I’m somewhat of a Quality outlier when it comes to answering this month’s ASQ Influential Voices question: Which social media sites do you find most helpful and useful for quality professionals and why? The first place I will repost this blog entry will be on LinkedIn. Then I will go to Twitter, Facebook, and selected professional organization sites. The big-picture issue of Quality always remains on the front burner of my brain. It’s never a back-burner, apply-as-needed (usually during a crisis) option.
LinkedIn creates a tremendous CRM dashboard of what’s trending. It’s not just for the sales or business guys or gals. It’s for anyone whose job function involves revenue generation. In other words, it’s for all of us. I’m a scientist by training. The scientific method is part of how I am hard-wired. I crossed over to facilitate teams on the new product development, customer driven design and sales side of the business table early on in my corporate career in the pharmaceutical industry.
Where do I go to listen to the Voice of the Customer on technical and non-technical issues? LinkedIn.
I recognized that gap in cross-functional collaboration involving sales and engineering early on in my career. There also was a black hole when it came to Quality. Quality is front and center when it comes to the technical side of the business equation. However, I have yet to hear Quality become topic #1 during a selling conversation.
Where do I go to address my perceptions and voice my concerns? LinkedIn discussion forums.
I’m a power user of LinkedIn. Most of you who follow this blog already know that. LinkedIn discussion groups are a tremendous way to leverage what you know against what you don’t know. Participate in any of the millions of LI discussion forums. Form a sense of what topics are trending. It’s not all about your own core industry and profession. You might have a lot in common with professionals in industries and disciplines like sales, marketing and finance. You know, the ones which make you squirm in your seat.
Join those “squirmy” and uncomfortable LI groups. Start to flexing your Quality muscles outside your professional comfort level.
Truth is, many of us join LI discussion forums within our own professional disciplines. The Sales types stick to the sales forums. The Engineers stick to engineering forums. The Quality folks stick to quality-related forums. Believe me, there are tons of these forums to occupy as much of your social media time as you want.
OK, you tell me it’s hard enough to keep up with reading from professional publications. LinkedIn and other social media stuff seems to be another full-time, seemingly pro bono, second job! Try thinking business and professional development.
As a Quality profession, your wanting to evangelize quality methods and processes sometimes falls on deaf ears in your organization. You are not alone. There are plenty of folks who need to hear your voice, and you can find them on LinkedIn.
If your passion- and frustration – is Quality, you may find you are talking to yourself or other Quality professionals. Change things up. Take a walk on the wild side. Join in a cross-functional LinkedIn discussion forum. How do other folks seated around the business table talk about Quality? Do they discuss it at all? What are their priorities and why?
I find that engagement on social media sites, especially on LinkedIn, keeps me plugged in to what’s trending. Use LinkedIn to find out what people are talking about. We can’t learn to have conversations with our internal and external customers that they didn’t know they wanted to have with us, unless we liberate ourselves from some of our own status-quo, discipline-driven mindset.
Who will take that first step with me to move 1 millimeter outside of their comfort level?
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, traverses the sales-engineering interface®, bringing entrepreneurial mojo to small and mid-sized Seller-Doer businesses and revenue-producing business strategies to startups. She is one of the 2013 Top Sales & Marketing Influencers on Top Sales World Magazine.