This post is the first in a longer series of posts devoted to a deeper dive into the specific measures included in the SWOOP Collaboration Framework #swoopframework. We are starting with the ‘Engager’ Behavioural Persona; in our view the most desirable collaboration persona.
The ‘Engager’ persona is currently calculated as a balance of all contributions made against responses received. Contributions include posts, replies and likes, while responses are replies and likes. On the Yammer platforms these are the most common contribution and response types.
According to the research on the positive collaborative behaviors that contribute to superior performance, the balance of give-receive is a key indicator. In his book “Social Physics” , MIT’s Sandy Pentland identifies team members with a balance of give and receive are associated with high performing teams. Pentland goes further by using wearable social tags, he was able to identify the nature of the interactions also being short, sharp and frequent. For high performing teams, relationships have matured to the point where tacit knowledge exchanges do not require extensive explanations and justifications. Average message length could capture this dynamic, though we are yet to implement this.
We see ‘Engagers’ as the glue that keeps teams and communities engaged. They are the brokers and connectors. Without ‘Engagers’, a community or team risk disconnected conversations and therefore unproductive interactions. Is there a problem having a team full of engagers? In most instances we would say no, as this would indicate the team or community is buzzing along in a highly productive way. The exception we would make is when an injection of new thoughts or innovations are required. For that we see the need for some ‘Catalysts’ to be added to the mix.
What should this mean to you?
Based on the benchmarking we have done to date, it is not easy to become and sustain the ‘Engager’ persona. We believe that everyone should aspire to develop skills to enable them to become and sustain engager status. In this way you will have the skills to be a productive member of any team or community. It will require you to be mindful of your contribution patterns and the sorts of posts and replies that you make, that may or may not attract reactions from your colleagues.
There will however, be times where it may be appropriate for you to adopt a different behavioural persona. For example, if the team or community is looking for fresh ideas and positive change, the ‘Catalyst’ persona may be more appropriate for you, if you want to lead that change. In other contexts you may be looking to sustain interactions in a community or team, where the ‘Responder’ persona may be a positive one for you.
In summary, the ‘Engager’ persona is, we believe, the most positive persona to exhibit online and off. Those that have developed the skills to switch into and sustain this mode of interactions, will always be a sought after team or community member.