It all started when I observed some managers using a calculator to sum numbers in Excel; they were unaware of the Sum function. Another time, I observed a manager forward an email to himself in order to create a copy in a second folder; he didn’t know about Ctrl+drag-n-drop option which creates a duplicate email.
Then it hit me!
In 2009, I started sharing a 15-minute tip after team meetings. In each session, I explained one tip and how to incorporate it in our daily work. The sessions became very popular and I started getting requests for more tips.
In 2010, my department was preparing to roll out Windows 7 and Office 2010 with little to no training. This seemed to be a trend among several federal government departments. I was concerned as technology by itself does not make us more efficient; we also need tech-savvy employees.
I realized that I had to take the 15-minute tip sharing to a national level to make a difference. When I ran my idea by others, I was told to stop dreaming. But James Huneker’s quote, “All men of action are dreamers,” kept ringing in my mind. So I started on my own, working on the side of my desk and on my own time. I knew that I stood little chance of success; at the time, my substantive position was as a call center agent, located outside the NCR. I also had no IT background.
But I was determined to share time-saving tips to increase productivity. The words of Roger Bannister – “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win” – kept me going.
In February 2011, I launched the first Clicks and Tips newsletter. In it, I shared easy time-saving tips on MS Office complemented by PowerPoint step-by-step visual instructions. The response was overwhelming. So many positive comments and eager learners.
And then it hit me again! I could see Clicks and Tips evolving to a community of practice reaching all government departments, promoting new technology and encouraging interdepartmental collaboration.
After three years of hard work, I reached my goal. Here is where Clicks and Tips is as of March 31, 2014:
- Newsletter: 4,000+ subscribers from 75 departments. Plus tips are published in several local newsletters reaching a larger audience;
- GCpedia site: 200+ tips and one of the most visited sites with 120,000+ visits;
- GCconnex group: 1,100+ members and 2nd largest in Canada;
- Webinars: All 10 English webinars were fully booked; and
- Twitter: @ClicksandTips over 300 followers.
The beauty of this is not just the size of our community. It is also cost-efficient. It is managed with no budget as I do it on my own time. Clicks and Tips today is a trusted source of information that has a national impact. It is a catalyst in increasing the adoption of new tools such as Microsoft OneNote, internal social media tools such as GCconnex, virtual tools such as web conferencing, and more.
During my journey of building an interdepartmental community of practice, I learned that to succeed I had to change from an Entrepreneur to an Intrapreneur (Intrapreneur = Entrepreneur + patience to wait and recognize the right moment + ability to work with red tape). A challenging lesson, believe me.
My director recognized the need for leveraging technology to increase competitiveness and gave me the title of Technology Learning Advisor. Thank you, Mike!
Wayne Gretzky said: “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” Where do you want to be? If you are a GoC employee, join the technology leaders and be part of the Clicks and Tips community. If not, start a new collaborative community. I invite you to work together!
For GOC employees, you can find Clicks and Tips at the following internal sites:
GCpedia site: http://www.gcpedia.gc.ca/wiki/Clicks_and_Tips
GCconnex site: http://gcconnex.gc.ca/groups/profile/211647/clicks-and-tips