There’s an obscure but dazzling collection of essays on community building that contains the essential reference guide for creating productive work environments.
Published in the early eighties, experts on the leading edge of organizational change, from academics to civil servants to social workers to third world philanthropists, got together and shared a variety of frameworks for building community holistically.
One of the key takeaways was the distinction between intentional and incidental. How community building, like so many things in life, isn’t necessarily an explicit goal. Rather, the spirit of community often emerges as leaders create a context for people to remember, discover and share their personal values and priorities.
It’s incidental, not intentional.
Startups understand this distinction intuitively. Unlike the corporations of the past, where the best you could hope for was a place to work with some nice people who would share in your misery, these agile and innovative companies create a workplace that embraces the weirdness people have to offer.
They give their employees the freedom to use their talents they might never exercise anywhere else. That’s the intentional goal.
And as an incidental result, community follows.
The point is, it’s one thing to encourage people to be more of what they are, but to empower them to become what they never thought they could be, that’s how you create an atmosphere worth coming to.
That’s how organizations become communities.
Not because we make them so, but because we love them.
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How are you making your community more joinable?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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