Community Leadership, Knowledge Spillovers, 2007 North American MAKE Awards, Risk Intelligence

19-Dec-07 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

KM Question of the Week

Q: From Dale Arseneault of the Bank of Canada:

  • What is community leadership and what makes it different than other forms or contexts of leadership?
  • What core principles (should) guide community leadership?
  • What should effective community leaders do/act/practice to align with the core principles?
  • What are the key leadership processes in communities and how are/should they be shared across a leadership team?
  • How can visibility, horizontality, transparency, and inclusiveness be woven into community leadership?
  • How should community leadership be rewarded/recognized in the context of organizational hierarchy?

A: Communities need committed leaders. Community leaders should know the subject well, have energy for stimulating collaboration among the members, and be able to devote sufficient time to leadership activities. These activities include regularly spending time increasing membership, lining up speakers, hosting calls and meetings, asking and answering questions, and posting information which is useful to the members.

Community leadership requires passion for the community’s topic, dedication to keeping the community energized, ongoing effort to recruit new members, and ability to persuade others to participate in discussions, present during events, and help other members.

A community leader should regularly publicize the community’s existence to help recruit new members:

  • Write and submit articles to existing newsletters that reach the target audience.
  • Use existing networks to inform possible members about the community.
  • Send a one-time broadcast message to the entire population containing the target audience.
  • Request that links to the community be added on relevant web sites and blogs.

Community leaders should:

  • Hold a regular conference call with a scheduled speaker.
  • Hold periodic events such as face-to-face meetings and training sessions. These can be in conjunction with a related industry conference.
  • Post regularly to the community’s threaded discussion forum. Include a summary of a community event, a useful link, or a thought-provoking topic to stimulate discussion.
  • Look for relevant discussions that are taking place in email exchanges, public distribution lists, or outside of the community. Then redirect those discussions to the forum, copy or link to the key points, or summarize the highlights.
  • Regularly suggest to those with questions or interest in the community’s topic that they join the community and use its tools. Redirect one-to-one questions to the community forum so that the full community can respond and learn from the discussion.

Here are some thoughts from others. A previous post included 12 Characteristics of Knowledge Leaders by John McQuary of Fluor.

John Smith of Learning Alliances: “Tony Burgess has put his whole dissertation in the CPsquare library. It’s a pretty deep dive that incorporates a lot of experience and solid study (seems to me): Anthony P. Burgess, Understanding the core group in a distributed community of practice (unpublished PhD dissertation, School of Engineering and Applied Science, The George Washington University, March 30, 2006). His work got me to look at this: Making Common Sense: Leadership as Meaning-Making in a Community of Practice by Wilfred H. Drath and Charles J. Palus. And here’s a post reporting on something Etienne Wenger shared in the Foundations Workshop that suggests that the leadership discussion goes way back.”

In an actKM discussion on the role of community managers summarized by Arthur Shelley, the following attributes were supplied by the participants:

Arthur Shelley: “Community manager key responsibilities:

  • Lead the community, engage membership and other stakeholders
  • Organize community interactions and activities on regular basis
  • Ensure the purpose of the community remains aligned with personal aspirations of the members as well as business goals
  • Create an identity for the community to which people want to belong
  • Generate an atmosphere of fun to keep the interactions vibrant
  • Network with potential new community members to promote community benefits
  • Collate feedback from members and facilitate responses to source of feedback
  • Ensure collaboration activities are beneficial to the community members
  • Engage members and generate a sense of commitment to community activities
  • Network with HR and Communications personnel, advise them of interest stories
  • Communicate community benefits and successes to wider stakeholder groups
  • Establish (with members) agreed processes for community activities and events
  • Establish accountabilities and timeframes for agreed projects, tasks and activities
  • Identify objectives, roles and responsibilities for community members
  • Designate resources requirements and determine any funding arrangements
  • Anticipate risks and explore impacts non-delivery of desired outcomes
  • Establish a monitoring and review process
  • Liaise with the Content Manager to discuss layout and formats of content on the portal
  • Screen submitted content for appropriateness and relevance
  • Encourage members to load useful content to the relevant portal pages”

Shawn Callahan of Anecdote: “Here are the character traits I think a community coordinator should have:

  • well respected
  • knowledgeable about the community’s domain (but not an expert)
  • well connected to a range of community members
  • keen to develop the community’s practice
  • good communicators
  • personally interested in community leadership
  • good workshop and meeting facilitator
  • likeable

The other critical feature is that the coordinator should be approved/accepted/chosen by the community leadership.”

Matt Moore: “Some community coordinator attributes:

  • PASSIONATE about the domain & the development of a community.
  • A PRACTITIONER of the domain themselves.
  • Respected & liked by their PEERS.
  • Aware & prepared for the organizational POLITICS they will encounter.
  • Skilled in facilitation PROCESS (be it virtual or real).
  • Willing to PERSEVERE on this for months rather than days.”

KM Blog of the Week

Network Weaving by Valdis Krebs

Those close by, form a Tie

Birds of a feather flock together… so do entrepreneurs.

Ed Morrison found some interesting research that examines the dense clustering of successful economic neighborhoods/clusters. This research is similar to that of Thomas Allen at MIT, who studied how engineers and scientists worked, and from that came the Allen Curve, which shows the correlation between distance and frequency of communication in organizations. Both sets of research support what I have observed in social network analysis projects: those close by, form a tie — and as a result get things done. In the age of the Internet, distance still matters!

Coffee shop encounters could lead to new business ideas. These “knowledge spillovers” happen more frequently the closer firms are to each other, and dissipate as the distance between companies grows.

KM Link of the Week

North America’s 2007 Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises

Teleos, in association with The KNOW Network, has announced the Winners of the 2007 North American Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises (MAKE) study. The Winners are (in alphabetical order):

  • Air Products & Chemicals
  • APQC
  • Caterpillar
  • Fluor
  • Google
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • Raytheon
  • US National Aeronautics & Space Administration

KM Book of the Week

Risk Intelligence: Learning to Manage What We Don’t Know by David Apgar

Risk Intelligence gives executives and business managers a simple mental model and simple tools to manage these risks. According to the author’s model, risks fall into two categories: knowable and therefore learnable, and unknowable and therefore difficult to prepare for.

The book not only shows readers how to analyze their knowable risks but helps them to appreciate the quality and utility of their own analysis. As it turns out, some people have a higher risk IQ than others and therefore analyze and manage risks more effectively. This book helps people of all risk aptitudes to assess and improve their risk IQs.

Too many executives think risk management is strictly for technical specialists. In Risk Intelligence: Learning to Manage What We Don’t Know, David Apgar challenges this misconception. The author explains how to raise the quality of your risk analysis, thus enhancing your “risk IQ,” by applying four simple rules: First, recognize which risks are learnable and reduce their uncertainty by discovering more about them. Second, identify risks you can learn about the fastest. The higher your learning speed, the more a project is worth pursuing. Third, take on risky projects one at a time — learning about the risks underlying each before moving to the next. Fourth, build networks of business partners, suppliers, and customers who can collectively manage new ventures’ risks by playing distinct roles. The book provides two tools for improving your risk IQ — the Risk Intelligence Audit and the Risk Scorecard — and concludes with a 10-step action plan for systematically raising your managerial and organizational risk IQ. Your reward? Smarter business decisions over time.

Google Book

Gives managers a mental model, along with tools to manage risks. This book contains a model that divides risks into two categories: knowable and therefore learnable, and unknowable and therefore difficult to prepare for. It shows readers how to analyze their knowable risks, helping them appreciate the quality and utility of their own analysis.

Table of Contents

  1. Changing Your Approach to Risk 1
  2. Separating Learnable Risks from Random Ones in Business Decisions 23
  3. Scoring Your Risk Intelligence (or Risk IQ) 63
  4. Conducting a Risk Strategy Audit 105
  5. Building Networks That Can Adapt to Risk 143
  6. Raising Your Risk Intelligence Systematically 183



Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager

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Stan Garfield

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager