Author: Louise Santiago

In Social Learning Spaces, all team members take turns creating fun, effective meeting agendas that spark amazing creativity and eagerness to attend.

Can Effective Meeting Agendas Be Fun? Yes, Through Shared Responsibility!

A cute toddler waddled into the room where the business meeting was being called to order. If you were at this meeting how would you have reacted? Shocked? Appalled? Intrigued? Amused? You may not think a toddler could contribute toward a team having more effective meeting agendas, but it actually did. You’ll find out how, later on in this article.

If you’re used to stuffy, boring meetings in a rigid boardroom structure, you might not think there’s any other way to conduct effective team meetings. As a result, your meeting agendas have probably been a little on the dull side…cover point 1, move to point 2, until everything has been hashed out. 

What I love about Communities of Practice (CoPs) is that they spark enthusiasm, innovation, and engagement because they function as a collective; the focus on Community is intentional. Therefore the meeting agendas are handled in a way that may seem foreign to you at first. But they are fun and highly effective.  In the following video, I share why fun is so important in the business setting.

Agendas, Productive Team Meetings

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Community collaboration is one of our best problem-solving tools personally and professionally.

Community Collaboration — 3 Ways to Use This Problem-Solving Tool Effectively

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi

How many teams do you belong to? I venture to say many more than you realize!  In the broadest sense, when we interact and collaborate with one other person, we are part of a team. Therefore, as family members, as coworkers, as best friends, in neighborhood or community settings or in our involvement with various organizations, we form teams that need community collaboration to flourish. 

In life and business, if we want to accomplish the most good and avoid the worst frustration, we need to develop a team collaboration mindset. Too often, people approach their work with others through adversarial eyes that are clouded by jealousy, competition, and self-promotion. This is not surprising, since these characteristics have been fostered by the hierarchical managerial models of yesteryear. And for some, the thinking remains that if you want to get ahead you have to look out for Number 1, yourself. 

As a society, we’re being challenged like no other time in recent history. If you’re feeling frustrated, isolated, or helpless to affect real change, I urge you to embrace the power of community collaboration! It’s one of our most potent problem-solving power tools. 

Here are three ways you can learn to value a community collaboration mindset:

Community Mindset

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How Effective Team Training Is Powered by Social Learning

effective_team_training“In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.” – Albert Badura

Many leaders are increasingly frustrated by the time and money wasted on traditional types of training. These seminars, workshops, and webinars, while packed with helpful information, rarely lead to tangible results. If you lead a team, finding the best way for your team to be fully engaged in what they are learning should be a priority. Which is why many organizations are looking at social learning as the real powerhouse behind effective team training.

Although the term is relatively new, social learning has been a powerful vehicle for human progress throughout history. According to ideas proposed by learning experts, such as psychologist Albert Bandura, we learn primarily via interaction and shared experience. 

One increasingly popular example of a social learning forum is YouTube. YouTube users upload their own content, on a topic of their choosing, and the content’s credibility is mainly determined by the popularity and rating of the video from those within the community. This highlights a key difference—social learning is self-regulatory. (Interestingly, an article from Wegner and Trayner comments on how some online communities mirror aspects of Communities of Practice). 

Community of practice, Team Leadership Skills

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The Best Virtual Team Collaboration Is Built On These 3 Easy Principles

Woman in a virtual meeting When was the last time you were part of a virtual meeting? If you asked me that five years ago I would have had to stop and think. Today, the answer is easy, I’m either leading or participating in a virtual meeting almost every day of the week. I’m getting more and more comfortable with it, but many claim that trying to achieve virtual team collaboration feels like herding cats!

Virtual meetings definitely bring on a whole new set of challenges. Do you have members of your team who don’t want to be seen on camera or feel like it’s a waste of time, because they feel like in-person connection is the only way to communicate effectively? Then when you do get your virtual team logged into a meeting, you inwardly groan to see unprofessional clothing, distracting activities in the background, and interruptions by pets and family members. Others are completely checked out, looking at their phone instead of engaging in the conversation. What can you do to keep everyone engaged?

Productive Team Meetings

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Why Communities of Practice Are Essential to Equity Work

“Diversity is being invited to the dance. Inclusion is being asked to Dance. Equity is allowing you to choose the Music.”― Cynthia Olmedo

Equity — just how important is it to you, to your team, to your organization? In previous posts, I’ve been sharing the deep, introspective work that is required for leaders who want to be guardians of equity. However, it can be frustrating when not everyone shares your sense of urgency on equity.

I had the opportunity to consult with an equity team recently who felt challenged by their sense of urgency. This group of volunteers agreed to take a look at equity issues within their organization and, from this bird’s eye view, make some recommendations. One of their first tasks was to help guide the hiring process of an equity officer. But then they found themselves doing a delicate dance. They needed to balance their own growing passionate perspective for equity while still supporting the new equity director, who would be taking a slower, more corporate approach to change. 

This group didn’t want their passion for equity to burn out so they asked me to come in and consult about how they might continue their work. I shared with them the concept of a Community of Practice and showed them what it could accomplish. They loved the idea, as it gave them permission to continue supporting one another as they worked on their passion while maintaining their distinct role and lens advancing the larger work of the organization.

There is also something incredibly powerful to be gained by doing equity work within a Community of Practice. In Communities of Practice, there are three essential elements: community, domain, and practice. Let’s examine how an intentional adherence to each of these three elements is essential to making lasting change in our equity work.

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Louise J Santiago, PhD
Executive Coach and Organizational Consultant

Where Leadership is Intentional Work

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