Back to BE-ing @Work

BE-ing in ThoughtI keep coming back to be-ing. Our upbringing was seeped in the value system of Self Reliance for many generations.   I was raised with the resonating lines penned by my ancestor, Emerson. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” “Our chief want in life, is someone who shall make us do what we can. This is the service of a friend. With him we are easily great.”

With this foundation, there is little wonder what led me to this juncture. It is a point in which I seek to understand the ways in which I/we can best accomplish be-ing at work. To be our best selves while bringing out the best in others in whatever we do requires a deep understanding of self. Technological advances have changed the conditions and tools in which we engage with others and our work. In order to build and maintain mutually beneficial and effective relationships today, presence of be-ing must evolve in concert with the advances of technology.  The advances both augment and challenge our ability to be true to that self. Starting with presence, we have greater potential for the ability to thrive and succeed.

The last several years, I have engrossed myself in a doctoral journey in Human and Organizational Systems that has both provided answers and triggered many more questions. I emerge having explored wearable technologies as potential intervention for hindrances to presence, an element of the ability to BE one’s best. The journey is far from over, despite acceptance as a scholar. I return to practice with a renewed curiosity and desire to explore both the barriers to presence and actions/tools used to enhance presence.

The dissertation is done, soon to be shared after the proofreaders have at it.  Now, with room to breath and energy to exhale, I look to what’s next.  I am collecting more stories to make the book version of my dissertation more accessible to a wider audience.  If you have stories to share please contact me directly at heidi (at) forbesoste.com.  More specifically, I am looking at what people identify as challenges to BE-ing their best selves and bringing out the best in others and how the overcome those challenges through actions and tools.

bridge-buildingA brief note to people who have worked with me over the last ten plus years in various iterations of 2BalanceU.  From building the tools to share wisdom, to teaching and speaking about the application of social tools in organizations, to building bridges between tech and people, to researching the behavioral science of presence and technology it all remarkably returns to 2BalanceU and 2BU. The path through social strategy and connecting people and ideas for their greatest potential remains one that I shall travel, albeit creating my own route.  Expect no change in name, but rather the approach to achieving the path to BE-ing one’s best and bringing out the best in others.

More to come very soon.

Bridge image credit to Kevin Kenny

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Social Through Wearables


Slide deck from keynote on Social Through Wearables. Social optimization requires an understanding of self and others to provide the MUTUAL benefit to relationship building. This study explores wearable technologies as an intervention for bringing greater awareness and presence into social engagement. Slide deck from keynote on Social Through Wearables based on research in Wearables and presence of mind in the workplace.

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Creativity and Aging

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Finishing up a great read, The Mature Mind, The Positive Power of the Aging Brain by Gene D Cohen. Cohen expanded on Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages that looked at human development up to around age 40. Cohen’s work looks at Midlife Re-evaluation => Liberation => Summing Up => Encore stages from 40 beyond. Integrating this type of thought and understanding of this kind of brain power and creative thinking shows the importance of leaders and team members in this age group. We cannot afford to lose their insight, wisdom and perspective when trying to innovate. I will no longer associate the senior moment with things forgotten. Let us look to them as moments of wisdom derived from experience and perspective.

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Reflections and Sketchnotes from SxSW Interactive 2014


SxSW Interactive is wrapping up and I head home with food for thought. I am excited about the progress in both the development of and integration of social technologies. We’re not there yet, but things are certainly looking up. One always has to be reminded after an event like this that these are early adopters. We must not be myopic as to our understanding of who is using and how they are using social technologies and media. Here are some quick recaps of the highlights and sketchnotes from my SxSW this year…

Brand Innovators Summit with Ted Rubin, Ajay Ramachandran of Dynamic Signal, Bryan Kramer author of Human to Human, Jon Peters Digital Sniper (love this title), Susan Emerick author of The Most Powerful Brand on Earth, Tiffany Tuell of Hitachi Data Systems and Sabrina Stoffregen Director of Intel Ambassadors. Changemakers discussed how social can humanize communications and organizations. Understand your advocates and ambassadors, listen and give them what they want and help them share well.

Yahoo! Flickr designers Andy Law and Shaun Forouzandeh. Flickr moving to more dynamic interactive community with photoshop in your pocket for sharing your best side.

Nilofer Merchant and Rachel Sklar‘s session on Hacking Privilege. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In opened the dialog by laying the cards on the table. Play wisely by believing, belonging and becoming. Listen and create value that only you can provide – Onlyness. Be extraordinary!  Great continuing the conversation with these dynamic ladies.  Check out Nilofer’s book  New Social Era.  Nice work Rachel with  li.st and Change the Ratio and kudos for your passion for visibility and opportunity for women in tech & new media.

Neil de Grasse Tyson keynote of Cosmos on the Cosmic Perspective. We are special because we are the same. Be curious and never cease wonder.

The future of wearables and evolution of communication with Christina Mercando of Ring.ly, Koichi Yamamoto, Takahito Iguchi of Telepathy and Marco Tempest the virtual magician. Marco, love the magic! Christina, gotta have the ring! Takahito, looking forward to experiencing your discreet device. Wow! Impressive work that brings much thought to the future of wearables. Discreet, Funtional, Magic – BRINGING BACK PRESENCE

Hardwiring the Brain with Ariel Garten of Interaxon, Andrew Smith Lewis of Cerego and Jan Plass from NYU had a great session on tools for understanding the brain’s processing on inputs evolves the development of user design and mindfulness to superpower our brains.

Sketchnotes Flickr designers SxSW by @forbesosteMalmö in Austin at MashBashSketchnotes on Hacking Privilege at SxSW by @forbesosteSxSW 2014 by @forbesosteSketchnotes Neil deGrasse Tyson from Cosmos keynote at SxSW by @forbesosteSketchnotes on Next Evolution in Communication at SxSW by @forbesoste
Sketchnotes on Hardwiring the Brain at SxSW by @forbesosteJess3 ever present at SxSW 2014 by @forbesosteBefore the onslaught SxSW 2014 by @forbesosteSketchnotes Brand Innovators Roundtable SxSW by @forbesoste

SxSW 2014, a set on Flickr.

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Visualising the Rise of Collaborative Spaces

Visualising the Rise of Collaborative Spaces

This visualisation is part of an article on collaborative spaces. For several days in Malmö, Sweden, faculty and doctoral students from Fielding Graduate University, members and leaders from Media Evolution and various guests that represented different parts of the greater community gathered to discuss collaborative spaces. We looked at Malmö as a city, Media Evolution as a community and Fielding as an institution. I am posting the visual with intent to open for discussion and make room for further evolution in this case and others. After the launch of the B Team yesterday, I was inspired to share this add to the conversation. The full article on collaborative spaces will be coming shortly. In the meantime, please feel free to comment, share and reflect. I might even suggest, take time for a fika and reflect with others who imagine the change.

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Are You Evolved?

Forbes Öste's Social Optimisation Stages

Stages of Social Optimisation as Relates to Erikson’s Psychosocial Stage Theory

At what stage have you evolved towards social optimisation? Where is your organisation? As with human development, we cannot run before we walk.  Adapting social strategies in organizational cultures or leadership that have not evolved past Stage 5 (Identity, brand and marketing focus) can lead to greater confusion and chaos.  Consider where you are, listen to where others are and where your teams are.  How can you help your organisation evolve?

The evolutionary process of Social Optimisation, building and maintaining mutually beneficial and effective relationships, as correlates to Erikson’s psychosocial development is as follows:

Erikson's Psychosocial Development Adapted for Social Optimisation

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Understanding Motivation and Consciousness

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The counsellor explained my Meyers-Briggs (MBTI) and Strong Interest (SII) Inventory scores. “INTJ, well suited for leadership,” she said.  I would do well in marketing or advertising, something senior, she continued.  What came next was like listening to a fortune-teller, especially as I consider where I am now, 20 years later.  I would definitely get a PhD, someday.  I am not sure whether the telling directed my path or my personality itself.  But here I am at “someday” in my journey to PhD.

Tools, tools, tools, they all seem the same.  Each provide a little more insight into where we are best/worst suited to work, what kinds of roles we would/wouldn’t be good at, what we should/should not do and so on.  The tools have not changed much in the last two decades.  Since then, social technologies have changed the roles and requirements of leadership to one more dependent on relationships. I set out on this stage of my journey to understand the tools currently used to measure leadership potential and their ability to accommodate this evolution.  For the purposes of this post, I will focus on the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI).

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Presence instead of Presents

Date night?

For you, my dear
Presence is the gift.
My heart is here.
My thoughts not adrift.
I pack away
The source of distraction
for a pause of play
and intent interaction.
For if all were amiss
And this moment passed
The devices are cold
My heart would not last.
Presents are things
Of which I’ve no need.
Your presence it sings,
my heart is does feed.
-Heidi Forbes Öste (2012)

The house is prepared for the holidays. We settle in as the snow begins to fall. It’s the time of year again where the wish lists come out and thoughts of New Year’s resolutions start buzzing. There is only one gift that I wish to give and to get for my family this year: Presence.

All too often we find ourselves with iPad or phone holding our concentration. From the breakfast table to date night, there never seems to be a sacred moment without it. We used to say the world would not stop if we disappeared. Now each vibration causes a habitual pattern of thought even if we do not respond be checking to see the source. Most times, we cannot resist sneaking a peek just to make sure it is not “critical.”

Each year we struggle to find ways to reconnect, to discover who we are and where we are going. In our over-connected lives this often means one thing: remote location, no wifi. I look forward to a pause in the buzz. I long for the uninterrupted conversation, thought and silence. I crave a hike in the mountains, a walk on the beach, a game of cards, a snuggle in a hammock, sharing a nice bottle of wine with presence.

I hope you all will consider giving and receiving presence and the value of that gift. Extend it beyond your family, as you go about your holiday parties. Ask about people’s passions and take the time to listen with presence. You might be surprised what you learn. It might just be a present in itself. How will you share presence this holiday?

This post is dedicated to Björn; my hero, partner, playmate and champion who I look forward to sharing presence with.

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Social and Visual Leadership

The paradigm has shifted, and the learning curve is steep. Some will rise and some will fall. Social media marketing is only a small piece of the picture. Understanding that social is people, and people are not just our customers is a start to the journey.

Organizations are made up of people in many different roles. Their jobs require people both internally in the organization and externally in partners, product & service providers, new hires, investors, and so on. Relationships are what count whether business to business or business to consumer, it comes down to people.

Each person has a story that contains knowledge, experience, passions, interests, skills, and people.  Each individual is a unique part of the whole organizations and defines its collective story.  It is this story we share and grow in social technologies.  Leadership must take active part in the story for an organization to succeed in this new paradigm.

Social Optimization, the building and maintaining of MUTUALLY beneficial and effective relationships, is a key behavioral shift when mastering the Art of Social Strategy.  This does not come simply from balancing the gives and takes by counting interactions.  The behavior change must be a result of recognizing the value of all relationships as part of the whole.  It comes from understanding who we are (as individuals and organizations), what we have to offer and what/who we need and how to reach it/them.

Social technologies are tools that help us optimize this change in behavior when we learn how to best apply them.  They simplify our processes for supporting our networks and communities, receiving that support in return.  Sharing knowledge globally through different sensory stimulus has never been easier. It has evolved beyond text.  It is visual, interactive, musical and memorable. Language and time are no longer limitations for creating a global community of advocates.

Understanding who we are and who is part of our story is the first step of the journey.  How you apply social optimization is what will determine your success over the long haul.

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Measure Engagement: Micro-Engagement with Macro-Impact

ROI of Engagement and the value of relationships is no new conversation. What is new is how we develop and maintain the relationships, especially as leaders. In developing leadership seminars for the new social paradigm, we came across the same challenge of measurement but looked at new solutions. “Quick and dirty” ROI measured from campaigns and their impact is not relevant or feasible when talking about social leadership. Unlike a short term campaign or solution it is a long term adjustment to culture and approach to communications.

 

Finding the tools that can help us measure more effectively are a start. Of course, looking at numbers of connections give us one view. Yet, they present several problems in themselves and only show us a small part of the greater picture. The greatest being that leaders are predominantly absent from these tools (Forrester Research), and resistant to entry for fear of exposure or distraction. Another being the need for measurement of network engagement that occurs outside these sites (intranets, industry specific networks, public following, etc.). Then of course there is long term and the secondary effects, the MacroImpact.

 

Klout.com does a great job aggregating the numbers of followers on Twitter, links on LinkedIn and friends on Facebook and their influence to see what kind of a role individuals play and their online influence. It may not be the MacroImpact we require to create the argument for investing in teaching social leadership, but it is a good place to start. Then we need to look at layering of other factors, after all, changing behavior and culture is no “quick and dirty” fix.

 

BUSINESS IMPACTS: To start with there are several areas from which we can measure shifts that are have MacroImpact from the Leader’s MicroEngagement (must be measured over time). Of course this assumes establishing a baseline and keeping in mind other externalities that can cause spikes:

 

* INCREASE/DECREASE in new applications for jobs under leader’s management or control
* ATTRITION of existing employees desire to stay/leave working with the leader
* TEAM COHESION project completions advance of schedule, faster to market cycles
* INNOVATION cycles decrease with open acceptance of new ideas within clear parameters
* IMPROVED HEALTH decreased stress from greater job satisfaction, less sick days
* PARTNER/CLIENT LOYALTY return clients and partners desire to continue relationship
* COLLABORATION new opportunities in-industry based on respect for knowledge and trust
* LEARNING community shortens time to response from internal subject matter experts,
saves need hire external consultants when knowledge available internally
* MEETING lengths and volume decrease due to better collaboration and clarity in
communication
* AGILE RESPONSE to opportunities and threats in PR through direct engagement savings in
“Fire fighting” and valuation dips

 

This is just a first “whack” at a list as we look into measuring tools to pull together for leaders to understand their own MacroImpact and for organizations to evaluate their social leader’s performance. I would love to hear your thoughts on what other factors could be included, and what tools can be used to measure this effectively. It is not simply performance review we are considering, but rather effective engagement.

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