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Table of Contents

Section I: What Is a Community of Practice?
Section II: How Do Communities Add Value?
Section III: Establishing Effective Governance
Section IV: Getting Started with Communities
Section V: Building a Community: What Comes First?
Section VI: Stoking the Fire: Creating Success through Effective Facilitation
Section VII: Driving Adoption
Section VIII: Measuring Value
Section IX: Final Advice for Organizational Leaders
Appendix A: Checklist for Starting a Community
Appendix B: Sample Community Charter
Appendix C: Sample Community Metrics




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Everything You Need to Know about Communities of Practice

by Mike Hower, Michael Prevou, and Mitchell Levy

Foreword by Dr. Nancy Dixon

The phrase communities of practice is relatively new; the concept and its utility is not. Simply put, a community of practice is a learning community. When people realize that they can benefit from sharing their knowledge, experience and insights with like-minded and similarly-motivated people, the seed for a community of practice gets planted. E-learning communities, continuing education groups, cooperative education groups and apprenticeship programs are all, in some form or fashion, communities of practice.

In a few rare instances, a community of practice will build and nurture itself, with little apparent or active management. Much more common is the case whereby a community of practice needs conscious and thoughtful input to be conceived, nurtured and brought to flourish. When a community of practice is implemented correctly, it becomes a powerful and enabling tool for improving productivity, encouraging professional development and creating a culture of continuous learning in an organization.

Expert knowledge disseminators and learning facilitators, two communities experts–Mike Hower and Michael Prevou–work with corporate learning expert Mitchell Levy to show you, in their very actionable new book, how to get a community of practice initiative off the ground and drive adoption in your organization. In their last several years of work in this pathbreaking area, both authors have repeatedly been asked how to get a community defined, how to measure its value and how to keep a valuable community successful. Their book is a direct result of such questioning; indeed the authors demonstrate how communities of practice are the killer app of knowledge management. This is a practical and implementable volume that provides vital tips for knowledge leaders, managers and facilitators who support these communities in such a way that they make a positive contribution to creating and sharing organizational knowledge–a contribution that engages people and leads to a competitive advantage in today’s business environment.

#SUCCESSFUL CORPORATE LEARNING tweet Book07 is part of the THiNKaha series whose slim and handy books contain 140 well-thought-out quotes (tweets/ahas).


Read about the AHAthat


About the Authors


Mike Hower<br/Mike Hower


Mike Hower is Chief Learning Officer at Strategic Knowledge Solutions, Inc., a Service-disabled, veteran-owned small business that specializes in knowledge management, expertise development and organizational learning. A 20-year Air Force veteran, Mike spent his last five years on the faculty of the Air University as a leadership development coach and the Director of the Air Force Forums Research Project, developing best practices for social learning and professional networking through communities of practice.

Michael Prevou
Michael Prevou


Michael Prevou is President and Co-Founder of Strategic Knowledge Solutions. Michael started one of the first communities of practice in the U.S. Army and led the effort to build a nested network of communities within it. Today that network consists of over 60 communities and 240,000 participants. Michael has worked with the private, public, and non-profit sectors to build communities and improve learning outcomes.

Mitchell Levy
Mitchell Levy


Mitchell Levy (@HappyAbout), thought leader and publisher of THiNKaha®, has successfully founded over fifteen firms and partnerships, is the author of eighteen business books, and is a well-known business consultant, strategist, and educator. Mr. Levy is a frequent media guest and a popular speaker, lecturing on business and management issues throughout the United States and around the world. Mr. Levy has provided strategic consulting to over 100 companies and has advised over 500 CEOs on critical business issues. Today, Mr. Levy’s principal focus is turning corporate experts into recognized thought leaders in their spaces so that their clients come to them.