desired outcomes.

    Or will you be focusing the above things on the people and teams that demonstration:

    1. Curiosity

    2. Plan the Work, Work the Plan

    3. Willingness to change

    4. Bring solutions or options to the table

    5. Want to be accountable and responsible for a body of work

     

    By refocusing the attention, energy, and rewards to the bottom list you start getting in return the desired outcomes.  Too many times I see the Naysayers winning in this game and then blown away when the leadership makes demands to have the bottom list. You can only wish in one hand for so long without cultivating and rewarding people and teams for the desired outcomes.

    In my book if you don’t have something  documented, modeled out, or dates and activities planned out you don’t have accountabilities and if you don’t have accountabilities you don’t get a say. Hence Naysay all you want you, I do not understand the words that coming out of your mouth!

     

    This was just swirling in my head past few months. You did notice I gave NaySayers second billing in my title, right?   What do you think?

     

  5. Join me at #ungeeked Chicago May 12th-14th & #RoastBrogan

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    You should attend unGeeked if you are responsible for developing or managing your company, organization or client’s social media, marketing, branding, advertising, on-line community, customer service, or recruiting campaigns.

    • Branding, Marketing and PR VPs, Directors and Managers
    • CEOs, CMOs, and VPs of mid to large companies
    • Not-for-Profit Organizations – Cause Marketing Professionals
    • Recruiters, HR and Legal Professionals
    • Community Managers, Social Media Managers
    • Customer Service, Sales and Advertising VPs, Directors and Managers

    ungeeked_pointing

    The format is “open discussion” The topics focus on enhancing, positioning and leveraging both the internal and external brand. Power Points are strongly discouraged and instead, on-going and intimate discussions among Discussion Leaders (speakers), regional leaders and attendees are encouraged.

    chicago speakers

    Who is speaking at unGeeked?
    Spike Jones, Jason Falls, Barry Moltz, Heather Taylor, Anita Campbell, Olivier Blanchard, Hajj Flemings, Lou Hoffman, Chris Heuer, Amanda Hite and Jeff Willinger and more.

     

    Full list of  Discussion Leaders (speakers)

    Click to see list of Discussion Leaders

     

    Scheduled Discussion Topics

    Click to view Discussion Topics/Schedule

     

    Registrations include one admission to

    Celebrity Charity Roast honoring Chris Brogan

    #RoastBrogan on twitter

     

    brogan

     

    Hostmaster: Jason Falls

    When: May 11th, 2011Time: 5:30PM – 9PM –  Honors/Roast begins:6PM 

     

    Roasting Panel: C.C.Chapman,  Dave Murray,  Jason Falls,  Liz Strauss and Troy Janisch

    Join Chris Brogan and family, while his friends deliver comedic insults, banter, tongue-in-cheek criticism and outlandish stories along with heartwarming tributes to honor one of our most recognized social media thought leaders, while supporting the charity SitStayRead.

     

    Roast and Auction to benefit Chicago Charity SitStayRead Literacy Program. Items for auction:

    • One lifetime membership to Exploring Social Media (valued at $300 per year) – from Social Media Explorer
    • Two certificates each entitling the bearer to a 6 bottle in-home wine tasting for up to 14 people with private wine adviser for 2 hours (valued at $350 each) – from Wines For Humanity
    • Two Chris Brogan T-Shirts from Mom Pop Pow

     

    thebrandbuilder

    Newest author, Olivier Blanchard is on the forefront of spearheading theSocial Media ROI initiative.
    A copy of Social Media ROI is included with 3-day Registrations.

    Click here to Register for unGeeked Chicago

     

    SAVE When you RSVP before 4/30/2011

     

     

    Sponsors

    smallbiztrends smc biz sugar mashable

  6. Opt-In checkbox is not 2-way, but it can be!

    2 Comments

    Currently we have this thing about customers opting in or opting out.   If they opt out most companies pine over how can we get them to opt in and continually push market in a shot gun fashion around them hoping someone will forward it to them…..costly.

    On the other side you have the people that opt in and what do businesses turn around and do, push market the hell out of these customers. No analysis done around who should get what message, when, why and then the customer gets the dreaded noreply@ email address in the From: so you cannot communicate your frustration with said business……ummm costly and annoying.

    So how does the opt in become a two way form of communication between businesses and customers. Data, yes the sexy ever glamorous darling of the businesses, Data. Yeah right who I kidding data is not sexy, but it sure is useful! What businesses need to do is partner with their customer around data.  The customer has the ability to proactively collect a lot of information about themselves now and the data the business collect about the customer has holes in it to be affective. Typically most businesses have cookies, email address and minimum information about connecting the exact purchases done by their customers.

    With so many customers collecting, storing, analyzing, and utilizing their data to make personal business decisions, like where I buy, how much can I spend, and how much I have spent. On the flip side businesses are collecting, storing, and analyzing the data they are collecting with one two pieces or really three pieces of demographic data missing First Name, Last Name, and email address tied to purchasing actions.  Missing the actual person and who they are leaves gaping holes in analyzing to take the correct actions.   Being able to line the data profile the customer is building and data profile based on a Cookie ID can lead to a powerful conversation, trust relationship and actual deepening the selling and buying between the two.

    Enter a company like Buyosphere! They are allowing customers to store and maintain all the purchases they make based on the receipts they can obtain online and eventually the receipts they receive offline, then get them to their online profile. This purchasing information is the start of the two opt-in of sharing information between businesses and customers. With the customers currating and storing their purchasing data and most businesses wanting to know their First Name, Last Name and email address on those purchases, why not have conversations about sharing this  information with each other. Businesses that are in a more brick and mortar setting need to find ways to get this purchase information to their customers!  Plus we can save a whole lot of trees by not giving out paper receipts too…

    Businesses need to invest in emailing receipts to the customer at the time of purchase, giving them a way to enter a code online to get the electronic receipt once they get online, start putting QR codes on the receipt, or maybe bumping phone to POS to get receipt record onto phone (keep in mind this only covers 30% of customers with smartphones).

    What this allows the customer to do is curate their purchases and share the data socially or privately with the businesses they are demonstrating purchasing power with said business. This is the start of the 2-way Opt-In partnership around purchasing power using the opt-in as the contract, the handshake, the trust. The businesses offering these types of services and two way opt-in relationships will be able to increase marketshare, service customers based on mutual respect based on buying and selling, and keep the customers you have long term. In business keeping the ones you have is waaaaaay cheaper than always trying to acquire new.  I do believe if the customer felt a little more in control of this opting-in action they would probably be more willing to opt-in!  I know I would!

    Now the flip side of this 2-way Opt-In relationships are the businesses and needing to earn the trust with this Customer information and not get all up in their customer’s grillz with their Pushy MCPusherton marketing and advertising.  They have to allow the relationship to build and grow.  With always checking in after sending your Customers information, like “How did that feel, was it pushy?” or “Did we hit the mark based on your activity?” This will gain trust and loyalty like nothing before.  Image the cost reductions of trying to acquire new costumers and increasing the spend by already existing customer.  Just remember this is earned in the long term and screwed up in an instant. Gut feeling is most businesses would have more fun interacting with their Customers too.  Employees would have more satisfaction about a job well done or finding new ways to strengthens the relationship with their Customers.  I see productivity gains and reducing talent turning over, which is reduction of  expenses.  When you make you company fun with happy Customers and happy employees really cool things can happen!

    So go forth and build and synthesize your data businesses and customers, the economy will thank you!  “In the form of a wholly logical data model, in the form of a buying river!”

  7. Your Org Chart is killing your Project Success, No really it IS!

    589 Comments

    So I bet that headline grabbed you right!  Over the years I have been noticing the sheer mountain moving that has to be done to successfully move projects, initiatives, changes, and or innovations forward.  Ever tried moving a mountain before….talk about a workout!  There are two common areas I see being a root cause of these mountain moving activities

    1. Organizational Charts

    2. Manager responsibilities for developing People.


    Yes I said it managers developing people.  I also said organizational charts too.  I know this may offend some people right off the bat, but give me a chance to explain and present an alternate idea and you may want to change your business to actually get projects done.

    So before we begin I want to present a model for designing a new business model to actually solve the problem most businesses are having in the areas of getting projects done and developing people.  Below is said such model after the model I will explain the components that make up this model:


    Initiative Based Business Structure


    The People

    Now lets get into the good part the people development side of the problem.  The way our organizations are set up to day is that most managers are strapped with moving projects or initiatives forward as well as developing employees, the real backbone of your organization.  Most managers that are put in these positions are ill equipped  for the job.  Now I don’t place all the blame on the managers themselves, but more on the organization that  have put these managers into positions with very little initial or ongoing training to build up this hard and soft skill. Additionally there may be some issues with the  cultural and political factors of  moving up the ladder to manager, but we will leave that for another post.

    Mangers need to get back to moving initiatives forward!  This is really what this role is intended to be doing for your organization. Now to solve the void by removing people development from their job description you need to activate a whole group of people that have gone to school, received training, and have sharpen the people development skill down with art and science.  Who are these people you say, they are your Human Resources, Recruiters, Organizational Effectiveness, and Talent Management people.  Yes they have to be activated to begin the true transformation of getting your project work done and developing the people at the same time. Get the managers back to getting projects, initiatives, and innovations implemented and your “People” departments back to developing your people (or if you are a buzzword addict Talent). The model above shows that your People Developers are assigned 5-10 people to manage their development.  They are responsible for training programs, reviews, long and short goals, hard skill progression, and soft skill proficiency.

    Unfortunately, in today’s world we strap the manager with initiative implementation and people development.  Now don’t get me wrong about 10% of our managers can pull these feats off with eloquence and grace, but that does not seem like a high percentage for running an effective organization.  If we get the manager and workers back to delivering initiatives and people developers back to developing people, most organizations will be unstoppable around producing for their employee, customers and shareholders.


    The Organizational Chart

    Secondly, lets look at the organizational structures of most businesses.  Each focus area is usually placed into a macro-silo such as HR, Marketing, Customer Contact Centers, Product Sales, Legal, IT, etc. and within that macro-silo many micro-silos breakdown into smaller chunks of work.  I have even seen micro-silos within micro-silos.  Try this activity on to see if this perspective fits your company.  Take all your micro-silos for a particular macro-silo and place them along the top, then along the side place another macro-silo that you have to get projects or initiatives done with and it’s micro-silos. Now each box in the grid represents processes that need to get done.  Start picturing the grid below and this gives you the visualization of inputs to outputs of each intersecting box. You thought rush hour traffic in LA was bad, try gaining approval for adding a process or field to a screen…..

    Goal Achievement Grid-Lock

    Goal Achievement Grid-Lock


    Now that was two macro-silos for one project or initiative.  Multiply that by 10 to 14 times and you wonder why projects or initiatives take mountain moving efforts to get done.  That is just the structure I haven’t even sprinkled on top Goals, Objectives and Metrics for success. Typically each macro-silo is held to four or five of these, then each micro-silo is responsible for coming up with their own Goals, Objectives and Metrics for success that help accomplish the macro-silos Goals, Objectives and Metrics for everyone to receive their good review scores and bonuses.  Now in most cases one Macro-Silo’s Goals and Objectives are in direct conflict with another Macro-Silo’s Goals and Objectives.  This usually turns people development and initiative success into one big hot mess of  “Your Goals are not My Goals!”  This has to be solved!  The “Same Goal” circle is very rarely achieved and even rarer of intersecting that smooth within the current business structure.  Typically I see this happens on skunk works projects or proof of concepts, but usually are not scalable for success across a whole enterprise.

    In this new model an organization’s macro-silos would turn more into a communities of practice.  With a community of practice individuals within these practice areas share role expertise, skills, and subject matter expertise.  When you center all these people together and sharing is the rule of the day and resources are rewarded for this activity, you have communities of resources that are activated for initiative or project work when their skills are needed! When Managers that need to get an initiative off the ground and implemented they go to these Communities and build the project or initiative implementation swat teams.

    These community members are 100% dedicated and are there from the start to implementation.  They bring their expertise as well as the expertise of the community. These individuals are there from start to finish and finish means transitional points to operations then support. The main problem it solves is the initiative or project team in dedicated to getting the initiative implemented for the organization and not in it for this macro-silo or that macro-silo and avoids the “Your Goals are not my Goals” gridlock! The teams are in it for making the organization successful for the employees as well as their customers.

    Now put all this together and these are big changes for your organization, but lets face it the last 50 years of the same structure has not really systemically harnessed all the potential intellectual horsepower people have,  that we definitely need going into the next 50 years.  I know this always sounds scary, but we have to completely revolutionize our markets, products and services. This structure will allow the right people doing the right things based on what needs to get done for the organization. This can work for any initiative marketing, HR, technology, operations, support, supply chain, consulting services, logistics, financial services, etc.

    The one area I am still investigating and gathering information are the areas of operations and support.  More of these types of organizational structures need to centrally focused and not moving around from initiative to initiative to initiative.  They are definitely vital to the initiative or project success to be involved from day or step one though.  They will provide information for transitioning, training, user acceptance, etc.  They are just not 100% dedicated because they have to be 100% dedicated to business operations and support.  More to come on this subject too.

    Please provide your thoughts, challenges, questions, and out right your Wrong comments below! Looking forward to see what happens.

  8. A Business Analyst on a Social Media Team….Blasphemy!

    5 Comments

    Well that seems to be the general feeling I get discussing this topic with marketing, communications, pr, and leadership in those groups. So I am going to present why this role is highly suited for being part of the social team. The core skills and specialties of this role make integrating social strategies, processes, and technologies for problem solving and innovation essential to be apart of these newly forming teams. The following are my reasons to challenge the blasphemy or heresy perspective and rhetoric!

    A Business Analyst………


    1. Looks at problems and assesses viable solutions using people, process & technology

    Yes the Business Analyst realizes there is no silver bullet. You need all three aspects of people, process, and technology to problem solve or innovate. The Business Analyst is aware the solutions will work these things as an ecosystem. The Business Analyst will ask the right questions, document the information gathered, analyze that information and have the ability to put that information into readable content for business and technology disciplines to understand. Business Analysts helps the social media project teams co-create these solutions in a rapid fashion because we understand how and what the ecosystem needs for execution. One of the biggest soft skills we use is curiosity to discover information. With every problem or potential idea to innovation we turn into a 5 year old kid discovery their world around them…..we all know a 5 year old right?

    2. Diggs for information to get solutions

    Business Analysts are tenacious to find, illicit, document, and fix information for a solid solution for a problem or innovation. We are good at asking questions for clarification, we will admit when we don’t understand or don’t know, but with that admission we will educate, find, and ask again if need be. This is all done from a place of curiosity, wanting the people, project, and organization to succeed. We explore the possibilities of where it could be or what it could be. All along the way we keep documenting with content to ensure we have words, pictures, and prototypes to make better fact based decisions. Well on occasion a little leap of faith based on experience is needed to be worked in also. The question why comes up a lot, but in a curious manner. That is the best way to spot a good business analyst! How do they ask the question Why?

    3. Documents for review, clarity, and decision making

    Documentation, Documentation, Documentation……yes I know what you are thinking. Good Business Analysts make this documentation flexible, dynamic, and not set in stone. Every hour on a project or a team the information you need to make good decisions changes. Now with social we see this information changing every minute. You need a role that can absorb information and categorize and reproduce in a rapid fashion. Now think about all the disciplines operating on a social media team: interactive designers, creatives, lawyers, HR, marketing, advertising, technical architect, infrastructure architect, testers, project managers, customers, call center reps, PR, Communications, etc etc. Yes I take the approach the social media\social business team internal and external are one team (future post on social business, enterprise2.0, and social media is much larger and more dynamic than what I have seen at any company today). Think about all the information that is being created that needs to be curated and reproduced for decision making and impact analysis.

    4. Presents information for diverse audiences

    Business Analysts are smack dab right in the middle of the ecosystem. Being that we have functioned within the Business culture and Technology cultures we have to take all the information above and synthesize this information for non-business people understand businesses and non-techie people understand the worlds of technology. With this skill set comes the ability to fashion a presentation around 1 screen or one process model or one requirements traceability diagram. Oh there is that word Requirements. Those silly little information snippets that cause most projects headaches and heartburn, if not gathered, managed, and traced to other forms of requirements to ensure connectability and workability of the solution or innovation. All your business, test, project, and technical information should plug into the requirements traceability hierarchy…..another blog post hey? Oh and the presentation does not mean powerpoint, most good Business Analysts want to present diagrams or working prototypes based on the requirement statements.

    Information Integration with a Social Business Analyst

    5. Talk business and tech languages and dialects

    Yes we speak that foreign language called “techie”, but we do speak a special dialect of “techie” called “biz techie”. Yes that is right we understand how technology makes businesses work and how businesses make technology work. I do believe this is probably most crucial part of being apart of the social media team. Majority of the execution of the social media\business plan and strategy will be done through technologies or technologies will be apart of most of the activities. Business Analysts can quickly and effectively put together the tools and processes necessary for social media execution and operationalization for long term success.

    The Social Business Analyst

    The Social Business Analyst

    So there you have it the blasphemic reasons why you need to really start looking at this role, skill, and people with the Business Analyst title to be apart of your social media\business team. Now a word of warning some folks are walking around with just the t-shirt that says they are a Business Analyst. It is a little like me wearing a professional baseball teams uniform and calling myself a professional baseball player.

    So what do you think sound advice or blasphemy? Need to hire or heresy? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

     

  9. “My Boss Is an Idiot” post in Social Media

    Comments Off on “My Boss Is an Idiot” post in Social Media

    So I have been reading a lot of articles about people expressing discontent for their direct manager, supervisor, boss or boss’ boss across the social landscape. These articles also chronicle the backlash that ensues from the companies towards these people. I see both sides of this argument! The question I have is post a reflection of the person that says it or the person they are directing the post at?

    I am not going to be wishy-washy on my perspective. I read and feel this is a reflection on the “manger” being called an “Idiot”. Yes I do take into account that 10% of the workforce does take up 90% of time with no real value (another post). So that means 90% of the employees are trying to make progress, add value, and truly execute at their highest potential for their company.

    For me it is my simple logic good, great, or inspirational leaders or managers (there is a difference) don’t get publicly scrutinized they are held up and interviewed or asked to do speaking engagements. When you are producing good workers, good working environment, and inspiring people you typically are not being a called an idiot in public (exception all people have their trolls).

    Which brings me to my question: “Which is worse for the company the one person that calls his or her boss an “idiot” or the boss that could be managing 25 or more people in said company?”

    Potentially you have a manager or leader with 25 people not executing to their fullest potential, 25 people lacking inspiration to do good work, and or 25 people not delivering to full capacity for their return on salary. This is “manager” is costing the company way more money than someone posting “My boss is an idiot” on a social platform. Not to mention it is quite expense to fire someone these days.

    So how did you answer that question? If you answered the guy or gal that posted it…..ummm you can stop reading at this point or you can read further and accept a challenge. Your choice.

    So next time if you are the person monitoring their employees and brand across the social platforms, you may want to come back behind the firewall and investigate the one being called the “idiot”. Really dig into what negative return on investment this manager or leader is providing towards your company. If you take it a step further, you may find your next inspirational leader or manager from the person that posted it (in most cases it takes a lot of courage and bravery to take this step). The other benefit of the investigation (with all like police dramas right?):

    1. Finding better ways to engage your employees.
    2. Discovering employees may not be in right seat on the bus (this is ok internal talent movements are cheaper)
    3. Finding new challenges for both individuals that benefit them as well as the company.

    These are all great opportunities to bring engagement and relationship building inside your company to a whole new level. This public information is a chance to engage in different ways than we have done so in the past. Seize the opportunity and move the needle for your company. We will really start to move closer to full employee engagement within your companies. If companies stop chalking everything up to disgruntled employees get rid of them, there are some real opportunities on both sides to learn and grow together. This is definitely not the easiest or smoothest of paths, but the payoff could potentially be huge for the employee and the company.

    I would really like people to weigh in on this one! I want to know if I am way off. If I am TELL ME! I like learning through discussion!

    Comment Lines are open and ready to assist you! Oh and it is free!

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