Communities of Practice
FCG is a leader in organizing and maintaining interagency communities of practice (COPs) and communities of learning (COLs). These groups offer learning and benchmarking opportunities for our customers and other federal employees who may be interested.
A COP or COL is an informal group of individuals across agencies or organizations who share a common interest such as working on similar projects. Members of a COP develop relationships with each other, share information, build knowledge, develop expertise, and solve problems. Communities of practice are learning forums where members teach and learn from each other and use each other as a sounding board. A COP can speed up the learning for newcomers to a particular field—they can learn best practices from experienced peers.
The Federal Consulting Group sponsors three COLs and will soon organize a fourth:
The latest ACSI E-Gov Benchmark report, which always draws media attention, is the topic of interest at each quarterly meeting. The President of ForeSee Results, the company that developed the innovative E-Government ACSI technology, discusses the quarterly scores and answers questions. This group also has speakers on a variety of Internet topics, based on the interests of members. For example, Kevin Dames, Executive Editor of SNTReport.com, an Online Journal of Digital Collaboration, spoke on “What are the strengths and weaknesses of Google and what are the alternatives?” at one of the quarterly meetings. ACSI Results
Started in 1999, this COL offers participants the opportunity to network, share best practices, and learn about new developments that affect agency customer service standards and delivery techniques. Forum events are held quarterly and are free. These meetings are open to any federal employee with an interest in improving customer service and satisfaction.
In 2005, one forum delved into best practices for federal contact centers. Featured speakers included Wendy H. Smith, Director of the Trade Information Center at the Department of Commerce. This center was the winner of the 2003 Government Customer Support Conference’s Teamwork Excellence Award. Ms. Smith spoke on “Creating a High-Performing Teamwork Environment in a Contact Center.” Another featured speaker was Joseph McCann, Assistant Director for Insurance, VA Regional Office and Insurance Center, Philadelphia, PA. The Center was winner of the 2004 Government Customer Support Conference’s Overall Customer Support Excellence Award.
This COL offers a networking venue for senior executive coaches who serve clients in the federal government. The group, which meets quarterly and is free, shares best practices, collaborates on projects, discusses recent coaching work. It assesses the impact of coaching on clients and their organizations. The COL extends its knowledge through presentations by coaches and thought-leaders on seminal work on the frontiers of coaching. Here are examples from 2005:
- » Renowned organization development practitioners Edith Whitfield Seashore and Dr. Michael Broom presented a program on effective organizational intervention, which they developed as a model for use by Johns Hopkins Fellows in the Management of Change Program. Both Edith Whitfield Seashore and Dr. Michael Broom are psychologists and seasoned change management professionals, both have been on the faculties of Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, and American Universities, and both have written extensively in their fields.
- » This group also heard from Steve Katz, author of “Lion Taming: Working Successfully with Leaders, Bosses, and Other Tough Customers.” Katz was so popular that FCG partnered with the Federal Communicators Network to bring him back for a second workshop with an even larger audience—which was just as successful.
For more information about the Coaches COL, please contact Lee Salmon, FCG Practice Leader for Executive Coaching, at (202) 513-7672 , or by email at Lee_Salmon@nbc.gov.
Do you have a recipe for cultivating civility at work? If so, send your recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early in the Fiscal Year, the President signed into law a provision making federal agencies and non-profits eligible to apply for the Baldrige National Quality Award. FCG’s CEO is a 2005 Baldrige Award Examiner and several FCG consultants are current or previous Baldrige Examiners or experts. In the spring, for a small fee, FCG offered two well-attended half-day workshops on “Breaking into Baldrige: Using the Baldrige Award Criteria for Performance Excellence” for federal executives, supervisors, and project leaders.
Because of the interest in this subject and our own expertise, we are in the early stages of developing a Baldrige COP. If you are interested, please write to FCG@nbc.gov . Put “Baldrige” in the subject line.
Last Reviewed: October 20, 2011