Thursday, 07 February 2013

I've joined the dark side and we have pinball machines!

Written by  Keith Meyerson
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It's been brought to my attention that I am now a vendor and not a true internal practitioner. In one career move all my experience, opinions and knowledge have suddenly become irrelevant as I have been “downsized” from several social networking communities. I didn’t realize how quickly I would go from colleague to vendor or that the moniker of vendor held such a terrible stigma. Well – I mean for me anyway.

Admittedly I've always "disliked" vendors, more for their stereotypical "pushiness" than anything else. And I've always enjoyed the safe zone of various communities that ban these (now me) folks from selling their wares. Now, with the tables turned - I didn't realize that I would no longer be able to share my lessons learned or my industry knowledge within various communities. Call it Karma or Payback - I know the irony is palpable.

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But being on this side of the fence has forced me to reconsider my long held views. Yes, even a learning professional can be open to learning at times, crazy huh? And while I still cringe at the thought of a cold call or unsolicited email asking me for 30 minutes so they can “get to know my business needs better” (like I’m going to vent to a complete stranger about how crazy my peers are for not thinking employee goals are kind of necessary?). I have come to understand that the true consultants have a depth of experience and insight that us (past life me) internal practioners have not been exposed. With LMS or TMS systems they often have the inside scoop that even your sales person wishes they knew. They’ve created very different performance management processes for very different industries giving us (now you) access to a Chinese menu of options on how to build a better mousetrap. And their industry connections make some of them seem omniscient in their understanding of future trends, best practices and the impact of M&A in our space (yes SuccessFactors I’m talking to you….I hope your resumes are up to date). That should get me kicked out of a few more groups.

But here’s how I really feel… guard your communities against the sales people, please… I’ll even help. But are you really doing your community a favor by keeping the likes of me out? Yes my blog is on my company website but I am in no way, shape or form asking for business or offering my company as a solution. In all honesty I’m just naturally lazy and instead of retyping the exact same info into 30+ groups I simply link to my blog. Why is that such an issue? If I have something of value to contribute, shouldn’t that be acceptable content? Instead of kicking me out due to your governance policy Section II, paragraph 3 under bylaw 22… think about the content, not the source. Is that such a crazy thought?

In case you were wondering - the dark side is wonderful! There's no dress code, there are 3 pinball machines in our offices and I don't have to "sell" my ideas or gain support or fight any political battles. I actually work with intelligent, creative and open-minded professionals. So if anyone has ever considered leaving corporate but were afraid of the other side - come on in, the water's warm and there's no HR department!!!! :)

And the score is now up to 3 groups that I’ve been tossed out of this month. Let’s see how many more I can rack up with this little nugget. Please follow me on: http://www.bluewaterlearning.com/index.php/blog.html because it’s obvious I’m persona non grata around the social networking sites. Ok Group managers – do your thing. And don’t forget the lengthy emails quoting your policies – I need some fodder for my next piece.

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Keith Meyerson

Keith is a Learning, Talent and Organizational Development Executive who has worked for such iconic brands as Polo Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co., and Neiman Marcus. He is a frequent contributor to industry magazines and a noted speaker on the use of social collaboration as part of an integrated talent management strategy. He has experienced several Learning and Talent Management System implementations and brings his unique perspective as a former user of these systems.