Develop Leadership

Sustain a CoP

Identify Leaders
The resource How to Identify Leaders in Your CoP reviews a list of community leadership responsibilities related to facilitation, knowledge management, and other areas. These responsibilities can be translated into specific roles or positions core members may want to assume in the community. In addition to the Community Leader and Community Sponsor, there are six specific roles that your community may want to fill. In the early phases of a CoP’s formation, one member commonly holds several roles. As the community grows and engages in many activities, each role can be held by multiple CoP members. Common attributes of the people who best fit into these roles include:

  • Knowledge Manager: Organizes a community’s knowledge—Sometimes known as Librarians, Knowledge Managers are detail-oriented, well organized, enjoy structuring content from disparate sources, and understand the technology resources employed by the community. The person(s) in this role will work closely with Technical Specialists.
  • Facilitator: Handles the event management of the community—The Facilitator manages meetings by ensuring that meeting agendas are followed, conversations stay on domain-related topics, and each member’s voice is heard. For additional information and tips regarding facilitation, please refer to the “Facilitation Tip Sheet”, located in the Resources section.
  • People Connector: Assists community interaction—Also known as the community greeter, the People Connector assists new members in connecting with current members and works to ensure new members feel comfortable expressing concerns and voicing suggestions.
  • Subject Matter Expert: Drives innovation as domain thought leader—Known as an expert in the domain area and is generally experienced in the field, the Subject Matter Expert frequently publishes papers, speaks at conferences, and may teach related courses. For additional information, please refer to the “SME Tip Sheet”, located in the Resources section.
  • Technical Specialist: Manages the technology requirements and corresponding community tool —The Technical Specialist understands the technology used by the community, assists in managing tools, training users as needed, and ensures the community adheres to the rules. For additional information, please refer to the “Technical Management Tip Sheet”. Both resources are located in the Resources section.
  • Communication Specialist: Manages the internal and external communication—The Communication Specialist is skilled in written and oral communications, pays close attention to detail, and is creative and consistent.

Determine Leadership Protocols
As your community continues to coalesce, leaders and active core members will need to determine both the length of time members will serve in formal roles and the process for alternating roles. Once determined, the roles and responsibilities procedure should be formalized and added to the charter.

The table below depicts appropriations by fiscal year starting in 1986 to present day. Effective fiscal year 2014, funding is being provided through the Prevention and Public Health Fund under the Affordable Care Act provisions.
Related Resource Description Audience
Facilitation Tip Sheet[DOC – 202KB]


Advanced Facilitation Guide[DOC – 236KB]

The facilitator is responsible for managing meetings, keeping conversations on track, and ensuring each member’s voice is heard. These resources provide suggestions for accomplishing these tasks. Leaders and members serving as CoP Facilitators
SME Tip Sheet[DOC – 157KB] As a Subject Matter Expert for your community, your responsibilities include inviting experts to speak to your CoP, bringing in new ideas, identifying topics for meeting agendas, and maintaining the CoP focus. This tip sheet gives ideas for how to get all of this done. Leaders and members who are CoP Subject Matter Experts
Technical Management Tip Sheet[DOC – 141KB]


Technology Tool Comparison[ XLS – 81KB]

You’re technically savvy, but for your CoP you also need to help identify the right tools for your group, define account permissions and roles, and help develop collaboration rules to ensure everyone acts respectfully. These resources provide ideas on selecting and managing technology within your CoP. Leaders and members serving as CoP Technical Managers