Cultivating Communities And Building Connections: Part 2

The second in our series where we reflect on community building with key members of our global team.

Bringing people together and facilitating dynamic engagement takes time and expertise. For the second part in this series, we spoke to expert Community Strategy Consultant, Jono Bacon about his role in bringing the vision for a TEC community to life.

Community has been an important word for The Executive Centre of late. Bringing our members together to share resources, learn from each other and connect through common experience is an important step forward for both TEC and our membership. On April 17 we will be sharing some exciting new functionalities on our App, a brand new online forum for members, as well as an ongoing suite of offline events designed to leverage the power of our global network. Ahead of this, we asked some of the key members of our Global Community Team to share their thoughts on the importance of communities, what it takes to bring people together and the value of shared connections and experience. In the second and final part of this series, we spoke with Community Strategy Consultant, Jono Bacon about his experience cultivating communities and his role in building a TEC member experience.

Jono Bacon – Community Strategy Consultant

How would you define ‘community’ and why do you think it’s such an important concept?

Fundamentally, communities are groups of people who get together to share an interest or take part in the same goal. As humans we are social creatures; collaborating with other people brings additional meaning to our work and often nets better results. When we build engaging communities, it brings the insight and experience of the wider group into a collaborative environment, and this generates a significant amount of value. There is a lot of value and opportunity in communities, and this is why I work with organisations to help them build their own.

What would you say are the fundamental benefits of belonging to a community?

There are numerous benefits for participants in a community.

Firstly, they often add immediate tangible value such as access to knowledge, education and a network of people who can provide guidance, mentoring and connections to support your goals. For business professionals, this can be invaluable. I have seen countless occasions of communities delivering skills, awareness and knowledge that has delivered huge value to either a business or individual career.

Communities often generate content and material such as guides, events, technology, services and more which can be useful in expanding the world view of how you run your business and career. In short, the community produces additive value the more it grows.

How do you even begin to develop a community?

Building communities is complex work. When I work with clients, my first step is to really understand their core goals and what they want to achieve. I then break this down into a set of key annual goals that ensures that the different teams involved are working toward the same core objectives. I then break this work down into tactical pieces such as setting up forums, putting incentives plans in place, creating content calendars and staff training.

This gets us to a position where we have the infrastructure and internal experience to launch a community. The next step is to measure engagement and adapt our strategy based on what we see. Communities are organic and at times unpredictable, so we need to grow and cultivate them based on the specific activity we are seeing. This results in natural, organic growth and comprehensive skills in the business.

Can you tell us a little about the kind of work that you did with TEC to establish the groundwork for the current and upcoming community program?

When I started my engagement with TEC I first wanted to understand their goals. Part of this involved setting expectations around what communities can and can’t deliver, and what would be involved in TEC delivering this vision.

We then went into the strategic planning phase. This involved defining the value proposition, identifying and deploying infrastructure, producing internal standards of practice, recruiting and training, developing mobile apps, producing content plans and building up to a comprehensive launch.

We then invited a number of members to join our community in a closed beta and started optimising based on their feedback and activity. As usual, this was hugely insightful – we got to taste first-hand what our members will need. This is when we started tuning the machine in the build-up to launch.

In the most recent months we have continued this process of optimisation and as we launch, we will be continuing to make daily adjustments to our planning and team to ensure we are always able to offer maximum value to members. Importantly, we are eager for our community to play an active role in this work – together we can build THE world-class community for business professionals in APAC.

Speaking specifically about TEC, why do you think a focus on community is necessary or important? What do you think it will offer our members?

I am incredibly excited about the TEC community. Across the many centres and businesses who are members of TEC, there is an enormous amount of experience, expertise, and knowledge. I believe TEC can be the premier place to tap into business insight in the APAC region and beyond. Without a community, TEC offers a valuable service to members, but with a community, the TEC membership itself become a hugely valuable part of the overall member experience.

TEC has a talented staff and a leadership team that is passionate about the success of this work and I am confident this will be a tremendous success.