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Why Communities of Practice are so important for Successful Collaboration

Dr Etienne Wenger describes them as .." groups of people informally bound together by shared expertise and passion for a joint enterprise — engineers engaged in deep-water drilling, for example, consultants who specialize in strategic marketing, or frontline managers in charge of check processing at a large commercial bank.

A community of practice may or may not have an explicit agenda on a given week, and even if it does, it may not follow the agenda closely. Some communities of practice meet regularly — for lunch on Thursdays, say. Others are connected primarily by e-mail networks. Inevitably, however, people in communities of practice share their experiences and knowledge in free-flowing, creative ways that foster new approaches to problems.

Because its primary "output" — knowledge — is intangible, the community of practice might sound like another "soft" management fad. But that's not the case.

During the past five years, Wenger has seen communities of practice improve organizational performance at companies as diverse as an international bank, a major car manufacturer, and a U.S. government agency.

Communities of practice can drive strategy, generate new lines of business, solve problems, promote the spread of best practices, develop people's professional skills, and help companies recruit and retain talent.

Why are Communities of Practice so important to an organization's value?

Numbers are considered the measure for business success. Yet it is not the financial and performance targets that produce the outcomes or value.

It is the ideas, relationships and actions among people, clients, suppliers and their patterns of working and thinking together, communities of practice in other words, that produce the outcomes and the value.

A successful leader understands the need to nurture the relationships between all stakeholders in order to satisfy customer needs. A successful leader understands that communities of practice are the enablers in which these relationships are developed and maintained.

Cross functional communities of practice are the repository of knowledge, intelligence and information that when functioning fully provide breakthrough thinking that transforms organisations.

A successful leader knows communities of practice are the source of immediate value and long term viability and sustainability.

The Process

"Communities of Practice: Their Vital Role in Producing Value in Organisations" © leadership development programme

  • explores the theories and constructs that produce successful communities of practice
  • shows how to deliberately plan, development and manage communities of practice for whatever purpose within an organization
  • how to value and incentivise members of communities of practice,  
  • how to benchmark and measure the success of a community of practice

The Outcomes.

  • You gain world class insights and understanding on how communities of practice are structured and how they operate to produce value
  • You experience and gain knowledge of the tools and techniques required to create communities of practice for value
  • You will learn how to establish, lead and facilitate communities of practice creatively to produce immediate value and long term viability in your organization.

For further details on this  programmes