Last month I talked about the resurgence of Communities of Practice (COPs) and how they are emerging as a critical strategic element in driving high-performance in organizations.

You can read more about that here.

While COPs have long been embraced and prioritized within technology functions — IT, QE, QA, SDLC, etc. — there is huge benefit that can come from incorporating the COP concept organizational-wide… yes that means within functions like Operations, Marketing, Product, Innovation, and so on. At their core, COPs are about creating forums for employees to convene around topics of interest, share their learnings, discuss vision, and ensure alignment across teams and departments. A COP can be a beneficial collaboration framework for any company looking to spark and fuel better collaboration.

Today, I want to dive into how to determine if a COP is right for your organization…

Collaboration: By the Numbers

As the workplace continuously shifts and changes based on macro forces — the race to digitize, economic pressure, mass layoffs, pressure to go-to-market fast, to name a few — the concepts of collaboration, alignment, and synergy have become more than just buzzwords; achieving them has a direct impact on a business’s financials, growth imperative, and viability.

Consider these recent stats

  • Companies can reduce employee turnover rates by 50% by promoting communication and collaboration.
  • Enabling employees to collaborate at work is good for morale, leading to a 17% increase in satisfaction.
  • Employees working in collaborative settings were over 50% more effective at completing tasks than their coworkers who work independently and reported higher levels of engagement and success.
  • 86% of employees in leadership positions state that lack of collaboration is the largest cause of workplace failures.
  • Top-performing employees spend 45% of their time on collaborative work.

So, we know collaboration is important. But let’s take it a step further. The magic really happens when collaboration is regular, non-hierarchical, focused, and participatory. These are the essential components of a true COP.

Related Reading: Forming a QA Community of Practice

A COP is designed to gather insights about what’s working (and what’s not), foster continuous improvement, and leverage the collective wisdom across an organization.

But is a COP Right for My Org?

I often talk about COPs in the context of tech functions, but the reality is that COPs are a powerful framework for a range of companies and teams. Whether it’s a group of software developers exploring emerging trends, educators sharing strategies for improving student outcomes, or healthcare professionals exchanging clinical insights, these COPs offer an opportunity for learning, collaboration, and growth.

So, I ask you this…

Are you looking to spark new ideas? Fuel REAL collaboration?
Have you tried to create self-organizing teams and next-level cross-functional partnerships?
Do you consider yourself a technology company?
Are you in a state of curiosity and introspection?
Do you have a vision of continuous learning and improvement?
Would you like to build empowerment back into the business?
Are you trying to improve communication flow?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, a COP could be a game-changing solution. An opportunity to leverage expertise in one area of your business to support another. A chance at creative and collective problem-solving.

I talk more about what types of companies and teams benefit from COPs in this quick video.

Over the years, I’ve helped many orgs stand up COPs and have seen the impact (click here for a case study). If you’re ready to take the first step, click here to book time with me.