Advanced Community Engagement

Advanced Community Engagement at the C-level takes true determination, care, and authority in the field. It must be tied to the true needs and requirements of the market. Having a great plan to manage and lead your community is pretty much a wasted plan, if you don’t ‘include’ the members in the creation of that plan.
In the case of our association of executives and managers who are leading projects, change, HR, and development efforts, they all want to deepen their connection to the external world, benchmark with each other, share, learn and grow together.
Let me share this short list of ideas with you about how to bring your members into the conversation about your ‘big plans’.
1. Research Needs Individually: 

Personal phone calls. One on one meetings. Eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart conversations.

Make a genuine effort to connect on a personal level. You can present the membership with simple surveys, and gather information about their preferences for meeting later.  Ask about their work, hobbies, and maybe things they’d like to see in their consumer products. Ask, “What can I do to support you in your membership?” And, then follow-up consistently. Most people will discuss these items freely.
2. Deepen Membership Relationships by Giving Them the Power to Heal Each Other

I have always created/designed meetings where people have maximum interaction with each other. This gives your community the greatest power to help/heal each other. I followed the disciplines I learned from fraternities and societies from schools I attended such as , human interaction laboratories, Kriaplu workshops, the guest structures and meetings at Canyon Ranch, workshops at Omega Institute, among others at the colleges and universities I attended that have more secretive means for member recruitment and engagement that involve deepened relationship building techniques. It was through benchmarking and experiencing these workshops and societies that inspired me to create the foundation behind BPI meetings.

3. Meetups? Conferences?

From the surveys you have already collected some valuable data. Use that to create a fun and irresistible meetup or a full-blown conference, inviting as many as you can afford. Don’t skimp on the amenities here; make it as festive and interesting as you can, Remember, they will carry this info back to their own workplace and friends, too. Many can be influenced and may join your group.

4. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

We have heard many executives use the excuse, “I don’t have the time it takes to speak with these members…that’s for my secretary to do.”

Seriously, this is for YOU to do. We have shared with our clients many times about how the market-place of tomorrow is changing how we do everything today, so act like it.

When the executives embrace the changing market, and pay better attention to their greatest asset; the customer they have already won over, they will be able to retain them longer, and more easily attract others.

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Louis Carter
Louis Carter founded Best Practice Institute in 2001 after completing one of the world's first studies on high impact leadership development with Warren Bennis. Since then, BPI has become one of the top associations for leadership and human resources development in the world. He has written 10 books on best practices and organizational leadership including Change Champions, which has been translated into 8 languages and the Best Practice book series published by Jossey Bass/John Wiley and Sons including Best Practices in Leadership Development and Organization Change. He is a highly regarded authority on learning, talent, leadership development and change.