Executive Leadership Best Use Cases

Regular Contributor

Hi all,


I've been informed that our EC (excecutive council) members are interested in Yammer. As I prepare for this meeting I have a few ideas on how our own leadership could use Yammer. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced tangible success stories they are willing to share. If so, what are your top recommendations for leaders using Yammer as of 2016.


Inspired by this previous thread (old network): Executive Use Case this is what I'm coming up with...


-Leadership First Friday (our branded YamJam sessions)

-Leadership News  (Leadership Group)

-Lead the Way Poll (Leaders post a poll with an open ended questions. For example, Problem solving - If you were the CEO of Lubrizol how would you resolve the...? Answers: A, B,C).

-Global Praise (one employee from each region would be recognized)


19 Replies

@Simon Terry & @Cai Kjaer are running a session at Ignite this year titled "How to talk to you C-suite about Yammer". Maybe if we ask nicely they'll give us a speak peak at what they will conver in that session. ;) 

Thanks @Angus Florance I am looking forward to Atlanta and this session. @Simon Terry and @Cai Kjaer any previews are welcomed!

@Simon Terry and I are busy preparing the material right now...stay tuned. But knowing how things normally turn out I'd be more comfortable offering a summary after Ignite :)

Looking forward to Ignite, thanks @Cai Kjaer

Some execs may also appreciate the opportunity to browse the community to "get the pulse" of what employees are talking about and what concerns them (this would be idea with use of the Discovery feed in Yammer, if your network is large).

Great ideas! At Microsoft we have a Yammer group titled "CEO Connection". Once a month Satya does a Q&A (like a YamJam, but recorded so that employees can watch at anytime). Questions are answered based on their popularity in the Yammer group. 


Would love to hear how it goes and what gets implemented! 

Excellent! I like that and especially the fact that you record them. So far it seems that one VP (his segment alone is about 4,000) is interested in following something of a Q&A method. I will be happy to share our final implementation so that it can inspire others. Stay tuned.

You know "check pulse" is a good angle for the Discovery feature. I've made note to add it to my talking points, I overlooked expanding on it. Thanks for that.

Satya also does a monthly QA using Skype for Business Meeting Broadcast. One of the features there is to attach a Yammer group so you can have threaded, thoughtful conversations with thousands of viewers at the same time. 


Skype Broadcast.png

@Darrell Webster did a great video on how to setup this on YouTube.....


Like Cai the talk is in development but here are a few things to consider:

  1. Are executives clear on the role of collaboration to achieve the organisations strategic goals? You should pitch this role. They aren't interested in the technology, only the business value.  Their job is not driving adoption it is business value. https://simonterry.com/2014/05/21/beyond-adoption-to-value-creation/
  2. Remind them that the collaboration is about work. It isn't just a communication channel or a vehicle for employee engagement. The only reason to have yammer is to make work more effective. They should approach it in that light and that means they should look to make and allow change to work. https://simonterry.com/2014/02/14/you-cant-add-a-collaboration-layer/
  3. Be clear on their role in the network ie they aren't invited in as hierarchical experts or chief problem solvers. Their role is to listen, coach, learn and develop others. Importantly they should see the challenge to help others to do the work. https://simonterry.com/2014/01/30/the-new-to-social-executive-5-mindsets/
  4. Talk to them about the changing role of leadership in network organisations. Help them build capabilities that will make them more effective across all their work. https://simonterry.com/2014/02/02/the-new-to-social-executive-actions-to-get-ready/
  5. Encourage them to participate personally, not through communications managers, assistants or other teams. That's where they get the chance to fulfil the roles above. https://simonterry.com/2016/07/06/the-fallacy-of-outsourcing-leadership/

Organisations that have leaders that work in these ways are using Yammer to deliver step change in their strategic agendas. Their leaders are building capability to fulfil strategic goals and using the potential of their people in the network to solve problems in agile ways and make work more effective with real financial benefits. That's far more powerful story than asking them to use Yammer because its the latest best communication tool.

First of all, I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU! This is tremendous progress and I am so happy! I can't WAIT to catch up at Ignite about it! OK, so here's another piece to add to the story. The above responses are amazing, and I've already shared several of them this morning internally in my network!

Here we see a lot of leaders engaging in periodic YamJams. It's a GREAT way for people to get to know the leader, a great way for the leader to connect with people in their business unit from all across the firm in all different geographies. The YamJams are usually held within a group associated with that leaders purview and responsibility and they have a hashtag like #HiLily or #AskLily. The scope of the YamJam can be personal - asking how they balance work and life, or about strategic direction - to gain insight about a new idea, policy, change, direction, etc. Also they can be used as a time for the leader to ask the community questions about what's going on - and to get some feedback to help tackle a customer problem, a market dynamic or an issue that needs to be explored. Good luck! I can't wait to hear more!

These are great tips - thanks Simon. I think the focus on value is critical, as is reinforcing the use of the tool/channel to support their role in leading and developing others. In addition to reinforcing key priorities, I think there are valuable opportunities for leaders to be vulnerable, sharing their thoughts, problems and challenges, as well as openly crowd sourcing and seeking ideas from the braoder network.  They can discuss strategy and priorities in a more informal and continuous way, all with little time/effort.

Hi Lillian - I also think about the simple first steps of 'what are you working on'. Leaders can easily be supported to post a weekly update, sharing what they're working on for the week, where they will be etc. They can also share their reflections on what they're noticing, business activity/results etc. and what is on their mind.

Have others had success with this and if so, how did you get it started/embedded and what has been the impact over time for the leader(s) and others?
Agree Andrew. Most leaders overvalue big set piece communication and undervalue the ongoing deeply contextual and often highly individual explanation of strategy and priorities. The set piece stage managed efforts lack context and credibility. Organisations are driven forward far more by lots of little conversations in context than by big perfect announcements. If every employee can make sense of the strategy for themselves and their role, through questions they and others ask, then you have a much better outcome.

I wanted to update this post with a best use case template that worked for us. Due to our organization's confidentiality policies I can't fully share the specifics of the group so the template has been modified but I hope it is helpful to anyone needing guidance in creating best use cases. The current state of the group is good (slowly growing) but the good news is that we have seen a positive response to the leader's open communication through Yammer and hope to see more engagement in the next few months. (FYI - I will also create a new post to share for all)

Thank you @Lillian Diaz!

Lana O'Brien- so you gather questions on the Yammer feed but record the Q&A via video?

@Cai Kjaer since the presentation has been givem would you be willing to share it? :) Thank you in advance!

@Katie O'Leary, I found the presentation @Cai Kjaer and @Simon Terry gave at Ignite 2016 on YouTube and it is phenomenal!