To theme or not to theme?

It seems like a non-question but this has been on my mind as I head into the third call for submissions of the Journal of the Social Age. This question has therefore prompted a reflective, working out loud piece that ends with an invitation to let me know your thoughts.

Is a Journal a random collection of articles? When is a journal a Journal?

I have taken the idea of a Journal and shaped it according to what I thought was right. I wanted to make it an opportunity to work together, collaborate and depend on others when writing and creating for public consumption, a daunting idea for some. I also wanted it to be a reflection of thoughts and experience around this topic, the Social Age. A place to collect and distribute knowledge about the ‘Social Age’ (Yes, Julian’s idea). It’s still small and experimental, I am enjoying playing with and examining how to construct opportunities for people and ideas to emerge (see another idea: Social Leadership).

I’m all about the practical side, how things can be done and what we can learn along the way. When I start to work with ideas, given my background as an instructional designer, self taught, I do a lot of research, I read, I contextualise, I drill down and try to connect the dots based on other ideas and concepts that live in my pre-consciousness (not sub-conscious, but just below the surface, ready to draw on when needed). I identify commonalities, that’s how I learn, how I teach myself.


So, to theme or not? I would like it to be on me, on my vision for the Journal, on my personality! However, if I am carrying this experiment out, I have to open it up.

I like themes, and I like to analyse and see themes emerge, interpret and share them back to the community for validation. In my opinion, this is one way to contribute knowledge to a community of practice (see Wenger, mapping knowledge).

It boils down to what we want from this Journal. I have my own ideas and agenda which is multifaceted, however others find different value from it. For example, in one conversation with Kate Ensor who volunteered for the Selection Committee, she expressed how she would use the Journal to share the ideas and practices of working and living in social spaces with colleagues who are new to these concepts.

Perhaps identifying a common thread that has emerged from a set of written pieces belongs in an editorial, being a more subjective point of view on the pieces themselves.

Based on experiences in the first and second edition, the type of submissions we receive vary, from the highly reasearched in the first edition to more relaxed stories of experience in the second edition. Looking forward and planning the third Call for Submissions in May, I’m interested in hearing from you:

  • What do you want from the Journal?
  • How would it help you with your agenda?
  • What topics would support you? (See existing topics on the Call for Submissions ).

Let me know your thoughts and opinions!

Projects: The Enemy of Change?

On day two of unpremeditated reblogging, this post came across my feed. As an unashamed project doer, I can’t help but respond! I don’t think projects are the problem, in an of themselves. My best work is done when I’m up against a deadline, when I know there is a finish line and must pull out all the stops to get there. There’s certainly an ideal timeline, too tight and there isn’t room for creativity or, as importantly, collaboration and co-creation. As a project doer, whether my own or for a client, the quality of what we are able to achieve is a direct result of the quality of person we are able to convince to collaborate with us. Yes, convince, not compel. The first litmus test of any project is engagement. It sometimes takes perseverance, a small group of die hard ‘believers’ to jump the first few hurdles. But when I feel overrun with interest and enthusiasm, I know that what I am doing is a success. Not all projects end up the same way, but with each, I am able to expand my network, both inside and outside the organization I am with, learning as I go who can contribute what, and who I like to work with. The organization that is able to attract people who are enthusiastically interested in working together because of shared values and passions is the one who will be able to withstand and thrive in our changing environment because of the connections that we create between us. And my way of doing this is through projects. I need that light at the end of the tunnel, that goal I achieve, review and iterate, learning with each pass and project.

Thanks for inspiring this 5am rant Julian!

Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

To adapt our organisations to thrive in the Social Age will require a holistic pattern of adaptation: you cannot fix an ecosystem challenge with a single touch point. Reflecting on this got me thinking about projects, and more specifically whether projects are the enemy of change. Many aspects of organisational life are geared up around the definition of, procurement of, delivery of, and endpoint, of projects. And yet the real world, and the social systems that exist within it, have no start and end point. It’s possible that the unit of organisation we use most widely, the project, is itself both part of the resistance to change and part of the system we are trying to change.

Project. - the enemy of change?

I don’t wish to over dramatise, but there’s certainly something about the way that projects are delivered in isolation, whilst change requires an alignment of energy and holistic pattern of adaptation, or at…

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Trust Through Consistent Action

Thanks for this informational post Kate! (It reminds me to follow you, not sure why I haven’t already ;D ) I appreciate that you’re finding value in the cards, hearing the stories of how they are being used is useful to me, not only to amplify and tell others in order to inspire them, but also to appreciate how we all build this social leadership ecosystem together, based on our individual needs and experiences.

A personal space for sense making

It’s day 2 of my personal knowledge mastery practice (PKM) revamp using (and beta testing) Sea Salt Learning’s Social Leadership cards.

Today I am working on the Trust Through Consistent Action card.

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Flexing Collaborative Muscle

The second version of the Social Leadership cards is coming out, ready to ship for Feb. 15! This is pretty exciting to me for a few reasons.

These cards were produced in a true collaboration between key players, Sam and Phillip, as well as support from the wider Sea Salt Learning team. It’s really a project that I would not have been able to deliver in our timescale all by myself. That’s a big deal to me, as someone who has spent most of my career being the one stop shop for instructional design. The Social Leadership cards definitely show what we can do together, when we flex our collaborative muscle.


This version of the cards have a new dimension that I hope will help us to understand how ideas are shared and spread among ourselves, in our communities, networks and organizations. In this version, there are 30 cards in total. 10 cards for each of the components of the NET model: Narrative, Engagement and Technology. While the cards associated with the first two groups, Narrative and Engagement, are more geared towards personal reflection and growth, the Technology cards are made to be shared with others.

Photos courtesy of Phillip

I got the idea from a card that someone had at a conference in San Diego. She gave the card to my colleague I was attending with, Julian. The card she had was a challenge: that teh receiver had to lie on the floor in a public place until someone came to check that they were ok. The person lending aid would receive this card, which had a way to register it printed on it. It seemed a simple concept, to register a card that you receive from an action and I immediately wanted to apply this to the Social Leadership cards. At the time the first version was in production. I wanted to take the development in stages, improving and finessing with each version.

This project has also been an experiment in agile, allowing me to share and test out ideas a little at a time. My natural state is flexible when it comes to projects, you can never know when inspiration will strike! I enjoy the possibility of putting something out there and seeing the response, the project expanding with every iteration. Without this process, we would have a very different card deck. Indeed, I had the idea to make cards a year ago, but it wasn’t until I made the opportunity to go for it that they became real.

Finally, this project is definitely a stone on the path to Delivery that I committed to in an earlier post. Having ideas is fun, but if they sit in your brain, they are useless. Putting it out there and exposing it to reality makes the good parts stronger and helps you make decisions about the weaker parts.

If you’re interested in signing up to beta test these cards or any future Sea Salt Learning projects, you can sign up here.

Demystification attempt #1

It’s a new year. I’m writing and working from the wilds of Canada, in Nelson, BC. A new home and a new office for a new year. Is it a new me? (Ha, no. Just a resurrection of the old me, more to follow). Apologies for what ended up being a close up of my breakfast… Of course my new desk looks nothing so neat now.

It was pretty difficult for me to get back into the swing of work after a long holiday, filled with lots of time just for me! But, get back into it I did. It’s easy to do when I am able to execute my much needed formula for remote work while working on a project that captures my full attention.

In preparation for a workshop I am designing and co-facilitating, I have to explain Social Leadership in laymen’s terms (part of a bigger project, will share more when it’s ready!). As if to a 5 year old was the request! I’m sharing the result for your benefit and also to sense check. The story is based on the Social Leadership cards I developed last year and the Handbook (see above link).

These few words turned out to be a great brain exercise that happened in a few parts. I wanted to focus on Narrative, because this was the part that gave the most trouble to the participants in a previous workshop I developed. First I tried to draw my thinking.


This was a good exercise because it helped me understand that this wasn’t going to help me… I realized I wouldn’t be able to fit everything on a page and it inadequately conveyed my thinking. Not surprising since I had a previous attempt last year, live, that failed miserably (there is a photo… somewhere).

This attempt is more along the lines of a story. I’ve attempted to explain in clear terms, without reverting to jargon.

Narrative is the outward expression of your passion and interest. In the course of your work and the connections you have made with people, either online or offline, you have identified recurrent themes. From the stories you hear, the articles you read, the videos you watch, the podcasts you listen to, the books you read, the conferences you go to, the speakers you identify with, the community or network you are a part of, the shows you watch. All of these sources of information inform your understanding of the world. And from these sources of information, based on your values and interests, you make a path. The path is defined by all the information and people around you. The more people ask questions, challenge it, knock up against it, the more you talk about it, elucidate and deepen your understanding of your path. You learn what it’s boundaries are, and you are able to decide which direction it will go, based on your learnings and reflections about the information and people around you. The path is your Narrative.

In the ‘wild’ (on the open web), a social leader’s path emerges purely from values and interests. In an organizational context, a social leader negotiates the tension between the organization’s values and vision and their own. In an organizational context, the social leader contributes to the organizations values and vision, however is able to find and exploit the commonalities in vision and values between themselves and the organization.

When a social leader goes online and reads, watches, listens, they exercise their critical thinking skills. They have learned to discipline their minds, to take in information without losing focus (Rheingold, 2010). They actively discover and interpret the information they receive, they examine it, try to understand it and evaluate whether it is relevant to their focus. They make sense of the noise by curating. When a social leader curates, they determine what pieces of information are valuable, to themselves based on their values and interests. They are active, interpreting the world around them and relating it to themselves. They find the meaning in what they read, see and hear and they share that information with people they know because they think it will be useful and relevant to them. They share certain information in certain channels, depending on the narrative that is represented in that channel. For example, they actively decide and choose which platforms to share professional or personal information on. By sharing, they help others succeed. Social leaders not only share information received from others, but also connect the dots by reflecting on what they have read, seen and heard.

They share their perception based on what they have seen, heard, and read, by telling thoughtful stories that describe their context: where they work, what they do, what they see around them, expressing their views, either in agreement or disagreement, their opinions and their experiences. They communicate their perceptions with others, refining the language they need to express their ideas with every telling, both on and offline (rehearsal space). They invite questions, challenges and feedback from others. The more they tell stories, either in written or other form, they hone in on emergent ideas and concepts that occur again and again along a common path.

In the wild, their narrative will emerge from the stories they share, as themes and ideas reoccur. In an organisational context, the social leader creates a narrative out of the tension between the organisation’s values and vision and their own values, interests and experiences in the organizational context. The more they tell stories, share what they see, hear, read, the more solid, the more concrete their ideas, and their path, becomes. The wheat becomes separated from the chaff. They more they share what they deem or perceive to be valuable to others, the more they define their path. They are increasingly seen as someone who provides useful information and thinking along a certain theme.



An Agile feeling

I have an agile feeling. I don’t know if we’re doing this right, but what we’re doing feels right. Is this agile?

Work on the Social Leadership in Practice continues with Kate. After writing the user stories, we chose one that seemed to be the path of least resistance and decided on a way to address it. We decided that each of us would interview two out of four people we agreed were identifiable to us, based on reputation and character, as social leaders. After the interviews, today, we shared our initial thoughts, the ‘headlines’ of our analysis, to see if there was any common ground in each interview. Then we agreed on four themes to focus on, and write together based on examples from the interviews. This is where we’re at.

As a new team, we are building a kind of rhythm and some habits that we will be able to use to drive other ideas.

Doing the interviews did two things: gave more information about the topic and also inspired us to move forward with another mini project.

Working quickly together, to produce something in order to learn what value it has in our context, among our communities. It’s difficult to know what will gain traction before testing the waters.
Is this agile?

We are also learning about how we like to work. Interviews very fun to do, really long to analyse. Factoring in extra thinking time is important for the next one.

Our next experiment is from something that came out of the interviews: stories about how people got started. Each of our interviewees shared their beginning story. So we will see if we can get permission to share it or do a rudimentary recording and share that. It still responds to the same user story though. Is that agile?

It is a good way to understand more about social leadership in practice. Yet, it has less to do with the practice than with how the practice evolves.

For example, I’m currently running the beta testing the Social Leadership cards, and some feedback came in today. One person told a story about how she was using them,

The idea of a blog is something that makes me a bit nervous to be honest. I do value many blogs I’ve read. I’ve started looking at the approaches of others who share; I need to find my own style. Time to grab it and do something with it.

I added the bold. This was a pretty strong theme we identified. The beginning, the ‘leap’, the courage to start. And to continue. These are things I think about too. And I found it interesting to hear how others are doing it. So that’s the basis for sharing as well. I think it fulfills the user story better than the one we are doing now, but builds off of this one. That idea could not have existed without the learning we did, and continue!

I’m appreciating the experimental quality of the way we are working. We don’t know the answers, but every time we deliver something to test, we get a deeper understanding. Not just of the topic, but of how we work together and what form the eventual product will take.

Flexible in life does not mean Agile at work

I made my new year’s resolution a couple of months ago and I couldn’t wait until the new year to start (you’ll understand why when I tell you what it is).

My resolution is to follow through. Two words that, in my world, are a huge challenge. Ideas are cheap for me, I can trade them like currency. They are never lacking in any situation, any conversation. In fact, I actually have to work hard to rein them in. A friend once told me to stop spouting my ideas at her when she was catching me up and telling me about some challenges she was facing at the time. “What?!” I asked, “what do you mean?”

“Ya, I can’t just tell you how it’s going, you give me unsolicited solutions. I don’t need you to solve my problems”

Whoa. (We’re still friends!)

You know those moments when someone says something small, and it shines a light on your perception of yourself, and you realize that how you thought you were is not how others see you? Ya, that.

My resolution is to take an idea and follow it through. To the bitter end. Through the not fun valley of Making a Plan, through Checklist central and Process City. That’s how I thought of it. Trying to be methodical, and disciplined. Follow through is hard! Some people call it delivering, people write about how to do it. I’ve spent the past 12 months learning that discipline is not one of my strong points (See frequency of my blog posts). If I have to do something, it feels really hard to do alone. And reach the end feeling good. I don’t want to just feel good at the end though, I want to feel energised, ready to tackle the next thing. Part of a team, doing cool sh*t. To do that, I need people. Others get me energised & motivated, whether it’s exercise, or a new project.

My technique for making sure I work out? Sign up for a class of something. That way I’m accountable, I’m on the list, I have to go. I’m taking a similar approach with follow through: get other people involved. Suddenly, it’s not just me knowing I didn’t do that thing I said I was going to. Suddenly, if I don’t do that thing, it contributes to my reputation as a flake. I don’t want to be a flake!

I want to be a collaborator, a coworker, cocreator. I want to work with other people, foster community, be excited about what I’m doing. That’s what that means to me.

Hence, the resolution. It’s one thing to resolve though.

And this takes me to Agile. With a capital A.

Until I embarked on Agile (product development), the recipe for arriving at my goal was pretty straightforward and I had been doing things this way for awhile. As I’ve said before, solo consultant here, ready and able to be a one man show, pulling others along behind me, to create a whirlwind of discipline and action. I had an idea, found someone who could build it, and did it. But I found that the build was imperfect, there was usually something missing, or what I saw in my head didn’t translate into the product. I’m thinking of Storybox here. Classic example (not dead yet!)

Follow Through means a few different things to me. This resolution also represents a change in the way I want to work. Towards co-ownership. Towards a team approach, team buy-in. I don’t want projects to feel like a struggle anymore. I’m ok if I have to struggle, but with others, not against.

I wrote a post about Social Leadership in Practice, a project I am working on with Kate. Well, last week we started the project, in an Agile product development manner, with Sam kindly coaching us to get us started. First thing to do, user stories.

Day 2 of User Stories

Now, I’m a person who completely supports the idea of Agile. The theory looks fantastic. People working togeher, testing, iterating, reviewing, getting feedback from a community. Wow. I’m in. I love it. Of course, acceptance in theory meant my guard was down when it came to reality.  Writing user stories forced my mind in a direction I a) wasn’t aware that I would resist b) back to how I felt when I was forced to sit down at a desk and do math homework in school. In short, writing these made me feel like my head was in a vise.

Definitely not into User Stories

I kept thinking: I already know what I want to do! I have a vision, I have a collaborator, I know exactly what I want. All the ingredients are already here. How can I make these user stories say something that leads me to be able to do what I want to do?

Remember I mentioned before, those moments where your perception of yourself is challenged? I had one of those. I started asking questions, challenging, resisting! I realized that I don’t really take users into account. I design for me. To try new approaches, new ways of doing things. Projects are an excuse to try out different ways of getting a message across.

I’m not saying I’m completely converted. However, the exercise started us (Kate and I) in a dialogic process, and towards a truly co-owned outcome. It gave us permission to try something out, do something fun that fulfills what we want to do, but also is ‘quick and dirty’ enough that we can put it out rapidly, and see what response we get. It also took us in a direction that I think can be broken down into many smaller, iterable bits, just from one story.

And we have something like 15. So we have fodder for awhile. But we’ll need to keep revising and writing user stories. Simplifying them.

I’m a nomad, I explore, I work remotely sometimes with people I have never met, on projects I don’t understand. Flexible is one of the words I use to describe myself. I definitely can go with the flow. But Agile is a different matter. Just starting this way of working exposed my inner iron. I definitely have a stubborn streak!

Trying new ways of working can be a chore. It required my open mind and a modicum of self awareness, self understanding, to be able to observe why I was reacting the way I was. That I was reacting. That I was resisting. And to allow myself to do that. I told myself “I only have to try it, that way I can say I did.” I said I could do it once or twice and see what happened. I only really understood what the potential was yesterday, after sitting, stewing with it, hating it for a week.

Sometimes, you just have to turn your brain off. Let things percolate in the back there, unseen, until you pick it back up again and something clicks.

Learning Design and Learning Architecture

One of the challenging things that I sometimes get to explain is my relationship with Sea Salt Learning. In and of itself, it is pretty straightforward. However, what is challenging is that it doesn’t really resemble anyone’s understanding of the construct we all know as a ‘job’.

The easy answer is that: that’s because it’s not a job. I’m not an employee. I don’t work for anyone but my clients, and as such, I hold the work I do to a high standard.

I’m a consultant with a consulting firm. But really, I think of it as a collective. A group of people doing together what they could not do alone. As a highly collaborative, creative minded soul who gets energy and motiation from my conversations with others, this is a big and necessary part of my work.

This brings me to the topic for today. What is my work? As part of a start up, that is a constantly evolving thing, but I am beginning to understand who I am in relation to others, what type of work I am best at and where I need additional coaching. On my business card, as a Sea Salt Learning representative, it says Social Learning Designer. I don’t find that this encompasses quite what I do however. Yes, I have an understanding of Julian’s ideas on scaffolded social learning and can talk about them, even design to them if that is what is on order. However, I find myself, as I gain opportunity to work on different types of projects, coming back to my “roots”, my first loves: transformative learning and informal learning.

It’s not all that surprising that I am drawn by these ideas, as a self directed person, who has spent some time doing self work, I gravitate to the question of change, spaces that change occurs in, and how to build opportunities for learning and change. This sentence, this idea is really what informed my approach as a teacher, as an instructional designer, and now, as as learning architect.

I am claiming that title. Learning design happens within the architecture. However, we must first think about the architecture, the bare framework that will host learning and change. What technologies would work best? What methodologies should we adopt, that best meet our goals and objectives? A good design will work within the greater architecture, taking into account the motives, and tools available. Within an architecture, there will be many designs, many ways of learning, and different topics, that all serve this overarching architecture. At an organizational level, this boggles my mind. I can start a bit smaller though and make sure my ideas are scalable.

My interpretation of those two loaded terms might be far off. However, they help me express how I design. Here are three ideas that guide me when I design learning opportunities:

  • we do our most memorable and effective learning from our peers
  • a behavioural change will not happen without a mindset or perspective change
  • change cannot be taught, it must be fostered (Mezirow).

Given these three ideas, I necessarily take the long view when thinking about design. What is the end goal? What is the perspective change that we are trying to bring about? And work backwards from there (a la positive psychology).

I won’t tell people exactly what they will learn, defined by objectives. It is delicate to tell people that the workshop they are attending is designed to change them. That is a sure way to put people’s backs up! However, it is fair to talk about the topics that we will cover.

These are some initial thoughts about learning architecture, design and how I like to operate. I look forward to your questions and comments (I find these help me to challenge and advance my thinking).

If you know of any additional resources I should be aware of regarding any of the ideas mentioned, please do write them as a comment!

Social Leadership in Practice

I’ve come down to Hood River, OR for the weekend to work on an idea that has two objectives. 1) to be an example of social leadership in practice and 2) to provide a resource about social leadership for those who are interested in starting and are struggling with where to begin.

Ssh! Rocky is still sleeping after the epic drive from Seattle. Good job buddy! 

The term ‘social leadership’ is used to mean different things. In this instance, I use it to relate it to a book I have been tasked with “teaching”. In my opinion, this concept, as it is understood by Julian Stodd, cannot necessarily be taught. It can be tried, and tested, explored and reflected on, yes. However, I cannot tell you “how to do it”.

In fact, I make it my business, literally, not to tell anyone how to do ‘it’. It has to be incorporated into a personal change journey, it speaks to the base values that you hold as a human being active in the world. It is a suggestion, a framework that can be played with, experimented upon until the version that fits with you, with your wants, and desires, your needs, emerges.

This is a difficult way to approach anything. Especially now that social everything is everywhere. We get information from so many sources, we barely have time to think about it. To do anything with it. Yet more and more organizations are changing their approach to learning and development, seeing the potential of a decentralized, democratized learning system. Tapping into the workforce for stories of experience can build a highly collaborative and innovative culture. However, navigating the information, and sharing information out does not come naturally to everyone.

“People with agency”, those mythical beasts! Who have clear goals and objectives thrive in this seemingly chaotic environment. They do this naturally: taking and sorting, synthesizing the information newly available and running with it. For people like me however, it can sometimes be overwhelming. I’ve spent the past 14 months (since I met Julian and got my hands on his first edition) testing, trying, seeing what works for me. Why? I saw this take on social leadership as a way to help me channel my values and interests, creating in me a sense of agency that can be seen by others, in the trail I leave behind.

In collaboration with another curator, Kate Ensor and (hopefully, eventually!) other curators, the proposal is to create a social leadership in practice narrative, drawing from relevant and active members of this burgeoning community spcifically with a view to providing a resource for practitioners.

In an of itself, I want it to be a space people can refer to, hear stories about, share challenges of, social leadership. Really, it’s a space that will help us to make sense of the noise and connect the dots, by helping others do the same.

I’ve just finished going over the notes from today, which was a truly co-creative day! We came up with some basic understandings, a manifesto if you will, for this resource:

  • No part of the Social Leadership framework can exist independently of the other. Identifying an element as a goal or challenge to work towards requires a holistic approach, each element of the framework helps work towards that goal.
  • Where I go, what I do with social leadership is based on my values and interests.
  • One person does not need to perfect each element of the framework. There is no legendary Social Leader status. Understanding where you are and identifying goals will help you to find others who complement you, who can help ‘fill the gaps’*
  • Social leadership is about change. It is a way to navigate a rapidly changing world, improving personal resilience and flexibility, a path to innovation and continued inspiration, and a way to lead a values driven career.

*The third one goes against the text in the definition I provided above (I noticed this as I pasted it in). This is a philosophical difference perhaps, in which I do not think that there is mastery here. Based on the first point, there will be different versions and iterations of success, depending on what your goals are. I don’t think one person can or should aim for all of everything. There is no state of social leadership nirvana.

All Hands on Deck

The title of this post is also the apt description of how these cards went from a table in a word document to a prototype that we were able to use as part of a workshop on Social Leadership this past week.

I’ve learned a lot about myself, how I work and what my needs are in terms of production and motivation over the past couple of months as I’ve led a few different projects for Sea Salt Learning, some in a better way than others.

As someone who has built a career in sole or partnered consultancy, where each of us had clearly marked ‘fields of battle’ that we would periodically strategise about but where I had my domain, I think my past is catching up with me.

While I want and need more people to collaborate with, I am also jealously guarding my domain, inviting collaboration in non threatening spaces. Again, my ego is appearing and that dilemma,  how much of myself do I give in order to be collaborative while at the same time protecting myself? I live out here, in the wild, where I am attempting to build a reputation that I will be able to rely on when things become lean. However, how much is about that worry that all consultants must have and how much about learning to lead?

The story of the social leadership cards is one of great collaboration, where I planned, explained my vision and them let go of the project. I asked a colleague to manage the iterative process of revision and review as I knew that my time zone didn’t allow me to respond fast enough to the needs of our graphic designer. If I wanted this project to happen (and I needed it to since I had already planned time for it during the workshop) I needed to get out of the way.

It turned out superbly. The cards, yes, exciting to have them in hand, but also the way they happened. I went to sleep and in the morning, they were ready. I was able to, because of the way our team used Slack, go over the process, see the different versions that happened over the course of my teammates’ day (while I slept) and was able to respond to questions and decision points where I was tagged and my input was needed.

Working my card with Sam

I don’t think I would have been comfortable and would have been able to let go with anyone else, and I’m grateful my instinct proved right, going a long way to trusting my teammates in a way that I admit I hadn’t before.

Working virtually is sometimes isolating and on this particular small project we did a few things that I plan to carry over to future projects. These are pretty obvious, but actually implementing them into the way we work together is not so simple. They require a leap of faith, trusting those around you will break your fall.

  • Video explanation: the fist thing my product development colleague Sam asked for was a video that showed how I intended the cards to be used. It went a long way to clarifying what, to me, was self evident (what do you mean you can’t see inside my head!) like the front and back of the cards. Our graphic designer Phillip soon followed with his own.
Actual first prototype, we’ve come a long way!
  • Buddy system: Having someone to talk to about this one part of a bigger project alleviated worry. I was able to talk it through and ask for help, something we don’t always take time to do in our regular course of operations. Lots of client meetings, not many ‘just us’ meetings.
  • Daily commitment: I’m one of those people who work to a deadline. I posted a daily commitment in the team channel that I could be held accountable to. As I posted these, I learned what was realistic to expect to accomplish over a day, among my other commitments. It ended up being one thing only, but this helped me get my act together and do what I needed to do in time for others to be able to get eyes on where I needed them to.


Three things. They sound pretty simple, but I wasn’t doing them because I felt out on my own, rather than part of a team. Trust is a big part of why we do or don’t engage.


Now they’re here! Cards are here….

The first prototype in a line of versions that I see leading to a tool that will help practitioners ‘do’ social leadership, building community and collaborative relationships along the way.

How to play?

Stay tuned for a ‘launch’ message from Sea Salt Learning!