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« Guest Post by Stephanie McAuliffe: SoCap09 - Day 2 Roundup | Main | Guest Post by David Venn: Why Organizational Simplicity Is Key To Social Media Strategy Success »


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Beth, a timely and inspiring post. I especially needed: (2) "Unpack the fear of failure through internal discussions" and its look @ "controlling the message." So much of the fear is about losing control. As always, thanks for your encouragement!


Glad you found it useful! B

On Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 11:48 AM, wrote:

Roger Carr

Hi Beth,
This was an interesting question and blog post. Your post hinted at it, but one thing I am taking away from this is that you have to define "success" in order to know if you are succeeding or failing. That is not usually easy when the topic is social media.

Nice post, thank you. Wanted to respond on twitter but couldn't get my thoughts down to 140 characters. Really reminds me of some thoughts on learning theory and pedagogy (my career began as a elementary school teacher). In particular 1 and 3 as noted above regarding authentically owning and living the role of life-long learners. The combination of risk taking and exposure to something new with continual reflection do strike me as key ingredients to be able to take risks, fail, and see that as a process and positive rather than a discouragement.

Also, the idea of scaffolding your risk taking also comes to mind. Setting up risks/learning experiences that are just beyond your comfort level to establish what may be a more manageable and less overwhelming initial risk. As knowledge is gained the scaffold changes to accommodate the growth and learning over time.

Thank you for the thoughtful comments on this post.
@mindsondesign - I like your connection to teaching and learning - good analogy and the reminder about the concept of scaffolding.

And, just noticing that typepad has implemented Facebook connect.


Roger, that is a good point. You also have to define realistic success so
what could be a success isn't viewed as failure.

On Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 3:07 AM, wrote:

Rachel Happe

Thanks for the post Beth and for coming to speak with members of The Community Roundtable. This is such an interesting topic to me and I think one that is really hard for organizations to grapple with because people are mostly hired to do a specific job, not because of their skill sets and ability to learn. What happens when people outgrow the job they were hired for? It causes inconvenient disruption to standardized processes.

I love the scaffolding analogy too. One thing that we try to do at TCR, is to deliver programming that is partially what our members ask for but partially what we think members need to be thinking about, even if they are not... in essence provide the scaffolding that they can climb, which is just a bit higher than they need it to be right now. The art in that, of course, is staying just enough ahead of people that they can still link new material back to the needs they have at the moment.

Really looking forward to the conversation!

Joaquin Roca

Great post, Beth, it has me thinking a few different things. First, my research interests are around achievement goal orientation and creativity. Specifically, how can some combination of a mastery goal (aiming to increase competence) and a performance goal (aiming to display competence) increase creativity. The mastery goal allows people to struggle, seek challenges, explore failure, and learn new things while the performance goal focuses people on outcomes. It is the combination of these two that forces people to allow time for experimentation and failure while still making progress toward a desired goal. At least that is what I hope to show, I will let you know once the data are analyzed.

The second thing it brought up for me was the idea of culture change starting from behavior change. W. Warner Burke talks about this idea in relation to the James-Lange theory. If people change their behavior it will eventually change values and assuptions (that is culture). The implication being if you can change the way people act in the short run you can change an organization's culture in the long run. How you change people's behavior is another question, likely a combination of management systems, rewards and recognition, training, or something as simple as modeling the behavior yourself.

Thanks for the post, I enjoyed reading it.

Beth Kanter

Some key takeaways from the discussion:

* The importance of having group "learning together" opportunities in addition to one-on-one coaching.
* Scaffolding the experience for the executive - so they can do one small step at a time over time.
* First dip into social media should be low risk, not even an organizational project. Something that they are interested in. Avoids the problem of hands-on learning in public which causes a lot of stage fright.
* Importance of getting leadership past the veritigo feeling that comes with experiencing social media.
* Important to help leadership make the transition - having a trusted peer show them social media..
* Sometimes the fear isn't fear, but the concern about time constraints
* Find metaphors or analogies to explain it - so doesn't seem so foreign.
* Use of senarios to look at the worst possible cases
* Importance of internal technology steward

Bill Bennett

I'm impressed you used a Maori story to illustrate this point. We're used to taking management lessons from them here in New Zealand, but I wasn't aware the rest of the world had tuned in.

steve johnson

Thanks Beth,

First, congrats on your anniversary! Second, I appreciated your discussion about bloggers and the humor you have. Keep up the good work.

June Holley

I've found that it's not just that we avoid talking about mistakes, we avoid reflection that explores all the breakthroughs we've made and never see because we're too quickly onto the next action. Here is a quick brainstorm of questions we could ask that might help networks reflect more effectively. Any to add?

Questions to Help Deep Reflection Occur

1.What worked really well in this project?
2.Did it accomplish goals or outcomes? In what ways?
3.Did it fall short? Why?
4.What would you do differently?
5.What surprises came up during the project? What unexpected happened? What could you learn or capture from that?
6.What insights did you get during the project?
7.What processes did you use that worked well? Which didn’t work so well? Why do you think that was?
8.How did people work together? Were there conflicts? How were they handled? Did people get any new insights or perspectives as a result?
9.Were there people or perspectives missing from this project that you would include next time?
10.What skills and processes did you help people learn as part of this project? What skills and processes would you spend time on if you did this over again?
11.What were the most innovative aspects of the project? How did they work?
12.What did you do in this project that you could transfer to other projects?
13.What is the most troubling aspect of the project? What might you do to deal with it differently?
14.What skills came in most handy during this project? What skills did this project make you realize you need to acquire?
15.What really puzzles you about this project? What are unanswered questions you have about what happened?
16.What intrigues you about this project?
17.What would you like to learn more about that would help this (or other projects) in the future?
18.Where did we mess up? Make mistakes? Fall on our face? What can we learn from this?

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