Wether it’s a Business Chamber, Sports Association, Tree Hugging Society or Faith Group, there is an art to creating a sustainable community.
In September 2019, I was asked to be the CEO of a business chamber that has been in existence since 1968.
With a strong history of business and political punch, the Chamber had lost its zest. If it wasn’t for a handful of sponsors that really had no need for the chamber, the doors would be closed.
Even at $100 annual membership, there was no value.
What do you do to add value?
With the blessing of the president, I implemented 3 easy steps.
Step 1. Have a core vision that’s less than one sentence.
I personally believed in the fundamental vision of the founding members and set out to restore that vision. The basic vision is ‘Build the membership, Build the members’ everything else in the 36 page constitution is completely irrelevant if the vision isn’t set in stone.
Too many organisations begin to die when they get all litigious. Individuals, board members and onlookers focus on the rest of the constitution without walking the walk and talking the talk of the core vision.
Within three months, I could sign up people in 5 minutes for $100 and more. New members bought into the restored vision of the founding members. We now have members constantly recommending others to join, going from 225 members in September 2019 to 300 in December 2019.
Step 2. Build a team from those within your reach and empower them
Too often, organisations struggle because they seek the perfect players or participants. It’s the most patronising experience for those that are already giving. Pick those that have great attitudes and are right in front of us.
I pick people that have some capacity, but more so, they have heart and want to learn.
If they’re within arms reach, I’ll ask them to be a part of the team and train them.
I train them, I don’t micromanage them.
I’ve had the privilege and incredible opportunities given to me by three individuals over the last thirty plus years. Three leaders that gave me the vision and let me be to fulfil that vision. They simply guided me from time to time to stay on course.
All three leaders got far more in return than the investment they put in me, I was their fruit.
If you believe in what you do and you exemplify it in your day to day life; those you train will catch what you have.
Step 3. Don’t get sidetracked by the so called professionals and outside consultants
When you start to create flow and others sense the energy you have created, they will want to be part of the action.
This is where many organisations get watered down and lose their impact.
If you remember the first rule of creating a great community, also remember that others will come in and want to lengthen the vision beyond that one sentence.
The moment you allow the professionals and consultants to dictate, I guarantee the organisation will start to stagnate and shrink.
‘Never judge someone by the knowledge they claim to have or their past success, judge them by the current fruit they produce’
Just look around the professionals and consultants and see the people they attract. Are they doers, are they givers, do they contribute first and add value.
More importantly, are they adding members and adding value to the members. If they’re not contributing to the vision, they are dead weights to the community.
Life creates life and if you have a vision that adds value to society, you can create the most amazing community.
Just remember the above 3 easy steps and you won’t fail.