Knowledge Nuggets: Centers of Excellence (Adrian Speyer)

Lightbulb on a stack of magazines

Knowledge Nuggets from Adrian Speyer‘s article and presentation Centers of Excellence: The Next Big Thing for Community. What’s shared here is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of content so I encourage you to dive deeper by reading the article or watching the video.

EPIC Quote

There’s an opportunity for there to be a space – a digital home so to speak – for everything customers need to be successful – a center of excellence – but with community permeating all aspects of this – so the conversation is not to the community as much as it is with the community. It would touch all aspects: help, learning, connection, discovery, and thought leadership.

Adrian Speyer, “Centers of Excellence: The Next Big Thing for Community”

My Takeaways

  1. Communities should be the central hub for all customers to be successful along their journey – from pre-sales to learning best practices
  2. Communities should “broaden their horizons” and move past being just a support community.
    • Stop using the word “support” and use “success”
    • Focus on outcomes – what makes the customer happy (max ROI)
  3. Stop working in a silo. Think laterally and involve teams in a “Center of Excellence Advisory Board”
  4. Understand your customers by building personas.
  5. Focus on your members, finding the right people to run the community, and develop a robust plan (don’t just wing it).
  6. This takes time so don’t expect immediate results. Rather, focus on micro-successes.

My Action Items

  1. Redefine my communities as Centers of Excellence where customers find value beyond support and focus on highlighting content that will make them successful such as virtual events to connect with peers to discuss strategy and share their experiences (best practices and pitfalls).
    • Extend CoE concept to internal teams – product, engineers and developers. Hearing product feedback will help make the product better, improving customer experience and building trust in the company.
  2. Reach out to other teams – especially those in the field – to better understand what is keeping their customers from being successful (e.g. knowledge gaps) and develop community opportunities for them to connect and learn from others.
  3. Empower customers by partnering with them to develop customer-led/focused community programs so that they can share their success stories with others.

Thought follower…and proud of it!

Everyone wants to be a thought leader. But what’s the point of leading if no one is following?

There are so many influential and brilliant community managers creating amazing content – books, articles, webinars, videos – that I’d like to start highlighting them as a thought follower. Author Todd Henry said in his article Forget Thought Leaders – We Need more “Thought Followers”

[Thought Followers]…are people who immerse themselves in the brilliant, challenging thoughts of others, commune with great minds, and then follow their own thoughts wherever they might lead. They have a disciplined Study Plan that challenges them to think about important problems and allows them to stretch their thoughts and explore uncomfortable places.

They aren’t afraid to humbly submit to the great insights of others and consider their implications to their own work. They are fiercely curious. They love process. They set aside time to savor great writing. They understand that brilliant ideas are excavated and assembled, not self-generated.

And this is what I plan to do starting in 2022 whether it’s listening to a podcast, reading a book or article, or watching a webinar or conference session. I’ll summarize each with my top 3 takeaways followed by my action items. I hope to follow my summary posts with my results as well!

So here’s to the Thought Followers! Let’s begin…