Getting value from Ecademy - A Personal Strategy
Introduction.I'm often asked by members whom I talk to on Ecademy how to make the best of their membership and create value for their business as a result of being here. They also frequently tell me that the significant block to doing that is the amount of time they perceive that it takes to engage here, the effect of having to find and remember appropriate knowledge, and the responsibilities of being part of a community. All of that can be deterring when considering what action to take.
It's not time that is the issue.In 'It's not time that is the issue' I talked about finding appropriate filters for the information and knowledge that you need in order to focus the time that you do spend and make it more efficient time. In the comments on that blog a number of interesting additional insights came to light and it's worth reading through the extent of those comments to see where you can gain insight on how to better apply filters to the time that you spend. Part of the key is to get the right material pushed to you by people that you trust by following their blogs and by engaging with them in the right way. As a tip, members like Sam Borrett who's recently started a sequence of blogs talking about various bloggers provides one example of the filters that I was referring to. By referring to Sam, whose knowledge and skills and experience of the people on Ecademy I rate highly, he enables you to identify bloggers to follow quickly; a quick scan of their blogs enables you to decide whether they are suitable for the knowledge and skills that you need, and then by reading and engaging with them you can develop a relationship that leads to greater knowledge sharing from them. Even if you only have a few minutes, liking a blog, or posting a short comment, engages you with the authors and the community quickly, alerts others through notifications of what you have done and brings you into the conversation.
Memory - There's so much to remember.In 'Some thoughts about outsourced memory' I talked about the permanence and easy retrieval of machine memory that allows us to record knowledge in new ways that we weren't able to do prior to the technology being available. Historically, we had to revert to the written word and find references in books long closed in order to access the information that we needed. In that blog I referred to another blog 'Connectors, the power behind the power' which highlighted the need for consistency and persistence of the message that we give out to the individuals who we hope will get to know us. When you use Ecademy effectively that is one of the key aspects that I think makes the difference between getting value from this site (or any other) and failing to attract enough of the right people for that value to be realised quickly. There are other links in the Outsourced Memory blog which link to other aspects of this. It's a complex topic. However, in the context of getting value from Ecademy the key aspect is that the conversations that you have in private messages with others remain linked to them in a way that enables you to pick up old relationships quickly and build on new ones. You don't need to recall or recollect the extent of all of your previous conversations.Comparing this feature to the lack of it on LinkedIN, for example, demonstrates the value that it has. A potentially useful contact with a need for a product or service that you come across can be found and referred to easily on Ecademy, yet on LinkedIN it's likely to be lost in the archive. Of course there are techniques to help you find the right people on both platforms, and some aspects of this are more complex than I'm indicating. The ease of picking up a relationship where you left off on Ecademy cannot be underestimated in the context of gaining and giving referrals. On that topic I talked in detail on a blog more than three years ago called 'Building Referrals on Ecademy', and I strongly recommend if you're seeking referrals on Ecademy to study that blog and the comments relating to it which provide some significant insights into how to use the Ecademy system effectively for referrals.
Random Connections.In 'Why Random Connections Matter - a personal journey' I talked significantly about my own personal experience of building a network through random connections. The counter-intuitive nature of the reality that I found, that building a large group of contacts saved me time and reduced noise in my communication stream is often hard to accept when you're struggling under a significant volume of noise from a relatively small network. For me, this is a key aspect of getting Ecademy to work for you. There are very few skills and very little knowledge that is not present on the Ecademy system if you can only find your route to it quickly and easily. By accepting random connections and learning a little bit about a large number of people over time, I've been able to highlight and hone in on the knowledge and skills and experience that I need, when I need it. Although at the outset that was work that did take some time to undertake, I've increasingly been able to do that with very limited amounts of time input. It has made a significant difference to my clients to be able to furnish them with the knowledge, information, skills and people that they need to solve their problems, even when those problems fall way outside the areas in which we work. As a BlackStar, of course, this is much easier as I'm able to automate some elements of that (and I accept that some people feel that such automation is inappropriate).
Interdependence.In 'Why Communities Need Interdependence' I discussed an aspect of the development of community that is critical to the communities providing support, help and business for the members of that community who are engaged with it. For me, I've found the community on Ecademy to be strong and getting stronger. For me, the engaged, active, community-spirited members act interdependently, recognising not just that they are adding value themselves to the community, but that the community allows them to leverage that value and multiply it for greater effect. Interdependent people create value from the synergy, whereas dependent people require value to be provide to them for their benefit. In between, there's a layer of independence where people both give and receive value but do not create the synergies and community spirit that enables more value to be created than the sum of the inputs from the participants. For your own journey in Ecademy I'd urge you to consider how you can add value to others in a way that allows them to multiply your value and create additional value from communicating and sharing it. I'd recommend you reaching out and helping others without seeking anything more than a certainty of the value that you have provided.
Conclusion - Bringing it all together.So how does all this work? Well,
- By committing to taking time to learn the skills that you need to use on Ecademy and then leveraging the time that you spend there;
- By committing to making connections with those who seek to connect with you in order only to discover whether those connections may have value later rather than trying to determine it upfront;
- By committing to using the tools that enable you to store the knowledge and experience of others in a way that is accessible and easy for you to use and retrieve, and by providing a strong, community-spirited interdependence with others that will allow business to flow and support for you;
- By demonstrating and sharing that commitment with others so they see you as you truly are;
William BuistEcademySupporting Business People