A while back I posted about and shared a presentation I did at a KM Conference in Perth last year. The slidedeck is on my experience developing, supporting, and facilitating online Communities of Practice for a global EPCM (Engineering) consulting firm.
That presentation contained a couple of slides on participation and I spent a lot of time talking about these slides. For the CoP facilitators at my work I thought I would flesh this out into it’s own presentation, as participation is an important topic.
It’s not just important because there is a lot of content to cover, but because the nature of the content is something that is not really practiced or paid attention to. Normally all the focus is on command and control, rather than on people. I guess you could say this belongs in the same ballpark as Management vs Leadership, but only from the concept of running a CoP.
It’s important that managers who run CoPs understand that the usual scientific management approach based on the main concept of efficiency won’t cut it. CoPs are more like good parenting or leadership where you create conditions for good and emergent outcomes.
NOTE: Our CoPs have social tools like blogs, forums and wikis. Our team spaces don’t have these, so some teams are using CoPs. In this case the team is not really a CoP, but just using our CoP tools; therefore this presentation may not be as relevant in those cases. But still if you want an effective and engaged workplace, you need to pay attention to the happiness of your workers.
What is often missing in management practices is the anthropological aspect…observing group behaviour, leadership, interpersonal skills, trust, intrinsic motivations, social interaction/connection…
We need to focus on worker satisifaction and aspiration, rather than just ordering people to complete tasks.
When considering this in the context of “issues”; rather than continually doing surgery, why not look at the more holistic perspective….create conditions so the illness has less chance to emerge…disrupt the patterns.
Readers of this blog may already be familiar with the content of this presentation as I have blogged about it before in a post called Community of Practice for Facilitators : pilot, adoption and participation. I guess this presentation is a more succinct and refined version of my earlier thoughts.
It’s loosely divided into four parts:
Lessons and good practice
- Do you have a community leader with passion and time?
- Do you have passionate key members?
- Do you have a shared identity on what you want out of the community?
- The manager who thought he could create a community
- CoPs are Voluntary, Emergent, Self-selecting
- It has a sense of place, and needs to be tendered and cared
- Social tools are not built for a specific purpose
- Social tools are interactional rather than transactional
- Don’t need lots of members to succeed
- Subject matter expert needs to run it
- Merging CoPs is a risk
- Don’t over design look upfront
- I don’t want to share, that’s counter to meeting my objectives…and reward!!
- Intrinsic motivation, rather than rewards
- Design (Intuitive / Stickiness)
- Frequency of content
- Email interaction / Bookmarklet
- Peer influence
- Champions / Role models
- Viral approach
- Feedback (Reputation / Recognition)
- Group building
- Confidence / Comfort / Safe
- Relationships (Give and Take)
- Personal relevancy / Change
- Post, and send link
- Attract comments
- Re-purposing email
- In-the-flow / Above-the-flow
- Offline to Online
- Member Intros
- Lounge forum
- Blog carnival
- Guest posts
- Coffee Corner / Fill in the gap
- Member of the month
- Weekly roundup
- Personal stories
- People travelling
- Blog columns
- Engaging media (video)
- Email signature
- Linking across CoPs
- Personal needs