Volume 143, June 2015: Community Building

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, 2015 ISSN # 1545-8873

“I want to work for a company that contributes to and is part of the community. I want something not just to invest in. I want something to believe in.” – Anita Roddick, CEO, The Body Shop

An organization is a collection of people in common pursuit. Increasingly, people come to work in search of more than a job; they crave meaning and a sense of belonging to something important. Peter Block says that organizations are the new cathedrals.

Building community is about weaving relationships, nurturing growth, and caring. To engage your community, polish your skills in facilitating groups, listening, and communicating. Celebrate. Foster the exchange of resources among the citizens, there for a common purpose. You create the context and set the tempo, they fill in the music.

First, note that we are all “joiners.” Belonging to the inner group of any organization results in a sense of purpose, usefulness, and appreciation. Respect that everyone has a place and help people to find that place.

Invite “belonging” from the beginning. Use processes of hiring, orientation, and coaching, all oriented to the purpose and values of the organization. There is no manual on culture, but new initiates can clearly see what behaviors are expected. Use ritual in their induction. Reinforce their place in the community, and portray to others how their job role contributes to the whole. This shows everyone in the community that there are no unimportant players.

What if you began by defining the WE (not ME) as the entire community, in which all of us win or none of us? Use tools such as shared vision, planning together, open meetings and dialogue, shared rewards and recognition, plentiful information, working in fluid partnerships – with freedom to combine, reconfigure, and disband as it makes sense. And keep score as One. Community = Unity.

Practice Point

Try this exercise I have used to weave a culture together. Divide the organization into generations and invite them to share stories about their era within their group. Then have each generation group select its favorite story to share with the large group.


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