How to build an online Leadership Community of Practice

Emergence: how the content is generated

We don't assume we know what knowledge there is out there in the community. We use a principle called emergence.

Phil Dourado gives an example of how a leader on one side of the world revealed in the community we ran for a FTSE 100 company that he was experimenting with self-managed work teams. We knew this was common in other sectors and desirable in this sector, but that it was rare in this sector.

Emergent Leadership Development

So, we 'amplified' his contribution - added a big headline and made it a main talking point, to see what would happen. The result was that this powerful leadership practice - which met a real need in this industry for multi-skilled work teams who could fill each others' roles and manage themselves as a team - spread like a virus across a number of business units. With the help of a timely little comment from the CEO.

If we had said to the community "Right, now we will learn about self-managed work teams" and led the learning from the centre, the interest would have been zero. But, this advanced leadership practice emerged from one of their peers, facing the same challenges they faced, as a solution to a leadership issue they all faced.

Where's your leadership Centre of Excellence?

Inspired by Dave Ulrich you've probably got an office with a label on, somewhere in HR, saying it's your Leadership Centre of Excellence. In actual fact, this kind of community is your leadership centre of excellence. The knowledge of how to lead the business best is out there, not in your HR department.

Your job is to allow 'hot spots' of leadership to reveal themselves, then release and spread that practice, not try and teach it from the centre. Because you don't know what you don't know. Nor what they know and are doing 'out there'. Our leadership community of practice reveals it for you. And provides a medium to spread that practice.

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