By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail


Today from 3-4pm I was supposed to be leading a live google hangout Analytics: Where to start? but instead I am writing this post. A blog post instead of a live session because I failed to prepare. I could share with you a list of reasons why I didn’t have time to prepare but that would be a rather boring long list and it isn’t what I wanted to make this post about.

Nevertheless the quote always strikes a cord with me because sometimes the biggest challenge we do have is time and some of the spectacular failures i’ve seen in my own community have been when I’ve not prepared properly due to time management.

Time is something we all struggle with especially in this space because you can always do more. Inevitably that can leave you stretched very thinly and not always able to give tasks the attention they deserve. And that was where I was last night when I thought about how things would play out today, I believed the #ESNanon community deserved more, so I postponed the session.

How do we address the question of time? or the buzzword “resource” I’ve been asked a few times in the last couple of weeks about how I managed to get sign off for additional headcount in my community, (for the record we manage 40,000 users with 3 full time CMGR’s) I also see so many posts in the various communities I belong to about how the tightening of belts has meant no extra headcount, or you’re still in the early days where you’re trying to engage leadership in the business value your community delivers and the case for why you need an extra pair of hands to deliver it.

I’m 5 years in to our community and we’ve had our fair share of lean headcount, but one thing has always helped me and that is the ESN community. I found so many resources, examples, documents, presentations, concepts and other content i’ve been able to borrow and tailor for my own community. Before I became a community manager i’d never experienced so much passion and willingness to share.

This is the whole point of #ESNanon we want to create a group of people who can help each other in their hour of need or come together to solve problems regardless of level, industry.

I am still just as committed to making #ESNanon work I just want to make sure we do it in a way that will be successful and really add value to the big wide world of ESNers. At Pearson we upgrade in one week and I get married in five, after two weeks in the sun I will be back re-charged and ready to help us all share and fill in the gaps where we all need a helping hand.

In the mean time there is no reason we can’t start the conversation about analytics, in preparation for next month. I need three people to join me on the panel to talk about what you’ve done and to debate what we should be looking to measure in our communities. If you’re interested post back, tweet us or send an old fashioned email

#ESNanon Mailing List – Join Us

We’ve created a mailing list for folk who want to be kept up to date with all things #ESNanon, Join Us

By joining the list you will hear from us about the following:

  • Speaking opportunities at various events
  • Opportunities to showcase your own work and communities through our google hangout
  • Future events and exciting activity

We promise not to spam you and appreciate you joining the #ESNanon community.

Analytics: Where to start?

Date: Wednesday 19th August 3pm (GST)

Topic: Analytics: Where to start?

Google Hangout Link

When we met in March, there were a number of analytics and measurement conversations happening. We know this is a hot topic for so many of our ESN community managers.

The aim of this first session isn’t to talk about the tools vendors offer, we are going to take it right back to basics and talk about what we should be measuring. How do you define a successful ESN?

We’d love this to be as interactive as possible and would be over the moon if one (or more) of our #ESNanon community members would be prepared to talk about how they measure their community.

Please send us a Twitter DM if you’d like to get involved: #ESNanon

Creating a toolkit for #ESNanon

After a few technical blips and my face on a loop – we jumped ship from a streamed google hangout to the old fashioned kind of hangout.

Thanks so much to those #ESNanon folk who made it today. Our first hangouts purpose was to set the scene and make sure we have all of the needs we suggested at our event in March covered. For those of you who couldn’t make it we’ve created a google doc where we have listed all of our needs and we’ve started to add how we can meet this needs, please bookmark this document and feel free to add your own content too: Toolkits and Needs Master Doc

We agreed we will continue to use google to collaborate and build the resources as well as share our own content and examples. All content shared by #ESNanon will be in the public domain so if you want to protect your community you can remain anonymous or choose to share it with individual #ESNanon members you are familiar with.

We’ve created this folder to build the resources please bookmark it and help us to grow the content. #ESNanon Toolkit Folder

Next month we will be covering the topic: Analytics, where to start?

If anyone would like to be a part of the panel for this discussion then please drop us a DM on twitter: ESNanon

Toolkits and Needs Hangout: Weds 15th July @3pm BST


Toolkits and Needs

At #ESNanon in March we talked a lot about creating shared resources.

These were some of the ideas you came up with:

  • Share examples of collaboration
  • Share examples of business workflows and processes that have been changed using the ESN
  • ESN Glossary of terms
  • Top tips – what do you wish you knew on day
  • Top tips – executive engagement
  • Top tips – general engagement
  • Share examples of training material
  • Examples of campaigns and engagement tactics that have really worked

In this months hangout we are going to talk through some of the ideas and work out how we want to exchange ideas, content and best practice going forward under the umbrella of #ESNanon.

In order to make this session as useful and pro-active as possible, we welcome ideas, comments and suggestions here or on twitter #ESNanon

Our #ESNanon hangouts will be streamed and recorded for reference.

Date: Weds 15th July @3pm BST

Join Us: Google Hangout Link

ESNanon the next chapter


I can’t quite believe it has been 3 months since my last post, the trouble with being in this space is time flies, literally. I like to think it is because I love what I do and because there is so much to do. Alex, Paul and I didn’t want to leave you hanging and we also don’t want ESNanon to be another blog and twitter handle that fades into the digital graveyard in the sky.

Picking up where we left off, here are the themes we discussed at ESNanon:

Analytics, ROI and Measurement

Fairly self explanatory but I think we all struggle with what we should be measuring and would all like a little reassurance that what we are doing is on the right track and some assistance in knowing how we stand up against other communities out there.

Social Business Behaviour and Culture

The ESN can be at the heart of major change within an organisation, how are we leveraging our communities to support change. And how is the culture driving ESN behaviour?

Getting started

Some of you were just getting started, some of us are old timers. Some of us have been through the launch of a community and are now going through it again with a whole set of different factors to work around. Some of us have mature communities but are looking to go back to basics.

Community Management

What does it take to be a good community manager? How do we continuously grow our community? Business value vs adoption, content management and how do you keep the momentum going?

Products and vendors

We all know the tools we use currently but how do the ESN vendors stack up and what other tools are out there to integrate with your ESN. How do you position your ESN against the various other tools available in the enterprise.

Toolkit and Needs

Who doesn’t love a toolkit? If someone else has created something awesome why reinvent the wheel. But lets also create a repository for some of the best in class working templates.

You told us you wanted to meet more regularly but we also recogonise diaries and work gets in the way. We are proposing a monthly meet up online via google hangout it will take place on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 3pm. PUT IT IN YOUR  DIARIES NOW!

Our first ESNanon Hangout will take place:

On: Wednesday 15th July 3pm  

Topic: Toolkit and Needs

Come prepared to discuss what you need, what you have you can share and how you think we could share in the future.

P.S If you didn’t manage to make it and you’d like a sense of how the event went, you can read the summary here: #ESNanon reflections a week on it includes some links to blogs from some of the attendees.

#ESNanon feedback and what next

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We promised we would be back to ask for feedback for our Un-conference in our last post and where you, our #ESNanon community would like to take #ESNanon next. We’ve pulled together a few questions and would appreciate 10mins of your time: #ESNanon Survey

The survey will close on Friday 17th April and we will be in touch shortly after to let you know our next steps.

In the mean time if you would like to link up with your fellow #ESNanon community members feel free to use the #ESNanon and tweet @ESNanon and we’ll circulate the details.