Leadership in Communities of Practice

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Text by Margaret Wheatley, which describes a framework in “Supporting Pioneering Leaders as Communities of Practice: How to Rapidly Develop New Leaders in Great Numbers".

URL = http://www.margaretwheatley.com/articles/supportingpioneerleaders.html


Excerpt of a summary chosen by the Nobo blog at http://nobostrategy.blogspot.com/2006/10/pioneering-leaders-as-communities-of.html

"In summary, there are four key areas of work that can support the development of new leadership-in-community.

Name the Community. Community forms among people acting from the same values and visions. Their practices are varied and unique, but each practice develops from a shared set of values. In this way, the community is very diverse in its expression, and very united in its purpose.

Connect the Community. A community becomes stronger and more competent as new connections are formed with those formerly excluded, as it brings in those who sit on the periphery, as communication reaches more parts of the system, and as better relationships are developed.

Resource the Community. Communities of practice need to be nourished with many different resources. They require ideas, methods, mentors, processes, information, technology, equipment, money. Each of these is important, but on great gap is that of knowledge – knowing what techniques and processes are available that work well.

Illuminate and Interpret the Community. There is a critical need to tell the stories of this community, to get public attention for their efforts. It takes times, attention, and a consistent media focus for people to see them for what they are, examples of what’s possible, of what our new world could look like. To develop this level of public awareness requires skilful working with the media.

Communities of practice develop from a need to do one’s work more effectively but also, more importantly, to align with shared human values.

“Whatever is important to you, you probably have more opportunity than you may realize to pursue those things in business, even in for-profit companies. You don’t have to be limited by the misconception that corporations always have to try to maximize their profits. Nor must you be limited by what other people think are the social responsibilities of business. You are really only limited by what you can imagine and by what you can find other people to support."

(Extract from Thomas W. Malone’s “The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style, and Your Life")