Transparency Opens Doors: My First Community Story

One of the earliest "aha" moments I had in the community field was as a user of an employee network that replaced our traditional intranet. Previously, as many managers would do, I would let my direct reports know which office I would be in for the day with a quick email. With our community in place, I developed the habit of keying in a short status update to inform my team of my whereabouts instead of sending an email.

On one day in particular, I recall advising my team that I would be heading to the New York office to meet with Oracle to review their solutions for an upcoming internet refresh project we were kicking off. To my surprise, two employees from different divisions replied to my post. One indicated that they had recently met with Oracle and offered to share their notes and findings. Another said they also had an upcoming internet refresh project for their division and offered to join forces to collaborate on the vendor investigation and selection process.

Without a collaborative platform, these internal connections simply would not have happened.

It would certainly not be appropriate to send an email to the entire company of 10,000+ employees to inform them of my trip to New York. However, with this simple post and a commitment to working out loud, a better outcome for the company formed across a few project teams. By sharing my update in the community, it was visible to others who had knowledge and expertise in certain areas that I may not have been connected with otherwise.

Envision thousands of interactions like mine and you can begin to feel the power of the network effect. It also had a side benefit of deepening my professional network by engaging my team with similar activities occurring at the company. A big win for us personally as well as the company. It was a simple yet profound lesson to see the power of networking technology in the workplace.