Discover LinkedIn and Discover the Power of your Network

MindTools has written what I consider to be the best summary and short user guide to LinkedIn. Not only does it provides a practical definition of LinkedIn, but also defines useful terms and outlines strategic individual and organizational uses. It also includes an extremely important write up on LinkedIn Netiquette.

My personal experience with LinkedIn dates back to 2004 and I’ve found it to be a great way to stay in touch with professional contacts and follow their professional and career development. Moreover, I have been kept abreast of professional development opportunities in my field (conferences, publications, job opportunities). In addition, it has been a great resource for the promotion of my book.

From an organizational perspective, in the past two years, LinkedIn has been a great support in my current position by enabling me to grow our customer base through the promotion our organization’s services. I’ve been able to attract candidates for our company’s professional development programmes through groups and events. I’ve also been able to locate specialized resources to help us out on projects. Furthermore, I have been approached by other organizations inviting our company to collaborate or bid on projects.

I personally consider it to be an essential tool for talent and opportunity management in organizations today. If you’ve been hesitating to get started, hopefully this tutorial will give you the boost you need.

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This post is cross-posted with Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

5 Ways to Use Social Media for Professional Development

It is interesting to see Byrony Taylor’s take on how to use social media for professional development. I personally don’t listen to podcasts (number 3) but I do all the others most definitely. I would add that I also use Amplify, Twitter and LinkedIn as professional development tools.

  1. Be part of an online community
  2. Attend a conference or an event remotely
  3. Listen to podcasts
  4. Take part in a tutorial or watch a video
  5. Start writing a blog

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Joining the Brandon Hall Workplace Learning Today Blogger Team

Brandon Hall Research has invited me to join their group of bloggers. Workplace Learning Today is a group effort by senior Brandon Hall Research analysts Janet Clarey, Richard Nantel, Tom Werner, Gary Woodill, and now yours truly, to provide readers with a daily summary of news, events, commentary, and research on all aspects of workplace learning.

My first blog post entitled Filters to Avoid Being Flooded by a Wave of Content is a first step in presenting strategies for dealing with content and information.

I look forward to contributing weekly and hopefully getting to network with a whoe new group of readers there!

Moving from Individual Talent to Networks and Social Capital

I couldn’t agree more with this the idea that The War for Talent is Dying. I have been building my network off and online and maintaining it online via LinkedIn.com for years now. It has been key in my success.

The War for Talent is Dying: Re-Thinking Individual Talent from a Network-Aware Perspective

The “War for Talent” is dying. Better put, the unrelenting focus on individual “Human Capital” (i.e. what’s “inside” us, such as talent, experience, etc.) is dying. We’ve awakened to Greenspan’s “worldview flaw” — a new reality of global interconnection and interdependence. And in this new reality, “Social Capital” (i.e. what’s “between” us, such as trust, respect, etc.) reigns supreme.

and

Our old reality focused on the individual. Our “New Normal” focuses on the ‘network’, or the collection of individuals, as well as what flows between them. Where the “War for Talent” is dying, “War for the Network” is emerging.

and

the time has come for all of us to not just think, but see, beyond the individual

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A Qualitative Study of Five Authors of Five Blogs on Training and Development

A qualitative study of five authors of five blogs on training and development is my thesis which was defended on August 26 2008 and submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts (Educational Technology), Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Abstract

This study analyzed what it means to be a blogger in the field of training and development—an edublogger—as well as the credibility of blogs intended for the training community. The specific research questions were posed from the insider’s or emic perspective. The objective of this study was to attempt to paint a portrait of an edublogger and uncover areas for further research.

A phenomenological qualitative research design methodology was used in an attempt to observe the connections between edubloggers and their readers, which is in harmony of the spirit of the blogs as well as to understand the essence of experiences in the blogosphere. A grounded theory was constructed from a cross-case analysis—case studies were developed using interview transcripts of the 5 bloggers and artefact analysis of each of their blogs over a 4-month period—with the intention of identifying key phenomena.

Common themes related to the edubloggers’ motivations, writing style, community building and other general practices were uncovered as. In addition, a substantial set of emerging questions specifically relating to readership and the qualitative assessment of blog content were noted.

Update March 1, 2010: My thesis has been published into a book entitlted Edublogging: A Qualitative Study of Training and Development Bloggers

Defining the Consultant 2.0

A recent post entitled Dream to Reality: How I Quit My Day Job by Tina Su made me reflect on the evolution of my career vocation as well as life after the graduation—my thesis defence is tomorrow at noon. I have no plans to quite my day job any time soon. But I do want to make certain changes in order to be able to better balance my life and feel I’m getting the most out of it.

Tina Su seems to have made a vocation of blogging. She writes:

Through my quest to finding my passion, I discovered blogging as a platform where I can share ideas and lessons learned that are closest to my heart, as a way to serve others. For the first time in my life, I feel that I am living my life purpose.

I “digged” Tina Su’s blog post and remarked the following:

There is something to this blog post. I’m sort of halfway there – I’m working from home and blogging, developing a network and pursuing my passions on the side, planning for a moment where I can generate revenue with my opinion/online resources — it’s a kind of consultant 2.0. I most certainly appreciate the advice and tips.

Then of course, I got to thinking about what does consultant 2.0 mean? Has anyone else used this term? And how did they define it?

Noah D. Roth wrote a blog post in April 2007 entitled Consultant 2.0 where he gives a definition of what a Consultant 2.0 might be:

Today’s consultant- let’s call him Consultant 2.0- isn’t just looking for 3 years of consulting as a gateway to a line role in industry. […] Consultant 2.0, working 80 hours per week at 80% travel, doesn’t have time for a second full time job looking for their next career move. And his next move is likely to be less-traditional. He may sacrifice cash for equity. Having been a generalist for most of his consulting career, Consultant 2.0 isn’t going to the first client who makes him an offer. He is choosing an industry and a role, and developing deep relationships with his own firms alumni network, and the recruiters who can get him in the door.

Next, Leslie Bradshaw has a consultant 2.0 category for her blog, and though she never uses the term specifically, in one post entitled The rise of the “influential 2.0″ and the “strategist 2.0″ and the … ok, you get the point she writes:

The “strategist 2.0″ – Strategists and consultants — such as those from the political, PR and advertising phyla — who make their money leveraging the influence, relationships, fundraising potential, Word-of-Mouth marketing, etc. from “the blogs” (and other online media, groups, networks, outlets, and so on).

Next, I found a slideshare presentation created a month ago by Pat Kitano on How Web 2.0 and Internet Transparency is Changing Management Consulting:

Last Monday, Dion Hinchcliffe wrote in his Web 2.0 Blog that Web 2.0 remains the top word used to describe Internet trends. He discusses offspring terms such as Advertising 2.0, Law 2.0, Library 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 and even Government 2.0 and remarks that:

At this point there are some that like to invoke Buzzword Bingo at such seemingly gratuitously coining of new terms, but I personally find this a crucially important point: The global network of the Web itself, which is shaped continually by the endless participation of hundreds of millions of users around the clock, is no more than a reflection of those that shape it (which are then shaped themselves by it.)  That the principles of Web 2.0 cross all disciplines, types of business, types of government, languages, as well as types of people and culture has fostered an interesting phenomenon.  Namely, each of these topical areas are in the various stages of translating how Web 2.0 transforms and improves what they do, from architectures of participation and harnessing collective intelligence to radical decentralization (with cloud computing being the most interesting new example) and open service ecosystems. (links in quote provided by Dion Hinchcliffe)

Google returned 7,540 results for “consultant 2.0”. There’s a machining calculator called Consultant 2.0. I don’t know why the author named it that way. Random.

I’m still not sure exactly what Consultant 2.0 really means yet, at least not for me. But if I try to define some common points, it involves:

  • using blogs and other social media tools to build a reputation as well as a network
  • sharing with others what I know, what I read, what I think, how I feel… by extension who I am
  • being transparent and accessible
  • having an opinion, recognizing other’s opinion, being able to compare and contrast them
  • a lot of reading and writing
  • being able to effectively evaluate information I find on the Web
  • being confident, yet humble
  • developing a balanced scorecard approach to evaluating the return on investment of the practices listed above that involves more then an immediate cash return

Anything else?

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Building the Argument for Changes in Enterprise Learning

Today Jay Cross posted his elevator speech on what he does in his post Enterprise learning:

Most of the businesses and governments live in the last century. They cling to industrial-age beliefs that the world is predictable, management has the answers, and workers are under their control. In the real world, no one has the answers, collective intelligence beats top-down decisions, and management’s task is to inspire people rather than tell them what to do.

Corporations need to replace traditional training, knowledge management, and in-house communications with something more informal, interactive, collaborative, self-service, impromptu, and flexible. Instead of pushing content, they need to be facilitating conversation. I try to help them get there.

So what do you do?

I think when Jay asked “what do you do?” he meant, “how do you define yourself”. I could actually steal Jay’s elevator speech because that it pretty much what I do. Or at least what I’d like to be doing more and more of. But I can’t sell a service that people won’t buy, right? So I’m going to interpret it another way. What I do is try not to get discouraged/feel frustrated by those who cling to the industrial-age beliefs and want me to implement top-down learning systems. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some break-throughs, but I find I face so much resistance.

I know there has been a lot of research on why there is so much resistance to change.

Sometimes I wonder if my argument for change is not solid enough.

Perhaps this might help. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research recently released a report of their research on the use of social media by the Inc 500. I discovered this report via Ross Dawson who writes that “this is one of the first longitudinal studies, showing changes in adoption of social media tools from one year ago”.

In addition, a little over a month ago, Tony Karrer blogged about a Fortune Magazine interview with GE’s CIO who reports that their professional networking site gets 25 million hits per day and is “is becoming sort of a heartbeat of the company”.

There are definitely no lack of arguments for this change.

My concerns are the following:

  • I’ve found I’ve been able to implement change slowly: a little blog here, a little discussion forum there. But is this the most effective way to implement this kind of change?
  • Perhaps eventually they’ll think of a larger scale implementation, but I need to show the results and evaluation is a little trickier in this arena. What are the ways that we can concretely assess success with this type of learning?

I’m curious what kind of arguments and approaches have been successful in helping organizations change. I’d love some feedback.

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