Whether or not you realize it you are having an impact on the people around you. Regardless of the generation you fall into, you could be leading without a title, you could be managing without a budget, or coaching without the team. Or you could be leading a team of 100+ with a budget of many millions.
Melanie Hohertz, from Cargill explains, “I've always thought that part of Yammer's value proposition is that we bring our "whole selves" to the network, not our job description! The reason our expertise and knowledge management systems can never capture the whole person is that we're always changing, with every thought and conversation and book and experience. What we learn not only expands, but changes how we understand ourselves *and* what we've learned up to that point. For older generations that untapped value has continually increased over time. Their experiences, the lessons they took from it, the perspectives they can offer, the connections they can make are all the richer for their broader set of past roles.”
Each of us has a different sphere of influence that we can impact. No sphere looks identical, which is incredible when you think of it. And while you may never see the fruits of some of your labor or the direct impact, the ripple effect of your influence may go on for generations.
We’ve heard it all when it comes to generations and Yammer...
From…“I’m too old for Yammer.” And “I don’t DO social media” to “Those digital natives need social media, not me.” or “They don’t need training, they’ve been on social media since they were teens.”
And in Larry Glickman’s Yammer network, the most common age range of people is 60-90 years old. He explains, “Sometimes, they are self-defeatist, and tell themselves they can't learn this new technology. However, when I sit down with them and show them the 3-5 top things they need to know, they realize it may not be so difficult and become open to learning something new. And then sometimes, they say (sometimes to themselves, more often than not, out-loud) "D&%$ it...if it is the very last thing I do, I am going to learn how this freakin' thing works!" Unlike sometimes with a younger person, they have the time, the bandwidth and the determination to learn the platform.”
Yet, we believe that regardless of your age, rank, or tenure you can use Yammer to leave a digital legacy at your organization. If you’ve been at your organization for 20+ years, you have lessons that need to be learned. Or if you are brand new to your organization, your previous experiences and initial reactions are important part of the employee lifecycle that can be evaluated by product and business groups. Your reflection and a dose of humility can go a long way in helping provide a path for your digital legacy.
Here’s three ways you can leave a digital legacy:
Share what you know. Share progress, lessons, failures, who you are meeting with and why it’s important, or what you are learning. Even if you don’t think its interesting, your work is leaving a digital footprint, or more importantly context for the decisions that you and your organization is making along the way. Put a reminder in your calendar weekly to post the top three things you are proud of this week, or the top three questions that were ask/answered the last month. Whether it’s a new hire joining this week, or someone years from now, they can view conversations from previous decisions that were made and start to understand why you went one way over another. By being generous with your knowledge, you give insight into your progress and allow others to learn from you.
Answer a question. Especially if you know the answer. And even if you don’t tag (@mention) that person and draw them into the conversation. Your network has become your net worth on Yammer. It can be hard to map out who knows and how they know it, and often it just comes from experience. Yammer is a good place for this type of network to transpire and inform others.
Ask insightful questions. Which means ask more questions, for the sake of understanding more and listening better. Often the context behind decision making can be lost, so this can help bring it to the forefront and documented. This is simple and impactful to do on Yammer. By asking open ended questions like, “why did you choose A over B?” or “Tell me more” , or “Can you share an example?” or “How did you come to that?”, “why/why not?”, “If you had to do it again, what would you tell yourself/next team?”etc. Try asking one open ended question a week to bring more depth into the conversations.
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Jason Soo shares about the impact of pictures from one of his senior partners.
Jason Soo, from Hall & Wilcox shares, “One day one of our senior partners (we are a law firm) called me asking how they could get the photos from a fundraising event from their iPhone onto their computer so they could post them to Yammer. I sat down with the partner and showed them how to download and install the Yammer app and then we posted the photos directly to All Company and even @mentioned some of the attendees. It was one of those great learning moments for them and one of those easy wins. It's been mentioned before but people from pretty much every generation can relate to photos. So getting them to share their meaningful photos might be one of the strategies we can use to encourage adoption.”
It feels good when we give and do good for others, and in this context, giving more is sharing the details about the lessons you’ve had to learn the hard way as to not repeat them within your organization.
Let your digital footprint lead to a legacy you want to be remembered for at your organization.