Community Steering Committees, this name sounds too formal sometimes, yet other times it can be a fitting term for a group of wild mustangs, oops, I mean individuals that are committed to a community’s purpose.
No, in all seriousness, I was walking this morning and thinking about the calm nature, yet focus of these animals grazing on the grasses near the creek in Northern Nevada and it occurred to me they are a great deal similar to the steering committees that are busy across the world focused on their sustenance, their existence and their future.
At one client environment, we have spent a lot of time hand picking individuals based on a perceived level of engagement and/or their being vocal about where they want to see the community evolve, twist and turn. I’ve been hanging around the water holes long enough to know that these can be a great source of inspiration and heavy lifting for the community during the identification and cultivation stages. These are often your nay sayers, your champions and if you are lucky, you can even convert a lurker into a participant. It takes much focus and willpower, but taking the time, whether it’s through the use of social network analysis tools or through conversations, but uncovering invitees to join this as you forge ahead in your community is critical. Equally important is to be thinking about risk management, succession and new demographics. Personally, I find the most impressive steering committees are those that have contention and diversity in their makeup.
Good luck in “steering” your committee or NOT! I would just propose you consider setting up a core team of members that are a critical part of the community ecosystem.