Unnecessary Secrets

June 3rd 2015

If you have not heard of Yammer before (or similar apps like Chatter), they are "social media" for business. Saying that, however, diminishes their incredible value. They are not "Facebook for work" - they solve a genuine communication issue that many companies suffer from.

Yammer is not a direct replacement to email. It does, in my experience, dramatically reduce the volume of emails that you send and receive. Have difficulties believing me? Watch this 2 minute video about how Yammer can transform your inbox.

However, if you adopt Yammer thinking that it will reduce the amount of information you receive, realize that it is almost the opposite. The amount of information you receive increases. Dramatically. The key with Yammer is remembering that you don't have to read everything.

If you go into it treating every Yammer post as an email (or worse, set it up so you get an email for every Yammer post), you are going to drown in emails very quickly. Only treat conversations you are tagged in like an email. If you are not tagged, skim the conversations. Read what catches your eye and ignore the rest. Treat it like a conversation you happen to overhear. You can interject - it's not a private conversation. But you can also walk on by.

Unnecessary Secrets

The problem in many businesses are unnecessary secrets. These are situations where one person is unaware of something that would have been really useful for them to be aware of. Not just useful to them, but useful to you too. Perhaps they have vital information they would have shared with you, had they realized what you were doing. Perhaps they have expertise that would have proved beneficial.

However, you were not aware that them being aware was important. And they were not aware that they were not aware. Then, when it is all too late and the problems are mounting, the recriminations start flying: "If only I'd known" or "I didn't know".

It all gets chalked up to communication issues but the truth is, no-one really knows what they would have done differently because no-one did anything wrong.

Think about it: you did not email the person concerned because you did not want to carbon copy a whole bunch of people unnecessarily. You want your emails to only go to the people who are relevant. Just like when you call a meeting, you don't invite the whole company. The net result, though, is that you know something that someone else does not know. And there is no reason for them to not know - it is not a secret you are deliberately trying to keep from them. Quite the opposite in fact: you are trying not to include them unnecessarily because they are busy enough as it is.

Yammer turns this around. Rather than you being the arbiter of who knows what about what you do, you allow others to decide for themselves. If they care, they can interject in your conversations. If they do not care, they can tune you out. Within a blink of an eye, all the unnecessary secrets in your company are eliminated.

Image CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by marcmo on Flickr

Please note this blog post was in no way commercially sponsored. This is entirely my own opinion.

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