Communities of Practice?
A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who share a craft and/or a profession. The concept was first proposed by cognitive anthropologist Jean Lave and educational theorist Etienne Wenger in their 1991 book Situated Learning (Lave & Wenger 1991).
Just because there’s a community doing it doesn’t mean it’s right! Best practice sales. Cold calling. Pushing hot buttons. (Push mine and you turn me right off.) Bell curve practices. Forced ranking. Fake it till you make it. Go with the flow. Follow your heart. Give ’em what they want. Upsell always. Passive income. (There is actually no such thing as Passive Income. It is a myth. Say “Thank you” to entropy for that.) Scalable business models. Just In Time. Lean. Black Belt. Mindfulness. Go-getters. Go-givers. Up or out. Cradle to grave. Law of Attraction. Sun Tzu. Business networking. CEO Roundtable. CSR. Social Enterprise. Crowdsourcing. (There is no such thing as “The Wisdom of Crowds.” You need to sift through tons of garbage first.) Co-Working Spaces.
So, are Communities of Practice Useful?
I do not say that participating in any of what has been listed is wrong. I do say that you need to know why you’re there. Just because you “feel” that it’s right for you doesn’t mean it is, or even whether it’s “right” in the first place. Have you done your due diligence to check the community out first? If you happen to have forty years of good working experience, I’ll make an exception, IF it means you have done your due diligence “beforehand”.
Don’t just jump into communities. It feels safer, to be sure. Just know why you join, and have the boldness to jump off when you need to, even if everyone else tries to pull you back in and tie you down. The best way you can serve any community is to have the gumption to stand alone when you feel you need to, not give in to false “consensus”.
There is nothing wrong with joining Communities of Practice. Just make sure that you maintain Consciousness of Practice when you’re there as well!