16 May Senior Client Advisor Highlight: Q&A with Tobi Anderson
The theme of my career has been evolution and growth. I like change and helping manage change in organizations. I began my career in the media industry at a magazine publishing company. I then spent almost a decade in progressive roles focused on business and technology management at an online university and corporate training company. Since then, I’ve run my own consulting businesses twice (now and back when I was going to grad school full-time).
A recent project was helping an oil and gas services company create a learning and development framework by performing an organizational assessment and focusing in on their operations team. It involved a lot of work in culture, strategy, communication, and coordination with their HR and Services teams.
In between the consulting work, I joined two different software companies. One provided GIS software to the telecomm industry, and I helped the services team increase productivity, profitability, and client satisfaction before transitioning into their Director of Organizational Development role. When they were acquired I moved over to Sitrion (formerly Newsgator) as their Director of Training & Education. I helped create their Adoption Framework and partner certification program to enable their enterprise social network clients to integrate the software into their daily work in order to find business value.
I also started teaching Management online for the Colorado Community College System over the last year. I definitely don’t like being idle.
What do you like most about working for Enterprise Strategies?
The teams I work with are excellent – both my Enterprise Strategies colleagues and my client teams. There’s nothing more rewarding to me than collaborating with a group of people I respect, and who have complementary strengths, to achieve our goals. And we always interject fun into the work, which is important as well. At the end of the day we’re all working to make a difference, and I believe we do that well.
What areas of expertise are you most passionate about and why?
I think there’s a magical thing that can happen when we get the right people doing the right jobs, provide them the support and resources they need, and then trust them to do their jobs. I did employee engagement research in grad school, and employee engagement is the “outcome” I suppose I’m looking to help with. That’s why I love working on enterprise collaboration and internal communications projects. It’s in the communication and collaboration that we enable, linked strategically to business outcomes, that we can help make that magic happen. The why is that I’m a connector, and I like to help others make connections – to each other and to knowledge.
What do you see as the biggest challenge in the industry right now?
I see a challenge that’s not new: companies focusing on getting tools and then trying to figure out how to improve business with them, instead of setting business goals and then determining what tools can be used to help achieve those goals. It’s not easy because I think you have to take a step back so you can see the bigger picture, and even consider different ways of working to achieve goals. These initiatives usually start with that intent, but too often we let off the gas once the tool is purchased or rolled out, when we should be constantly checking our progress against business goals, and adapting either the tool or how we do the work as needed.
How do you see things changing in the next few months/years?
I see an increasing emphasis on employee engagement, and my hope is that the connection becomes even more well understood between building solid internal social networks, enterprise collaboration, and the outcome of increased employee engagement. It’s a win-win-win for companies, employees, and customers. Customers buy from companies with engaged employees, and companies see increased profits and productivity. But it does take intention and hard work to get there (and it’s not as much about the tools you choose as it is about the work you do to get there).
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?
I love traveling with my husband and kids (14 and 11). We’re taking a big trip across Europe this summer and I can’t wait to show them more of the world. I’m also an avid reader and love a good story (can’t wait for the next season of GOT in July!). I love good food and wine, and learning about how it’s made.
What is your favorite success story?
Just recently we’ve been working with a large global financial company with a very small team rolling out Office 365, including Yammer. I’ve helped with the strategic assessment, awareness, and education deliverables for the initiative, and without making any large announcements we helped them grow from 900 to 3,535 users joined between 11/2 and 12/31/16 (exceeding their goal of 3,000 by year’s end, and almost quadrupling their users). Since then, they have more than tripled that number under our guidance, reaching 12,590 by May.
Tobi Anderson is passionate about employee engagement and helping people and teams grow. Tobi has 20 years experience including enterprise collaboration and communication, L&D, talent management, organizational development, and program and change management. She has experience running her own consulting business and has a master’s degree in Organizational Development and Training from the University of Denver. Connect with Tobi on LinkedIn and Twitter.