Tag Archives: inspiration

Activating Your Social Media Second Team

Who gives that big social media presentation if you can’t make it? If you get pulled into another big project and can’t take on that client meeting, who do you send in your place? If you’re on vacation, who picks up where you left off? Who do you rely on to help you implement your initiatives?

These are questions that every executive should already have answers to as most organizations are already set up this way. You rise up through the ranks, you gradually accumulate more and more staff, funding, and authority, and are given management training. However, most of my readers aren’t in these sorts of positions – they’re more than likely serving in a different role where they’re given a similarly broad set of responsibilities, albeit limited funding, no staff, and even less authority. Welcome to the world of Community Managers, New Media Directors, Chief Community Officers, and Chief Social Media Strategists.

And for these people, answers to these questions are a little less clear, but even more important. That’s because the people who have ascended into these sorts of roles are often the people who have started the social media efforts. They’re the ones who have put their butts on the line to even justify the creation of a position like this. However, while they may have finally broken through and are now able to focus 100% of their time on their organization’s social media efforts, they generally haven’t been given the same level of support (in $$ or staff) as people with similar leadership positions.  That’s why these people MUST learn how to identify, develop, and empower their second team.

What’s a “second team” you ask? I was surprised that I didn’t find many references to it online – it seems that it’s a term that was use primarily here at Booz Allen. So I’ll just give you my definition based on how we use it here.

Second Teama group of individuals, formally or informally organized, who are mentored and coached by a leader and who work together to further a shared vision and goals.

Others may define it differently, but what it boils down to is this – who are the people whom you trust and depend on to do the work that you do and do it just as well, if not better, than you do?  When someone asks for your help and you can’t help, for whatever reason, who’s the person you feel 100% confident recommending instead?  These people, regardless of where they fall on the org chart, are your second team.

I rely on my second team to handle everything from developing and delivering briefings to ensuring quality client delivery across our entire social media portfolio, and I can honestly say that without them, my company’s social media efforts never would have scaled beyond what one person could do during a fraction of their day. It’s because of this second team that our social media efforts have scaled across the organization while still allowing me to take time off, have a baby, and do a better job of balancing my work and personal lives. And this second team wasn’t created on an org chart or via an email from the boss – it was created through good old-fashioned respect, cooperation, shared goals, and passion.

So how can you identify, develop, and empower your second team? Here are five helpful tactics that I’ve used:

  1. Diversify your people – your second team doesn’t have to be people under you on the org chart. They just have to be the people whom you trust and who believe in what you’re trying to do. They should also fill in your weaknesses with their strengths. That’s why I love working with Jacque Myers – she’s never afraid to tell me that I’m wrong.
  2. Stick your neck out for them – I want to create a culture of innovation among the people I work with, and for that to work, we need to not be afraid of taking risks. I often tell people to use their best judgment, but don’t worry about asking for approval for everything. If you get into a sticky situation, just direct it to me and I’ll take care of it. People can’t take risks if they fear for their jobs. Remove that fear as much as you can.
  3. Give them enough rope to succeed (or hang themselves) – Give them big picture initiatives and let them figure out the details on their own. Allow them the freedom to make it their own – after all, you don’t really have any sort of hammer to “make” them do it, so you have to rely on stirring their sense of ambition and initiative.
  4. Give them the credit – While I may ultimately end up being the one to actually give the presentation or submit the final product, I also realize that I had to rely on other people to get it to that point. Make sure others realize the role that they played and that without them, you wouldn’t have been able to deliver what you did.
  5. Put them out front – As the primary social media “evangelist” at my organization, I get lots of opportunities to brief very senior members of the firm, to give firm-wide presentations or to work on some very exciting new initiatives. As much fun as these opportunities may be, give some of them away. That presentation next week? See if you can tell the organizers that you can’t make it, but that you’ll be sending one of the top members of your team in your place. Then coach up that person and give them the tools/training/confidence they need to knock it out of the park.

These are just five of the tactics that I’ve used – regardless of which ones you use, remember that the best second teams are created out of leadership, respect, and inspiration, not by org charts and memos.

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My Gov 2.0 Heroes

Photo courtesy of GovFresh

Here on Gov 2.0 Heroes Day, I’m supposed to write a post that tells you who my Gov 2.0 Heroes are, why they inspire me, and what others should know about their work.  Now, instead of highlighting the Gov 2.0 folks everyone already knows, I’d like to take this opportunity to instead talk about the heroes who have inspired me to get involved with the Gov 2.0 community, the people who have helped me in my career, the people who made me believe that openness, transparency, and collaboration in government could be a reality.

Without the following people, I can say that I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog post, working in my current position, or even living where I am today.  So, thank you to my Gov 2.0 Heroes:

Don Burke/Sean Dennehy

December 2006 – that’s when I read “Open-Source Spying” by Clive Thompson.  That’s what started it all for me.  When I logged into Intelink, and I saw that the U.S. Intelligence Community was using blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, and other social media tools to collect and analyze national intelligence, that was it – game, set, match.  I was hooked.  My world was flipped upside down – not only could social media be used in the government, it could be used effectively AND securely for mission-critical purposes?  I was fascinated, intrigued, excited, and most of all, eager to learn more.  That’s when I first met Don and Sean – two of the founders of the Gov 2.0 exemplar, Intellipedia.  They were Gov 2.0 before there was a Gov 2.0.  They helped lay the foundation for where we are today.  Intellipedia didn’t happen because it was “cool,” or because of some directive, or because everyone else was doing it.  It happened because some passionate people truly believed that openness, transparency, sharing, and collaboration would truly help improve them do their jobs better. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve quoted them, used them as a case study, or cited them as a best practice, but I can tell you that I haven’t thanked them enough for all they’ve done.

Gary Vaynerchuk

The first time I saw Gary speak in person was at BlogWorld in October 2008.  His keynote that day is something that I’ll always remember – not because he said anything totally revolutionary, but because of his obvious passion and self-confidence.  Before I went to this conference, I was feeling a little battered and bruised because I wasn’t making the progress that I had hoped with getting Booz Allen more involved with social media.  I was frustrated, I was discouraged, and I was tired.  But when I heard Gary speak, I got a new energy – I realized that to really make a difference, to really change the way things were done, I had to commit 100% to what I was doing.  Effecting change wasn’t going to happen overnight and it wasn’t going to happen from 9-5.  I realized that I had to hustle and I had to absolutely kill it every hour of every day.  I realized that the technology and the work didn’t mean anything unless I had a community, unless I connected to PEOPLE.  Gary showed me that understanding technology is great, but loving people is awesome.

Barack Obama

I can’t forget our current President – under his watch, “Gov 2.0” became something.  More than just some interesting success stories, Gov 2.0 became an initiative, an industry, an era.  From his revolutionary campaign to his first memo while in office to the Open Government Directive, President Obama has moved Government 2.0 out from the domain of the rogue change agents to the mainstream.  It’s due in large part to this administration’s commitment to openness and transparency, that we even have Gov 2.0 heroes today.  Without the top cover that the White House has provided, instead of Gov 2.0 Heroes Day, we may very well be celebrating Gov 2.0 Martyrs Day.

Those are my Gov 2.0 Heroes – who are yours?

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