Working Out Loud Works.

The first week, I set a goal for myself. I wanted to become connected to other people who lead Yammer networks for non-profit organizations.

The second week, I created a relationship list of people I wanted to connect to regarding my goal. I included some people I knew, but then I also added people involved in general communication and social networking roles at various non-profit organizations. Did they use Yammer? Did they do social networking at all? I was not sure, but thought I could possibly connect with them, and then find Yammer professionals from there.

Now I find myself in the third week, and I feel that I am not quite on track. Would these people even respond to me? Did I even have a good sense of who they were? What about organizations I was more familiar with…how do I find people there? I felt like I was hitting a wall. I didn’t feel I was pursuing the right people.

Sadly, I had forgotten about one of the very first lessons of Working Out Loud, the lesson of being generous with your work. Be generous with your information and knowledge, and be transparent with your challenges and frustrations.

I went to the private Yammer group of our Working Out Loud circle, and I made a post asking for help. I got a response right away from one of my colleagues asking me if I had looked for other non-profit Yammer professionals in the Microsoft Tech Community or the Yammer Service Updates group. She was sure that I had, but thought she would mention it anyways.

I am a regular participant in both of these online spaces, and for some reason far beyond my comprehension, it never occurred to me to check there at all. I made a post in the Yammer Service Updates group, and almost immediately suggestions were made, people were tagged in replies, and I was making brand new connections that I could add to my relationship list.

But even beyond the simple recommendations, as a result of the generosity of the people in the Yammer community, I was able to set up an appointment for the very next week with a non-profit Yammer professional who works less than 100 miles from my house. Somebody else sent a Tweet on my behalf tagging organizations and people who might be able to help, and I am already pursuing those relationships.

Because I decided to get involved in Working Out Loud, I was able to share a goal with a colleague. My work colleagues are more closely connected to my goal, and are providing meaningful help in me attaining my goal. I am now connected to people around the world who are helping me make connections and become better at my work.

Now that I am connecting to more people, Week 4 will allow me the luxury of searching for myself online! How do I look? What do people see? Do my various online profiles serve me well?

As they used to say on the old Batman show, “we will learn all that and a lot more, next week. Same Bat time, same Bat station.”

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