Community Building 2.0 is a new core practice within companies to exploit the diversity of passion and pride among the current employees to create organizations that are deserving of their passion and pride. Community Building 2.0 is an organic two-dimensional mash-up of internal and external community building intentionally designed to create on-the-job management development.
Dimension 1 - Common engagement approaches and methodologies all too often are geared to change the temperature level of the organization, but rarely get to the underlying experiences to support the change in belief systems need to product actions and results.
Dimension 2 – Many management development programs and initiatives are abstract classroom learning and their greatest obstacle is adoption, usage, and value creation.
Can these problems be solved through a mash-up of community building as design principle for management development?
Context for community building as a design principle:
- Companies are like small communities, able to create cultures that serve as examples how the rest of us should live.
- Community building is not the same as the often misaligned pursuit of “this place feels like family”. What makes a family great isn’t what makes a team great. Families value relationship over contribution. Businesses values contribution over relationship. The best teams (a community) strike the perfect balance; the work exists for the people as much as the people exit for the work.
- The community building experiences you provide create the beliefs people hold. Sharing these experiences is only worthwhile when it tells what we stand for, not what we do.
Conceptualizing the Process
- Companies no longer wrote checks for causes or sponsored events, but rather engaged the full range of resources at its disposal in the areas of current employee interests.
- Natural affinity teams emerged based on genuine interest and identify, to complement the traditional diversity lens of groups formed.
- Community Building becomes the sandbox of experiential leadership training though on the job development.
- The key is not treating everyone the same. Customize to create synergy between the development need and the individual and the community partner.
- Adoption of the 70-20-10 development model (70% on the job, 20% though people, 10% through traditional courses) is a principle enabler.
People crave to belong something bigger than themselves, to feel part of a greater whole. Grow people in their true aspirations – to make a difference. No longer send them to just 3rd party or internal company training programs, but rather experiment with on-the-job development in boards, non-profits, civic, and community teams.
Example Problem: The business as usual approach to financial acumen is sending our team member to the Finance for Non-Financial Managers class.
Mash-Up: How about serving on the finance committee for a local community college? Combining an on-the-job model to management development with the satisfaction of being in service to the community.
- Outcome 1 – Learning finance from the inside out and all the associated dimensions of the process.
- Outcome 2 – A great opportunity to participate in a community multiplier of advancing the skill base of their neighbors.
The key though is making the match, if an academic institution is not their answer to “making a difference” then help them to identify the right fit.
OK, the critic is saying, the finance committee is going to require “experience”. So maybe that actually comes in the form of your company finance director will actually be the volunteer or shares the seat with the employee. And your finance director then becomes a teacher in the process. Yes, it is more work….but you just doubled the engagement and development.
The challenge in getting started is who gets to go first? Who is responsible for making the selection, etc.? Overcoming the challenge is simple, start a pilot. One employee, one match, and one community partner are all you need. Replicate.
The program can quickly scale, it’s just the intentional time of identifying the combinations or match-ups, or in some cases exploiting existing combination and rotating new learners into the development seat.
Success and word of mouth will drive volunteer for future demand and will continue to define and evolve into a signature practice.