10 Steps to Establishing a Vibrant Community

originally posted on Concept Hub

Here are my notes from the  CoreSpeed Webinar. Some of the notes are taken from a book titled Mobilizing Minds.

10 Steps to Establishing a Vibrant Community

Structure Follows Strategy

  1. People need to understand the reality they face in order to embrace change.
  2. To gain or even maintain a competitive advantage, organizations need to develop extensive coordination across functional, product, and geographic boundaries.
  3. To succeed, we need to develop ever more diverse skills, in a far greater range of specialties, over an ever larger, more diverse, a population of professionals and managers.
  4. Unlike “informal networks” that simply evolve, formal networks are designed to bring natural professional communities together.
    1. Formal networks provide structures that enable everyone in the firm to “pull” knowledge and talent to them.
    2. Create a map of how each group communicates with other groups. How problems are solved.
    3. Don’t have time to collaborate? What about the time spent looking for answers or information or reworking problems in one dept that was either solved in another or will cause problems for another.

Be a part of the audience

  1. You are part of the audience! A community in the age of social media isn’t about putting the message out there, it’s about conversations. Understanding your audience isn’t done through a sit-down strategy session or focus group, it’s about listening to your audience tell you who they are and what they care about.
  2. It is a matter of becoming as flexible and adaptive as the markets themselves.

Take baby steps and be flexible

  1. Make flexibility part of the roadmap. Your community may grow in ways never imagined and being able to take advantage of opportunities presented by unforeseen community interaction will make this successful
  2. Use the energy of individuals who are self-directing their own work, thereby overcoming problems of gaining collaboration among large numbers of employees who don’t know each other.
  3. Managers must be able to collaborate with people who do not report to them and to draw on support capabilities they do not personally control.

Leverage your relationships for mutual benefit

  1. More digital, more globally integrated economy.
  2. and consider members of the community as your partners
  3. most companies rarely operate effectively as one company. The result is widely differing organizational approaches across the company, with these differences being driven not so much by external complexities or by innate differences among. businesses as by such vagaries as the personalities of different managers and the history of how the organization evolved.
  4. A relationship is needed to establish mutual accountability and an understanding of interdependence.

You’ve got … personality

  1. Similar to branding – you can create an initial personality tailored to your intended audience/community, but over time your role becomes guiding community personality.
  2. People with mutual self-interest have long created their personal social network of relationships, of course, both within and outside of their firms.
  3. We all internalize the culture of which we are apart. If that we not so, they would not exist.
  4. Groups are naturally coercive: they need shared norms and shared ways of thinking and seeing to function effectively.

Be a real boy or girl

  1. Since real partnerships arise from the need to collaborate, the ability of partners to have personal relationships with one another is critical.
  2. One of the advantages of formal networks is that a person can be a member of more than one at a time. This enables a person to integrate knowledge and gain access to talent across multiple communities.
  3. photos, videos, personal stories – insight into a person’s beliefs, values, and perceptions allows us insight into their image of reality and vision of the future.

If you pay attention to them, they will pay attention to you

  1. Formal Networks serve to take much of the work out of “networking.” The limits of networks participation are largely a function of time and interest, members would leave when the network was no longer of that value.
  2. Engagement involves respect. Respect ideas, respect opinions, respect dissenting points of view, and show appreciation!
  3. If you pay attention to them, they will pay attention to you – the attention economy describes how the increasing wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.

Ask, Listen, and Respond

  1. It is much easier to get people who are involved and in the room for the discussion to collaborate in support of the decision with their hearts and minds than if they were asked to support the decision without having been involved in it.
  2. By participating and monitoring the dialogue between members, leaders can better identify topics of interest – which can serve as drivers for future revenue generation activities, as well as future leaders and evangelist.
  3. A knowledge marketplace is an enterprise-wide organizational capability that enables those workers with a natural self-interest in seeking particular types of knowledge to find author-workers with a self-interest in building a personal reputation. – Mobilize mind power by getting the right knowledge to the right minds.

Get Everyone on the Same Page

  1. Success comes from the community being formed around a focused topic closely related to each individual’s goals. The network must be provided with leaders and training.
  2. Structure follows strategy
  3. Kick off training to know roles and responsibilities, and again reinforce how the technology enables the organization to strategically reach their goals.
  4. Ongoing hands-on training and train the trainer model
  5. Network owners can facilitate interactions among members, stimulate knowledge creation, maintain the community’s knowledge domain, build and track a directory of network membership, and help members do their job more effectively & efficiently.

Most Importantly it is the Collective Knowledge and Relationships Within the Community that Needs to Be Nourished

  1. The opportunities of the 21st century are internal to companies and in particular to how individual companies are organized. If you are effective in your internal organization you can become far better at capturing profitable opportunities external to your company.
    1. Really important decisions often involve establishing priorities – and the sequencing of actions often are dependent on just-in-time information of customers and competition.
  2. The capability of a company as a whole to create new knowledge, disseminate it throughout the organization and embody it in products, services, and systems.
  3. The fact that knowledge has become THE resource rather than A resource is what makes a community unique.
    1. Once individuals step away from the front line, they quickly lose the very specific knowledge and information that the front line workers possess – knowledge that allows the front line to deal well with marketplaces customers, local regulators, and the other complexities of the business world. Their knowledge is rapidly antiquated.

SEO Leveraging Community for SEO Success

  1. User and Partner Generated Content – keywords used in a conversation – dynamic searches
    1. The ultimate goal for SEO and SEM is to be easily found and top of mind of the relevant audience.
  2. RSS, Linking Out, Social Bookmarking – providing information through the peer to peer network – also raises SEO authority level
  3. Appropriate Tagging
  4. Social Media Press Release – providing information that can be segmented and dispersed through the community in the medium the community wants to use.

Introducing Social Media to the Enterprise

  1. Managing Organizational Loss of Control
    1. The plagues of the modern company are hard to manage workforce structures, thick silo walls, confusing matrix structures, email overload and “un-doable jobs.”
    2. Internal Talent marketplaces put greater responsibility for personal development o the individual relative to the corporation.
    3. Understanding where the company has familiarity and where it does not can be extraordinarily useful because in today’s turbulent environment many companies retreated when confronted with opportunities involving unfamiliar risks.
  2. Good content Management Strategy
    1. Figure out where social media can provide some internal relief from information overload.
    2. Not everyone is a content creator. You can’t expect people to start to create content unless you give them something to work with. Also realize that even in a successful community, the vast majority of the community will be a mostly passive audience for your core community members.
    3. Engagement involves respect! Respect ideas, respect opinions, respect dissenting points of view and show appreciation.
    4. It means that the ability to create high profits per employee and to push back the complexity frontier lies within the companies themselves, their organizational structures, their talents, their business models and their intangibles – rather than in the industries in which they compete.
  3. Staging requirements across different departments
    1. Get the departments involved in this process. Listen to them as a community and create inroads for them to interact and come up with requirements and standards.
    2. A formal network is an organizing capability that uses the natural self-interest of individuals with a common interest to form a structured community that enables them to collaborate with one another easily.
  4. Executive Sponsorship and Vision
    1. Create a space of openness and trust and get that back
    2. It means that the ability to create high profits per employee and to push back the complexity frontier lies within the companies themselves, their organizational structures, their talents, their business models, and their intangibles rather than in the industries in which they compete.
    3. Organizational knowledge creation as a means of breaking away from the past and moving them into new and untried territories of opportunity.
      1. The only sustainable competitive advantage is your organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition.
      2. Knowledge Creation=Continuous Innovation=Competitive Advantage