Why are you here? Why are any of us here? What drives you?
I love introducing groups of friends who have things in common. And that feeling of community I get bumping into people I know, for example in my lovely local pub The Rusty Bucket, or the Kidbrooke Beer and Cider Festival which I volunteer at. Or, you know, Intranet Now. Sometimes those circles overlap (hi Kathryn, hi Paul! And a shout out to Anna who doesn’t give a fig about intranets but goes above and beyond in her community and shares our stuff generously.)
I’ve also always liked trying to make it easier to communicate. Whether it’s setting up our teaching course’s first email distribution list at university, linking friends and colleagues together to learn from each other if they’ve got a similar problem, or helping people find what they need on an intranet.
“Where is this ramble going, Lisa?” I hear you think? We were talking in the pub the other night about our various careers (actually, mainly mine). And even though I’ve worked in a variety of environments (in sometimes unpopular organisations) there have been common threads throughout.
5 ways to succeed at life and intranets
In the words of Rizzle Kicks, let’s skip to the good bit.
Don’t just stand there, do something.
Simple things can help make a difference. It doesn’t always have to be a Big Technical Thing. While I was at university I remember being infuriated by the methods of internal communication – putting posters and signs up on a notice board in a building nobody used. I helped set up a basic email list by handing around a sheet of paper, and started the ball rolling.
Bring your experience with you
My first corporate role was teaching bar and restaurant staff how to use their new ePOS till systems to get the information they need to do their jobs. A combination of the skills I learned teaching, with knowing what bar managers need to understand.
I went on to work at a mortgage lender, taking my admin and comms skills to a new level giving intermediaries the information they needed to do their jobs. And then took those comms skills into working at a security company, getting my CIM qualification along the way.
Each role building on the things I learned before. I’ve only met one person who deliberately went into intranets (hi Sindy!). But even if you think you’ve left them behind (hi Brian) you might find your previous experience adds a lot of value to your future. Think about how you can bring your unique insights (whatever they may be) into your work life!
Stay curious and ask questions
I went on to specialise in digital after working on a website project as part of an external comms role. I remember in my first week hearing two people in the *same room* working on two separate yet identical projects and helped them connect and reduce duplication. And saw that amplified when we introduced an enterprise social network (ESN) where anyone could share what they were working on.
Find your tribe (or tribes)
I had no idea that intranet people even existed. There are a few super-connectors I know (hi Wedge, Richard, Sharon, Kurt, James, Catherine, Simon, Steve) and those tangentially linked communities (Martin, Helen, Rahel) who help bring the right people together. I remember walking into Intranet Now and feeling weirdly comfortable. I mean, I was slightly intimidated by all the expertise in the room, but found that I was also able to contribute and share my perspective.
Anyway, Chris Tubb summarised it in his inimitable way in this tweet:
We are even stronger and versatile when mixed with others.— Chris Tubb (@christubb) September 19, 2019
Intranets (and, well, life) can feel a bit lonely sometimes. But if I can help someone else (or many people) not have to repeat the same mistakes, to feel more connected, then I’ve succeeded. And I’m lucky enough to be in a position to able to do that. Whether that’s at formal events, meet-ups or the social bits that come after and between.
Join us at Intranet Now next week and share your experience!