No matter how far-sighted leaders may be on an issue,
if they cannot connect to the emotional responses of their constituents, relevance is missed and opportunity squandered.
This past week I attended and spoke at our city commission meeting. The issue (as most do) involved several nuances and engendered a lively give-and-take in the chambers. From my vantage point, this agenda item did not resonate with the residents—especially those of us who attended and spoke. The commissioners listened and voted down the resolution.
Whatever merits (and there were some) this proposal may have had, they became muted when they did not connect with what the residents believed to be important for their homes, neighbors, and future. More time was needed to demonstrate the relevance of the proposal to the lives of the residents.
Each resident has a story. Each person in the room has a story. How do we acknowledge and authentically connect with those stories?
In what ways does your community listen to the stories of its members—and then appreciate and act on those stories? You see, at times we can understand an issue and still not understand how the issue connects emotionally with people. This can short-circuit discussion, conversation, and collaboration.
No matter how far-sighted leaders may be on an issue, if they cannot connect to the emotional responses of their constituents, relevance is missed and opportunity squandered. Let that happen too often and trust will be a casualty.
What can you and your neighbors/team members do this week to expose yourselves to experiences, people, and places that are relevant to growth for the members and the community? Who might be able to help you? How do you know? What would you like to accomplish in this area by the end of this week? When will you start?
Community building can be challenging work. Paying attention to relevance builds a foundation.
For more on the connection of community building to the core value of relevance, see Section 2 of my newest book Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019, pp. 31-56).
Podcast Recommendation of the Week:
This quick (70 seconds) clip addresses how a Jacksonville, FL community development agency understands and applies the equation: Trust + Respect + Listening = Relevant services.
Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
You can still order my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017), by clicking here. Another university recently (January 2019) adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.
The paperback price on Amazon is now $12.00 and the Kindle version stands at $3.99. Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network® (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).
You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
©2019. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®