How to build a process community that brings a process to life

To successfully implement and operate a process, the people working in the process must be heavily involved. But how do you do that?

For many years, I’ve been building a large process community of all the people who worked in the process I was responsible for. And hell, I’ve learned a lot about what works well and what doesn’t. But because I wanted to find out how real experts build a community, I talked to Miikka Leinonen from Ghost Community in the latest episode of the New Process Podcast. Miikka is specialized in community building and knows exactly what is really important for doing this.

In this how-to, I’m sharing with you my own experience and what I’ve learned from interviewing Miikka.

To successfully build a community, there are three indispensable elements that must be considered and ensured for the community:

1. Trust: People need to trust each other before they start sharing.

2. Ownership: People need to take ownership for the community.

3. Purpose: There must be a purpose, a common goal for the community. An answer to the question: why are we here? Having a common purpose, bonds people together.

And this can be directly transferred to processes too: People need to know and trust each other to be able to work together effectively in the process. People need to be able to bring in their ideas and take responsibility for their own process. People need to internalize the process purpose to know what the process is for and to experience guidance and motivation.

Knowing these elements, we can start to build our process community. In case of an informal community, the first step is to bring the people together. For example, at a workshop or an event. Here, it is then the task of finding the passionate people who want to become part of a core team to develop the overall community.

In case of a process where a formal framework is in place, the roles of process owner, process architect(s), and process manager(s) might already be assigned, so that this group of people could form the core team.

But for a formal setup like this, you must keep in mind that there can be differences in motivation of the people. Just because these roles where assigned doesn’t mean that the people are highly motivated to drive a process community. That’s why it might be necessary to still form a core team out of these roles and even with other people of the overall community to push the community ahead.

Within the core team, you must make sure that the three elements for building a community are taken into account: build trust, share ownership, and create a common purpose. All this can be achieved in a workshop. And I would recommend doing this in a process purpose workshop. There, the people can build trust by getting to know each other, take ownership for the future of their process, and define a common purpose. This process purpose can then be used to inspire the overall process community.

Based on the purpose, the core team can create a backbone for the community. A common action, something tangible, a common output of the community. In the context of a process community, this will be the specific business process itself, or at least the design of the process.

Thus, the business process is the outcome of a process community. But the core team must make this even more tangible. It is not enough to just have process documentation which can be used to talk about the process. – They must make it experienceable for example by setting up trainings to tell the people about the process, by organizing workshops to discuss about the process, or even by setting up events to inspire the people.

So, it’s the task of the core team or of the process owner, the process architect(s) and the process manager(s) to build this idea of the community within the purpose phase, the strategy phase, and the design phase and then roll it out and implement it by establishing trainings or holding workshops, or even bigger events like simulations or business games. – Creating inspiring experiences! 🚀

How this can be done, I am going to share within the next few weeks. So stay tuned! If you haven’t, don’t forget to subscribe for the New Process Update, my bi-weekly Newsletter.

And if you would like to explore in more detail how to build communities, listen to episode 10 of the New Process Podcast with Miikka Leinonen here or feel free to contact me at any time!

Just go and start building your process community today!

PS: The picture of this post was taken the night before our last big community event at Lufthansa Seeheim! And I am looking forward to joining the next one as Key Note end of September! 😊


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