“Dear all,” the Yammer post began. “Something happened last night where all my years of training helped me keep this situation in my community from escalating, and minimized risk and injury until the paramedics and police arrived.”

I had to paraphrase exceedingly just now due to confidentiality reasons, but I can say that this post in our Yammer External Network for customers had to do with a teenage girl, a restaurant, alcohol and drugs, and a butcher’s knife. The customer’s daughter and two of her friends were also present.

Thanks to this customer’s training, everyone stayed safe: The girl with the knife, staff and customers, friends and family, and her own self, as she kept the situation calm and under control until the authorities arrived. What could have been a tragic tale became a success story.

It’s also not exactly unusual for our customers.

Our customers take our training to help them safely manage all sorts of disruptive and potentially disruptive events and behaviors. Typically this is in their daily jobs, from teachers, security guards, and nurses, to long-term and managed care staff, to therapists and disability services aides, and loads of etceteras.

But things happen off-hours, too. And it’s things like this that help illustrate how what we train works, how it sinks in past the eyeballs, how it truly helps even to the point of saving lives.

Yet I wouldn’t have even known about this if it hadn’t been posted in Yammer. My role is the community manager; I don’t generally talk to customers on the phone nor engage with them on email, I’m not the one going to tradeshows or conferences, and I’m definitely not one of our staff trainers.

Here on our Yammer network, customers share their stories. They know that this is a place where someone will understand what they do and what they experience. They know they can come here to get help, and to give advice in return. It’s a constant stream of sharing, engaging, learning—working out loud.

It’s a place where we as CPI staff try to stay out of the way because it’s not for us, it’s for them. Yet it’s still working out loud even from our internal point of view, because for me and a lot of our staff, this is a world we wouldn’t know, because we’re not out there doing it. But we can listen, and we can learn.

That post came in from Australia at 2:25 a.m. my time. By the time I got to see it, it already had a bunch of responses from people in the UK, the US, Canada. . .it was great to see.

“Your story engages the emotion – a WOW! moment – which then can start the chain of change in organizational culture,” said one response.

“It is great to hear stories when the principles of what we learn and teach work in action,” said another.

Others shared their stories of having to use their training in “off-hours” incidences, and how everyone stayed safe in those situations, too.

A particular beauty to this is that most of the time they don’t even think of these things that happen as stories, success or otherwise. It’s just their jobs. It’s just what they do. I see it over and over in this space.

With all that, a teaching moment came up. Depending on their region, our customers can learn different programs under our training umbrella, and understandably, not everybody knows about all the programs we offer.

This particular customer happens to be trained in two of our programs. One of the comments on the thread asked what one of those programs was—and our customer was happy to explain it. So now this thread which was already awesome had expanded its scope even more.

The original post ended like this: “It was all due to the principles I’ve learned. Thank you so much!”

And I thank them for working out loud in this space to help the rest of us learn, too.

Becky Benishek

BeckyBenishek_picBecky Benishek is a second-year Microsoft Office Servers & Services MVP, and is the Social Media & Community Manager for the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) in Milwaukee, WI. She runs a Yammer Home Network and two External Networks for CPI’s customers.