How to Nur­ture COPs

Insurance - - FEATURE -

Be­cause COPs are essen­tially gath­er­ing of peo­ple, vigour among COP par­tic­i­pants is very im­por­tant. How­ever, we can­not force peo­ple to be ac­tively in­volved or to de­sign ac­tive com­mu­ni­ties ar­ti­fi­cially. As a prac­ti­cal mat­ter, the largest rea­son why COPs fail is the lack of vigor to at­tract and keep par­tic­i­pants ac­tively in­volved. Many suc­cess­ful COPs, in­stead, nur­ture the seedbed of ac­tiv­i­ties through artful and flex­i­ble de­sign, al­though COPs them­selves are spon­ta­neous and or­ganic. The fol­low­ing steps show the ba­sic prin­ci­ples of de­sign­ing and sus­tain­ing ac­tive COPs.

1. Find op­por­tu­ni­ties around strong

needs

COPs usu­ally work well when a strong need for shar­ing com­mon in­ter­est/pas­sion/skills/knowl­edge ex­ists: for ex­am­ple, com­mon tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise among ad­justers or suc­cess/fail­ure ex­pe­ri­ences of sales agents. You have to find such key op­por­tu­ni­ties to con­nect peo­ple and share knowl­edge that can make a dif­fer­ence. In other words, this is pre-set­ting of the do­main of the COP that at­tracts peo­ple with com­mon in­ter­est or needs.

2. In­vite pas­sion­ate peo­ple and take

in their thoughts

To de­sign a good COP, you need key peo­ple (two to three peo­ple are quite enough to start) who will play the role of stew­ard in the COP. They are usu­ally very pas­sion­ate (and of­ten knowl­edge­able) on the sub­ject that is the cen­tral fo­cus of the COP. Then you dis­cuss the COP de­sign with them with the fol­low­ing fo­cuses:

• What is the strate­gic con­text of the COP?

• What is the key knowl­edge to share and cre­ate?

• Who are po­ten­tial par­tic­i­pants ben­e­fit­ing from and con­tribut­ing to the COP?

• What are key ac­tiv­i­ties that sus­tain vigour of the COP?

• Where can com­mu­nity mem­bers phys­i­cally (and vir­tu­ally) in­ter­act?

• What are key val­ues for both the or­gan­i­sa­tion and par­tic­i­pants?

… a re­la­tion­ship of trust be­tween em­ploy­ees nur­tured through COPs would con­trib­ute

to in­creased em­ployee sat­is­fac­tion and … help re­tain a

valu­able work­force, which is of­ten one of sev­eral key is­sues

for the insurance in­dus­try.

Th­ese key ques­tions are closely con­nected to the three el­e­ments of COPs: do­main, com­mu­nity and ac­tiv­i­ties.

3. Launch the COP with so­cial­is­ing events

The de­vel­op­ment of any COP al­ways starts at peo­ple’s so­cial re­la­tion­ship. If you do not build trust be­tween par­tic­i­pants, the COP will not work, even if it has ra­tio­nale for shar­ing com­mon knowl­edge. One easy way is to use an ex­ist­ing so­cial net­work, which of­ten be­comes a core group of the COP, and ex­pand it through face-to-face meet­ing.

4. Cre­ate re­sults through ac­tiv­i­ties and share the sto­ries

Af­ter launch­ing the COP, you need key ac­tiv­i­ties that pro­duce re­sults, as well as sus­tain vigour of the com­mu­nity. The ac­tiv­i­ties vary: th­ese could be cod­i­fy­ing tacit key knowl­edge shared among vet­eran work­ers or shar­ing good ex­pe­ri­ence through sto­ry­telling ses­sions. The im­por­tant part is that you need to es­tab­lish the first small re­sult from the COP in or­der to prove its value. Then you can ex­pand the ac­tiv­i­ties and at­tract more peo­ple by telling the suc­cess story.

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