June 15, 2013

Open Leaders: My #TChat Experience

Calestous Juma is Professor of the Practice of International Development and Director of the Science, Technology, and Globalization Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.

Harvard University of course is in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Professor Juma tweeted the following on Saturday, which I thought was both poignant and appropriate for the purpose of my pending prose:

Meghan Biro and Kevin Grossman — as they previously state:

were comparing notes about the many forces reshaping today’s workplace. They wondered aloud about how talent-minded professionals could connect and support one another through chaotic and exciting shifts in business, technology and workforce dynamics.”

Thankfully, in Cambridge, they started up the TalentCulture “world of work” community that includes the highly popular weekly #TChat Twitter chat and #TChat Radio show.  With Meghan based in Cambridge and Kevin in Santa Cruz, these two have undoubtedly run into a few enemies as they began TalentCulture, but more importantly, they have created an awe-inspiring collaborative community of professionals desperately yearning for — and in many cases practicing — a new and improved way in which to operate our organizations.

<insert happy dance> … because we need more Meghan and Kevin’s.

In December of 2008 I joined an organization with an employee engagement level of 53%. I knew it could be turned around if many of us banded together, although I knew I would encounter enemies along the way. In early 2012, I wanted to broaden my reach in an attempt to help others outside of the organization I worked at full-time. So, I sent an email out to 20 people asking for their help. I wanted to write and publish a book even though I knew full well I might create more enemies, whether in the organization I worked at or through the final result of the book itself. The power of my network and my willingness to try something new despite knowing I would create enemies ensured I published the book.

This past week those forces collided. (and what a positive experience it was for me personally)

Earlier in 2013 I was fortunate to be introduced to Meghan and Kevin (and their co-conspirators Kathleen Kruse and Tim McDonald) by one of the brightest interlocutors out there — Nick Kellet — founder of List.ly and one incredibly bright spark. After publishing Flat Army in March in Canada (the USA and Europe followed in April and May) Nick (based in beautiful Kelowna, British Columbia) was kind enough to send a note expressing his sentiments that me (and Flat Army) might be featured through the TalentCulture community.

TClogoAnd at that point, the #TChat Leadership Train of Meghan, Kevin, Kathleen and Tim was steaming towards me whistling gleefully down the track. Their enthusiasm and willingness to share the Flat Army story of a connected and engaged organization (and leadership style) was maple syrup to my pancakes.

I know, I’m mixing metaphors.

But trust me, these are very, very good people.

  • Kathleen effortlessly worked with me on a post for the TalentCulture community
  • Kevin provided all sorts of guidance and encouragement
  • Tim recorded a Google+ Hangout with me (and offered me tips for my own timeslot)
  • Meghan wrote a post for Forbes linking to our theme for the week and interviewed me for a 30-minute TChat Radio segment

Of course everything culminated with me moderating the #TChat Tweetstorm for 60 minutes where it landed on the Top 10 Twitter Trending list in the USA during its Wednesday timeslot.

Meghan has taken the final step of recapping the entire week of ‘open leadership’ in a masterfully written summary. (ie. no point in trying to duplicate excellence)

To the entire team, my many thanks. Not simply for inviting me as a guest, but for what you are doing to help hundreds of professionals get on the ‘open leadership’ bus. You are open leaders … you are role models for many to look up to.

I’m glad you tried something new despite potential enemies in your midst.

So many people out there are better off as a result of your courage and openness.

#kudos #tchat … You are #openleaders

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