Sunday, February 26, 2012

Importance of Behind The Scenes Work

Wenger writes- It’s easy to think as a leader that your responsibility is the ‘front-page’ stuff-the content, the conversations, the things that are visible. But in fact it’s the back-stage work-keeping in touch, calling people, knowing people-that is so important to building a successful community. Back-stage work leads to front-page results.

This week I began round two of cycle two for my Action Research project. I sent twenty four e-mails to community members informing them that their vide interview had been selected to be featured in the community on the video carousel.  I got seven replies back thanking me for the e-mail and that they were happy their video had been selected. Most of the replies expressed hope that others would learn from their experience.

Reflecting on sending these e-mails and the resulting interactions, I realize I was doing what Wenger calls “back-stage work . The interaction from the e-mails is helping build community. I am letting these members know their contributions are important . Even if these video receive a low selection rate during the cycle rate, I have helped build the community through interaction with these community members. This makes the community and the profession better. More to follow…….


  1. As a teacher, I'd say Behind the scenes work is preparing lessons and designing learning experiences. The front stage work is executing these lessons/experiences. I can tell you when I've had horrible days in the classroom that is when my back stage work was lacking. Sometimes back stage work doesn't feel important but building community, doing prep-work--all for preparing the stage is extremely important as you pointed out!

  2. Yes and more behind the scenes work is what it takes... (dramaturgical metaphor) In our last learning circle, we talked about the community as a plant -- so this would mean that you have to do underground nourishment (rather than trying to pull on the stem) to make the plant/community taller/stronger.