October 25, 2006

Progess report

October 25, 2006 - Categories: ibm, research

I’ve been with the IBM Toronto Center for Advanced Studies since
February, and it’s time to make a progress report. What have I done in
the past eight months to create value for them and work on my
research?

My work seemed pretty random in the beginning. I spent a fair bit of
time just getting the feel of IBM, learning about the different
services on IBM’s intranet and making sense of the blogosphere. I had
to be told to concentrate several times! ;)

The funny thing is that this random casting-about is probably *just*
what I needed to do. My blog helped me meet other people working in
the space, and I learned about visualizations and resources that I
wouldn’t have come across on my own.

The prototype that I made for kicks might be an interesting tool. The
researchers I talked to found it novel…

What’s next?

I need to sit down and just build the darn tool. I think it’ll take me
two, three weeks for the search engine, maybe another week for the
aggregator. I already have most of the code. November will be my
intensive hacking month, so don’t expect to hear much from me externally.

Then I need to test the tool with people so that I have data that I
can write up during my vacation. Early December?

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Alumni networks and business networking sites

October 25, 2006 - Categories: connecting
The Greater IBM Connection

My notes from last month’s Greater IBM
networking party are in my backpack, just in case I find
the time to write a trip report. They get me thinking: how useful are
alumni networks, anyway? How can we use social networking to support people even when they leave an organization?

Pauline Ores pointed out that alumni need to find:

  • Candidates for open job positions in their company
  • Jobs for themselves or other people in their network
  • Clients or vendors

There’s also a fourth need that I think alumni will definitely
appreciate: keeping in touch with people in the organizations they’ve
left behind, even when those people have moved on to other
organizations.

Hmm. Are any of these needs compelling enough for some people to
actively participate in a space, or can they be handled by basic
social networking without the additional structure of an IBM group?

What value can IBM bring? I’ll split this up into several blog posts
and reassemble them into an article when we’re done thinking out loud.
Here’s one of them.

Looking for candidates for an open position

IBM hiring is a vote of confidence in the person. Experience at IBM
may be an asset that employers could look for. Would people explicitly
search for IBM alumni when looking for candidates to fill a position.
Does IBM want to encourage and support that?

We’re looking at two use cases:

  1. Finding a list of people who are interested in a different position
  2. Advertising an open job position

It’s unlikely that business networking sites will ever support case

as such information is sensitive. Would you indicate on your
profile that you’re looking for a different job? Probably not.

Case 2 can already be done with current business networking systems.
LinkedIn allows people to post job
advertisements to their personal network. People can see these job ads
when they log in. A group affiliation allows you to be part of a
larger network without having to make all the connections yourself,
which is useful.

If organization networks and other affiliations were automatically
considered part of your personal network, the volume of information
from IBM and all your other affiliations could be overwhelming.
Filtering will become essential as volume grows. A smart social
networking site would make it easy to filter displayed jobs by area of
interest.

Jobs advertised through second- orA third-degree personal networks
make sense because of referrals. Does it make sense to use second- or
third-degree affiliations in your network? I think that affiliations
might only be useful for the immediately-connected.

How would it work? If I want to advertise a position, it would be
useful to be able to either explicitly activate a network (such as my
Toastmasters network if I’m looking for people with good public
speaking skills) or advertise to all my networks. It wouldn’t make
much sense for these jobs to be advertised to people without those
affiliations, though.

To support the search for candidates, business networking services
should make it easy to advertise jobs to selected networks of people.

Hmm…

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The magic of helping out

October 25, 2006 - Categories: life, purpose

Magic Johnson believed that if he helped everyone around him get what they wanted out of the game, then winning would always follow. And so would his own rewards, in their own time and of their own accord.

- From the Winner Within, by Pat Riley, coach, Miami Heat, as quoted in Business is a Contact Sport, by Tom Richardson, Augusto Vidaurreta, and Tom Gorman.

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Now that’s how to recruit!

October 25, 2006 - Categories: connecting

As part of its employee recruitment effort, Adjoined Technologies spent $20 apiece to have “care packages” delivered to 40 IT majors who were studying for their final exams at a nearby university. The packages included Starbucks coffee, Power Bars, snack foods, and such. Cost-benefit analysis told Adjoined that $800 spent on a memorable win for 40 hand-picked potential candidates is a bargain compared with scattershot advertisements in the Sunday paper for hundreds of dollars each or recruiter’s fees of $2,000 to $3,000 per hire. Moreover, providing that win got the relationship between the company and the candidate off to a beautiful start. Adjoined did not offer a position to everyone in that group of 40, but every candidate who was extended an offer accepted it.

- From “Business is a Contact Sport”, by Tom Richardson, Augusto Vidaurreta, and Tom Gorman

Now *that’s* how to recruit!

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Business is a contact sport

October 25, 2006 - Categories: book, connecting

“Business is a Contact Sport” by Tom Richardson, Augusto Vidaurreta,
and Tom Gorman (ISBN 0-02-864163-9) makes the case for a dedicated
Chief Relationship Officer or a team for dealing with all the
important relationships a company has. It contains twelve principles:

  1. See relationships as valuable assets.
  2. Develop a game plan.
  3. Create ownership for relationships
  4. Transform contacts into connections.
  5. Move into the win-win zone.
  6. Get to know your stakeholders as people.
  7. Build bonds of trust with all stakeholders.
  8. Banish relationship killers.
  9. When something breaks, fix it fast.
  10. Get rolling and maintain momentum.
  11. Maximize the long-term value of relationships.
  12. Keep the wins coming, stakeholder by stakeholder.

The appendix is pure gold. It’s a list of typical wins for the
different stakeholders in company relationships. Keep it in mind when
you’re dealing with people, and look for ways to help them win!

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(MUST find a better way to blog about books…)