Sustaining communities at mid-life

As the blogosphere expands, it's evident that bloging communities of interest or practice are developing around common themes, interests and professions. Richard McDermott has identified six tips to keep communities of practice vibrant: these are easily adaptable to blogging communities. The list follows, more details are available after the jump.

  • Clear purpose
  • Active leadership
  • Critical mass of engaged members
  • Sense of accomplishment
  • High management expectations
  • Real time participation

  • TOP TIPS: Six keys to sustaining communities at mid-life

    Many companies have found that communities of practice require more care to sustain than originally thought. Here are Richard McDermott's six tips to keep communities vibrant.

    1. Clear purpose: When we first started using the concept of CoPs, we thought having goals would turn communities into task teams. But communities with annual goals don't lose sight of their long-term purpose to build the organization's knowledge and capability.

    2. Active leadership: Leaders of healthy communities spend real time leading them, 25 percent or more of their work week.

    3. Critical mass of engaged members: Healthy communities have a core group of members who regularly attend meetings, contribute ideas and help other members. Over time the core group builds enough trust to ask for help and share insights from projects or activities that didn't go so well.

    4. Sense of accomplishment: Healthy communities often have a clear sense that they are making progress in advancing their purpose. Many communities at mid-life share this desire to identify best practices, develop a common insight or create a common approach.

    5. High management expectations: Rather than inhibit the community, high management expectations for results usually engages the community.

    6. Real time: In the most successful communities, not only the leaders, but some of the core members find time for community activities by making community participation part of their jobs.

    From Knowledge Management Review - May/June 2004

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