Starting from Scratch – Community
Over the last two months, I have watched the news with deep sadness as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has unfolded. The terrible devastation and bombardment of buildings and people have filled me with a huge sense of injustice and anger as I’ve watched people flee their homes trying to find safety. And yet, in the midst of these atrocities, I also saw true leadership and a deep sense of community.
For anyone watching the passionate speeches of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, you cannot fail to be impressed. The former comedian and Paddington Bear voiceover artist formed a political party based on the name of the show on which he played the president of the Ukraine, and he became president in May 2019 on the ticket of anti-corruption. As a political outsider and novice, he surprised everyone to win the election with 73% of the vote. His popularity was largely due to the fact that his political party, which had been formed from scratch, has a clear message of tackling corruption, and that appealed to the people. Volodymyr Zelenskyy knew that he needed the people with him. He knew that when Russia invaded, too, and his speeches call his people to join him, to be a community and to stand together.
This month we are examining how to start something from scratch, and building community around you is the third of the four corner stones of starting something from scratch.
· Create Community
A message that connects Community
Seth Godin, in his book Tribes, talks about how we as leaders need to have a clear message that people want to buy into; a message that a tribe of people will identify with. So, when you are looking to start something from scratch, the third crucial step is forming a tribe, encouraging others to connect with your message, with you as the leader and with one another, all around the common purpose or message. So, when you start, consider the following questions:
· What is the community you want to connect to?
· What are they passionate about?
· What is your message? How does it connect the common purpose?
This month in the Leadership Lounge podcast, we interviewed Richard Dedicoat, the headteacher of Grace Cook Primary School, a brand new school starting in Stowmarket. When we asked him about his message to his community, he explained it was based on the foundation of Grace Cook, a female scientist. His message was that the school was going to be a place where children could be curious, discover and become engaged in the excitement of learning. For local families, who want their children to grow up being curious and gaining the excitement of discovery and growth, this is the place they will want to be.
Community that can communicate with the leader
In the book Tribes, Seth Godin explains that the key elements of creating community are a) a message that connects, b) access to the leader and c) access to one another. When we start something from scratch, having access to the leader is crucial. This enables the community to dialogue and explore the message of the tribe. So, when you start from scratch, it is crucial to be out and about. Richard has visited new homes and chatted to parents and children. Ask yourself the following questions:
· How can you make yourself accessible?
· Where can you meet your potential tribe?
· How can you create a community outside of physical spaces? How can you use online space to enable people to connect with you?
Community that can communicate with one another
Have you ever been in a room where there is a buzz? Quite often it is because everyone is there for the same purpose. Creating opportunities for members of the community to connect with one another allows them to discuss the collective purpose together. It can create a buzz and energy as people generate ideas with each other. Bringing the team together at the start of the project enables them to build relationships, understand one another and see how they can work together to bring their jigsaw piece to the puzzle. Bringing members of the community together and sharing the vision for what you are doing enables them to buy into it and when they hear others joining in to the vision, there is a sense that a crowd creates a crowd – this is the place to be and the thing to be involved in.
Involve the elders
A crucial part of the community, if you really want your project or organisation to blossom in the long term, is to ensure that you have governors and elders involved who will hold you as leader to account. An elder, like the tribal village elder, is someone who has wisdom and experience and can help mentor you. Avoid the narcissistic error of surrounding yourself with yes people. This may fuel your ego but it is detrimental to your organisation. The whole point of building something from scratch is to ensure that it remains standing for the long term. Having critical friends in your community who will ask you the tough questions to make the organisation or project stronger is crucial for its long-term success. Who are your tribal elders? Have you asked them about your project?
If you would like to hear more about Richard Dedicoat, the headteacher of Grace Cook Primary school, who has been living our ‘Start from Scratch’ theme for months, do tune into the Leadership Lounge Podcast on 15th April to learn how he has managed it!
Can we help you?
Do you want to get something off the ground and need a sounding board to help shape it? Could we help you through coaching to discover your why, how and what? Everyday Leader’s team of coaches can help you understand what is going on in your head and how you can manage your emotions and other people in those moments. Give us a call on 01449 710438 if you would like us to help you explore this and empower you and your team.
Everyday Leader is here to empower, inspire and equip you to do that. If we can help you find a way forward, through coaching, training or consultancy, do let us know. Contact us now: email@example.com