Building a community for your change initiative

force4change Blog

There is much the organisational change discipline can learn from social media and marketing, with new processes and tools available through the social revolution many organisations, large and small now have internal and external social networks. This enables them to engage and collaborate with their customers, partners, employees and stake holders in new and powerful ways.

A role which is gaining importance in these organisations is the role of community manager, this role builds these communities.

Online Social Communities for Change

For many working in organisational change the importance of building communities is often over looked, to support organisational change we can leverage online communities, with social networks now ubiquitous in our lives we can leverage these online communities in many ways.

Before social, organisational change managers mainly thought of communities as external to organisations, this no longer holds true. For a long time we have been building communities for continuous improvement, even building networks of champions, we may not have treated them as communities but at their core they are.

By building a community around change initiatives, we can improve the chances change will stick and that it will be sustainable for the longer term. Roles may change, leaders, advocates and agents may move onto new projects but the community will remain.

A community can support the role leaders, champions and agents play – why have one champion when you can have a community of them? Communities also facilitate ownership and accountability of benefits and the delivery of change by those that will benefit from it.

Communities promote openness and transparency providing insight which helps to continuously shape and drive the change. When you build a community you need someone to facilitate, to manage that community, a logical but often forgotten step.

This may sound like it only applies to large organisations but resourcing this kind of role is often challenging even for an enterprise. The community manager could be the change champion or it may be a manager or a leader that will lead or sponsor the change.

Community management is a skill in the social era which will become more widespread than just in the marketing team or intranet team.

For the latest updates on organisational change management you can follow Jane on Google+ or Twitter.

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