One of the problems of a start-up is that you have to build a minimum viable product (MVP). Regardless if you are building a product, such as an app or a service like we have you still have to test things out, what works and what does not. There is even a whole industry built up that will test MVPs quickly, the book "Sprint" is a great example of this.
For Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) it is different, I was part of the three year roll out of social selling at a large tech vendor. 4,000 people across Europe so I was able to fail, three years is a long time, so fail and fail fast isn't a term I would use. Fail, think, regroup and fail again certainly seemed to be what we did.
So what how can you learn on my failures?
1. Don't get profile writers. We did this and nothing happened. Why? Because social requires people to change habits. If you don't write blogs, you certainly won't when your profile has been written for you. In fact people just carried on as before.
2. We then moved onto webinars. Surely this is simple? We get all the sales staff on a call and tell them they can make more money with less effort and we will get 100% take up? The problem is that Social Selling takes effort. You need to change your LinkedIn profile, grow your network and post content. Knowing and doing are two different things. Of course, on the webinar nobody listened, they did email, expenses, ate their lunch, anything but listen. Webinars didn't work.
3. We then decided to run a master class. What we found was that actually 80% of the people who attended didn't understand how to use social for work, they are scared, unsure what to do, etc. We only found this out after the event. People would come up to me afterwards and say "you know I said I understood what you said, I didn't". That is the problem with "knowledge transfer" training. We have all been on courses where we go back to our desks and do what we did before. A client of ours recently went through the Sales Challenger training and I said to the sales guy, "what are the tip 3 things you do differently?" He thought for a while and said, "I now create agendas for meetings". *face palm*.
Here are DLA we don't do LinkedIn training, we do social selling training, big difference. Our program are also designed to bring everybody along and rather focused on knowledge transfer, it's based on change. And changing habits, so changing for good.
Studies on organizational change show that leaders across the board agree: if you want to lead a successful transformation, communicating empathetically is critical. But the truth is that most leaders don’t actually know how to do it. In fact, at Duarte, the communication consultancy where I’m Chief Strategy Officer, we conducted a survey of over 200 leading company executives and found that 69% of respondents said that they were planning to launch or are currently conducting a change effort. Unfortunately, 50% of these same execs said they hadn’t fully considered their team’s sentiment about the change. Worse, about half said they were just approaching the change “going on gut.”