I spend much of my time encouraging people to use Yammer, an enterprise social network. I talk often about how sharing information in Yammer is an effective way to collaborate. Time is saved, potential frustration with colleagues is reduced, and everyone works more effectively with better results.

As hard as I work, as much as I try to persuade, my efforts to engage my colleagues in Yammer will not be successful until they recognize the benefits of working out loud with transparency, openness and generosity. Unless our colleagues actively pursue new ways to work and new ways to collaborate, these technology platforms we work so hard to introduce will not see much activity.

I first became aware of Simon Terry as I was researching how to make our Yammer network flourish. Based in Australia, Simon is a consultant who works with a wide variety of organizations to help them re-envision the ways they can get efficiently get work done n the digital age. As it says on changeagentsworldwide.com, “We believe change is coming fast to the Enterprise. We believe in the principles that drive the evolving web: chief among these are transparency, sharing and collaboration, authenticity, and trust.”

Simon is a prolific writer and speaker, and he regularly shares his expertise through his blog, at conferences and a wide variety of social networking platforms.

I came across an incredibly valuable quote from Simon that immediately clarified for me how my colleagues might better understand the benefits of bringing work and work habits to a platform like Yammer. Since finding this quote, I have included its wise words in almost every Powerpoint presentation I have given on the topic of collaboration and enterprise social networks. I read the quote out loud, then I pull the paragraph apart to fully explore every point that is being made, because there are a lot of great points.

“Sharing work as it develops enables you to reflect on your work. It brings stakeholders into work early to provide feedback and assistance. It encourages you to be purposeful and effective in your work. Importantly it also enables others to develop a passive awareness of your work progress and to learn from how you do your work.”

Simon Terry
Change Agents Worldwide

“Sharing work as it develops enables you to reflect on your work.” It is one thing for you to see your work as it develops, but it is completely something different knowing that others will see your work. If you are drafting a letter, or a policy, or new procedure, and you know that that your boss or your new team mate can see what you are working on, you will immediately be reflecting their interests and concerns rather than waiting for their feedback. Right away, time is being saved.

It brings stakeholders into work early to provide feedback and assistance.” Yes, we want our work to reflect the very best of who we are and what we do. We want all the ideas and concepts to be completely and thoroughly thought out, and we want everything dotted and crossed. Great, but then finally when we do get critical feedback we find ourselves upset and frustrated. Everything is perfect! we may think to ourselves. Why would they want this changed?!?! However, if we provide access to our work as it is being done, we can get that critical feedback right away. We can get new ideas, inspiration and support, and more people will be more invested in our work as result.

“It encourages you to be purposeful and effective if your work.” When working alone, meandering is easy. Take my word for it. I’m a professional meanderer. But when we make our work visible to others, we will likely feel compelled to be purposeful and directed in ways we might not otherwise feel. Others can see what we are doing. They may be helping, or maybe they are learning. Either way, they are watching, and we need to make sure the work gets done.

“Importantly, it also enables others to develop a passive awareness of your work progress and to learn from how you do your work.” Passive awareness…this is my favorite part. Just because you are sharing your work in a more open, transparent way does not mean that all of your colleagues are going to deeply engage with your work. They probably won’t. Hopefully, though, now that they can see your work they are at least passively aware that your work exists. They know what you are working on, and they have a sense of how much work is getting done. They know that if they need more information, your work is there for them to review.

Additionally, the fact that you are sharing your work will make it more likely they themselves will bring their work to a collaborative platform, too. If people understand that work is now being done with transparency and generosity, they will want to be involved, too.

Thank you Simon Terry for sharing your reflections about being more transparent in the work we do. Your transparency and generosity helped me to learn, and helped me to teach others. Share your work. Be purposeful and effective. Be aware. Learn from how others work.

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