Culture: Guidelines for Growing Business Performance Communities

Seth is a motivational speaker and keynote speaker. He uses storytelling and communication exercises to help build strong business communities and ignite positive organizational change.

1. Identify business drivers for the community.

These express the return the organization will receive on its investment in the community. Ideally these are closely matched to high-priority, strategic objectives of the organization, ensuring that the community will meet explicit business needs. The higher the priority and the more closely aligned with strategic goals, the better the odds that the community will sustain in times of stress.

2. Explore community concerns that are a good fit for these business drivers.

These concerns represent the community’s objectives. They cannot be dictated by the organization, and must arise from within the membership of the community. Nonetheless, there must be a good fit or the community may leave its relationship with the organization.

3. Share the idea for a community with those who have a stake in its success.

This includes those who will benefit from the business goals and successful achievement of the community concerns. These are the community’s stakeholders and potential membership.

4. Engage in conversations with potential members.

Ask for ideas, feedback, and names of those who will most benefit. Identify participant benefits your organization can provide.

5. Select a community coordinator who will take accountability for the community.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Identification of important issues as they arise
  • Planning and facilitation of community events
  • Informally linking members of the community, crossing boundaries and brokering knowledge
  • Fostering the development of members
  • Coordination of product development which include documents, websites, learning events
  • Assess the health of the community and evaluate its contribution to the member.

6. Contact people and invite them to participate.

Communicate through your audience’s preferred media. Be explicit about the business drivers and identify the benefits the organization will provide to participants, yet keep the dialogue open on what people are looking for.

7. As soon as the community begins to form, put everyone in touch with everyone else.

Publish a directory ASAP with phone numbers and email addresses.

8. Invite subgroups together for open discussions.

Allow divergent ideas to co-exist; don’t push consensus. Carry out behind-the-scenes networking and nurture alliances.

9. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! Invite participation in the communication.

For example, rather than exhaustive minutes, highlight the main points & invite others to fill in gaps.

10. Stay open to continued suggestions and conversations offline

Create ways for new ideas to be reviewed and processed easily without derailing progress.

11. Develop presentation toolkits: PowerPoint presentations, brochures, CDs, product samples, etc.

Make it easy for members of the community to share their work with colleagues.