Category Archives: Management

Appreciate and value your high performing teams


imageIt seems really logical.  If you appreciate someone they will perform better for you.  In sport, business and in personal relationships, positive affirmation bring great returns.

If you care about someone, and show that you care, then that person demonstrates this at work

Towers Watson asked the question: do you believe that you can positively impact the quality of an organisations products and services?

88% of engaged employees said yes, but only 33% of disengaged employees said yes


Positive feedback and encouragement works in an organisation and it’s really important to do this if you’re trying to change corporate culture.

Leading respectfully means empowering and recognising the achievements of the team.  Demonstrating respect gives teams a great boost. 

The Harvard Business review sums the positive feedback loop into 4 points:

  1. Do no harm
  2. Practice appreciation by starting with yourself
  3. Make it a priority to notice what others are doing right
  4. Be appreciative

I’d add a 5th point here… Pay it forward.

If someone lets you know how much they appreciate you, remember how that feels.  Remember how much more energised you felt.

Now go and pass that good feeling on to someone else in the workplace.  A kind word, even a ‘Thank You’ will make someone’s day. 

And hopefully they will pay it forward and make someone else’s working day just that little bit more bearable…

Credit: Enokson

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.


WEConnect Europe Advocacy award

Sometimes recognition matters much more than money.

How often have you wished that your manager, or team leader would praise you for a job well done, a task well executed, or a project saved due to your quick thinking actions?  it doesn’t have to be a cheque, or a pay rise either.  Sometimes, an email to the team – or a poster on the wall would be all you need to make you feel that you’ve done a great job.

I’m no exception of course – only running my own business means that I have to get praise and rewarded from the clients I work with and the associations I’m in.

eileenb WEConnect AdvocacyIMG_1611

One of these is WEConnect.  WEConnect connects women owned businesses to corporates.  WEConnect is part of an international organisation promoting supplier diversity.  I attended the WBENC Women in business conference in Las Vegas this year and was wowed by the WBENC event itself.  I’m always promoting the advantages of the strong network in the corporate world where finding the correct person to do business with is often a nightmare. 

So I’m utterly delighted to win the Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Advocacy award for 2011.  Its great to be recognised for the work I’ve done so far to get more members to sign up to become WBE’s

And yes – this does mean more than a financial incentive would from WEConnect.  I already benefit from the connection and the extra business connections I’ve made.  So all I need to do is to turn these valuable connections into purchase orders and invoices and complete the connection..

Still smiling.. Smile


Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Hiding something?: Questions to uncover corporate culture


I’ve been reflecting on my Being ‘nice’ limits your earnings potential post from the other day.  Surely there must be some companies that have a great culture.  but how do you find them?  Scott Ginsburg lists 7 interview questions to uncover corporate culture and there are some really interesting topics.  Here they are:

1. If you could describe your corporate culture in three words, what would you say?

2. If you were going to give public tours of this company, what stops would the guide make?

3. If the local paper were going to run a four-page article about your company’s culture, what would be impossible not to include?

4. What’s the best part about working in this environment that I won’t be able to see from just a walk around the office?

5. What are the most common complaints employees make about your company culture?

6. May I speak with a few of your veteran employees or new hires?

7. What do you love best about the culture here?


These are great questions, and ones I wish I’d asked in several of my previous jobs.  I’m sure some of the words I’d have heard would be passion, energy, drive, determination, success, long hours, drinking, parties, travel, etc.  I’m sure you could add a fair few to this list too…

Is rudeness part of your corporate culture?  Sites like Glassdoor, often give a glimpse about life once inside the corporate environment, but what if you wanted to discover for yourself, what the environment is life. 


After all, the interview is just a point in time experience.  You’ll be at work for much much longer.


These questions, might just swing your decision for you…

Image credit: Flickr


Eileen is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.


2011: The year of the corporate social enterprise?

For many companies, 2011 is turning into the year that social media crosses the threshold from being an irritant or a topic for conversations around the water cooler.  Companies are beginning to realise that far from being a technology to dread, social collaboration is bringing real benefits to companies.  Social behaviour is fast becoming the sanctioned tool for communicating across the enterprise.

This evolution and behaviour change is not totally unexpected when you consider the pace of recent technology changes and tools adoption.

This natural process in the workplace  is being helped in part by our online behaviour in our free time.  We are consumers of social technology at home, directly or indirectly.  Social technologies like Google+ and Facebook are helping with our adoption of social networks.  Half of the UK online community have Facebook accounts and over 30 million people have signed up already for Google + accounts with many more still to come.

With these social media platforms becoming ingrained in our daily communications culture at work, there is a great opportunity for awareness and outreach to people who communicate in completely different ways. More and more online users are becoming active online and engaging primarily through status updates on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Mobile users and road warriors, equipped with iPads and smartphones can keep up to date with what is happening across their networks and engage with their colleagues using community and social portals for interaction and engagement.

Repeat engagement and interaction with colleagues and friends in social networks  adds significant value to the conversation and propagates awareness of  network activities. Internal networks highlight enthusiasts who are encouraged to create compelling content for their internal network sites and portals. 

This encourages repeat engagement with the portal, site or network community. Which then encourages regular interaction from members of the network and fosters repeat visits to the portal or community site.

The difference in this networking see change is the way that it is being implemented in companies.  Unlike every other revolution in corporate communications, social networking did not start as an idea handed from the top down.  For behaviour changes like this, there is no infrastructure outlay, no meetings about how and when the corporation would invest in the technology. The only real decision has been “Are we going to allow this type of communication here?”

Demand for this change in communication and the expertise in how to manage this way of working has changed too.  This new way of working has propagated from every part of the enterprise—which has also been the reason for the slow adoption.

Top down companies need to be in control.  Top down control has been a part of company culture for years.

So how can social collaboration change this?

Companies who recognise the value of social collaboration are changing their behaviour.  They are shifting their current mind-set and becoming more open and transparent. An awareness of the types of people who use and adopt social collaboration is key to understanding how to drive and foster engagement across the networks. 

Forrester’s Technographic ladder and profile tool shows that people who engage online fall into the following categories: consumers are collectors, critics, conversationalist and creators and that their engagement increases year on year. The B2B version of this interactive tool from Forrester is here by the way


This classification of people also applies to people within an organisation and how they collaborate on internal portals and networking sites.  It is also important to remember that some people will never engage online.  These types of people, the ‘inactives’ in the tool above tend to prefer offline engagement and interaction and are unlikely to engage online.  However, there is a great opportunity encourage others in the organisation to engage with networks and have a multi way conversation that complements the traditional ‘push’ email approach.

Working to improve engagement internally and using internal ‘creators’ and ‘critics’ to supply content and interact with content owners can have really positive effects within an organisation.  If this effort is carried out where the workforce spends most of their time will bring great rewards, generate enthusiasm and change the way your organisation collaborates.

Will 2011 be the year that your company actually crosses the threshold and becomes a social enterprise?

Eileen Brown is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

The email charter: Your rules for email management

imageChris Anderson has some great new rules for email – his email charter, that we should all sign up to.  Over the last 20 years we’ve got sloppy with email.  We don’t seem to care how long our emails are, or how much information is sent to everyone in the original email. I wish more folks would sign up to the charter.  Its makes me sad to think about just how much of our working week is wasted by responding to often unnecessary emails.   I’ve highlighted the points here from the email charter.  Nice and simple… :

1. Respect Recipients’ Time
2. Short or Slow is not Rude
3. Celebrate Clarity
4. Quash Open-Ended Questions
5. Slash Surplus cc’s
6. Tighten the Thread
7. Attack Attachments
8. Give these Gifts: EOM NNTR
9. Cut Contentless Responses
10. Disconnect!

The 3 principles I try to follow when dealing with my email inbox are:

Don’t reply all if you don’t need to

Use an auto delay for your response so that you never regret posting anything

Don’t reply instantly.  That’s what the phone is for.  It drives false expectations

What are your email rules of engagement that helps you get to inbox zero and improve your productivity?

Image credit: Flickr

Eileen Brown is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.


Changing corporate culture: 1 person at a time

imageI met with an old colleague this morning who was very involved with changing the leadership and management culture at Microsoft. It’s great to catch up with colleagues from the past and I always try to keep in touch with as many folks as possible when I’m over in Seattle.

This leader has transformed the lives of many team members, and managers at Microsoft through his Management Excellence programme.  This program, in addition to growing and developing managers, also highlighted poor managers, brought up their behavioural and cultural issues that needed to be remedied by people further up the leadership chain.  In short, the programme produced some truly great managers.

He saw my post on 10 career limiting moves from yesterday and he pointed me towards this great article on the journey to values based cultures written recently by David Greenberg.

David has some really great points about culture and change.  Here’s the last paragraph from his post

Culture as a strategy, fuelled by values that are translated into tangible behaviours and embedded in the gears of a business, can create a sustained competitive advantage in the marketplace. Ethical cultures are not created overnight. But ultimately, tomorrow’s winners will be those who invest in systems inspired by values-based culture.

In order to embrace the culture of the business, you need to embed the culture right across the organisation.  That means:

No senior leaders creating cliques and exclusivity amongst their “gang”

No ‘alpha females’ behaving like aggressive, domineering men in order to get promotion or get into the clique

No side meetings, politics and behaviour designed to exclude a subsection of the group

Great leaders should be willing to step off their podium and let others step up to take the challenge, grow and develop themselves.  Great leaders should take responsibility and ownership if their chosen person fails.

Great leaders shouldn’t have to ‘re-invent’ the company culture – it should be embedded at all levels throughout the company

Culture should be allowed to organically grow – not embedded into a training program.  The culture should define the company, the company shouldn’t define the culture.

With a programmatic approach, diversity will fail.  Embracing the culture and rewarding cultural diversity not homogeny will change the way that organisations behave. 

Our challenge is to drive this across our organisations by the people who can really make it happen.  My buddy in Redmond was the man who started to change Microsoft’s culture one person at a time.

What a shame he was moved to another role before he could complete his task…

image credit: Flickr

Eileen Brown is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.


10 career limiting moves

imageI caught up with some old friends today in Redmond, old buddies and co-workers.  We were chatting about life, Microsoft and careers and I noticed a definite theme appearing. 

All of them had examples of serious career limiting moves that had impacted them in the past. 

Stacey had a great few leadership tips things that you should do and things that you definitely shouldn’t do.  I’ve summed some of the conversation tips below:

  1. Don’t pass up a great career opportunity because you feel loyalty to your team
  2. Don’t miss the opportunity to get a mentor.  Get a mentor who will challenge you – not agree with you.
  3. Don’t let yourself be bullied or intimidated.  Speak out now.  Others who get the same manager after you will thank you for your action to correct this,
  4. Don’t burn yourself out.  No job is worth it.  It’s your job not your life.
  5. Don’t post inappropriate pictures on Twitter.  Twitter is far too public and screenshots of your photo are easy to do.
  6. Don’t bitch or flame anyone online.  You will come to regret posting online.
  7. Don’t use the Reply all button in haste. Set a 10 minute delay in Outlook
  8. If someone gives you a day to ‘think things over’ make sure you ask for someone’s advice.  Don’t chew it over by yourself, you’ll probably make the wrong decision the next day.
  9. Don’t try to go it alone.  We all need help and advice – even on your own pet project.
  10. Don’t try and read absolutely everything that falls into your inbox or RSS reader.  Your head will explode with all of the information you need to process. Filter the fire hose and get some time back in your life.

Good tips – I’ll be implementing them as soon as I can…

Image credit: Flickr

Eileen Brown is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.