Putting Together the People Puzzle – Content Strategy Summit 2014

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Knowledge workers bring far more than just their intellectual skills to a project. They bring their fears, their prejudices, their motivations, their emotional history, and their personalities to the table too. At kick-off meetings we openly discuss our roles and skill sets, but these other intangible things are never exposed.

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Putting Togetherthe People PuzzleKerry-Anne GiloweyContent Strategy Summit19 August 2014@kerry_anneIm an independent content strategy consultantIm an independent content strategy consultantHealthcareGovernmentOnline retailFinancial servicesTechnology StartupsVolunteer-run associationsAdvertisingWeb designIm an independent content strategy consultantHealthcareGovernmentOnline retailFinancial servicesTechnology StartupsVolunteer-run associationsAdvertisingWeb designPEOPLEPEOPLENeedsFearsVulnerabilitiesPassionsStrugglesPast experiencesAgendasMotivationsPrejudicesPersonality quirksHistoryNope.Were more like this.Image credit: Flickr user danielpaquetDoin bizniz.We talk aboutOur hard skillsOur knowledgeOur experienceOur objectivesWe dont talk aboutOur weaknessesOur hangupsOur emotional historyOur hidden agendasThese things affect bizniz.Practical things rstKeep track of peopleImage credit: Flickr user tjblackwellDesign team Stakeholders!CollaboratorsWhat should you track?Simple facts? Sure. But also:Your impressionsPersonality traitsSticking points, agendasParticular interests, concernsFor your eyes only.Do one-on-one sessionsImage credit: Flickr user levendisAsk questions like these...What are your processes and tools?Whats working, and whats not?What does your team look like?What other teams and departments do you work with?Where are the bottlenecks?What are your challenges?...not theseWhat are your business requirements?What functionality do you need?What buttons do you want on the admin panel?The magic sentence(I have no idea how Kristina can hear anything over that loud party hat.) Image courtesy of Sean Tubridy!Tell me more about that. Puzzle time!ToryMarketing ManagerBrought you onto the projectOver-communicatorGoes back on decisionsKeeps you away from her bossTHE SITUATIONToryMarketing ManagerHer boss doesnt respect herShe doesnt know how to defend her ideasAfraid of losing her jobFeels shes on shaky ground with the advent of digitalWHATS GOING ON?ToryMarketing ManagerGive her digital resourcesDiscuss ways to defend your ideas together in advanceGive her YOUR respectWHAT CAN YOU DO?FelixBusiness AnalystIs inflexibleAsks for inappropriate deliverablesValues deadlines over progressHides behind process, project plansTHE SITUATIONFelixBusiness AnalystHe doesnt really understand the domain of the projectHes afraid that if he deviates hell be shown upTHE SITUATIONWHATS GOING ON?FelixBusiness AnalystCommunicate frequentlySet up additional sessions to work through subject matterTHE SITUATIONWHAT CAN YOU DO?SharonHead of Customer CareFrequently says, Ive been saying that for four years...Sighs and rolls eyes during meetings when recommendations are madeTHE SITUATIONSharonHead of Customer CareFeels she hasnt been heard in the past and isnt going to get the credit she deservesFeels sidelined by the new project, which she doesnt ownTHE SITUATIONWHATS GOING ON?SharonHead of Customer CareTurn her into an ally Get her on boardGive her credit for her ideas in front of other team membersTHE SITUATIONWHAT CAN YOU DO?KarlDigital EditorHas worked here for a long timeHelped build current version of websiteSeems uncooperativeTakes a long time to submit workTHE SITUATIONKarlDigital EditorFeels threatened by negative attention on current siteHes struggling with perfectionismDoesnt like to show his workTHE SITUATIONWHATS GOING ON?KarlDigital EditorTake time to understand past challenges and historyMake sure he feels heardTreat his deliverables as works in progress, collaborateTHE SITUATIONWHAT CAN YOU DO?LauraCompliance OfficerKeeps changing copy in ways that are not customer-friendlySees everything in black and white termsTHE SITUATIONLauraCompliance OfficerAfraid of being suedMotivated by doing her job wellSees herself as a champion for complianceTHE SITUATIONWHATS GOING ON?LauraCompliance OfficerAsk for feedback, not revisionsMake a visible effort to understand the regulatory environmentTHE SITUATIONWHAT CAN YOU DO?LeeTechnical ArchitectDoesnt seem to trust youDoesnt get involved at workshopsSeems condescendingDoesnt answer your questions in detailTHE SITUATIONLeeTechnical ArchitectHas had bad experiences with non-technical people in the pastDeveloped prejudicesTHE SITUATIONWHATS GOING ON?LeeTechnical ArchitectDemonstrate your technical understanding earlyCreate clear, useful deliverablesAvoid marketing jargon and buzzwordsTHE SITUATIONWHAT CAN YOU DO?SaulStakeholder from HRDifficult to get hold ofUncooperative during interviews, doesnt open up at allGives one-word answers or says he doesnt knowExtremely defensiveTHE SITUATIONSaulStakeholder from HRHes suspicious of the project and your motivesAfraid that he doesnt know the answersTHE SITUATIONWHATS GOING ON?SaulStakeholder from HRBecome his friendBe open about the project objectives and your motivesReassure himAsk about things that he knows well to get him comfortableTHE SITUATIONWHAT CAN YOU DO?Things to look out forNon-verbal cuesAn ongoing conictImage credit: Flickr user etolanePassions and agendasThe silent onesHistoryPutting the pieces togetherEveryone has their reasons.Everyone has their reasons.Hes scared of taking responsibility.Shes struggling with perfectionism.Hes worried about looking stupid.Shes afraid that shell be blamed.Solving the people puzzle90%$Asking why The rest Behaviour is frequently situational.The usual wayEncounterobjectionThe usual wayEncounterobjectionReactinstinctivelyA better wayEncounterobjectionA better wayEncounterobjectionStop and considerA better wayEncounterobjectionStop and considerRespondthoughtfullyBe just as empathic withyour team members and stakeholdersas you are withyour users and readers.Thanks for listening!Kerry-Anne Giloweykerryanne@augustsun.co.zahttp://augustsun.co.zahttp://about.me/kerryanne@kerry_anne