At SUSE, Collaboration Solves Problems Everywhere | SUSE Communities

At SUSE, Collaboration Solves Problems Everywhere

This blog was co-written by Jared Matkin 


When faced with a true conundrum, most humans tend to choose one of two paths. Either open up wide to collaboration with others, or constrict tightly to oneself in order to find a way to resolution. At SUSE, the open, open culture encourages the prior in the form of open and honest collaboration. When people embrace that philosophy (like so many at SUSE have), it means every conundrum we face can be approached as an opportunity.

Facing Change

In May 2018, marketers, sales people, and well – the whole business – faced a new “requirement” to protect the privacy of our customers and prospects, in large part due to GDPR. We realized over the course of 12 months, that doing what had always been done (Emailing! A lot!) was no longer the sole path to valuable communication with people from different touchpoints across the SUSE Community.

This of course comes by optimizing the way we message to people by providing them with the information they want, when they want it, and with their glad permission to let us do so. Through this fundamental change we can then adapt and lead by exploring and adopting new technologies, methodologies and processes to find our targets in a more meaningful and personalized way. The goal, or course, is to establish and build trust and partnership with everyone we engage with.

In other words, we were faced with a conundrum, but one with a visible opportunity: Improve and  revolutionize the way we communicate to prospects, customers and others who are interested in SUSE by understanding and sharing messages and content that matters to them.

Conundrum Meets Collaboration

In the interest of the collaborative spirit mentioned above, a plan was taken to the VP of SUSE Marketing to create a “whole brain” of marketers across the organization. This group would brainstorm, develop and implement new ways to help revolutionize SUSE’s outbound communication tactics.

But what is a whole brain, you ask? Having used the Marcus Buckingham’s, “Now, Go Discover Your Strengths” online assessment and coaching tool for years as a leader here at SUSE, I knew the key themes (strengths) of every marketer who had taken the assessment. Also, with prior years of experience with the thinking and behaving pattern tool, Emergenetics®, I have learned to assemble a diverse group of people who are tasked to quickly meet a challenge and rapidly form a solution. These thinking and behaving patterns fall into four dominant themes:

Executing | Influencing | Relationship Building | Strategic Thinking

With the support of our VP and the Marketing Leadership Team, ten people from different areas of marketing focus at SUSE came together. Not just from the representative functions in marketing, but hand selected based on each person’s dominant theme. The contributions from people strategically placed in an effort like this are vivid from the onset.

The Output of Focused Input

As expected, each individual contributed with precision from her or his key theme, and over the course of 10 weeks we had, together as a ‘whole brain’, thought of things no one would have considered on her or his own. The results of the collaborative sessions and subsequent planning influenced the SUSE marketing leaders, helped pave the way for implementation of new approaches, and solidified relationships between people on teams across the globe who are now executing on these actions.

Just think about that for a minute. 10 weeks of thoughtful collaboration by leveraging people’s strengths yielded strategic direction that could shape the future of how SUSE communicates to partners, customers, prospects and purveyors of open source technology. Not too bad considering the conundrum we faced was a year in the making.

All of this underscores the focus and commitment SUSE projects externally as an open and collaborative technology partner. We truly do practice what we preach, and I can tell you first hand that the results are right there just waiting to be had.

Stay tuned for more on the implementation of some of these changes in the coming months, and into 2020.


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