Here you’ll find ideas, observations, and conversations regarding community design and process automation that enables the human touch.
Members of paid communities are more engaged, which leads to better results for the members and the host. An element of constructive exclusion is key, and the price of membership is a signal that engagement is worthwhile. There is good reason to believe that a membership price increase (up to a point) will result in higher membership and revenue over time. That said, it takes patience and courage to commit to increasing your membership fee. The alternative—a membership fee that is too low—leads nowhere fast.
The degree to which status and one’s ability to contribute are perceived to be coupled can inhibit the participation of relatively low-status persons in collaborative communities. That’s a problem because complex challenges are best tackled by cognitively diverse teams. That suffers when the conversation is limited to people who are high-performers along similar dimensions. If we wish to cultivate valuable and equitable communities, we need to find ways to help people identify and articulate the unique value they bring to the conversation.
Asynchronous communication tools enhance effective collaboration. Video is a particularly rich medium. Nevertheless, technological and social friction has inhibited the widespread adoption of asynchronous video. That is changing fast. Specialty tools are getting easier to use. More importantly, the pandemic has normalized the creation and use of video. It no longer feels so awkward to be in front of a camera. Our favorite tools—which we use every day—include Snagit, Loom, VideoAsk, Camtasia, and Vimeo.
The emphasis on collaborative, peer conversations that demand mutual trust—along with the active brokering of connections and facilitation of conversations by the host—distinguishes communities from networks and audiences. As a consultant, make your expertise visible and build an audience. At the same time, keep an eye open for opportunities to cultivate a community.
Gina Bianchini, the founder and CEO of Mighty Networks, notes, “Our most successful Hosts only had 10 members in their communities after 30 days.” We can think of a couple of reasons why that might be true.
A learning community is like a mutual improvement society, much as an online course is like a self-help book. Both can be useful. Learning communities are best for sharing experiences and developing wisdom or mastery.
When confronted with a prediction, we tend to react by thinking “true or false.” A more productive response to a well-considered prediction would be to ask, “Under what conditions is the prediction likely to be true?”
Too often, business meetings suck. They don’t have to. Meeting hosts can help build trust in the process by being mindful of Purpose, People, and Process. Meeting participants, in turn, have a responsibility to be Prepared, Prompt, and Present. Effective—even energizing—meetings are the result.
Proximity or propinquity may be necessary to instill a sense of community, but they aren’t sufficient. Communities are purposeful. That may be particularly true of successful online communities.
Effective meetings have a clear purpose. Agendas and patterns of conversation that send mixed messages—however inadvertently—are likely to undermine the achievement of that purpose.
Research supports the contention that success is a product of failing better and faster than your competition. Persistence is necessary but insufficient. You must learn efficiently from failure and act quickly on what you learn.
A learning community host must be a recognized member of the community, must have deep, practical experience, and must be able to articulate a coherent theoretical framework.