Drawing on experience leading community-building exercises with everyone from doctors to techies, and health gurus to real estate entrepreneurs, here are her five top tips for cultivating good organizational habits:
1. Get early buy-in from lots of people.
Before deciding that, for example, a volunteer speed matching event would be good to organize in your community, first talk to people beyond your Team. What influential people do you know in your social sphere? Who could help or give advice? You could also try more formal methods such as focus groups, polls, etc. to learn more.
“Being a leader means assessing a community’s needs, and sometimes, to do that well, you need to let go of your assumptions of what that is,” Rebecca says.
2. Share responsibility.
Just because you’re reaching out within your Team doesn’t mean you have to take on all the work. Divvying up tasks not only takes the burden off you, but gives others some ownership, too. The more people involved in a decision-making process on all levels, the better.
“The goal really is to make sure everyone has the tools to participate in their own way,” she says.
Google Docs, for example, are a good way to pool information and collect data so that everyone's activities are transparent to each other. This will encourage people to report to a collective, not one Team leader.
3. Be practical about what you’re trying to achieve.
Define your Team goals from the start. But be mindful about setting goals that are too big to accomplish right now, given constraints like time, money, etc. It often makes sense to think small at first.
“I'm a big fan of momentum-building. Everyone feels good about a success, even a small one. Biting off just enough to chew—even if it's a few hairs short of your full objective—is often exactly what you need to attract new volunteers and get things going,” she says.
4. Be self-aware.
“If you want to take on the responsibility of being a resource for the community, you have to be able to identify what your own personal perspective brings to the discussion,” Rebecca says.
We all have passions which motivate our work and life choices. The trick is to harness those passions. Allow them to be building blocks, along with others' passions, and deliver something for the greater good.
5. Seek out strategic partners.
Identify who in your community who is working on something similar or could be a strategic partner for your Team. Reaching out to them, especially early on, could provide you with all sorts of resources.
"The truth is, you'll find them in places you might not think," Rebecca says. “The more people you engage in what you are doing, the more people will be invested in what you’re trying to achieve. And when others get excited, it's empowering to the Team."
Connectors, do you have any tips about Team organization that you'd add to this list?
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