We'll start with the questionable one--it is called "change.org." Change.org is an extremely powerful tool as you will see in a minute. On this site, anyone can start a petition for anything. If you take a look at its track record, you will find some amazing results. It was brought to my attention by Linda Robertson, a member of the TAII Consultant Connection Group, who posted on her Facebook page a story from the New York Times about a fourth grade class in Brookline, Massachusetts. These kids had heard about an upcoming movie release from Universal Studios based on Dr. Seuss's "The Lorax." However, from the information they had gathered, they had decided Universal Studios was not emphasizing what they perceived as a strong environmental theme in the book.
Off to change.org they went. They gathered 57,000 signatures, inducing Universal Studios to refocus the emphasis on the website for the movie to one more environmental message encompassing.
While on one hand, we can applaud the grass roots activism this site enables, on the other hand, there are obviously opportunities here for abuse and destruction. Let's say, for instance, the neighbors do not like the truck traffic patterns around your mill. A little visit to change.org by a couple of motivated citizens might spawn a petition headed to your local politicians to change it. I encourage you to visit the site--look what is going on. It may be the incentive your company needs to work on its public relations.
The other application is yammer.com. This was brought to my attention by Hannu Melarti, our keynote speaker at the 3rd Annual Light Green Machine Institute Annual Conference. Yammer is a Facebook-like application that is members only. Anyone can start one, it can be company sanctioned or not. The key is your email address. For instance, if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org you would start a yammer group as follows. Simple go to yammer.com and register with your email address. Congratulations--you are the administrator. Now, you can invite anyone whose email address ends in "mypaper.com" to join. Or, if they find you, than can ask you if they can join. Once it is started, you can set up groups to work on specific problems or anything else the members want to do.
Like change.org, companies may be very uncomfortable with yammer, for it operates outside the corporate umbrella. However, it has a very positive side--it can shortcut the system to solve problems. People with problems accomplishing a task can post those and others can solve them. It is truly a classless way to accomplish work. Hannu had a couple of good examples of employees around the globe using Yammer to expedite tasks and move a company forward.
When I was a boy, I was afraid of fire. My dad sat me down one day and explained to me that fire is a very powerful tool. Like all powerful tools, it can be used for good (the example around our home was an acetylene torch) or it can be destructive. How you use it makes the difference. You may react similarly to change.org and yammer.com. They are powerful tools.
For our quiz this week, we are going to ask you how you might use change.org or yammer.com for good. You can take it here.
For safety this week, I can see Yammer as an excellent place to create a safety group and store safety tips from across your company.
Be safe and we will talk next week.
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