Home > Communities of Practice > The Manager Who Thought He Could Create a Community

The Manager Who Thought He Could Create a Community

Originally uploaded by laverrue

I picked this up via John Tropea at Content Management Connections based on Matt Simpsons post and I agree with Matt, as this constantly happens to me.

“I had a meeting today with a manager who thought he could create a community. He was troubled that the community didn’t really work well. It really made him angry.”

“Now, you might ask yourself, how in the world can a man create a community? Aren’t communities made of people? Aren’t they voluntary? Don’t they form when people gather together and interact with one another voluntarily based on something they have in common and actually recognize themselves as members of a persistent group? Yes, of course.

So, I asked the man, how did he do it? He showed me.”

The Manager progressed to create an online space and filled it with member ID’s and appointed someone to facilitate it.

“His major frustration was that the assigned community manager hadn’t taken his role seriously.”

“…we talked a bit about the concept of communities… about voluntary membership and participation… about the self-selecting nature of the membership itself… about the need for leaders to self-select from within the membership and identify their own topics. This is a typical flow of discussion, which, when given enough time and insight, eventually changes a person’s entire outlook… from manager to gardener. Communities form and emerge naturally. They can be encouraged and facilitated; But they can’t be engineered and determined.”

And a magical summary if I’ve ever heard one:

“A man can no more create a community by filling out a form on a webpage than he can make a fruit tree by taping fruit to twigs and twigs to a stump.”

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