Communities of Practice and Rafts and Such

Recently I was enjoying some correspondence with a colleague, discussing the value of a Community of Practice.  I observed that in an organization undergoing change, it is a daunting task for business improvement Practioners to facilitate and/or lead change when they are on the same precipice.  Her tort was that the value of a Community of Practice is the element of togetherness.  Practioners that undergo similar experiences and challenges and share what they learn with their fellow Practioners can make things easier for everyone.

That line of, in the same boat, thinking brought to my mind an image that I was first exposed to one month previous.  It was a massive 16 feet by 24 feet canvas in the Louvre Museum in Paris entitled “The Raft of the Medusa” by Theodore Gericault.
"The Raft of the Medusa"

The painting shows a raft of ship wreak survivors in a swelling sea, not unlike the turbulent economic times we are currently encountering and that many organizations are facing.  The work miraculously captures disaster and triumph in the same image and literally made me sit down and take notice of it, and this from an art neophyte.

The point here is that I found “The Raft of the Medusa” a wonderful visualization of the essence of community.   If you are going to have to travel on some rough seas and bleak conditions, it would be better if you had some other likeminded individuals in the same boat as you.  And eventually, through teamwork, and maybe even some collective suffering, you will overcome and have a spat of rejoicing as well.  Yeah!

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