It’s far, far, better to guide executives to decide the goals of the community for themselves rather than tell them.
This is an exercise we sometimes run with clients which has proven extremely effective.
You begin on Mural (or any tool you like) with a simple chart that looks like this.
Step One – Identify Possible Community Goals
The first step is to list all the possible community goals by importance on the vertical axis. Don’t allow any goals to have equal weight (that allows people to fudge difficult decisions). This means you often need senior people in the room to make final decisions.
Some goals might be close in relative value to one another, but there should be a clear hierarchy in place. This is a recent example:
You can keep this fairly broad to begin with just to surface every possible goal.
Step Two – Convert Goals Into Specific Behaviors
Every possible goal of the community should now be listed by order of importance. The next step is to convert these goals into specific member behaviors.
This is what makes it real.
In our workshops, participants typically begin with goals such as:
- Improve the customer experience.
- Reduce customer effort score.
- Improve NPS
- Reduce support costs.
- Generate leads!
- Change perception of our brand!
But what does that mean in terms of actual member behaviors in the community? What will members actually be doing? Try to get as specific as possible at this stage to tease out the precise behaviors you need (guide the process if you like, but it’s good to let your audience come to their own conclusions).
Everyone should now have a pretty good idea about how the community might achieve each goal. The next step is to discuss feasibility.
Step Three – Rank By Feasibility
Now you need to adjust these goals by how feasible they are. Feasibility is usually a combination of three things:
1) Are the behaviors something members want to do/require a lot of effort?
2) Do members perform those behaviors today (or show a strong desire to perform those behaviors)?
3) Is there strong competition for members to perform those behaviors?
For each of the behaviors you can ask these questions to come to some agreement. Your own expertise probably plays a bigger role here than anywhere else.
By the end you might have a chart that looks like this:
If you’ve got the right people in the room, you should now be able to determine the goals of your community. In the example above, you might begin with support, then increasing utilisation, and then gathering feedback.
This might also help you avoid the common pitfalls (especially creating a community around a behavior members don’t currently perform (or offers no value to the organisation).