Alternate model to a community leader/manager

Discussion created by gyehuda01 on Aug 1, 2008
Latest reply on Jan 24, 2012 by iGirlx

Let me share an alternate model to the "internal community manager" role.  This is based on a case that I worked on, and I wanted to get feedback from you if you think this is a better model.


Context: I worked with a client who was not in a position to hire a full time community manager. But only to bring me on for a limited engagement to set them off toward a good path. The situation: about 1000 people in the division, multiple locations, multiple products, multiple clients, you name it - silos everywhere. The big enabler: the thought leadership was committed to an Enterprise 2.0 collab strategy.  They had software which provided them with a wiki, forum, blog, and "facebook-like" application for employees to provide branded identity and form into visible groups.


We followed the org structure, based on product, geography, and client.  And we set up 10 sub-communities.  Each group was willing to assign one person a 5--10 hour a week allocation for community management.  But these people who were assigned this role were all over the place in terms of their awareness and abilities to perform this role.  So we created a community of community leaders -- we met every week to review the community practices, barriers, successes, etc.  The community of leaders shared practices about discussion forum moderation and wiki-page gardening etc.  The leadership blogged to the organization promoting the success stories, and sometimes addressed the barriers.


Each sub community was set up consistently (group wiki pages, categories, tags, etc.), and the part-time leaders helped group use the tools to collaborate and share effectively.  There was no formal training.  Rather we use the "I do, then we do, then you do" method of mentoring.  And people followed the examples.  It was easier to follow than to deviate, so people use the tools and collaborated effectively.


In upshot:  instead of a dedicated internal community manager, we set up a community of part time managers. It had the advantage of spreading the "gospel" (so to speak), and talent, so that others in the company got better at business/social information exchange.  I will admit, there were many speed bumps on the road, it was not smooth.  But looking back, I think it was an overall successful approach.


The concept that many part-time contributors can scale better than one expert is very harmonious with Web 2.0.  Perhaps this is a better model?  It worked for me in this case, but I'd like to get your input -- one example is not a pattern.  Anyone else see something like this before?  What do you think about the approach?