Thursday, March 28, 2013

One on One


This is an excuse for a Hall and Oates moment.
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I've been having a number of conversations about communities of practice and the like.

I realized that the power of my personal network and community is really in the strength of my one-on-one relationships.

Invitations to join a community tend to come from a relationship established elsewhere.

If I join a community with no invitation - I find that I am more likely to stick around if I find one person that takes me under-wing.

The likelihood of me staying with a community tends to be dependent upon the strength of the one-on-one relationships I am able to establish within that community.

So how does this translate to organizations and the discussions around communities of practice?

I'm not entirely sure. 

Strikes me we might be approaching "building communities" in organizations the wrong way.

Instead - maybe we should be asking how we can encourage individuals to build relationships with other individuals.

Provide collaborative tools to make relationship-building easier.

Support the process of making friends and introducing people to other potential friends (and not always in group settings).

Create opportunities for individuals to build relationships with other, like-minded individuals.

Encourage conversation - not meetings.

Maybe talk around "so what do we want the community to DO" might miss the point.

We have projects for that.  A project is it's own little community.  Relationships can be built within them.

But the big stuff I somehow manage to accomplish, the communities I've been involved with, and any productivity (and enjoyment) I get out of my work are the result of individual relationships in my own little universe.  Not from big group gatherings, team-building activities and forced participation in "communities of practice."

Maybe it's just my anti-social, crowd-phobia shining through :)


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