I’m currently working with several communities of practice and helping to find appropriate web tools and techniques to foster their goals. I was going over some previous documents that I’d developed and found a diagram that may be helpful. It shows how you need to move into a space of shared conversations before you can work on sustaining a community of practice (CoP).
Many organisations are cut off from their clients/customers and the Internal staff are often focused on the inside of the company when they should know much more about the customers they serve [no customers, no job]. Shared conversations start the process of creating shared knowledge, but first a level of trust must be developed. This happens over time, and is supported by the creation of tools to support the work. Over time, these conversations are supported with the right tools and this can create an environment for a performing business network. It takes time and commitment, not just words, but in the end there is a dynamic and resilient network of trust, based on work that is meaningful to each individual.