Many organisations want the benefits of better collaboration and the potential of better leveraging the potential of their people in a community. Increasingly with the availability of enterprise social networking, social mobile apps and integration into other productivity tools, organisations have the network capabilities to create the communities at hand.
A Network with a Demanding Boss
Too many plans for enterprise social networks and communities are developed without any community participation. The organisation wants something from the network. They set about getting that goal. When realising the goal proves harder than they expect, the organisation resorts to communication, performance levers, gamification, or maybe even ‘change management’. Many of these remain efforts to impose an external rationale on a network.
If the goals of a network are imposed externally, it is not a community. It is a network with a demanding boss. Any network of this type will lose energy over time as people query the benefits of their participation.
Use the Network to Create a Community
A community comes together around a common set of purposes. Use your network to discover, discuss and align those goals. Engage the people that you would like to form a valuable community to find out how they want to engage. My work shows that people have their own great reasons for adopting the practices that accelerate value at work and build communities. Those practices are those of the Value Maturity Model – Connect>Share>Solve>Innovate.
The organisation’s goals will become a part of that discussion naturally. Everyone works for the organisation and there will be some shared purpose. By engaging people you will discover the greater potential of the community and leverage its rich diversity of talent and perspective.
Ask leaders to lead
Much has been discussed about executive participation in enterprise social networking. Often it is seen as the panacea that will make people do the ‘right things’ in the network. Even the busy senior executives struggle to participate when it is imposed on them as an externally mandated task. Again, the effort is to impose an external logic for networking.
When you focus on the community, what is clear is that what is needed is leaders. We don’t need participation from senior executives, when need people who are willing to take on the role of leader in the community to help the community to achieve its purposes. Leadership should come from senior executives, but it can also come from other community leaders, influencers and champions.
Don’t focus solely on senior executives. Focus on finding leaders willing to help create a community and drive change. These people may well be your organisations mavericks and change agents. Embrace their ability to lead.
The Value Maturity Model is an approach to help organisations create strategic value in collaboration and social networking. The Value Maturity Model Canvas helps organisations to develop agile plans for communities using participation of community members. To learn more, get in touch with Simon Terry via about.me, twitter or Linkedin.