Great leaders create more leaders
approach community-building as progressive acts of collaboration—doing more with others every step of the way
- Who do I want to get together?
- Why are we coming together?
You can find your team of allies by asking yourself a series of more targeted questions:
- Who do I care about?
- Who do I share an interest, identity, or place with?
- Who do I want to help?
- Who brings the energy—who are the people who already engage, contribute, or attend?
- Assuming that the community flourishes, who will you stick with?
In order to make sure that your community's purpose is ground in your people's needs, and this it expresses what you can accomplish together, consider:
- What do my people need more of?
- What's the change we desire?
- What's the problem only we can solve together?
While both exist, extreme bonding is not good.
In his book Bowling Alone, Robert D. Putnam references a bridging and bonding framework, which he attributes to Ross Gittell and Avis Vidal... communities dedicated to bridging bring different kinds of people together so that they can share assets, ideas, skills, and information.
- What dimensions are my community members bonding over unintentionally?
- How can I challenge my community to diversify?
What is something your people crave that would be better performed or experienced as a group?
you'll need to design a core activity
do your best to create an undeniably valuable shared experience
create spaces where members can freely connect on their own time
serve up your origin story
Now your job is to put a spotlight on the inspiring people in your community
Devote resources and time to regularly seeking out new narratives from members of your community and publishing them widely
Equip People with badges to show their pride
celebrate the self-expression of your members and encourage them to make their own badges
Authentic, shared ownership of the group's identity only fuels a community's fire
Who keeps showing up and why
growing a community isn't about management. It's about developing leaders.
Are potential leaders genuine and qualified?
- What are the first steps that leaders take after raising their hands to accept a leadership role?
- How are they vetted? Welcomed? Onboarded? Acknowledged?
- What are the key activities involved in their work? What support do they currently receive?
As you plan a celebration for your community, ask yourself:
- What are our badges?
- What are our rituals?
- Got any quirky terminology?