How Can A Community Of Practice Help Your Business?

CoPs present numerous advantages over traditional workgroups, project teams, and informal networks.

 

Ever wonder if there is a better way to organize your business? Do you wish there were more connectivity, communication, and teamwork when it came to tackling goals and solving problems? If so, you should consider introducing a community of practice in your business.

What Is Community Of Practice?

Known as a CoP for short, the concept revolves around the idea that when people with different skill sets come together to get something done, it’s more efficient, more cost-effective and builds bridges between people who might not otherwise work with one another. 

It might be that one of your employees has an issue with a piece of software or can’t figure out the best way to get over a hurdle. A community of practice would encourage employees–even from other departments–to weigh in on how to fix the issue. Maybe another worker has experienced the problem before, giving them unique insight on how to handle it.

People sharing a common goal or problem and coming together to exchange ideas of how to solve it is a community of practice at its core.  

What Are The Benefits Of Community Of Practice?

CoPs present numerous advantages over traditional workgroups, project teams, and informal networks. Problem-solving is one big benefit. When a group of engineers, project managers, and technicians get together for coffee once a week to talk about issues they’ve had, the ideas they come up with are astounding. CoPs are informal–traditional hierarchies don’t apply–so the pressure to please or to follow the leader doesn’t either. This allows the group to open up about the challenges they’ve had and home in on them as a group. 

Another benefit is that CoP culture promotes taking on tasks as a team, which is a great way to foster and onboard new employees. Not being responsible for a long list of clients from day one and working through issues together sparks a creative and team-oriented approach to getting things done. New hires are mentored in how the job they were hired to do is vital to the team’s success while having a community of experienced team members by their side.

The third advantage of CoPs, and maybe the biggest, is that the group continues as long as there are problems to fix. So potentially forever. The glue that holds the community of practice together is a passion for the work the group does. A project group, for example, has an expiration date. A community of practice doesn’t. This nurtures an ongoing relationship between your employees brought about by the enjoyment of the work they do. This is priceless.

Implement a Community of Practice for Your Business

Introducing a new system into your business, like a community of practice, can take time to implement and adjust to. Once you do, you will find that the sky’s the limit for the potential success it can bring to your office and the fresh, enthusiastic versions of your employees.  

 

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