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Thinking strategically about communities of practice

Posted by  Mark Schenk —March 14, 2007
Filed in Collaboration, Strategy

I have just returned from the UK and from co-delivering a training program for new CoP coordinators in a global company. It was a great experience and I learned much about communities of practice. In the week before, I spent some time in Brisbane looking at some of the company’s CoP success stories. A number stood out, including this one:

In early 2005 a CoP was established around the data and process standards used to manage physical assets across a multi-site division. The company knew that a new module of SAP will be introduced in late 2008 and that achieving agreement on data and process standards was a key to successful implementation. In early 2007, the CoP members took on the challenge of establishing the standard and, using a wiki, they did it inside 6 weeks.

Aside from the importance of this achievement, what stood out for me was management’s insight in establishing the community long before it was needed to tackle this key business issue. Using hindsight its obvious that the group needed to work on their social capital before they could be ‘tasked’. Building a capability in this manner is a great example of thinking strategically about communities of practice.

Mark Schenk About  Mark Schenk

Mark works globally with senior leadership teams to improve their ability to communicate clearly and memorably. He has been a Director of Anecdote since 2004 and helped the company grow into one of the world’s leading business storytelling consultancies. Connect with Mark on:

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