Category: Community of Practice

How to Create an Effective Agenda for Your Next Community of Practice Meeting

Agendas in Communities of PracticeOne mainstay of Communities of Practice (CoPs) is that they are a collective; the focus on Community is intentional. This is one of the things that distinguishes CoPs from other business teams and why they’re my preferred model of collaboration. The meeting agenda exemplifies how a Community of Practice functions differently.

When it comes to meeting agendas no one person is solely responsible for owning or controlling the agenda. The agenda is a co-constructed and collaborative affair. When a meeting agenda is handled this way, everyone takes responsibility for the meeting outcomes. 

But of course, problems can arise when there are conflicts of interest, confusion about the meeting topic, length, etc. This leads us to the question: How can Communities of Practice create quality agendas and have productive meetings, despite the challenges that come when working with a diverse group of people? 

I’ve outlined four questions you should answer as you create an effective agenda for your next CoP meeting:

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4 Reasons Why You Need to Join a Community of Practice

A Community of Practice works together.What do all of the following success stories have in common?

The math department “dream team” that increased academic achievement for at-risk kids with an unheard-of 70-point gain in one year.

The team of school principals who collectively interviewed and determined which candidate was best suited at which campus across the school district.

The leadership team whose program ideas were so fruitful, they gained national recognition and became featured speakers at several high visibility conferences.

Answer: They were all the result of a Community of Practice. 

My experience with Communities of Practice has been such an overwhelmingly positive one over the years. I was involved in all of the above examples! But it begs this question:

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How to Encourage a Learning Culture in Your Organization

A group of business-people part of a successful learning culture.“The organizations that will truly excel in the future will be the organizations that discover how to tap people’s commitment and capacity to learn at all levels in an organization.” – Peter Senge

Creative… innovative… proactive… are these the words you would use to describe your organization? Or does it feel like you and your team are always a little bit behind the curve and doing what you can to just survive? The difference lies in what kind of learning culture your organization promotes.

In my last post, I focused on the power that Social Learning can have and the importance of learning by example in organizations. Leveraging the knowledge of experts within your organization is a great way to increase the overall knowledge base, as well as the potential for adaptive learning. 

What is adaptive learning? Actually, it’s quite simple: identify a problem or an obstacle preventing you from getting somewhere, and then work to solve the problem. 

However, there are limits to adaptive learning. Increasingly, 21st-century organizations require something called generative learning — changing the parameters, and discovering new ways of perceiving and thinking about our problems. 

Promoting this type of learning in your organization requires much more than learning purely by example. It requires a learning culture. Organizations with strong learning cultures have some distinct elements that differentiate them from the rest of the pack. 

5 Basic Elements of a Learning Culture

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How Communities of Practice Work in Education

A community of practice meeting in the field of education“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.“ – Marian Wright Edelman

After decades developing leaders in the field of education, I came across the concept of a Community of Practice (CoP), and it forever changed my perspective of how educators can work together to make the biggest difference in their community and the world. I learned that the guiding principles behind Communities of Practice have existed long before the terminology was invented—in reality, as long as humans have come together to share ideas on common goals. 

I was thrilled to observe the results of a Community in Practice in the field of education when I served as the team leader on a three-year Site Leader Community of Practice (SLCOP) study in seven school districts across California. Before the Community of Practice was instituted, the site leaders (school principals) were isolated from any peers, and as a result, there was little opportunity for them to network. 

The goal of the SLCOP was to bring these principals together to share their successes and challenges. The Community of Practice also allowed the principles to practice reciprocal learning in order to learn as an aggregated whole. 

This three-year project was a resounding success and it illustrates the benefits of Communities of Practice in educational contexts. Why did this project work out so well? How do Communities of Practice work in education? Let’s explore how it works. 

Why are communities of practice such a good fit for the educational field? 

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Louise J Santiago, PhD
Executive Coach and Organizational Consultant

Where Leadership is Intentional Work

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