Friday, April 3, 2015

Communities of Practice

Communities of practices (CoP), are tribes of practitioners who share their learning wisdom through a shared platform. Most of such CoPs are based as online forums and chat-groups (including WhatsApp private groups). Hobbyists, geeks, sports-fans, amateur athletes, and professionals belong to such communities to network, extend their marketing reach, and establish their credibility.

Why would you want to belong to such a CoP?

Essentially, you can enjoy the stories of successes as well as disappointments. Much can be gleaned from another professional's experiences learning and applying. I have a major belief about credibility and expertise: The Room is the Expert. Questions can lead to answers, and answers to the right direction for solutions. There is more than one right answer!

The logical way of solving problems: Algorithms or decision-making trees.
Members of CoPs can meet face-to-face as well. They can organise small, unofficial, gatherings for verbal exchanges. This enhances their opportunity and ability to learn, develop and grow. They can seek out expertise and engage these, for profit or pleasure. I belong to newsgroups for magicians, leaders, triathletes and marathoners.

However, as with most new groups motivation to sustain becomes a challenge. Active leadership of the facilitators and moderators determines the direction and determination of the CoPs. Leaders within leaders can employ new initiatives to provide freshness into the discussions and engagements.

At the end of the day, it is about leadership. Without leadership and succession planning, most CoPs diminish in stature and relevance. Thus, new members inject the motivation for the group to sustain and continue.

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