Getting back together!

Summer is drawing to an end and therefore it’s time again to get back to the realities of work. Not that that is a bad thing! As it is also the time to start exploring new ideas and new inspirations with a fresh attitude. So what better than to start that off with a conversation with like minded people!

source: https://undraw.co/illustrations

Our regular HCL Connections super users chat is on again. An hour of exchanging ideas, listening to others and (if you want) sharing your own ideas, frustrations, questions and solutions around HCL Connections.

We’re easing into it easy so no fixed topic this time although we would love to hear what inspirations you got from stepping back for a few weeks and how you are planning on taking your HCL Connections platform further this year.

So join us! Next Thursday from 4-5PM CET for the HCL Connections Super users chat.

Meeting details

June 10th 2021 16:00 CEDT
Location (online):
https://ht-group.zoom.us/j/95794941629
Meeting ID: 957 9494 1629
Find your local number: https://ht-group.zoom.us/u/abHYEL9b2w

Or scan the below QR code to add it to your calendar immediately:

For whom is this call?

The Global Ambassador / Super User call started as an initiative by Joerg Rafflenbeul and Femke Goedhart to bring together people who within their own organizations are (or consider themselves) advocates, super users or ambassadors for the HCL Connections platform. To discuss and exchange information around the platform and challenges encountered while getting it to be adopted by your organizations. It is open to all who are interested, work with it or are interested in the user enablement/adoption topic. Meetings take place once every 4-5 weeks via an online meeting.

Got a story to share? We always like to kick off our calls with a 5 min intro by one of the participants explaining about their situation and challenges. So reach out to one of us if you would like to do that in one of our next meetings!

open mindedness

Note! I found the text from this post below while cleaning up some folders. It was a text I wrote to post as a blog post almost exactly 3 years ago but somehow I never posted it… I think I wasn’t pleased with it or didn’t think it was of value…. or just too pretentious.

Either way, while reading it back I figured I would post it. Perhaps more for myself than for anyone else as it is a strong reminder of what I hold dearly and something that was also clearly challenged in the last year and a half of pandemic enforced reclusiveness. Replace some of the topics mentioned with ‘vaccination’, ‘covid-19’ or ‘lockdown restrictions’ and it is still just as, if not more, relevant…

The schizophrenia of modern-day open mindedness

(original date 23-08-2018)

I think I’m pretty open minded. I believe everyone has a right to an opinion of their own, is free to adhere to their own religion (and profess it!) and have their own preferences.

But is that enough?

A month or two ago I came across a notice in a local supermarket about an iftar meal being organized for Ramadan open to all who wanted to experience meeting other people over a dinner after sundown. It was organized by the local Muslim community in a community center in my neighborhood. I went and had a great night. Talking to people, having a great meal and while there I got to talk to table neighbor Sukran who happily answered all the questions I had while explaining the traditions surrounding Ramadan, the Muslim faith and most importantly: her interpretation of it.

The thing is, I am not unknowing. I have always had a strong interest in history, culture and religion. Spending several months on a kibbutz in Israel after graduating high school and even studying Religious Science at the University of Groningen for a few years before ending up going into IT (yeah, I know, not the most logical step and a whole different story in itself). This interest though in other people and belief systems has never left me and I continue to read many books about these topics.

My interest with religion, politics and believe systems has always been twofold:

1). What makes that people believe or come to their convictions and what drives them internally;

2). How does what people believe and the culture they live in influence what they do, their surroundings and their choices.

History is speckled with examples of this and there are lots of books, ideas and theories about this. Somehow though my interest has always been not so much with the overall bigger picture, the various cultural groups as a whole…. but with how individuals are affected by and operate in this. You could say I’m interested in the little story.

For instance it is easy to say things like “Those southerners all like trump because…“ or “Those Brits are for Brexit because…” or “Those Muslims think like this because…” but in general these groups do not exist as such but are divided into many subgroups with subgroups with….. individuals. And those individuals are influenced by many internal and external factors and almost never homogenous.

A right to your own opinion doesn’t exclude you from having a duty to try to understand someone else’s opinions

So back to the iftar meal. I had a great night and I wanted to ask many more questions of Sukran because I loved how she talked about her faith. Not because she told me things that were new to me about Islam as such but because her interpretation and way of talking about it (in philosophical metaphors that I had never heard before) intrigued me. I didn’t know though if it would be appropriate to ask her if I could meet her again.

After all, here I am all ‘Dutch’, atheist, in a short-sleeved t-shirt with 3/4 length trousers and open toe sandals (forgive me it was one of those brutally warm summer evenings) and there she was with a head scarf and full-length garment to cover her arms and legs and a very deep religious conviction. So I was hesitant…

Low and behold though, at the end of the evening, while I was still deliberating how I could extend our acquaintance, she asked me if we could exchange phone numbers as she had enjoyed the conversation just as much and would love to meet again for coffee. And that was when it hit me.  Why had I even felt inhibited to ask her? What held me back while she had been friendly and open to all my questions all night. In fact, we had a great exchange about all kinds of topics, not just religion (like diets which we both perpetually struggle with). Why did she see no problem in asking me while I was unsure if I could, simply because I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate? It also opened my eyes to how little contact I have with people in other ‘believe systems’. Whether it is religious or politics or otherwise…

So I realized that although I think of myself as open and tolerant, there is still a lot to be improved. And that made me wonder what was causing my self-image to be so off.

Being tolerant should be an active deed, not an excuse to turn away from difficult discussions

As said, I don’t think I’m a bigamist or discriminatory. I think of myself as open, tolerant and more than willing to listen but all of these are passive attributes. It’s easy to say you are tolerating of other people’s religions if you live in a country where religion is mostly a private affair and where less than 50% of people even classify themselves as being religious. It is also easy to not respond to others’ political statements when it’s not ‘your president’ or your ‘governments decision’ or your kid using the word for gays as a swear word in a conversation…. But is that really enough? Is just accepting that ‘that’s their opinion’ or ‘their choice’ enough? Or should we all have a duty to at least seek out to understand why people do or think differently, actively ask questions and try to have a conversation?

I think that real open mindedness is not passive it is active. It is being not just willing to listen but actively seeking to understand and be understood. Not necessarily to agree but to better learn the reasons for the other persons position or statement while also explaining in an open way to them your point of view. It is amazing to see, when you talk to people and really ask for- and open yourself up to their position, how limited your own perspective often is. Like when I talked to an English friend just after Brexit who I thought was against Brexit but who turned out to have voted to leave. I had not expected it and was aghast as I couldn’t comprehend why he would vote to leave while being wholly dependent for his work on open borders. Talking to him though, I could see his point for choosing the way he did. It didn’t mean that I agreed with it, but it certainly taught me there were many more nuances to the story then I had thought until then. Plus, it showed me quite clearly how limited my own understanding of the whole situation was.

Only through conversation can we avoid polarization

But doing that: asking, talking, learning isn’t easy. Because asking for – or discussing someone’s reasoning and thoughts behind their political opinion, their religion or their preferences is starting to become more and more a taboo.  And social media and the internet seems to play a big role in that. The medium just doesn’t really lend itself for balanced and open conversation. Instead, it is like standing in a crowded hall full of strangers and vague acquaintances and yelling your opinion to a friend or acquaintance on the other side of the room. Instead of having an open conversation, people feel put on the spot in front of a large audience of friends and strangers. Having to yell their response across the room with no visual cues from the other party and a large audience of people who butt in and start reacting as well. The result often is that what comes across are short sound bites, memes and statements which are often seen as nothing more than a declaration or defiant ‘take it or leave it’. Even if that was never intended. Resulting in bitter fights, stale mates and troll responses. Or worse…. In people shutting off and unfriending each other. Polarizing opinions on both ends with little or no room for understanding or time for reflection.

I get the feeling that people feel they need to have an opinion on everything so that when someone calls them out on something they are ready with an answer right there and then because not responding is automatically making you look like you agree or don’t have a clue. Leaving less space for people to simply state: “I don’t know” or “I’m still figuring it out”.

Because it is easier to not know then to accept to disagree

Worse yet is hearing how certain topics like politics or religion are no longer discussed anymore when meeting friends or family. Out of fear of starting a family feud or finding out that you really don’t agree… It seems it is easier to not know than to discuss and then accept to disagree. As if we can only function if we agree on all fronts or avoid having the conversation at all. Since when is that the case?!?

All that worries and bothers me. It bothers me to see it in others, but even more to recognize it in myself. I’m doing it too and it’s having a bad effect on me. Social Media is great but not to discuss politics, religion or sexual preferences. That doesn’t make them taboo though, it just means that if I talk to someone and one of those topics comes up, I prefer to have that conversation in a different way. A way that doesn’t include ‘shouting at the top of your lungs from one end of the room to the other’ but allows you to see, feel and experience all the subtle elements of verbal, non-verbal and direct communication.

And it’s not easy to fix. But perhaps by writing all this out I will make others understand why I sometimes ask things you would normally not expect me to ask and that it is not to judge but to learn because I strongly believe that:

if we don’t talk about the hard stuff how can we make it better?

So did Sukran and I have coffee together in town? Yes we did, several times already. We even brought our mothers together! Live is all about meeting each other, and nothing beats that real live experience.

Oh and as side note… why am I posting this on my work blog?

Well apart from this being very important to me from a conscientious point of view this doesn’t only pertain to things like religion, politics and preferences. It applies just as much to the way we work. As someone who’s work it is to get people in different organizations to work together across organizational, cultural and language borders this avoidance to tackle the difficult conversations is something I’m starting to see seeping in more and more in enterprise collaboration too.

image source: https://undraw.co/illustrations

HCL Connections Super Users meetup June – The one about Hidden gemstones

HCL Connections is a fast platform with many features and even more ways in which you can use them.  It’s hard to know them all so in this meetup we hope to discuss the ‘hidden gemstones’. Tips, tricks and ideas of how to use HCL Connections and its features. 

From interface feature tips like knowing that the business card shows links to directly go to the users personal files, forum, blog and community interactions. To ways in which you might have implemented a feature to obtain a goal totally different from what it was originally intended for. This session is about creative uses, nifty tricks and anything else that comes up in the conversation!

As a kickoff speaker this time we have Andreas Weinbrecht. IBM Champion, HCL Ambassador and Account Manager at Beck et al. GmbH. 

 

So join in and hear what Andreas and others see as their biggest win and share your own if you have any.

Meeting details

June 10th 2021 16:00 CEDT
Location (online):
https://ht-group.zoom.us/j/95794941629
Meeting ID: 957 9494 1629
Find your local number: https://ht-group.zoom.us/u/abHYEL9b2w

Or scan the below QR code to add it to your calendar immediately:

For whom is this call?

The Global Ambassador / Super User call started as an initiative by Joerg Rafflenbeul and Femke Goedhart to bring together people who within their own organizations are (or consider themselves) advocates, super users or ambassadors for the HCL Connections platform. To discuss and exchange information around the platform and challenges encountered while getting it to be adopted by your organizations. It is open to all who are interested, work with it or are interested in the user enablement/adoption topic. Meetings take place once every 3-4 weeks via an online meeting.

Got a story to share? We always like to kick off our calls with a 5 min intro by one of the participants explaining about their situation and challenges. So reach out to one of us if you would like to do that in one of our next meetings!



What does ‘connecting’ mean in HCL Connections? Meetup MAy 6th

What challenges do you encounter using HCL Connections as a Guide / Super User / Ambassador … ? Every 4 weeks we come together to discuss a topic and the challenges we face. Topics come from previous discussions or from suggestions from participants. Rarely do we stay on topic but the calls are always interesting! This times the topic is:

“What does ‘connecting’ mean in HCL Connections?”

Which came from a discussion about how people connect in HCL Connections and what is leading: Someone’s profile, their content, the communities they are a member of…? So what do you think? It doesn’t matter if you want to actively participate or just listen to what other say, you’re welcome!

Join the Zoom Meeting on May 6th at 16:00 CEDT
https://ht-group.zoom.us/j/95794941629

Meeting ID: 957 9494 1629
Find your local number: https://ht-group.zoom.us/u/abHYEL9b2w

Or scan the below QR Code to add the meeting to your calendar!

For whom is this call?

The Global Ambassador / Super User call started as an initiative by Joerg Rafflenbeul and Femke Goedhart to bring together people who within their own organizations are (or consider themselves) advocates, super users or ambassadors for the HCL Connections platform. To discuss and exchange information around the platform and challenges encountered while getting it to be adopted by your organizations. It is open to all who are interested, work with it or are interested in the user enablement/adoption topic. Meetings take place once every 3-4 weeks via an online meeting.

Got a story to share? We always like to kick off our calls with a 5 min intro by one of the participants explaining about their situation and challenges. So reach out to one of us if you would like to do that in one of our next meetings!

NEXT MEETUP FOR HCL CONNECTIONS AMBASSADOR/SUPER USERS: What is HCL Connections actually meant to be used for?

The theme last week in our Global HCL Connections Super Users/Ambassador was “Collaboration in a broader sense. What challenges do you encounter using HCL Connections in conjunction with other collaboration tools?“. There were some interesting perspectives on this but what also evolved was that the conversation shifted towards a new topic:

“What is HCL Connections actually meant to be used for?”

So that’s a theme we would like to explore further during our next meeting! And to kick off the discussion we found Stuart McIntyre willing to start it off. Join us and join in!

The meetup will be on April 1st (and no, that’s no joke!) at 16:00 CEST/GMT+2 and is open to all. Scan the QR code below to add the meeting to your agenda or add it manually. The Meeting ID is: https://ht-group.zoom.us/j/95794941629

For whom is this call?

The Global Ambassador / Super User call started as an initiative by Joerg Rafflenbeul and Femke Goedhart to bring together people who within their own organizations are (or consider themselves) advocates, super users or ambassadors for the HCL Connections platform. To discuss and exchange information around the platform and challenges encountered while getting it to be adopted by your organizations. It is open to all who are interested, work with it or are interested in the user enablement/adoption topic. Meetings take place once every 3-4 weeks via an online meeting.

Got a story to share? We always like to kick off our calls with a 5 min intro by one of the participants explaining about their situation and challenges. So reach out to one of us if you would like to do that in one of our next meetings!

Global Ambassador Call – March 4th – HCL Connections within your organization’s broader Collaboration landscape

Our next Global HCL Connections superusers/Ambassador call we would like to focus on a theme:

Collaboration in a broader sense. What challenges do you encounter using HCL Connections in conjunction with other collaboration tools?

Whether it is tools like Zoom, Webex, Slack or MS Teams or even simply mail or shared file drives. Users often have a variety of tools and options available to them to collaborate that have overlaps with HCL Connections. How do you handle this and what are the challenges?

Interested? Come join us! Scan the below QR code with your smartphone to add the invite to your calendar or add it yourself for March 4th at 4PM CET. Meeting link: https://ht-group.zoom.us/j/95794941629

For whom is this call?

The Global Ambassador / Super User call started as an initiative by Joerg Rafflenbeul and Femke Goedhart to bring together people who within their own organizations are (or consider themselves) advocates, super users or ambassadors for the HCL Connections platform. To discuss and exchange information around the platform and challenges encountered while getting it to be adopted by your organizations. It is open to all who are interested, work with it or are interested in the user enablement/adoption topic. Meetings take place once every 3-4 weeks via an online meeting.

Got a story to share? We always like to kick off our calls with a 5-10 min intro by one of the participants explaining about their situation and challenges. So reach out to one of us if you would like to do that in one of our next meetings!

Successful 3rd Meetup for HCL Connections Ambassador/Super user program exchange!

As you might know we (Joerg Rafflenbeul and I) have been trying to kickstart an initiative to get people from various organizations running HCL Connections together to talk about their initiatives and challenges with running adoption programs and local ambassadors/guides programs. Last week (21st of January) was the third meetup and we had quite a nice turn out of people!

We started with two short intro’s by Luis Suarez on the value of ambassador programs and Adam Gartenberg on HCL’s vision and available resources for user support to kick off the discussion.

The topic then quickly shifted to the challenges and experiences of how to involve and stimulate CxO and management levels to participate in using HCL Connections.

“They think: Knowledge is power and you keep that close to your vest. So, how can we have Senior Management ‘unlearn’ everything that brought them to power?

It was interesting to hear the various experiences and approaches. From CEO’s who blog actively and lead the way for fellow management. To organizations where the fear of being ‘called out’ on what they’ve said or posted previously on the platform is making some management hesitant to post at all. About initiatives like one-to-one mentoring by ‘senior ambassadors’ and reverse mentoring by local super users to get management to participate and about the effects that Covid has had on the usage of the platform by management levels this last year.

In short, it was a great exchange of thoughts and we literally had to end it as we were running out of time. The next meetup will be on February 11th and is open to all. Whether you are an adoption program organizer, local platform ambassador, super user or just an enthusiastic HCL Connections user and want to learn. Scan the below QR code with your phone to add the invite to your calendar or use the following meeting link: https://ht-group.zoom.us/j/95794941629

A big thank you to all who participated and we look forward to seeing you all (and more!) next time!

Also… We would love to hear from you! So if you would like to be a lead-in speaker for one of our next sessions and willing to talk for about 5min about your organizations adoption, super user/ ambassador initiatives and experiences, contact me or Joerg and we can discuss.

Resources:

Two book suggestions that were mentioned during the discussion:

Connecting the dots, global super users program for HCL Connections (3rd Meeting)

There are lots of initiatives to connect people who work with HCL Connections. User groups, virtual events, blogs, websites. But what they do is usually connect those at the top. The admins, organizers, community managers, architects. There are so many more who use the product and never go to one of these events. Not because they can’t, but because they think it’s not for them or too technical or just not in their job role. But many of them, and especially those that act as champions, super users, ambassadors or guides would really benefit from hearing how others are doing things.
And that’s what we’re trying to organize. From our experience with running a ‘guide’ (super user) program at Heitkamp & Thumann we would like to explore what options there are to bring together our guides with guides, champions, super users from other programs. Maybe to just have someone sit in on one of our (virtual) meetings to have some exchange of thoughts or to talk about the challenges they run into when trying to get their colleagues to expand their usage of the platform and maybe just to exchange some tips & tricks. All ideas are open and welcome.

So if you are a guide, internal Connections champion, super user, ambassador for HCL Connections within your company (named as such or just because you do it) or run an adoption program and have them, or would simply like to start one; join us for the session where we try to come up with ways to set this up. The session is in English and open to all and will be held on January 21st at 4PM CET.

Scan the below code to have the meeting added to your calendar with the appropriate meeting link:

Desktop Plug-in setting to show MAX 500 files can be changed to show all

One of the more confusing features of the desktop plug-in for HCL Connections is that it limits the number of files it shows for any given folder or file location to a maximum of 500 files. The system doesn’t warn the user of this or tell the users that they can show all items by right clicking somewhere in the folder (not on a file!) and selecting [Get All] (see picture below). So this is easily overlooked by users who then get frustrated as they are not finding the files they expect there.

On searching for another option I stumbled upon the following documentation that includes a setting to change this behavior: Preferences and policies for the HCL Connections Desktop Plug-ins for Microsoft Windows

Solution:

To force the desktop plugin to show all items (files/folders) add a string key in the policies section:

Windows 64-bit systems: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\IBM\Social Connectors\Settings

Windows 32-bit systems: KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IBM\Social Connectors\Settings

With the name: ReadAllAlways

And the value: 1 (= All items within a folder are displayed, even if the amount of child files and/or folders exceed 500)

Note: The 500 max was apparently set to allow for better performance on opening a folder. However, folders containing more then 500 files/folders are generally not that common and the benefit of eliminating support calls by confused users who can’t find files they know are there, would generally outweigh the slight delay one might get when opening a big folder.

Desktop plug-in for Windows fails on large uploads

At one of my customers we ran into the problem that users were not able to upload files larger than 50MB within the HCL Connections Desktop plug-in for Windows but were able to upload files of up to 1GB (server setting) in the browser. The error users got in the desktop connector was “Server returned bad request (400)” when uploading these larger files. I will post the solution they found (and that I can’t seem to find online) here for others to use in case they run into similar problems.

Solution:

It is possible to change the size at which the Plug-in begins using the large file upload functionality. This can be overridden using a policy set in the registry.

Add a string key in the policies section: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\IBM\Social Connectors\Settings

with the name: LargeFileSize

The value is in megabytes and the default is 100MB. Set it to the size your system allows, for instance: 1024

The solution was tested and works for 64-bit systems.

Note: For 32-bit Windows you could try using: KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IBM\Social Connectors\Settings instead but this wasn’t tested. If you do, feel free to comment below if that worked.