Covid burst the bubble.
Thanks to Covid many of us have been working from home this year. It's revealed our outdated ideas about work communities.
Did we really think that working under the same roof and on the same projects was enough to create a community?
To get people motivated and inspired individually and collectively you need more than similar wage bands, Slack and the occasional team building weekend.
Leaders in pubic and private sector organisations are trying to understand what motivates people and what brings them together to pursue shared goals. Meanwhile, HR is scrambling to explain and mobilise new hybrid remote and distributed work communities.
Work communities face tough competition as individuals gravitate towards communities where they can find their neighbours, interests and needs. This simplified look at community evolution is an introductory tool I use in Community Builder workshops:
Once upon a time, all of our communities were restricted to a single physical plane. Living in a village meant that your community was your family, neighbours, friends - essentially, the village.
In urban settings people have more opportunities. You can choose not to know your neighbours (Ed: this is a wonderfully Finnish thing!) and to find various communities around your interests and passions.
Today, in a hyperconnected global digital world, we have theoretically endless possibilities to find like-minded people who share our passions.
This leaves work communities facing tough competition over employees’ time, focus, creativity and passion.
New community organisms.
As people have become accustomed to new online meeting platforms the barriers to creating communities have come tumbling down. Previously you might have needed a budget and approvals for organising a meeting of like-minded people in or around your organisation.
We've learnt from the pandemic that all you need is your Zoom/Teams account and you can instantly start a meeting across time zones and across organisational silos. Passionate evangelists on any topic can grow new unforeseen communities that defy old structures and traditional organisational controls.
Managers want to understand how these new organisms work and how to encourage and celebrate them - and when to rein them in to enhance and support their positive effects without diminishing their value.
Master community building
It is an amazing time to work with organisational communities. The opportunities are boundless and you can make positive impact. Lana Jelenjev and I explore how organisations can harness the potential of new emerging communities in our book, Community Builder. We also run regular workshops and custom sessions.
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