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.

Transcript

Putting Togetherthe People Puzzle

Kerry-Anne GiloweyContent Strategy Summit19 August 2014

@kerry_anne

Im an independent

content strategy consultant

Im an independent

content strategy consultantHealthcare

Government

Online retail

Financial services

Technology Startups

Volunteer-run associations

Advertising

Web design

Im an independent

content strategy consultantHealthcare

Government

Online retail

Financial services

Technology Startups

Volunteer-run associations

Advertising

Web design

PEOPLE

PEOPLE

NeedsFears

Vulnerabilities

PassionsStruggles

Past experiences

Agendas

Motivations

Prejudices

Personality quirks

History

Nope.

Were more like this.

Image credit: Flickr user danielpaquet

Doin bizniz.

We talk about

Our hard skillsOur knowledgeOur experienceOur objectives

We dont talk about

Our weaknessesOur hangupsOur emotional historyOur hidden agendas

These things affect bizniz.

Practical things rst

Keep track of people

Image credit: Flickr user tjblackwell

Design team Stakeholders

!

Collaborators

What should you track?

Simple facts? Sure. But also:Your impressionsPersonality traitsSticking points, agendasParticular interests, concerns

For your eyes only.

Do one-on-one sessions

Image credit: Flickr user levendis

Ask 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 these

What 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.)

Imag

e co

urte

sy o

f Sea

n Tu

bridy

!

Tell me more about that.

Puzzle time!

ToryMarketing Manager

Brought you onto the projectOver-communicatorGoes back on decisionsKeeps you away from her boss

THE SITUATION

ToryMarketing Manager

Her boss doesnt respect herShe doesnt know how to defend her ideasAfraid of losing her jobFeels shes on shaky ground with the advent of digital

WHATS GOING

ON?

ToryMarketing Manager

Give her digital resourcesDiscuss ways to defend your ideas together in advanceGive her YOUR respect

WHAT CAN YOU

DO?

FelixBusiness Analyst

Is inflexibleAsks for inappropriate deliverablesValues deadlines over progressHides behind process, project plans

THE SITUATION

FelixBusiness Analyst

He doesnt really understand the domain of the projectHes afraid that if he deviates hell be shown up

THE SITUATION

WHATS GOING

ON?

FelixBusiness Analyst

Communicate frequentlySet up additional sessions to work through subject matter

THE SITUATION

WHAT CAN YOU

DO?

SharonHead of Customer Care

Frequently says, Ive been saying that for four years...Sighs and rolls eyes during meetings when recommendations are made

THE SITUATION

SharonHead of Customer Care

Feels she hasnt been heard in the past and isnt going to get the credit she deservesFeels sidelined by the new project, which she doesnt own

THE SITUATION

WHATS GOING

ON?

SharonHead of Customer Care

Turn her into an ally Get her on boardGive her credit for her ideas in front of other team members

THE SITUATION

WHAT CAN YOU

DO?

KarlDigital Editor

Has worked here for a long timeHelped build current version of websiteSeems uncooperativeTakes a long time to submit work

THE SITUATION

KarlDigital Editor

Feels threatened by negative attention on current siteHes struggling with perfectionismDoesnt like to show his work

THE SITUATION

WHATS GOING

ON?

KarlDigital Editor

Take time to understand past challenges and historyMake sure he feels heardTreat his deliverables as works in progress, collaborate

THE SITUATION

WHAT CAN YOU

DO?

LauraCompliance Officer

Keeps changing copy in ways that are not customer-friendlySees everything in black and white terms

THE SITUATION

LauraCompliance Officer

Afraid of being suedMotivated by doing her job wellSees herself as a champion for compliance

THE SITUATION

WHATS GOING

ON?

LauraCompliance Officer

Ask for feedback, not revisionsMake a visible effort to understand the regulatory environment

THE SITUATION

WHAT CAN YOU

DO?

LeeTechnical Architect

Doesnt seem to trust youDoesnt get involved at workshopsSeems condescendingDoesnt answer your questions in detail

THE SITUATION

LeeTechnical Architect

Has had bad experiences with non-technical people in the pastDeveloped prejudices

THE SITUATION

WHATS GOING

ON?

LeeTechnical Architect

Demonstrate your technical understanding earlyCreate clear, useful deliverablesAvoid marketing jargon and buzzwords

THE SITUATION

WHAT CAN YOU

DO?

SaulStakeholder from HR

Difficult to get hold ofUncooperative during interviews, doesnt open up at allGives one-word answers or says he doesnt knowExtremely defensive

THE SITUATION

SaulStakeholder from HR

Hes suspicious of the project and your motivesAfraid that he doesnt know the answers

THE SITUATION

WHATS GOING

ON?

SaulStakeholder from HR

Become his friendBe open about the project objectives and your motivesReassure himAsk about things that he knows well to get him comfortable

THE SITUATION

WHAT CAN YOU

DO?

Things to look out for

Non-verbal cues

An ongoing conict

Image credit: Flickr user etolane

Passions and agendas

The silent ones

History

Putting the pieces together

Everyone 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 puzzle

90%$

Asking why

The rest

Behaviour is frequently situational.

The usual way

Encounterobjection

The usual way

Encounterobjection

Reactinstinctively

A better way

Encounterobjection

A better way

Encounterobjection

Stop and consider

A better way

Encounterobjection

Stop and consider

Respondthoughtfully

Be just as empathic withyour team members and

stakeholders

as you are withyour users and readers.

Thanks for listening!

Kerry-Anne Giloweykerryanne@augustsun.co.za

http://augustsun.co.zahttp://about.me/kerryanne

@kerry_anne