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Celebrate Your People 

When he was hired as the technology director for Kansas CityPublic Schools, Dr. Joe Phillips was given a directive by his boss: raise the profile of his department.

That’s a tall order. When they think of their local schooldistrict, most people probably don’t think of the IT department. They think of teachers, principals, coaches and students. It may not occur to them that there’s a team of people, working behind the scenes, to make sure all the district’s computers and systems are working correctly.

What did Joe do? He didn’t hire a PR agency (he probablydidn’t have the budget). His background is in human resources and information technology, not social media or marketing.

So he did what came naturally: He told his department’sstories.

A Simple Approach 

Joe’s approach was simple. He simply shared stories aboutthe people on his team, and the work they did, on LinkedIn.

He used video, images, and text. He showed that his team wasmade of people who loved the work they did. The content was fairly simple. There wasn’t a grand strategy behind it, and only occasionally was produced by videographers employed by the district.

Joe did most of it himself.

It may not have been strategic or “professional,” but it wasauthentic and heartfelt.

And the result?

His posts connected the dots between a behind-the-scenes ITdepartment and the vital work that teachers do in the classroom.

He was able to foster loyalty and a sense of purpose amonghis team.

And the profile of his department was elevated. Not only inthe Kansas City area, but far beyond. The quality of candidates for job openings increased. Companies contacted Joe, wanting to partner with him.

All because he told some stories.

You Never Know 

There are a lot of lessons we can learn from Joe, but Ithink the main one is to publicly celebrate your people by telling their stories. After all, they are people with dreams, passions and ideas, and they are interesting to your audience. You never know what doors that will open for you.