Don’t Lose It, Man!

Don’t Lose It, Man!
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Don’t get locked out of your online accounts. Make sure to plan ahead.

My kids are constantly losing things. Toys, books, their jackets, etc.  Thankfully for password keychains on our home computer, the one thing they don’t lose access to is their Club Penguin accounts.

If only the same could be said for so many people managing websites and web-based accounts on behalf of their organization.

Here’s a real life example.  I have a client who lost the password to one of their critical web-based tools.  They tried everything they could think of to remember the username and password and got locked out after too many unsuccessful login attempts.  They contacted customer support who promptly e-mailed password recovery options to the e-mail address on record when the account went was established.

However, that e-mail address was of an employee who hasn’t worked at the organization in over a year.  That e-mail box is gone.  No password recovery. (insert sad sound effect here)

That screeching sound you just heard is the brakes being put on all the work they need to do in that online tool while the mess gets sorted out.

There has been much written about not letting interns set up your social media accounts or the fact that Facebook used to allow eternal admin rights to a page creator regardless of that person’s affiliation with the organization or page (which has thankfully been changed).

But here’s another thing to consider when having your team set-up these accounts – people leave jobs.  Even trusted, valuable, loyal people.

Your webmaster or marketing director who set up your Google Analytics, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn pages and controls your online presence may call you tomorrow to tell you they won the lottery and won’t be coming in.  Or you might have layoffs and your HR policy requires you immediately lock that person out of their systems access.

Here’s where internet policy and web governance is critical.

First, when managing the website and online tools, create a generic e-mail box that system administrators can always have ready access to – something like a webmaster@yourorg.org.  Make sure that this is the primary e-mail address associated with those accounts.  Also, make sure to add to your internet usage policies that staff may not set-up accounts for critical business tools under their personal e-mails.

Next, go back and look at all your accounts.  What’s the primary e-mail associated with that account.  Quickly change them all to your master generic account.  If you want to segment access and allow staff access to specific web-based tools, buy additional licenses or set them up as secondary users.

As for that client?  They’ll be fine.  Through a friend of a friend we’ll eventually be able to reset that password so they can have access and continue their work.  But it has stalled their work and is going to take a couple of weeks to sort out.

But with some foresight and planning, the whole mess could have been avoided.

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3 Steps to Launching Your Online Community – Upcoming Webinar

Online communities and private social networks are taking over the association space as organizations look for new ways to connect with members, keep them engaged and generate revenue.  However while it seems that the hard work is picking a platform and setting it up, your real work has just begun.

Next week, I’ll be giving a webinar for the Avectra Academy on the Care and Feeding of Your Association’s Social Network.

It’s free and packed with lots of information you can immediately put to good use so I hope you’ll sign up.  Here’s some more detailed information.

WHEN:  Tuesday, October 21 at 1 PM ET

While fall is harvest time across most of the country, for associations now is the time to plant the seeds of future success with the launch of a private social network.  While there are technical hurdles such as platform selection and integration, the real effort starts once the technology is in place and the field work is handed off to the program managers.

Join us for a look at the important steps and processes to put in place to make sure you plant a fruitful and engaging social network for your members.

This information packed webinar will offer:

  • Free or low-cost ways to promote your network and get members’ participation
  • Building a roll-out plan to ease your members into the community
  • Getting your members involved to ease the workload on your staff
  • Creating a promotional plan and launching your online communities
  • Creating a plan to keep the community growing

Register online today and I hope to see you there.

Who Wants To Be at ASAE Annual but is Stuck in DC?

Yes, the ASAE Annual Meeting is possibly the most important event of the year for association professionals to learn and connect with their association peers.  Sadly, due to budget cuts, travel restrictions or just lack of funding… not all of us can go.

So if you’re stuck in DC and still want to connect with likeminded association peeps, you’re invited to a special I Wish I Were at ASAE Annual Happy Hour.

  • When:  Monday, August 23rd at 5:30 PM
  • Where:  Rock Bottom Brewery in Bethesda, MD
  • Sponsored by: Vanguard Technology — Thanks to Vanguard’s generous sponsorship, we’ll be providing 2 drink tickets plus some appetizers.

At a minimum look for me, Maggie McGary from ASHA (@maggielmcg), and several of the good folks from SmartBrief.  If you think you’ll be able to make it, please let me know by leaving a comment so we can have the restaurant set aside some space if we get enough people.

We’ll work on getting a sponsorship and will update this post with more information as it becomes available.

For those of you that need directions, here’s a map:

We hope to see you there.

Buzz 2010: Open Leadership is Inspirational

I had the pleasure of attending Buzz 2010 last week to hear Charlene Li discuss open leadership and what it means to be a leader in this era of rapidly changing social technologies.

Some key things that I walked away with include:

  • Openness is something that requires building a framework and defining what it means for you and your organization.
  • Openness pays dividends back, especially when you consider in how the lifetime value of a customer has changed (once you factor in sharing, recommendations, etc.)
  • Open leaders are at all levels of an organization.

As she points out “Be Open, Be Transparent, Be Authentic” are current leadership mantras.  However, as I have started reading the book and looking back over my notes from the session, I have drawn a conclusion that is more relevant to my own leadership and working style.

Open Leadership is Inspirational

When I look back on my career at the leaders that have made the biggest difference for me… they were open leaders.  These were leaders that taught me to value the contributions of the team, to be open and share insight so everyone on the team can succeed, and to make sure that them team gets the credit.

In the “free agent” economy it is easy to get caught up in constantly promoting yourself and trying to secure that next job (or keep the one you have).  But you do so at the risk of being open to honest feedback from everyone around you.  And I think that open dialog is key to being a strong leader in this age of open access and instant feedback.

When done well, you inspire others to be like you.  And I think that’s the greatest gift I have learned from other leaders throughout my career…. and one I hope I have passed along to people I have managed.

How does Charlene’s points affect leadership and management in this open style?

  • Building a framework. You still need to identify what you can and can’t be open about.  But after you have that open dialog and share both the good and the bad, when it comes time to have the “tough conversation” you have earned enough emotional currency with your teams that your sudden shift in persona carries weight – and gets results.
  • Openness pays dividends back. Managing multiple generations means managing competing motivations.  Openness opens up a whole new realm of tools at your disposal to manage your teams.  Additionally as you look out for your team’s ultimate career goals, when they “leave the nest” you have a vested relationship that continues to pay for itself as they and you open up opportunities to each other.  (Instead of “lifetime value of a customer” think about “lifetime value of an employee”.)
  • Open leaders are at all levels. To me, the way you treat both a CEO and an entry level employee says a lot about you.  Any one of your employees or team members could become the next big thing or you could be talking to them about your next career objective.  By being open and looking at the value of the team, you value each person’s contributions without worrying about your own individual role.

While the presentation was more directed to organizations coping with the realities of social media in a fast moving economy, I couldn’t help but take away some leadership lessons.  Because in the end, the traits that make for an open leader are valuable traits that will also enable social media success.

Steven Strasburg’s Open Leadership Style? Humility

As we get ready for Charlene Li to be the first speaker of this year’s Buzz 2010, leadership is on the minds of many in the association and social media community.  Charlene’s new book “Open Leadership” discusses what strong leadership looks like in today’s open media environment.

As I’ve been reading through the interviews with Charlene at the Buzz 2010 blog and in one of her interviews she touches on the need for humility to be an open leader.  It’s something that I inherently know, have learned from my most influential leaders in my life, and try to practice.

However, it’s not something you always see from people that are put in prominent positions and from whom much is expected.  And this is where my passion for Nationals baseball, social media and leadership collide.

Yes, watching Stephen Strasburg’s blistering fast-ball, speedy slider and wicked curve balls was awesome to watch as he made his debut with the Washington Nationals this week.  However what impressed me the most was his humility.

Here’s a 21 year old who has been welcomed to the city with more fanfare than even Joe Gibbs garnered upon his return to the Redskins.  He makes more money than I can fathom and has more people hanging on his every word than any other player on the team.

And yet….. he remained humble.  He showed his respect for a future hall of fame catcher.  He thanked his teammates.  He respected his manager.  He had a smile and was cordial with all.

And in 7 innings he instantly became a leader.  Not just because of his skill, but because of his openness.

We’ve all worked with that rock-star that can close any deal, create a piece of advertising genius or code his way out of any tough situation.  But if you think about the people you respected and looked up to they were open leaders… and humble.

It’s a good reminder as we remake ourselves for this digital age.  And one that I continue to live by.