New Year, Big Changes

If you haven’t heard the news about the changes to NixonMcInnes you can read up the full detail here.

In short, NM have decided to decentralise the business and many of the consultants will become associates and spinning off their own initiatives.

For me, these changes mean something BIG, SCARY but very EXCITING!

….I will be starting up my own business with Danielle Sheerin as my business partner, launching February 1st!

We will be calling ourselves BrightCultures and we will be focusing on digital transformation.

Specifically our focus will be on helping organisations to align their digital strategies, cultures and leadership, to help them thrive in a complex, uncertain world.

We know that digital and social technologies have changed the ways that the business world operates and organisations need to adapt to meet this challenge; to thrive in the post digital world they need to be authentic, innovative and collaborative.

This is where BrightCultures can help:

  • working with organisations to understand what this shift means for each part of their operations, for example, customer experience, innovation, internal comms, etc
  • evolving digital, social and comms strategies accordingly
  • supporting them to build their capabilities internally and implement these strategies effectively
  • and creating a climate that allows them to deliver responsive and resilient digital leadership at all levels of the organisation

I’ll include our BrightCultures website soon, but for now, I’d like everyone reading this blog to keep us in mind for anything and spread the word.

Massive thanks to all those who have supported us so far including Tom Nixon, Nick Shepherd and Leesa Albrighton to name a few….sending you all lots of love and happiness for the New Year! Let’s rock 2015!

Meaning

On Friday last week we gathered 250 people together in Brighton’s Corn Exchange for the second annual Meaning Conference. It was a pretty epic day. Here are the takeouts for those who weren’t able to join us.Looking forward to next year….

The Role Of The Community Manager

We’ve been talking a lot about ‘facilitation’ recently, where I work at NixonMcInnes. The role of the facilitator is very closely aligned with that of the community manager. Here’s some thoughts on the overlap and how it might be useful to practice some facilitation techniques in a community management type role.

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I often hear people ask the question, “why would anyone want to interact with a brand?”.

Community management, however, isn’t about trying to get your customers talking to the brand as such – rather, it’s about creating a space for people interested in the same relevant topic, ethos or discussion which can then become associated with your brand.

According to FeverBee, this can be achieved by creating a psychological sense of community whereby those members will want to interact with each other. But, how can you create that psychological sense of community where people will be motivated to do this?

For Richard Millington at FeverBee, the community manager becomes a moderator. However, for me, the role of facilitator has a stronger connection.

If we take a look at John Heron’s facilitation model then, we can see that there are six dimensions of facilitation and three modes of which these dimensions can be handled. It’s these ‘modes’ that provide the most use to me, especially for this example. These are:

1. The hierarchical mode

Here, the facilitator directs the learning process, exercising power over it, and doing things for the group; the facilitator leads from the front by thinking and acting on behalf of the group.

2. The co-operative mode

Here the facilitator shares power over the learning process and managing the different dimensions with the group” s/he enables and guides the group to become more self-directing in the various forms of learning by conferring with them. S/he prompts and helps group members.

3. The autonomous mode

Here the facilitator respects the total autonomy of the group: s/he does not do things for them, or with them, but gives them freedom to find their own way, exercising their own judgement without any intervention.

It is the mix of all three of these modes which provide a useful framework for the group’s ‘learning process’ (or for this example, ‘process of participation’ might be a better phrase). Essentially this means that the facilitator, or community manager, needs to be authoritative (or ‘hierarchical’) but also gives the community space to interact with one another (illustrated by the ‘autonomous mode’) in order to create this psychological sense of community.

In this way, the facilitator will use different behaviours for each of the different modes highlighted below:

1. The hierarchical mode can be demonstrated by removing spam/ innappropriate materials, resolving conflict which are all things that can put people off participating.

2. The co-operative model can be demontsrated through simply asking a question and providing other prompts for discussions.

3. The autonomous mode can be demonstrated by allowing the community to ask and answer their own questions.

By moving between these three modes of facilitation as you need them, you will ensure that you get the balance right between a) removing barriers to participation and b) motivating participation, whilst also remaining visible enough to your community without being overpowering that it will put them off.