Social Learning Community for Managers of All Industries

WhatDoYouWantFromThem.com is a social learning community for managers of all industries. Anna Smith describes what led her to create the network and how companies can use it to provide training and development for their management recruits.


Using Social Media To Train Managers

Have you ever thought out loud and, unexpectedly, received brilliant feedback from a co-worker, friend or family member? Social networking enables us to elicit these aha moments more easily and conveniently. Tapping into the collective knowledge of people from around the world allows us to look at problems in a new light, gain access to new information, and challenge our perceptions.

Jane Hart writes, “Social media has turned the concept of ‘learning’ on its head.  It’s no longer about waiting to be taught or trained, but about individuals having the power in their own hands to deal with their own learning problems much more quickly and efficiently than before.”

When I worked as the manager of a high volume fast food restaurant, the most useful advice I received came from other store managers. Every time we got together, learning happened.  I wanted to make the power of collaboration and peer-to-peer learning available to managers wherever and whenever they needed it, so I created the online social learning community WhatDoYouWantFromThem.com.

The idea was to create a space where managers and supervisors can share knowledge, ask questions and find support using a variety of technology tools.
We also wanted to give companies the opportunity to better connect with their management recruits and show that they are committed to their development. Companies now have the ability to create private areas within our site to deliver training content, give ongoing feedback and, for example, discuss career advancement opportunities. Within the private group, members can share knowledge via wikis, blogs, file libraries, forums, videos, chats and direct messaging.

Here are just a few ideas how a private social network can be used for management training (adapted from Tom Gram, Senior Director of Leadership and Business Solutions at Global Knowledge, Canada):

  • Wiki pages can be used to capture new knowledge or create a core body of knowledge.
  • Managers can share experiences and stories via forum or blog posts and practice reflecting.
  • Each week or month, a question or problem can be featured on the home screen. Community members can provide guidance and ideas.
  • Discussion threads can be used to solve specific problems or share ideas.
  • Videos, pictures and text can be used to share stories and perspectives.
  • Managers can create learning partnerships and join mentoring groups (share resources/insights, discuss issues, collaborate).
  • Guests can be invited to share their viewpoints, teach a lesson or be interviewed by community members.
  • Managers can log in to the community after formal training events and continue reflecting, absorbing and discussing.

We hope that our informal and collaborative approach to training managers will permanently change the way managers are cultivated for growth and encourage open communication between companies, employers, HR departments, owners, and managers.

If you want to create a private social network within WhatDoYouWantFromThem.com, register here for a seven day free trial period. If you want to test drive our platform without registering, send me an email: anna@wdywft.com.


Anna Smith is manager and founder of What Do You Want From Them, Inc (WDYWFT). You can connect with her via email at anna@wdywft.com or twitter @wdywft. Visit the informal network for managers online at WhatDoYouWantFromThem.com.  If you know someone who would benefit from being a member, you can invite him/her to join the site here (it’s free).

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