Page - Management
Supporting the Community’s Operations
A community succeeds when its members share a strong sense of affinity, its members have a sense of ownership and stake in its decision-making, and it has a solid infrastructure and support team.
Community Management Architecture
Supporting the Community’s Operations
View Community Management presentation here.
The functions and processes supporting the Ambassadors Community—its “community management architecture”—are built, maintained, and continuously improved by the Leap Ambassadors support team.
The architecture, aligned to the community’s vision and purpose, supports the community’s activities and serves ambassadors and, more broadly, the social and public sectors they seek to influence.
Venues for developing products, positions, or views include an online community of all ambassadors, micro-communities of subsets of ambassadors advancing a specific project or topic, direct online ambassador engagement, and in-person ambassador convenings. These community products are shared more broadly via a range of dissemination and field-building channels. A series of services and infrastructure support providing protocols, processes, and technology platforms provide a foundation for the community’s efforts.
Decision-making is distributed—no individual or small group makes decisions on behalf of the community. Major decisions and initiatives are decided by consensus via extensive discussion and guidance from the community. Published content is produced with high ambassador engagement and facilitated, rigorous, iterative development and review processes.
The Leap Ambassadors support team generally makes decisions about the design and implementation of services and infrastructure support.
Exchange, Learning, and Creation
The online community, micro-communities, and place-based convenings provide opportunities for ambassadors to engage, learn, and create.
Online Community Size
Communities are not technically limited to a finite number of participants, but there are growth plateaus and optimal sizes for building engagement and trusted relationships that sustain. For example, there are many virtual communities with more than 1 million members. For the purpose of the Leap Ambassadors Community, bigger isn’t necessarily better and the community is organized to focus on the quality of relationships and comfort around open exchange, advanced by the gradual, thoughtful onboarding of new ambassadors.
By February 2016, 100 ambassadors had joined the community. Growth targets are 150 by end of 2016, 225 by end of 2017, and 300 by end of 2018. When the community exceeds 300, the assumption is the ambassadors will re-organize into multiple micro-communities of different affinities. The collection of micro-communities will comprise the full community.
For the foreseeable future, growth of the Leap Ambassadors Community will be managed to ensure a high affiliation to community purpose, effective community-wide communication and sharing, and a genuine sense of ambassador belonging and participation—either by actively posting and sharing with others or observing and learning from the exchanges. We see this level of quality engagement best done in communities of no more than 300 members.
Online Community and Micro-Communities
The online community includes all ambassadors. Learning, collaboration, and collective knowledge are cornerstones of community discussion. Frequent updates connect, inform, and promote ambassadors and their work.
Facilitated community-wide online discussion and open dialogue generate:
- Shared positions and points of view
- Cultivated discussions to develop positions, points of view
- Previews of announcements for feedback and dissemination
- Inquiries for help, advice and support
- Shared learning.
To build and sustain connections within the community and bring greater focus to the work, ambassadors can also elect to create and participate in micro-communities. As of June 2016, these micro-communities are active:
- Growing the Community: to identify and vet candidates, onboard new ambassadors, and engage and encourage participation
- PIOSA Development: to develop a self-assessment that organizations and leaders can use to determine their progress on the path to high performance
- Building the Case for Funders: to identify, connect, and share collective intelligence among funders that align to our “performance matters” message and with the goal of increasing support to high-performance organizations
- PI Editorial: to oversee tone, focus, and quality of “The Performance Imperative” and synthesize feedback from the community to present new versions
- PI for Small Nonprofits: to develop the context, guidelines, and suggestions for applying the PI to smaller nonprofits.
These micro-communities exist to:
- Advance specific issues, interests, or actions
- Work and share in a free-flowing way
- Communicate almost exclusively via email-based online discussion
- Have designated facilitators and ambassador advisors that help focus and initiate discussions
- Introduce editorial processes at end of discussions (via reverse content generation); nothing is pre-ordained
- Receive editorial, project coordination, and administrative support, as well as tech services and support from the Leap Ambassadors support team.
The Leap Ambassadors Community is both high tech and high touch. Regional get-togethers, gatherings that piggy-back onto other conferences, and a full ambassadors convening provide opportunities to gather face-to-face and strengthen the social fabric of the community.
Dissemination and Field Building
It’s not enough to discuss the need for high performance within a vacuum. Spreading the word about ways in which courageous leaders can move their organizations on the journey and materials that can assist in their efforts must be shared broadly and deliberately.
The Leap Ambassadors support team manages an ongoing series of communication and “micro-campaigns” on behalf of the community. The Leap Update, a monthly e-newsletter, is the primary channel for community announcements. The Leap Update, published by the Morino Institute, has a highly targeted audience of more than 10,000 readers in 69 countries. Social media channels, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, also share information for and about ambassadors and other stakeholders.
Ambassadors contribute their collective knowledge and experience to collaboratively develop publicly available products. The products organize into three categories: 1) primary or strategic products, with “The Performance Imperative” as the community’s first offering; 2) Ambassador Insights, curated community discussions on important topics; and 3) Kickstarters to provide context and/or introduction for the PI and PIOSA in specific sub-sectors, e.g., healthcare. Learn more about community products here.
Advancement of Aligned Initiatives
One of the community’s underlying assumptions is to advance the efforts of others that closely align and/or complement our community’s purpose. We expect the number of these efforts to increase over time, but as of June 2016 they include:
- Edna McConnell Clark Foundation’s PropelNext – This initiative is exploring new, efficient and effective ways funders can build the capacity of nonprofits along their journey to improved performance and enhanced results.
- Drucker Institute’s The Drucker Prize – The annual $100,000 Drucker Prize seeks to honor the most innovative nonprofit organization in the country. But the program offers more than just a financial reward; The Drucker Prize learning platform offers all applicants a host of practical insights to help them become more innovative and effective, through reading material and leaders like Ambassador Mario Morino sharing their experiences via short video courses.
- Morino Institute’s Leap of Reason – Positive reactions to the publication of Leap of Reason in 2011 and ongoing reception to the Leap Update, the monthly e-newsletter, sparked the idea for a Leap Ambassadors Community.
- Results for America – The organization’s mission to shift public resources toward practices, policies, and programs that use evidence and data to improve quality and get better results is highly complementary to the community’s mission. In a climate of constrained resources and mounting demands, we know that public funds must increasingly be invested in “what works.”
- PerformWell – This collaborative effort provides measurement tools and practical knowledge that human service professionals can use to manage their programs’ day-to-day performance.
One of the potential benefits of the community model is to have its members, i.e., ambassadors, share the “performance matters” message in their daily work, their own networks, and at conferences and webinars. We believe as the community grows, the collective power of 150, 200, 300 ambassadors consistently amplifying the core message will break down resistance and help fulfill the community’s vision and purpose.
See specific examples of ways that ambassadors are sharing and reaching out to others here.
Spreading the “Performance Matters” Message
The community, primarily led by the Leap Ambassadors support team and greatly augmented by the ambassadors’ demonstrated performance, contributions and messaging, is slowly, but effectively developing channels for moving its message and programs to desired target audiences. Ultimately, this dissemination channel capability will advance the purpose of the community, illustrate the work of its ambassadors, and add to important field-building efforts in the nonprofit and public sectors.
Services and Infrastructure Support
A healthy community needs a strong foundation with protocols, processes, and a technology platform.
Protocols are the “official” procedures or system of “rules” governing community behaviors for online and place-based interactions, use of the Leap Ambassadors website, and intellectual property protection of community and ambassador assets. Although a sense of community ultimately emerges from its members, a shared understanding of Ground Rules and Email Courtesies helps provide for productive exchanges.
Ambassadors explicitly agree to Terms & Conditions for their use of the community’s website. And, we’ve proactively defined the intellectual property of the community, e.g., views and insights shared by ambassadors, along with guidelines for how ambassadors can share their own copyrighted materials or work protected in other ways. Community products are published under copyright protection and Creative Commons Licensing to encourage and support broad distribution and replication.
Just as the PI calls for well-defined programs and services, we strive to codify the systematic series of actions to achieve a particular end (process). Defining, codifying, and following the processes allow for the effective management of the community, from how candidates are processed to become ambassadors, to the manner in which ambassadors are surveyed from time to time to collect their input, to ensuring community-related data is regularly backed up.
There is an intentional process to select, license, pay for, install, maintain, operate and, as needed, integrate multiple technologies and applications to support the community’s vision and purpose; ambassador exchange, learning and creation; message and knowledge dissemination and field building; and overall community management.
Leap Ambassadors Support Team
The Leap Ambassadors support team is currently staffed and funded by Morino Ventures/Institute on behalf of the Leap Ambassadors Community and is comprised of three types of team members:
- Core Team Members
- Advisory Team Members
Learn more about the individuals who make up the support team here.
Roles and Functions
Responsibilities that team members take on include:
- Project and activity management
- Editorial oversight and guidance to develop community products, e.g., The Performance Imperative, PIOSA, Kickstarters, etc.
- Online facilitation to trigger, stimulate, and advance online discussion and interaction
- Assimilation and editorial review of diverse discussions to create curated works, e.g., Ambassador Insights
- Trusted source to help introduce and/or connect ambassadors, resources, initiatives, etc.
- Knowledge packaging and dissemination
- Video production including video shooting, design, editing, and final rendering of videos; incorporation into YouTube playlists
- Information design and packaging to prepare community products (“works”) developed by the community for broader dissemination
- Community administration
- Technology and systems management
Supporting How the Community Operates
Community management keeps the community functioning to support ambassador engagement and advance community purpose