Leap Year Lesson #318: Sometimes You Just Need To Ask

Posted: November 15, 2012 in Online Communities
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One of the facts of life in a small or new business is doing a lot of things yourself.  You usually don’t have the resources to hire expensive consultants, marketing agencies, graphic artists or others to do work.  You may begrudge not being able to hire out such work, but you shouldn’t be too quick  to pass it on to others outside the business.

One of the traits many large companies lose as they grow is an appreciation for and willingness to use the workers’ talents that are outside the employees’ official responsibilities.  Our social media team at work is trying to change that as far as our needs are concerned.

For example, today is the annual Great American Smokeout encouraging people to try to quit smoking.  As the manager of our internal social network, I was asked to come up with a logo to display for the day on our social network.  I’m no graphic artist.  I had a few ideas and files from which to work and I created one I was willing to use.

It seemed best, though, to throw the task out to the employees on our social network and to invite anyone interested to submit a logo.  After all, that’s how we came up with our primary logo two years ago.  It worked today beautifully.

This morning when I checked, someone had created a wonderful graphic that was a modification of our usual logo, that was cute and captured perfectly without words the “no smoking” message we wanted.  I gladly used the logo for the day.

Farming out that task to an agency would have cost at least hundreds of dollars and probably more.  Going through official channels internally would have taken months of red tape, concern for branding standards, meetings, emails and phone calls galore.  That’s dumb.

One of the great values of social media is the ability to ask a large community for something and frequently get what you ask for if it taps into the passions and talents of others.  Businesses need to do more of that.  How much internal talent is untapped simply because we don’t follow leap year lesson #318 – Sometimes you just need to ask.

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