On a recent trip to Hawaii I became part of a new, diverse community; one that bonded over a shared interest and experience – the Molokai Hula Bliss and Huaka’i 2018.
It got me thinking…What makes a community? Why is community important? How can business benefit from community-based protocol?
What makes a community?
A community is built on relationships and can naturally form from one or many of the following ways:
- Shared location – a city, a neighbourhood, a country e.g. I was born in Adelaide
- Shared attribute – “I am _____” e.g. I am female or I am vegetarian
- Shared lineage – birth, marriage or choice e.g. I am Australian, Scottish and German
- Shared interest or passion -“I like _____” e.g. I like dancing or I like travelling
- Shared action or practice – “”I do ______” e.g. I participate in social change conversations or I practice Change Management
But what makes a community?
In my experience, it’s commitment; and the level of commitment to sharing and to one another is what determines the strength and impact of that community.
In Hawaii, we made a commitment to not only learn but experience the traditional Hawaiian teachings and Aloha way of life and, in turn, we learnt about ourselves and each other.
Why is community important?
A community provides an opportunity for people to connect and belong. It’s also the mechanism for creating social norms. A community of action or practice, with a high level of commitment, even has the ability to develop self-managing and sustainable systems that enable us to keep working together towards a collective vision or goal.
In Hawaii, I connected with people from around Australia and the world. We developed a sense of belonging through a shared experience “We’ll always have Molokai!”.
At the beginning, we were given a set of simple rules – e.g. be on time. Throughout our experience, however, a set of social norms also started to develop, sourced from our own personal culture and from the teachings we were rediscovering. What I came to know, through this (and past) experience, was the importance of the following principles:
- Invitation and Consent – from inviting someone into our personal head or heart space to inviting someone onto the land, our home or office. Upon entering, the act of checking in and asking for agreement; which in Hawaii could mean a specific chant or hymn. And upon leaving, giving thanks. Always showing respect for ourselves, one another and our surroundings.
- Responsibility and Trust – taking ownership of our own contribution, actions, reactions and responses. It’s about creating a safe and secure environment, being reliable, keeping each other accountable and considering the needs of the group; knowing when it’s time to fill up our own cup so that it’s over flowing and we are able to contribute for the benefit of others.
- Nature and Nurture – understanding the nature within us and the nature that surrounds us. Demonstrating care and compassion to what is and how this can grow or be destroyed – dependent upon our thoughts and actions and our ability to balance the needs of the people and the sustainability of natural resources.
As a group, we operated by a roster system that outlined what needed to be done, when and by who. The lesson here was to let go of control, remain flexible and trust the natural order of things to emerge and evolve. Inevitably circumstances and challenges present themselves that forces a change, and when you are in it together, committed, and following these three principles, emergence takes place and transformation occurs.
How can business benefit from community-based protocol?
A community has the power to
- Cultivate respect and team effectiveness
- Encourage contribution and participation, without force or control
- Inspire ideas and innovation, without self-orientation
- Support one another through challenging times and share the success
In business, we can benefit from community-based protocol. We are a community, after all! And it’s the elements of a community that I consider when applying the Triple S Planning© model:
- Strategy – a focus point established by a shared or collective purpose, vision or goal
- Synergy – the level of cohesive interaction created from social norms, values and principles
- Systems – flexible and new ways of working developed by one another with one another
The essential catalyst being commitment – to the collective and for the greater good.
Close your eyes and imagine a community you know. What is the commonality? Is it a good feeling with a sense of safety and strength? Or does it give you a cold sense of uncertainty? What are the guiding principles? How do you work together? What is the level of commitment?
Consider these elements and go forth to strengthen your community or your tribe – it’s what we were born to do….
Courtney ‘Co-Creator’ Wilson
m: +61 (0)417 107 888| e: firstname.lastname@example.org