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Communities of Practice © Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
Objectives Distinguish CoPs from other groups Make a case for their potential value Touch on a couple of Dos and Donts Answer whatever questions I can 2© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
Two Different Worlds… World A Formal organization Designed organization Hierarchy (Vertical) Authority of position Reporting relationships Defined processes Formal T&D Work as described Abstractions World B Informal organization Emergent organization Network (Flat) Authority of competence Working relationships Proven practices Situated learning Work as performed Experiences 3© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
What theyre N T Organizational unit (OU) Ongoing operational team (OT) Project team (PT) Task force (TF) Social network (SN) Community of Interest (CI) Faux team (FT) 4© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
PurposeMembershipAuthorityAllegianceCohesion Results from Resources AssignedPositionalUpward Leadership & Relationships Ongoing – Until Reorganized Ongoing Tasks AssignedPositionalUpward Task Dependencies Ongoing – Until Reengineered Time-bound Tasks/Results AssignedPositionalUpward Leadership & Relationships Inception to Completion AppearancesAssignedNon-Existent Fragmented or Non- Existent Management Pressure Until Disbanded or Fades Away Information Sharing Invitation & Approach InformationNorms Value of the Information Ongoing – Until It Dies Out Stay Abreast Invitation & Approach KnowledgePeers Level of Interest Ongoing – Until It Dies Out Develop Expertise Invitation & Approach ExpertisePracticeIdentity Ongoing – Until It Dies Out Duration OU CP OT TF FT SN CI 5© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
What They ARE Groups of people (network not hierarchy) that form to share knowledge about their work (a.k.a. their practice), learn from one another about that work, and provide a social context for that work (i.e., to establish and maintain their identity) 6© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
Practice Practice versus process Three defining characteristics: Joint Enterprise Mutual Engagement Shared Repertoire 7© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
Hierarchy 8© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
Network 9© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
CoP - Examples Xerox copier technicians Pharmaceutical reps (drug detailers) Software developers Chrysler corporations tech clubs Production line technicians Test item writers & psychometricians Research chemists Instructional staff at Navys IT School 10© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
Companies using CoPs 11© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
Why You Should Care Financial returns far outweigh any investment Schlumbergers oilfield engineers $200 million in cost savings and new revenue 75% decrease in time to update modifications 95% decrease in time to solve difficult problems Xerox field technicians $15-20 million in annual cost savings $100 million cumulative 50,000 tips in their database 12© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
Why You Should Care CoPs are valuable organizational assets Decrease learning curves Handle unstructured problems Play a key role in developing and maintaining long- term organizational memory Reduce rework and reinvention Increase innovation and speed Create social and intellectual capital Contribute to increased retention of talent Make change stick 13© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
Some Dos & Donts DO Nurture and support existing CoPs Cultivate and support new CoPs DONT Mandate CoPs Manage them in a heavy-handed way 14© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
Improve Consulting Skills Task Force An assignment Time-bound Deliverables Finish up Get back to work Apart from me Non-sustainable CoP A practice Open-ended Performance Continuous It is the work My identity Sustainable 15© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
Q&A 16© Copyright Fred Nickols 2010
Contact Information Fred Nickols Managing Partnerwww.nickols.us Distance Consulting 1558 Coshocton Ave Mount Vernon, OH
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