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Communities of Practice

What are Communities of Practice?

Communities of Practice (COP) are clusters of relationships formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor. In the context of capacity development, robust communities of practice are highly valued because they build the “knowledge base” in fields where there is little access to expertise or to professional development opportunities. 

What do they do?

COP share a common interest and a commitment to the topic of shared interest; they engage in joint learning activities (many are informal), they build relationships that enable them to learn from one another, and they strive to improve on what they do—all of which serves the individuals as well as the organizations within which they operate.

How are Communities of Practice relevant to the Caribbean Leadership Project (CLP)?

COP will form a nucleus of professionals for the region’s public sector leadership development.  Their members may deliver and support the CLP’s Leadership Development Programme (LDP) itself or carry out research in leadership issues and collaborate in other initiatives related to leadership excellence in the region.

What kind of Communities of Practice will the CLP support?

The Caribbean has a significant number of experts in the field of public sector finance, public administration, economics, management, regionalization, gender and various other technical topics relevant to public service leaders. For optimal leadership development, the work of such technical experts must be complemented by “process” experts whose forte lies in areas related to the design, facilitation and evaluation of complex, multi-module programmes as well as executive coaching. Through its Communities of Practice (COP) Pillar, CLP will contribute to the growth and development of a cadre of such “process experts”. To this end, the CLP has conducted several workshops geared towards reaching these objectives. These include:

  • Adult Learning in the Public Sector Workplace
  • Leadership Development Theory and Design
  • Action Learning
  • Facilitation Skills for Experiential Learning

Who is eligible to join these COP?

Potential members of the CLP’s COP include ‘content’ specialists in the field of public sector finance, public administration, economics, management, regionalisation, gender, and other relatively technical and content-focused topics relevant to public service leaders and leadership development.  They also include ‘process’ specialists in the design, facilitation and evaluation of complex, multi-module programmes and experts in the personal and interpersonal aspects of leadership, such as personal awareness, stress management, communication, working with diversity in teams, employee and stakeholder engagement and coaching. Government employees working in government training units are another group of potential members since they have an important role to play in leadership and professional development, in the national public sectors.

How will the CLP provide this support to the CoP?

The CLP will focus the majority of its attention on the development of specialists in leadership programme design and delivery by offering introductory workshops in general design and programming for adult education/professional development, introductory and advanced leadership programme design, and leadership development facilitation.   The CLP will also:

  • Work with the CLP coaches to facilitate the development of a community of practice for collaborative learning on issues related to coaching in the LDP;
  • Twin local leadership development experts in a mentoring relationship with local and international resource persons;
  • Support some “on-the-job” learning opportunities to increase the capacity of leadership development specialists;
  • Deliver tailored in-depth workshops to deepen their skills and conceptual knowledge;
  • Establish an interactive on-line platform for on-going learning and development;
  • Establish a discussion group for on-going learning and development; and
  • Provide a leadership development specialist to moderate each community and keep exchanges going, and set up systems for categorizing information exchanged

How will the CLP CoPs benefit the region?

The CLP COPs will help to meet the demand for leadership development resources in the Region. In addition to increasing the number of qualified specialists in the Region, the activities of the COP will also increase the capacity of non-specialists in training divisions to be more effective in their purchasing decisions when they commission and/or procure leadership development programmes or other professional development opportunities.