#WomenInTech meet Lee Schubert, Yammer Community Manager, Dimension Data

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This is an interview with Lee Schubert based in the UK, for my blog Super #WomenInTech, a key theme at Microsoft Ignite #MSignite Orlando next week. The blog spotlights outstanding #Yammer #WomenInTech from around the world and how we Work Out Loud #WOL. I'm presenting GlaxoSmithKline's #GSK #Yammer story at #MSignite. I loved interviewing Lee as we have a similar story and approach to Yammer adopton #intrapreneurs. Lesley Crook based in London. 


LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leeschubert/


Tell us a little bit about where you work and your role in the organisation.

I've literally grown-up in Dimension Data having started back in the late nineties, marketing the capabilities of this new thing called the internet -- flashback when an ISP was a cupboard full of 9.6 modems. More than ever before, technology helps people and businesses do great things. But making it all work together simply and efficiently is hard. As a global systems integrator with offices in 49 countries around the world, Dimension Data helps organisations to integrate their technology ecosystems, simplify the complexity, and fulfil their ambitions faster. I feel blessed to work for a company that is on the forefront of innovation and technology. It has allowed me to change what I do every ±3 years, while continuously learning, or as I call it playing!  Or my A to B in squiggly line!



I have a home office in the  beautiful New Forest National Park in the UK. When I moved there, I set out to prove that employees truly can work from anywhere, and collaborate on any device or platform. It was during this time, that I received my Yammer invite (March 2012), while defining bring-your-own-device from personal experience. This ended up morphing into shadow-IT on our Yammer network.

For the first two years, Yammer was as my passion project. I firmly believe that we all need time to play with new technology and, yes, break the rules at work (be a corporate rebel!) to drive real transformation.

How do you approach driving adoption among employees? How do you handle individuals that are especially resistant?

We didn't have an official launch of Yammer - our growth was organic and from the bottom-up. It was only in 2015 when Yammer officially became part of my role (50%). This was also the year that I modelled our operation structure within our social network.


Back in the old days (lol!) when we started Yammer, there was no user guide or marketing collateral. Microsoft only purchased Yammer in 2014, and it would be a while before we saw supporting content.  So, we had to always start training sessions with a silly South African joke: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Or in Yammer's case one team at a time!


Whether that team was five members, a country, or a business unit, my approach was the same: make sure that the group admin or community manager has all the knowledge and confidence to shine by putting them first. If you've not watched the video about the first follower. I highly recommend you do. The first follower was each group's community manager, and for a long time I was the crazy lady dancing alone.

This is when the original YCN (Yammer Customer Network) became my support group. Here we shared our experiences, our failures, and also things that worked. Today, many of those members are MVP's and have continued to transform their workspaces. Today, we've recreated the client network (www.yammer.com/how) and continue to support and learn from one another. I owe a lot of my success to these friends.

Change resistant individuals we call these red dots. These are members who battle to cope with a change in technology or just the fact that there's yet another tool to learn and keep up with. You might be surprised to know that my advice is to leave them alone. But then circle back. Start with your green dots, these are your digital natives or ninjas. They require little training and will experiment on their own. These individuals will become your Yambassadors over time and, together, you'll work to transform the rest of the organisation as you create real use cases.


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 What do you love most about Yammer?

I love figuring out how things work and then sharing my knowledge. Yammer became the best solution to facilitate this: I could share something once, and everyone could access it globally.  Until then, subject matter experts became bottlenecks, as it depended on how quickly they could get through their email load before they could share their insights. With Yammer, we can find answers quickly, and point users to them, almost like a social service desk. I also think it's in our DNA to want to help our fellow colleagues. But what I love most about Yammer, is that it became our digital workspace: especially important as our environment becomes more mobile and we often work remotely. Through Yammer, we connected with our colleagues from around the world, and share our work live.


What would you say is your most valuable skills?

I always battle with this question. I guess I'm a natural intrapreneur. I have an openness to experiment  and to think differently. I see opportunities (or they find me) to innovate with new technology and I'm passionate about doing that. It was this passion, that helped me systematically (one team at a time) to transform our organisation.


What advice would you give to someone just starting their career?

  • Always start with Why?
  • Ask questions, and challenge the status quo. Just because they've been doing it one way for years, doesn't mean it's the best way. My moto in life is you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got!
  • Take risks, what's the worst that can happen? Try, try, try again. Or think of your first attempt as a rough draft.
  • Find a mentor early on in your career.
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