Social Serendipity

In case you hadn’t noticed,  I’m kinda a control freak.  I like to know exactly what is happening and have a plan of action in place.  I don’t go into meetings (or the weekend) without having already thought through multiple scenario’s and made a plan for each.   I organise what we are eating for dinner each night and where we are going on our next holiday.  I have project plans and to do lists for all my work.  I’ve always thought that controlling everything would help me to relax, because I had things sorted.

But recently I’ve come to acknowledge that perhaps things are far more out of my control than I have realised.  That I have arrived at this place on my journey, not because everything went exactly according to plan ..because as a matter of fact it totally hasn’t…but despite my planning.   All the things that I have done in my life have led me to this moment.  All the jobs, all the experiences, good and bad, have led me to be here today.  And actually,  there is real comfort in that, something very calming, assuring, to know that perhaps I can let go a little bit and things will find a way of working out.


I was working on a presentation last week and someone had mentioned how they loved the serendipity of social media.   And this is so true.  The social world is not controlled.  To work more socially you have to be willing to work more publically without really knowing why,  to be willing to collaborate but be open to with whom,  to follow links and hope they take you somewhere useful.    To those of us with controlling tendencies (what, me?!) , this is a really challenging road to cross.   But when you cross over, when you put it out there,  it is amazing what comes swinging back around.   A reassuring comment from a stranger,  the opportunity from a new buyer,  the new idea you hadn’t thought of until you read that article.

Serendipity.  I wonder what discovery will be next?  I don’t know…but I’m willing to let go and see…

Finding clarity in social chaos

I read a quote earlier this week that has really stuck in my head…

“Employees are drowning in information but thirsting for clarity and purpose”

Paul Barton Communications

I believe this is one of the fundamental challenges workplaces have today.   The social world has opened the door to a myriad of information and contact points from across the globe.  But it so easy to get overwhelmed and literally feel like you are drowning in all this information.  I certainly do.  First thing I do when I hit the office (or hit the home study as the case may be) is check all my social media channels and our internal Connections community… next thing I know, I’m following links, reading articles, jumping from one place to another.  On one hand, it is inspiring and exciting, I keep finding new bits of information to add to my program or someone elses ideas will spark ideas with me.  But on the other hand, it is so hard to keep focused, to keep coming back to the realities of my little world and what I need to achieve.

So,  leaders in organisations have SUCH a critical role now in driving the clarity and purpose that employees need to keep heading in the right direction.  Provide the freedom required to let them network and be inspired by those around them but then keep bringing them back to your organisation, your purpose.    This isn’t a new concept,  I remember in Manager training many many years ago,  we talked about the importance of employees having clarity in their roles. Infact, if you fail to provide clarity as a leader, everything else becomes irrelevant.

It helps when a leader embraces social and uses it to help regain that clarity…I’ve seen great leaders posting weekly blogs to their teams telling them what they are working and providing structure for the week.  Others using micro-blogging techniques to share relevant information in real time, short sharp and easy for teams to digest.   Then, of course, connecting more personally to ensure that each individual employee is on their track, that they have found personal motivation in what they are doing but can all clearly see how their work fits into the overall organisations vision.

I personally have to keep bringing myself back to my purpose.  I have stuck my job description onto the whiteboard (yes people, in all the passion and excitement I literally forget what I’m supposed to be doing sometimes!) and each morning after my usual dig around in the social world (sometimes I need to put a timer on to bring myself back),  I write down anything I’ve learnt or things I want to remember, then I pull out my trusty “to do” list which helps to re-focus my mind back to things I need to achieve my work goals for the day and ultimately for the organisation.

Do you get the clarity you need to get the job done?