Within any business process transformation, people should be at the center which means change is inevitable for an organization and this is also the driver for building an internal community.
Change Management as driver
Change is mostly not accepted, as it means doing things differently than before. Furthermore, as humans it is difficult to adjust our habits. Even if we would like to undoubtedly change our ways of doing, we often revert unwittingly to our old ways. We have people who accept change more easily – have a lower resistance as well as people with higher resistance. The most important factor is, that all different levels of resilience should be accepted and managed in a transformation.
“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”
Margaret J. Wheatley
Just think about how change could be fun and how the power of community could make your business process transformation even more successful. This is the topic for this blog post.
The positive impacts and trends of communities cannot be ignored as they can able you to tangible business outcomes. The annual 2022 report by “The State of Community Management” found that communities can achieve a 68% increase in customer loyalty and retention and a 60% increase in brand awareness. Internally, a community can reach a 52% increase of communication efficiency which is essential during a business process transformation.
The top 3 business outcomes (Source: The Community Roundtable 2022)
These numbers are just a fraction of what the community can attribute for your business. Community building supports, among other things, marketing, innovation, and the brand awareness of companies.
Community Building with a seven steps approach
Building an internal community can be defined in these seven steps:
- Community purpose
- Get followers
- Exchange regularly
- Enable everyone
- Learn from each other
- Collaborate to accelerate
- Celebrate success and failure
These steps are just an example; depending on your organization’s culture, it might change for better acceptance. The challenge afterward will be to bring the community alive and engaged on its own – bringing it to the next level.
First, lets do a deep dive into the seven steps.
This step is about the purpose and a shared vision, which go along with all your internal community-building steps. You need to know why and where your pain points across the organization are, why you need the change, and where you would like to be. Create a vision with mission statements that affect each line of business. Start by creating your own story!
In our second step, we recruit ambassadors across the organization who share our common vision. Creating an ambassadors group means nothing less than getting our own followers who are like-minded, motivated, and willing to go that extra mile.
What could support getting followers is executing a workshop to define together the community vision, understand why they are interested in joining the group, and clarify their expectations within this community.
Exchange on a regular basis
Without real exchange, knowledge creation is not possible. But how to do this? First, we need to create and offer a trustful environment with specific rules of engagement, like an online platform where everyone can easily engage.
For example, we offer the SAP Signavio topic page within the SAP Community.
Then we talk about a new routine within the ambassador group: Exchanging bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Ensure you create your own rules within the group and talk about them.
Everyone means everyone: go beyond the ambassadors – Everyone in the organization has different experiences, knowledge, and background and, therefore, a unique value proposition.
Mostly, we expect indirectly from everyone to start at the same position and find their way until the objective is achieved.
On the way, we can lose a lot of people – to avoid this, foster an environment where everyone is eager to learn and create, and offer global training and coaching concepts across the entire organization, so everyone has the same opportunities to build up relevant capabilities to reach the shared vision.
Learn from each other
Influencing each other means typically talking about a specific topic, sharing it with everyone, and being willing to adapt and change.
To achieve this, firstly we should foster a common “How to exchange” as an organization is diverse, which means the impact and speed are different across the organization; departments, and functions. Earlier the step “Exchange regularly” is about the “When and where to exchange”. In this step, you need a defined agenda, and a moderator who brings the ambassadors along to share their experiences, as everyone is making different ones and helping each other to achieve the next level.
Everyone can learn from each other – due to their successes as well as their failures.
Collaborate to accelerate
Working together on one objective – hand in hand – can be used strongly as an accelerator. It could be time-related (faster), better quality (more diverse due to having more ideas), and costs (internal strength).
The slogan should always be “Let’s work together to reach the common vision around the business process transformation,” and never forget to have fun! This leads us to the final step in our community building …
Celebrate success and failure
Celebrate success and failure regularly – not just the big ones but also the small ones during your business process transformation journey. Celebrations convey security and support and strengthen the sense of togetherness. It shows respect for what has been achieved. People need the possibility to be themselves, which means doing failures as well – so why not celebrate both?
The journey could last months or years. Even more time during the transformation needs, and it is important to celebrate specific milestones during the transformation, not just the end.
These celebrations bring joy and fun; they enable encounters with others in a relaxed environment and go the extra mile.
The seven steps are a starter to go beyond. All individual steps can be used during community building more than once, and you might also go through the seven steps more often – all of them or just specific steps.
Don’t be afraid, be curious and courageous – make your transformation successful due to people who stand behind the transformation vision!
Who of you already has a community in place? What step do you think it’s more important or more challenging? Let us know about it – with your successes, challenges, and failures.