Table of Contents, Communication Secrets Resources Page Previous Section, Communication Secrets Next Section, Communication Secrets

Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

Building a Web-Based E-community

A web site devoted to leadership topics can be an invaluable resource for refreshing or extending the leadership message. The site can serve not only as a communications center but also as a place for posting leadership resources related to development and evaluation.

The secret to building the successful e-community is to give people a reason to visit. This means keeping the information lively and pertinent. It also means giving people a reason to return again and again. This requires keeping the content fresh and up to date. The center of the e-community is the web site.

Leaders also need to keep in mind that in an e-community, transparency (openness) rules. As Rosabeth Moss Kanter puts it, the days of "mushroom management . . . keep[ing] employees in the dark, cover[ing] them with manure, and when they ripen, can[ning] them" are over.[3] In an e-community, information is everywhere and is freely shared. Such a community diminishes the opportunity for bosses to lord it over underlings because they have knowledge that no one else has. When people know the bigger picture, as happens in a transparent culture, they can make better-informed decisions for the organization and for themselves.

A note about access: You may decide to restrict access to members of the team or employees of the organization. You can also have levels of access, with everyone able to see the home page, but sections of the site being restricted. In this way, you can set up virtual workrooms where team members can collaborate. In this virtual space, members can share documents, edit them, and post new findings, with the information restricted to members only. Many corporate universities are doing this for their participants, enabling "students" to collaborate in virtual time and space.

[3]Kanter, E-Volve! pp. 27-29.


Table of Contents, Communication Secrets Resources Page Previous Section, Communication Secrets Next Section, Communication Secrets