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Community of Interest

When a team is commissioned it is often made up of a group of representatives from different parts of the organization. Each person may be a subject matter expert who understands the processes and activities within a department or a different part of a cross-functional process. This is not very unusual. In fact, this is the most frequent form of team composition. This is becaus it is usually impractical to include every person who will be involved in the operation of process or a significant implementation, in the day to day meeting and work of a high performance team.

Conventional wisdom is that teams over 20 people, some think over 15, become too unwieldy and lose the active participation of all team members. At the same time, a major change management principle embraces the notion that people will more readily accept and support a change in the way they work if they are included in the development of the solution. This presents a major dilemma for teams: How can the team be kept small enough to effectively work together and at the same time involve everyone? This is not a trivial matter in large organizations that may have several hundred people actively supporting a work stream or process. Extend the group to customers of the process and we wind up with a very large group of people who's collective buy-in is needed to assure successful change. This larger, extended team could be thought of as a community of interest.

Special efforts have to be used to involve the community of interest in the understanding of the initial team's charter and the collection of information the team needs to understand the existing operating model. Input and ideas need to be sought from the larger community of interest as the solution set is developed. Then, the community of interest needs to develop a shared understanding of the solution or high level plan and participate actively in the development and implementation of final, detailed plan. Successful teams organize, develop, and implement a communication plan to gain the participation, support, and finally the commitment of the community of interest.

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