26th April 2008

Some things to do and not do

posted in Uncategorized |

This is pretty 101 and not intended to be comprehensive, but I was putting together some quick high level teaching points for the internal culture change on launching a community and thought I’d share it.  Feel free to add.



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There are currently 7 responses to “Some things to do and not do”

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  1. 1 On April 28th, 2008, Laura said:

    Hi Sean - Question: how about allowing public criticism from employees themselves? Is that considered “human” and “authentic” and “transparent” or is that “airing your dirty laundary” and supplying fuel for public controversy?
    –L (hope all’s well!)

  2. 2 On April 28th, 2008, Sean said:

    Good question Laura! My daughter the other day told me (proudly) that she can do what she wants, I can’t control her!! I told her that’s true, but I do control the consequences.

    The employee scenario has some similar attributes. There are consequences. If airing dirty laundry violates employee policy or goes around reasonable process than that’s probably bad. I find myself in the dreaded “it depends” bucket. Several examples come to mind, including minimsft.blogspot.com. Though in this case the blogger is anonymous.

    In the end, I suppose this comes down to a personal choice. There are consequences for what you do - if I knew someone in this position my advice would be to weigh the consequences and make a choice (and my darn sure you are RIGHT! - I’ve seen laundry aired a few times that wasn’t even accurate!).


  3. 3 On April 29th, 2008, kevin beares said:

    I would add a Do… and Don’t….
    Do, Facilitate an online conversation with the community, via a blog, web forum or newsgroup.
    Don’t. Don’t go dark once the conversation gets going.
    Do. Create continuity in your interaction with your community.
    Don’t. Don’t start a conversation and not be able to finish or stay in the conversation.

    In regards to employees voicing public criticism. I always believe that there is always a right way and wrong way to voice your concerns/criticisms. I think that airing your companies dirty laundry publicly over a decision that has already been made is not the right way to voice criticism. However, if you are running a public feedback program where customers are allowed to log bugs/ suggestions, I think it is perfectly OK, for an employee to log their feedback via this public channel as long as this feedback would have eventually trickled into the company. The company needs to be prepared to respond to feedback once they open this channel of communication. Even if you aren’t running a feedback program, these same kinds of conversations can happen on a web forum or newsgroup. Fair game as long as the employee sticks to the publicly discoverable facts.


  4. 4 On May 14th, 2008, Ryan Turner said:

    This is great, Sean. It strikes me that when I’m talking with clients about online community, very often the subtext is that what we’re really talking about is culture change–but we talk about it in terms of the logistics and best practices of managing the community.

    So I appreciate the focus here on the management side of things. In the agency world we have to move quickly from project to project, and I make a real effort to set clients up for successful programs. Your visual here makes me feel like I ought to create a similar “cheat sheet” to pass out to clients. Thanks!

  5. 5 On May 29th, 2008, Wade Rockett said:

    Hi Sean,

    On the final Do, is “conversion” a typo for “conversation”? Or does “conversion” refer to organizational change?

  6. 6 On May 30th, 2008, Sean said:

    typo…but I guess it’s fruedian as true either way:)


  7. 7 On September 24th, 2008, Matt said:

    These are very good points, Sean, that many companies should probably read.

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