How will community be sustained? Will core values change?
[For this week’s post, I pull from a recent book of mine (2019; p. xxix). Deals with community, complacency, and challenge. Seemed appropriate.]
Have you ever been part of a community that appeared to be stagnating? To outside observers, the challenges would have been imperceptible. But to you, signs popped up. Some minor irritants, perhaps, while others loomed as storm clouds. The challenges could have come from sinister outside forces. Or, the erosion of community may have been the result of an internal complacency. The members became comfortable and took for granted their community would always be there.
As an example, colleges and universities invest a great deal in recruiting and retaining first-year students. They offer orientations, first-year experience success courses, dedicated counselors, and residences halls. Each strategy has the goal of helping the students to build community, feel comfortable in that community, and return to that community for their second year of college.
But what happens the second year, third year, and beyond? Will resources be invested to re-recruit the students—to keep the idea of the college community foremost in their minds? How will community be sustained? Will core values change? Will best practices continue to work?
Consider a workplace that invests hundreds of staff hours in screening and interviewing candidates for a position. Perhaps there is an orientation of sorts. What happens to the new employee after that? Is the new person greeted with one mind-numbing bureaucratic checklist after another, or does she receive a meaningful welcome that recognizes and nurtures the powerful transition to her new community? As the Heath brothers pointed out in The Power of Moments, “What a wasted opportunity [not] to make a new team member feel included and appreciated. Imagine if you treated a first date like a new employee.”[i]
[i] Chip Heath and Dan Heath, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2017. 18-22.
Video recommendation for the week:
This brief (88 seconds) clip from a larger episode reminds us that to build a community we need to listen to one another–understand what we need. When we listen–really listen–we begin to trust. And we have to ask ourselves, “What are we willing to do?” The community members step up and take responsibility for vision and actions.
We have heard that the village raises up a child. But what can be done if the village itself needs to be raised up? What do we do, for instance, if the village has inadequate infrastructure, health disparities, high crime and poverty, lack of accessible pharmacies and fresh foods, and educational and financial literacy challenges? Threatened on many levels, the village nears the breaking point. If you’re Executive Director George Maxey, you listen and help the villagers create a movement–the New Town Success Zone movement. (Note: Since this recording, Mr. Maxey has moved on to another position with another organization. His words still reverberate.)
Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.
My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.
Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.
Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.
In the meantime, check out her blog. (She writes better than I do.)
And you can still order:
My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. 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®.
You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®