Intrepreneur – Level up with social software

Working at a large enterprise it is easy to get lost in the crowd and even more difficult standing out. To advance within an organisation you are normally dependent on your closest manager. Still, there is an alternative for those who would like to take the fast track. This article will describe how social media will help you level up within your organisation and it is based on my own journey. Starting out as Java Developer it took me a few months before I advanced to project manager. Three years later I have project managed about 25 000 hours and six months ago I was promoted to Business Developer.

First of all – I’m an entrepreneur. After school as started my first venture capital based startup and when that two year run was over I joined Logica. From a company with a few employees to being one of 40 000 was a huge change. I quickly discovered that this huge enterprise was more than a job, it was a job market. I could do whatever I want without leaving the company. My entrepreneurship simply took another shape and I became an intrepreneur.

Intrepreneurship is an interesting topic and far to underexposed. I will get back to this topic in later articles but a quick preview and some recommendations based on my experience:

  • Personal network – since you are not better than your network
  • Master a domain – become an expert
  • Proposals – to get attention and get the ball in motion
  • Skunk work – operate under the radar

Using Social software to level up within the Logica organisation requires you to master a domain. Selecting this domain and search for improvements and propose investments from your managers is an important step. Much of this work needs to be Skunk work, not officially approved work. Then potential kickback of your efforts can be accelerated if you have the right personal network…

Personal Network

The primary key of success for me and the objective for anyone who like to level up (skills, knowledge, position or salary) is clean and simple – personal network. For most people at a large enterprise the personal network is not larger than the people in your group and projects. Social software will help you reach outside this context and across the organisation and hierarchy. You might be a part of a large enterprise but that only provides possibilities (potential connections) and to get the most out of this you need to 1) find a tool to access the potential connections and 2) grow your personal network.

The first tool that I came across was a collaboration area, LogicaLive, where people in Sweden wrote blog posts. I invested some of my time in writing about Agile, since that was my expertise. I got great feedback but most of all attention. That led to a meeting with one of the many managers who drafted me for a huge project in need of an Agile approach. Level up!

Writing, reading and commenting was nurturing for my personal network – it expanded outside my group and current projects. It is important for an enterprise to provide these types of tools that enables you to access the entire network of people. It is a magnificent source of knowledge and experience, much similar to the World Wide Web. Imagine knowing that the information is out there but you cannot find it – it is lot like WWW before search engines. Social software is for companies what search engines are for the web.

In September 2008 a new tool was introduced that gave me instant access to Logica and a more rapid way of communicating. This private Twitter for companies has evolved to become more like a mixture of Twitter and Facebook and is today my main access to the Logica network and my main accelerator for my personal network. Yammer elevated my network to a new level.

Yammer is a simple but effective solution. As a member you write short messages about what you do or even ask questions to get help on any challenge that you have. People from across the organisation will answer. This quick access to our shared knowledge and experience is awesome. For the first time can you as an individual leverage the potential from being a large organisation. I asked a question about Plone CMS to try to get more knowledge and 8 minutes later I got an answer! If I went through my organisation it would have taken 8 weeks, and we do not have that time. Yammer provides features such as tags, groups, followers and more to create a magic feed of knowledge customized for you.

This should motivate you to build your personal network outside your group and projects. If you are unsure – try it and see if it suites you.

Upcoming article will elaborate the other aspects (master a domain, making proposals and skunk work) of intrepreneurship. Stay tuned.

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