Tuesday, June 08, 2010


"I want to thank you for guiding us in the process of building this community of practice. I think the work itself and community we are creating has so much potential, and the role you are playing is really important. I look forward to our continuing work together!"

Rabbi Bridget Wynne
Executive Director
Jewish Gateways


"Thank you very much for being a masterful guide this year....Very helpful and will continue to be very useful."

Chelsea Bailey, Communal Leadership Specialist at Board of Jewish Education of New York
Former Asst Prof in Early Childhood Education at New York University

Tips on Knowledge Management from the Community Rountable

From the Community Roundtable:  On our recent 'State of Community Management' webinar we got so many great questions that we've archived them all here. One question we liked in particular dealt with a problem many community managers face when trying to gain traction with their audience.

Q: How to overcome barriers for knowledge sharing?

A: Any cultural change takes time but I like to think of it as an infection model. Pinpoint and find key influencers who are already supportive of more open sharing of information and acclimate them to new tools and techniques. Like leaders, it may take some time but it is well worth it as they will 'infect' the rest of the organization. Also people must have the time, receive recognition, and have familiarity with new tools and processes in order to participate effectively. Think about the 'What is in it for me' factor - if that is not there, the initiative will be hard to move forward.

More from Rachel:

Reducing barriers to knowledge sharing is a classic cultural change issue and, like many things in community management, not one with a "right" answer. Changing behavior requires motivation to change and the best motivation is to make the change meaningful to the individual in question. The difficult part is what is meaningful to one person may not be to another and means a variety of programs, training, mentoring, and incentives have to be applied to create lasting change. This theme comes up repeatedly and you can find some ideas and practices employed by practitioners in The State of Community Management.

Jim's take:

Internally, it has a lot to do with having the right people in your corner. While it's important to have an enthusiastic senior executive involved in getting your company to embrace knowledge sharing, I've found it's the middle managers that are the key to widespread adoption. Often times it's their teams and relationships at stake, so if you're able to show them the value, you're on your way.

Another key to building a knowledge sharing culture (internal and external) is creating opportunities for experimentation. I've found brown bag lunches are extremely effective at getting people together to try new tools and techniques. During a customer conference several years ago, I put a Flip camera on each lunch table along with a table tent with three questions. The people at the table took turns recording interviews of one another and had a lot of fun in the process. Later in the day we showed them a compilation of the interviews and you could see them have that "aha" moment. Not soon after we launched a customer community with great success.

Finally, publicize and reward. Often times it's hard to be the first person trying something different. Publicly acknowledge people who take that risk and reward them for their courage. It can be something as simple as lunch with the Sr. VP, just something that makes them feel good about sharing what they know.

Cross-posted with permission of the Community Roundtable: A peer network for community managers and social media practitioners.

Jigsaw by Lawrence Kushner

Each lifetime is the peices of a jigsaw puzzle.
For some there are more pieces.
For others the puzzle is more difficult to assemble.

Some seem to be born with a nearly completed puzzle.
And so it goes.
Souls go this way and that.
Trying to assemble the myriad parts.

But know this.  No one has within themselves
All the pieces to their puzzle.
Like before the days when they used to seal
jigsaw puzzles in cellophane.  Insuring that
All the pieces were there.

Everyone carries with them at least one and probably
Many pieces to someone else's puzzle.
Sometimes they know it.
Sometimes they don't.

And when you present your piece.
Which is worthless to you,
To another, whether you know it or not,
Whether they know it or not,
You are a messenger from the Most High

Reprinted with permission of author and publisher: Lawrence Kushner 1977, pp 69-70. Honey from the Rock.

Thank you to Linda Greenseid the facilitator of the PEJE Leadership Community Of Practice for my calling attention to this poem.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Quotes I like - shared by IISC

These wonderful quotes have come in the mail to me from IISC - the Interaction Institute for Social Change. I saved and gathered them and share them below.

Be a lamp or lifeboard or a ladder  Help someone's soul heal.  Walk out of your house like a shephard.  (Rumi)

The essence of love is to affectively affirm as well as unselfishly delight in the well being of others, and engage in acts and care of service on their behalf, without exception, in an enduring and constant way.  Love.  (Institute for the Study of Unlimited Love at Case Western University)

If we are to survive as a global community, we must understand the imperative nature of giving birth and space to the moral imagination in human affairs.  (John Paul Lederach).

Do what you do best and link to the rest.  (Jeff Jarvis)

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality...  I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.  (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Simple model for Collaborative Group Work by Ken Otter

This simple model was derived from a 13 month research project by Mat Schwarzman, Linda Sartor and Ken Otter while doctoral students at the California Institute of Integral Studies in 1995. Using Collaborative Inquiry methodology facilitated by Elizabeth Kasl, Mat, Linda and Ken, studied the experience of several groups engaged in collaborative work. This is the outline of their findings. 


A) The infrastructure of the group ought to be developed and determined by the group.
B) Authority, power, and leadership ought to be shared by members of the group.
C) Shared meaning-making should be fostered.
D) Individual and group development ought to be viewed as mutually enhancing.
E) A group purpose ought to be agreed-upon collectively.
F) Facilitation should be practiced in service to the group's collective purpose.


A) Emphasize inquiry over advocacy.
B) View all perspectives as potentially valid.
C) Provide reassurances about the challenges inherent in collaboration.
D) Attend to development of group skills needed for collaboration.
E) Foreground group goals and purposes throughout.
F) Create opportunities for members to cultivate interpersonal connections.
G) Encourage reflection as a regular feature of group life.


A) All members actively participate.
B) Roles are not rigidly fixed or permanent.
C) Agreements are articulated and operationalized.
D) Meaning is constructed by the group as a whole.
E) Varied perspectives are registered and encouraged.
F) When conflict occurs, members attend to it with an eye towards the potential benefit it may hold for the group.
G) Unexpected meanings, decisions and other results get made.
H) Members articulate differing perspectives held by one another in a similar fashion.

Cross-posted with permission of the author.  Originally posted posted by Ken Otter on Leadership Learning Community discussion: leadership for a new era Aug 5 2009, 3:06 PM EDT

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Hiring A Social Media or Community Manager?

This blog post is cross-posted from Community Roundtable with their Permission

Hiring A Social Media or Community Manager?

by Rachel Happe on January 18, 2010

ShareWe recently had a member call on Hiring for Community Management and also discussed the topic at last week’s #TheCRLive. It’s a hot topic for a variety of reasons. There is growing interest in the field and growing demand for community managers. Our members’ had some additional perspectives:

Community an social media management job descriptions vary widely with little consistency

There are a number of business functions and processes that community managers can support but often the specifics are also inconsistently articulated in job descriptions

Expectations of community manager roles and compensation are not very well aligned

Hiring organizations don’t necessarily know what is reasonable to expect from different levels of community managers or are not always able to identify the level of experience they need

The attributes of community managers are often more important than the skills or experience but that is not the way most organizations hire

Because Community Roundtable members like Rachel Makool, Dawn Lacallade, and Amber Naslund have more experience than most with regards to hiring community managers we think there is an opportunity to work with our members to develop baseline job descriptions and salary ranges for the following positions:

Social Media Expert


Community Manager

Director of Community

VP of Social/Community

Like any other type of organizational role, as the position becomes more senior, more strategy/planning/management responsibilities are included and compensation should rise accordingly. We see a lot of job recs being posted that are looking for people with 1-3 years of experience compensated for at that level but also wanting those people to own the social strategy, policies, and internal evangalism. The effort to find a good match for that rec is likely to be frustrating – while there are plenty of young and ambitious potential employees that understand social software tools very well and are eager to take on an organization’s social initiative, they may not have the management and organizational experience needed to effectively champion and execute the strategy. Those young people who do have the skills to build and execute a new organizational strategy are like their more experienced peers in knowing that it deserves a higher level of compensation.

There are two problems causing even further frustration. The first problem is that many social initiatives right now are pilot or new initiatives that just barely have the funding for one junior position who may not have the business and management experience necessary to be successful. This is a chicken and egg problem – without an experienced community manager, the initiative may not be successful but the organization can’t afford an experienced person until the initiative is successful. The second problem is that for those organizations that realize they need a mid-level to senior person to develop and execute an appropriate social strategy, there is a fairly small group of individuals with that experience and very often not in the location needed.

There are a few ways organizations can manage this situation:

Hire consultants. Many experienced community managers have become consultants (Rachel Makool, Sean O’Driscoll, Jake McKee, Janet Fouts, and Dawn Foster are examples) and are in demand for helping companies navigate the transition from pilot to operational communities.

Outsource moderation and/or community management. eModeration, Tempero, LiveWorld, Fresh Networks, and Impact Interactions all offer some combination of moderation and community management. These services can help companies who are starting out, exploring, and experimenting. In particular, moderation is often outsourced completely as needs often fluctuate significantly over time.

Spend time seeking out and investing in understanding the most effective use of human resources. Human resources are critical to the success of a social initiatives but if the role and responsibilities are not clear and appropriately aligned, it can lead to a lot of frustration on both the part of the organization and on the part of employee. The more the hiring manager understands, the better off the outcomes will be. Consultants, training, and services like ours can help tremendously with understanding how to effectively hire and use community management.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rewards and Targets do NOT Work in Complex Environments

Directly from David Gurteen Newsletter: Thank you David! It's hard to hear the truth.

To my mind the failure by business but more so governments to understand the adverse affects of measures, rewards and targets is a colossal Knowledge Management failure. As far as I can tell nearly all the research and evidence shows that rewards and targets do NOT work in complex environments. In fact they have the opposite effect of what is intended! But despite all the evidence to the contrary they continue, out of habit, to put their heads in the sand and do not change. This post from Ron Donaldson on A blind pursuit of targets points to yet more evidence. I really wish I had collected all the stories of the failure of targets by the Labour government over the last 12 years or so. I think there is enough to write a book! As Ron says "Is anyone in Govt health, education or the environment listening?" This really is a KM issue. We have the knowledge but we refuse to act on it! But apart from anything else "we really must stop trying to do things to people and to start to work with them".


Friday, March 05, 2010

Epic Change: an organization putting the power of storytelling and social media into the hands of the local communities they support

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a webinar hosted by Darim Online on the strategic use of Facebook (FB) for non-profits. We were invited by Caren Levine, who is a part of our Kehilliyot Community of Practice. Darim Online specializes in internet strategies for Jewish organizations and their communities, and the webinar was part of the organization’s “Social Media Boot Camp.” The host, technology maven Avi Kaplan ( on twitter @meshugavi ), provided valuable insights into using FB’s tools. Besides laying out the great strategic use of FB groups, analytics, pages, and friend lists, Avi also talked about using FB for “causes,” something he knows a lot about from his deep work with the 3-year old nonprofit, Epic Change.
Intrigued by Epic Change’s mission to “amplify the voices and impact of grassroots change-makers and social entrepreneurs,” we set up a web meeting with him the following week via Web X . What we discovered was the organization’s innovative use of technology and social media to create and spread change through the powerful combination of social media tools and age-old storytelling.
Epic Change has been focusing on a project in Arusha, Tanzania—the support of the Shepherds Junior School. Co-founders of Epic Change, Sanjay Patel and Stacey Monk, an IT project manager and a management consultant respectively, created the nonprofit organization after a life-changing trip volunteering in Africa in 2007. The project supports the work of the school’s founder, Mama Lucy Kamptoni, who they describe as a “savvy and passionate local woman.” Epic change made initial loans to the school and then helped them find creative ways to pay back the loan, such as a school performance and selling hand-made crafts.
In addition, the organization has facilitated finding partners to raise money for the school, such as the May 2009 $10,000 grant from Ideablob, which funded the school’s first technology lab. In October 2009, the fifth graders became the first #TwitterKids of Tanzania when they partnered with LacProject, part of a social media curriculum. The story of one of the local students whose life has been impacted can be found here. One particularly successful partnership was with Silicon Valley Tweetup, where they raised over $2,000. You can read more about their success in getting this community’s story out there through blogging themselves, forming partnerships, and empowering the locals with the technology to give voice to their own perspective (and “tweet” their thanks) by visiting Epic Change's news page.
We at Knowledge Communities were honored to talk with Epic Change and learn about their extraordinary work. This organization is a leading example in building community around an important cause and using the tools of storytelling and social media to raise funds to support grassroots change-makers that are in need of resources in order to continue their work. We are also thankful to our Kehilliyot Community of Practice and the sharing and generosity that members show towards one another, thereby allowing us all to gain more insight into good work and how it is getting done around the globe.

Diana Norma Szokolyai
Associate Consultant, Knowledge Communities