Courage, Compassion & Connection – The 3 C’s of Community

Most extraordinary community weavers that I’ve met over the years have the three C’s.

1.)     Courage.  They are courageous people that are living wholeheartedly, authentic, vulnerable and comfortable with their own imperfections.  These are individuals that understand the power of owning your personal journey or story and take on new business imperatives with great commitment and passion.  They don’t fear the unknown as much they fear the mundane and they have the courage to highlight the distinctions.  They are also individuals that know what is best for the community on a visceral level and don’t allow the major things that get in the way to destroy the need to tend, nurture and cultivate the communities.

2.)    Compassion.  Community Weavers are warm in demeanor, they have a deep understanding toward others circumstances.  For example, they are able to relate to their sufferings, failures, and feelings.  They are mindful individuals that are balanced in their approach to the their communities.  They are able to relate community members situation in a manner that doesn’t exaggerate and/or involve judgment, rather just fact.

3.)    Connection.  These individuals thrive when they are in communities and networks because they are problem solvers, they desire the knitting together of people to people, people to information or people to other entities.  It’s just in their DNA, their bones as the saying goes.  It is what motivates them to get up and move every single day.

In this sharing economy the role of the three C’s has become even more important to organizational cultures, creativity and growth.  It’s central with the big C for this stage in our human and organizational evolution.

Management Turkeys? Don’t let um get you down!

“Don’t let the Management Turkeys Get you Down” – Yes, that is right, don’t go there girlfriend.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you ever been fired from a job? 
  • Experienced a painful re-organization?

    Sandra Boyton
  • Endured incompetent leadership?
  • Frustrated your dream company had or has a toxic culture?
  • Tired that the white male dominated board of directors put people last?

Well – you are NOT alone.  Many of us have walked this road several times over.  If you are one of us trying to walk it, or even riding your bike on and off road, what I feel you need to know is that you must listen to that inner voice and share your observations, document them and stay focused on what really matters to you.    I realize this is hard to do during these difficult times, but it’s indeed the only way through the tunnel, the pass or down the street.  It doesn’t mean we cannot get off the bike, the trail or the course – what I’m trying to convey is that we do have choices that may not feel like choices financially or otherwise.  But we have a conscious opportunity to treat people with dignity and respect and behave in a manner that we all deserve to be treated.   When I’ve been fired, I found that we do need to grieve and be frustrated.  It’s normal and important to process all the feelings.  I find that it is important to scream, be irritated, punch something, complain and release it.  What have given me the most strength are my principles, my soul and my value structure.  Take this time to be the statue that represents all those things.  Live with integrity, transform the negative into redemption.  Take the moments when those feelings start, try to use this energy to nurture and focus on yourself during this lonely time where you will need to remember that it’s actually your time to shine with your principles and value structure.  For goodness sake, it’s only a job.  It’s not your identity.  Yes, I know, it is inconvenient   – but with laser focus – a positive attitude and a network for support.  This too will pass.  After all, it’s a good time to dig deep inside you for new inspiration.

Thanks to HBR for sharing the focus in their recent series on failure and a shout out to the Sandra Boyton inspired coffee cup sayings.

The Naked Community Manager

I’ve been building teams of community managers for years.  One consistent theme that is required is to ensure that we provide them with the tools, the structure, support and empowerment they need to flourish.  Much of my leadership in communities is spent ensuring that they aren’t left as, ‘naked community managers’.  I’m constantly advocating that they aren’t tethered to the phone so that their brains aren’t oatmeal, am expression that Melyssa Nelson, a colleague of mine uses in community management  to describe a treadmill of being tethered in community life to something that isn’t allowing the deeper time to think, to pause, to reflect and evolve in our community management roles. 

A few insights that I’ve gained over the years is that we need to ensure that we challenge organizational structures and cultures that limit community managers abilities to be transparent in their conversations.  Cultures that restrict community managers desire to advocate community member’s feedback, innovations and ideas.  This is a critical part of our eco-system and should be embraced as foundational in the central activities of what we do as community managers. . 

Our nature as social community managers is to translate what we hear, see and experience through the eyes of our members.  In doing this critical activity, we have a deep sense of what our sponsoring organization could do to thrive and realize a mission or business imperative.  David Brooks calls this “MindSight” our ability to download what members are seeking.   This is why I’m an advocate for empowering, training and supporting this critical part of the fiber of networks, communities or groups.  Listen to this great conversation with David Brooks around ‘The Social Animal’

We as culture and community advocates need to continue to advocate for valuing these skills within organizations.  Ensure that we leave for errors in our employees, groups, networks, communities and ourselves.  We need to continue to make room for space and flow and most importantly, we must create a culture that recognizes and values everyone.   These social artists are some of the most gifted people that I’ve met in my career and I’m honored to create an environment that provides them with warmth, support, encouragement and apparel.

Women Helping Women: Positive Conspiracies of Change

Zazzle mousepad

I had the great honor recently of facilitating a high-level discussion at Executive Networks between Dr. Marcia Reynolds, best-selling author of ‘Wander Woman: How High Achieving Women Achieve Contentment’ and senior women leaders from large corporations. The discussion turned to women’s support to each other, and the popular myth that women just don’t help other women in their careers in today’s organizations. The pervasive belief that women who make it to the top pull the ladder up after themselves and somehow act to prevent other women from getting ahead  was firmly dispelled both by Dr .Reynolds and those present..

In her interviews with 100 top women business leaders, Dr. Reynolds in fact discovered quite the opposite. In what she terms ‘Positive Conspiracies of Change’ she has seen, repeatedly, women supporting other women in projects, mentoring, networks and sponsoring, in major and minor ways. This is also our experience at Executive Networks, an organization linking men and women at the most senior levels in global billion dollar companies to exchange information and experience. On countless occasions, online and in person, reaching out individually and through our communities, junior, mid level and senior women are helping each other.  We saw this again in action between the women who joined our Executive Networks Global Diversity & Inclusion Network online meeting this month, where the topic was Succession Planning. According to Executive Networks’ D&I Executive Director Mary Farmer ‘the genuine willingness to share valuable without vested information, self-interest, is something I’ve encountered frequently in communities and networks of professional women, and is a hallmark of Executive Networks. I really don’t know where the idea comes from that corporate women try to undermine each other, this is something I’ve never experienced. Do some women not like some other women? Absolutely, just as men don’t always get along., but my own research totally corroborates Dr. Reynolds’ findings, that women can and do join forces to create positive change and facilitate gender balance in today’s high-performing companies’.

As part of their own on-going positive conspiracy of change these women joining our virtual conversations at Executive Networks frequently have not yet met each other in person, nor have they had years of opportunity to establish relationships — still they show up and share with each other what is working to make a difference in their organizations, sharing extremely valuable tacit and explicit knowledge, to collaborate, to share and to learn together in order to drive business results.  It’s true, it happens throughout the year and it’s very common – women really go out of their way to support each other.  These women will share their stories in panel discussions, during virtual knowledge share events, offer to welcome a new member to our global network in an effort to build their own positive conspiracy of change and give back.   Additionally, they enjoy checking in with each other for support around topics of common interest.   They join conversations to seek the advice of their network colleagues, just as women do everywhere.  That is the glue, the power and the real deal of support in the positive conspiracy of change. Let’s put the ‘women undermining other women’ myth to rest, once and for all.

 Mary Farmer & Michael Tirrell contributed to this post.