Building a remote culture that enables your team is no easy feat. If you succeed you’ll unlock the agency and autonomy that comes with a well managed remote operation. If you don’t succeed you end up burning out from bad habits.
In this biweekly podcast you'll hear, from both Alix and guests, all about remote teamwork from a zillion different angles. It'll be focused on fresh perspectives, and always include suggestions for you to put new practices into place.
Let us know what you think, and hope you enjoy!
Hosted by Alix Dunn
How can you foster a sense of belonging and connection when your team doesn't work in the same office?
How can you foster a sense of belonging and connection when your team doesn't work in the same office? How can you create genuine opportunities to connect with colleagues without 'forced fun'? How can you support your team to get to know and trust each other better over time?
In this episode, Alix sat down with Tatiana Figueredo, founder of Business of Community. Tatiana helps leaders understand how to bring their people together & structure systems of belonging within their organisations.
*This interview was originally recorded as part of the 2022 Remote Culture Intensive, a course for remote teams to rebuild their culture, together.
Find Tatiana and say hello here.
1. The power of small group structures
One way of thinking about community within organisations is the ‘small groups’ that live within it. This might be a regional office that’s part of a global organisation, something interest-based like a non-fiction reading group, or a group based around a specific identity.
But the best small groups are defined around what Tatiana calls a ‘common growth journey’ — a clearly defined goal that resonates with everyone in the group. And growth doesn’t have to mean career trajectory. It can be about learning, creating more impact, getting better at your craft.
What small groups are there in your organisation? How do they help people to get to know each other better? Can you think of a ‘common growth journey’ that connects you and a co-worker?
2. Community works best when it’s bottom-up, not top-down
It’s easy for founders and team leaders to start with a genuine desire for more connection, but end up with top-down ‘forced fun’. Not great for a few reasons. 1. It can be harder for people in senior roles to spot opportunities for genuine connection, 2. Mandating isn’t okay and it sucks the fun out of things, 3. And even when it’s optional, be mindful that when ideas come from ‘the boss’, it can be hard for people to say ‘no’.
3. Nurture community builders and leaders at every level
Often the best way to foster better connection and belonging within an organisation is to find the people who are already doing the work to connect colleagues. If they’re already doing community building, chances are they enjoy it and are good at it. If you can find these people, then your job is to support them and to scale what’s already working.
If someone is bringing good ideas and energy, then you need to nurture them whatever their level, regardless of role or hierarchy. In fact, community building can be a great growth and leadership opportunity for more junior team members.
Speaker 1 00:00:06 Figure out the ways that, that you can kind of see what's already happening and help the things that are happening to build community within the organization. And one thing to remember is that you're not ever gonna be able to like, put your arms around the whole thing. It's always going to feel messy and it's always gonna feel like you're doing a bunch of random things instead of like one cohesive program that's like we're building community in the organization and everyone feels included and everyone feels like they belong. There's always gonna be like tension.Speaker 2 00:00:35 Welcome to the Remote Culture Club podcast. On this show we inspire and equipped leaders to build remote culture that works. I'm your host Alex Dunn, and even though I've been leading remote organizations for over 10 years, I'm always learning more. It's really nice to have you here. And without further ado, welcome to the show.Speaker 2 00:00:59 If you're running a remote organization or team, it can be difficult to know how to create an environment where people in your organization feel comfortable getting to know each other, reaching out to each other and connecting outside of direct collaboration. There's a lot of ways to think about this challenge, and one of them is to consider the community environment that they are working within when they're engaging remotely. But building a community is hard and the, um, ways that we go about that might not feel intuitive and there's a wealth of expertise, um, from all over the internet <laugh>, uh, to consider how to practically build community spaces for your people. Today we have a conversation with Tatiana Figu, who does that as her day job. She literally builds a community to help other people that are building communities. So the depth of her expertise is immediately obvious in our conversation.Speaker 2 00:01:59 We talk all things community building within inside organizations how to spot talent for people that know how to do this well. Um, how to support socializing without, uh, resorting to forced fun. Um, how to think about slow, um, uh, ways of allowing opportunities for your team to get to know each other without it feeling awkward. And how to think about the social patterns in the way we get to know people in our offline lives. Um, how to think about the ways that we can apply some of those very natural ways of getting to know people, um, in our methods for community building insider organizations. So if you are scratching your head about how to better connect your team and create an environment, um, that allows for community and engagement outside of direct collaboration, this is the conversation for you. Without further ado, I want to introduce the conversation with Tatiana Fdo from Build a Community Business.Speaker 2 00:02:56 Hi everybody. I am delighted to welcome Tatiana fdo who runs an organization that she'll tell you a little bit about, but it's focused on building community. We wanted to invite her into the space so she could talk a little bit about the sort of practical techniques and some of the sort of conceptual thinking about the role that community can play in incorporating belonging, in making, uh, real connection between people in, in online spaces, which is something that, um, people like you who are working in organizations struggle with and are investing time and energy into sort of figuring out. So we wanted Tatiana's expertise and perspective. And Tatiana, I'll just give you carte bloche, introduce yourself, how you will tell us a little bit about your background and sort of what brought you to this work and what you do.Speaker 1 00:03:40 Sure. Thank you Alex. I'm Tatiana. I'm the, the founder of a company called the Business of Community. And what I do now is I help small businesses that are making community the core of their product to build a, a profitable business around community and to think about community experience and also think about leadership within, within community and what that means for them. So I came to this work through a lot of different roads. I think I've always approached work, uh, through a community lens. I used to work at a, I was the first employee at a startup called Imperative where I ended up as their head of product. And our first kind of tries in what we were doing were to work with larger organizations to figure out community for within larger organizations like PWC and Allstate and West Elm. These are all case studies that uh, we are able to write about publicly.Speaker 1 00:04:50 And at the same time that I was doing that, working within these larger organizations, I was also running a small community in-person community for women in tech in New York. So it was through that and like researching community and figuring things out that I was able to see the parallels between any group and what communities have in common and communities that work well have in common in these like two very different contexts. So that's kind of the, the place that I, that I come to it. It's not about a specific platform to build community, it's not about one specific structure, but more of like the principles that, that underlie any kind of group that feel, that feels cohesive and that comes together. I'm excited to be here. Alex told me a little bit about some of your challenges, so they sound very fun. It'sSpeaker 2 00:05:41 A good kind of challenge. I'm wondering if we sort of zoom into that question of community within large organizations, there's obviously community building activities that an organization might initiate and those might be more formal or more mandatory <laugh>, whether sort of soft words people might use to describe mandatory. And then there's the kind of implicit like way that people in a large organization connect and get to know each other and meet each other. Um, outside of those more sort of formal structures within an organization, do you, can you talk a little bit about sort of how those two things interact or sort of what that looks like and if it's going well in an organization? ISpeaker 1 00:06:20 Think when it's going well, you can just feel it. And I think the, the mark of it going well means that the personal goals of the employees that work at that organization, they can see how they align with the goals of the, of the organization. So like, very broadly, like the, the purpose of what this person is doing with their life aligns with what the organization is doing. And I don't think you get there without having community within an organization. I think that you can do that very, very organically if you've like done a ton of work in on your culture and if you've figured out a lot of different ways of scaling, uh, things like manager trainings and all these things to make people feel like they belong in an organization. But I think at scale you, you can't, you don't just leave it up to like people organically doing that because it might work for certain teams, but it doesn't always, it's not always gonna connect back to, to the organization.Speaker 1 00:07:25 I think it's always important to figure out the ways that, that you can kind of see what's already happening and help the things that are happening to, to build community within the organization. And one thing to remember is that you're not ever gonna be able to like put your arms around the whole thing. It's always going to feel messy and it's always gonna feel like you're doing a bunch of random things instead of like one cohesive program that's like we're building community in the organization and everyone feels included and everyone feels like they belong. There's always gonna be like tension, which is like a big part of community tension and, and friction.Speaker 2 00:08:02 There's no operation belonging.Speaker 1 00:08:04 I mean you could, and that'll help, you know, you could build a program that's really successful but you probably will still only reach like best case scenario maybe 60% of people. So yeah, it's, it it's about kind of supporting the people who are already doing it and figuring out how how you can scale that within the, the company.Speaker 2 00:08:26 That's super interesting. I like that idea. Also finding the people who bring that energy, cuz I think it's something, it's really true and it's, it's p people that actually really enjoy that kind of work are oftentimes the people that are really good at it and you can usually see those bright lights. Um, and I think it's, do you have any suggestions? I wanna ask about smaller organizations as well, but for larger organizations, um, let's say I'm a, a leader in a larger organization and I'm trying to encourage connection and belonging and spaces where people feel comfortable sort of being themselves, getting to know people, um, uh, building those relationships and they see these bright lights, they see maybe younger people, maybe more charismatic people, maybe you know, leaders that just exude that um, character even if it's not part of their, you know, job description. Do you have suggestions on like how to think about engaging those people and creating the support and incentive for them to participate in a way that sort of lifts the whole community in the organization?Speaker 1 00:09:25 Yeah, I'll actually take a step back and share more of how I think about like the structures of communities in, in general and then I'll, I'll fit that into, uh, into those structures. So like I mentioned, I was building like a few different types of communities at the same time and I got to see the parallels between them and through also like reading about things like community organizing through for a political campaign and large organizations. And what I found is basically they have three different levels of experience. There is the big group experience, which for an organization, a remote organization would be like your annual retreat that everyone is attending. Um, it could also be like the emails that go from the founder to the entire company that is communicating vision and that's the, the big group experience. This is like us, uh, as individuals relating to where we're going as an organization.Speaker 1 00:10:24 There is a one-on-one experience, which, um, the most important one-on-one relationship is the the manager to direct report relationship. But you can also introduce ways to add more one-on-one relationships. And then in between those two there is the small group relationships. And these are really, really important in all different kinds of, uh, of community building. So political campaigns will have their local offices and it's the relationships within that office that kind of keep people going and that allow people to bring more people into, into the fold organizations depending on how they're structured, usually run on teams. So there's like a structure that is between this like big vision that's like blurry and then this like one-on-one relationship that is important. But uh, the two people can't necessarily achieve what they need to do. So in community building, usually the problem that organizations have is that they're missing a small group structure.Speaker 1 00:11:36 So they might have the teams, but that's the only kind of small group organizations that they have. So it's important that if there are other people within the organizations that are trying to create other small groups that um, don't like neatly overlap with teams or with whatever structures already exist for the running of the organization, that there's a structure to help them do that. So employee resource groups are an example of a small group. So that's a way where you can kind of cross pollinate the people in in different teams. But I, I also think like the best ideas come from the people who are already community thinking about it in this way and already gathering people in this way. And then I think the organization's job is to really set those people up to succeed and it usually looks like creating a few different structures that people can, can pick from.Speaker 1 00:12:34 So do an employee resource group works in this way and we meet once a month and this is the budget that you get just so that like it's even for all of them. And that like, it's, it's something that that works well. But it could also be like a book club or any way that people are giving as an idea of how they wanna gather. Just making sure to support that. And the reason for supporting that is that you're creating more of these like overlapping circles within the organization and the small group is the place where you're gonna be able to build more one-on-one relationships. Because if you think about like where did you meet your friends, people who like you're, you're connected with now and who you have deep relationships with, you usually met them in a small group like whether it be on a team at work or um, you knew them from school or you played on a team with them. Um, so that structure of people meeting in a small group over and over again is a way to kind of build safety and build trust and you can do that even outside of like work related things. Um, and that's gonna look different for each organization depending on what the, the people within the organization wanna nerd out about.Speaker 2 00:13:55 And it makes me wonder how different is it in terms of the trust that you feel when you're working and maybe it's about how well you know people and that if you are working on work things, it might be easier to sort of start meeting new people because you have that work thing in common and it's sort of a safer space cuz it's a professional environment and, and then it's like, you know, if those small groups uh, function well then thinking a little bit about how to break out of that, just using work as the container for that kind of a conversation and try and find affinity between people that isn't necessarily just work related, but I really like that like where you meet your friends is it starts with, you know, 10 people at a pub and then you end up striking up a conversation with one of them and then you meet up, you know, a few weeks later for coffee or whatever at that path or that pattern.Speaker 2 00:14:45 I think, yeah, we see it in our personal lives <laugh>, um, it's no surprise that it also happens in in work environments. Um, that's so cool. I love that structure and I think you can immediately see the practicality and also recognize where you might be over-indexing on one of them. And I think if you're, yeah, I can very much see some, uh, issues for some people in our communicate <laugh>, um, uh, where there might be, there might be strong in one of those three areas and not on the others. Um, that's super cool. Well if we sort of shrink down in size and say an organization that's like 15 to 20 people, most of them, let's say in a given week come in contact with each other through work for something because they're small enough that that is just the nature of how they collaborate. They might not take time to really bond outside of the work that they're doing because they feel like they're connected because they're, you know, in conversation <laugh> regularly about work things. Do you have any suggestions for how smaller groups, um, can think about community and sort of think about helping them step out of that, you know, normal way of relating and get more connected outside of work?Speaker 1 00:15:47 Yeah, well the first thing is I don't think that it's for everyone, this kind of thing. So I think community is optional and before engaging in any kind of community, I believe that there should be friction in order for someone to join. So these kinds of things that we're talking about, which are like extracurricular things to do with your coworkers should never feel like they're, they're like a price to pay in order for you to get a promotion or in order for you to belong in, in the organization. But I do think that you can offer opportunities for people to, to do that. And I think when you're building community, you, you wanna reward the, the community leaders that you're building. Like you don't want it to be just about you, the founder or the leader of the team or the person who's bringing the people together.Speaker 1 00:16:38 You wanna like spread that power as much as you can. So figuring out a way to, to reward or to like have other people step up so that you are not the, you're not the one who are like, who's like, come on guys, let's go to happy. Let's do a zoom happy hour or like let's do that. Like have the ideas come from other people on the team. And I think it's really powerful to do it that way because that means that even the most junior people on the team can contribute and can kind of have the opportunity to lead in a way that they might not be leading in in their day-to-day. I think going back to like really, I think this is like especially important for small teams, like really aligning on what the team is doing and how that connects to the individual contributor I think is extra important for, for small teams where people might have like roles that aren't as clear and things are kind of might be still murky. I think it's really important to connect over that. Like what is, what are we we here to do and what are you here to do? What are you individually hoping to get out of this role, this job, this project we're working on? And like, maybe that's not a conversation that's had with everyone, but by the, the manager understanding that and knowing that like being, using their community brain to make sure that they're helping the people achieve their, their own personal goals, uh, to the, to the extent that they can within the, the organization.Speaker 2 00:18:19 Yeah, I think that's really great way to think about it cuz I think if you are thinking in that way as a manager, you're also connecting other dots because you're seeing a person as a person and not a person with a set of responsibilities, <laugh>. Um, which I think, uh, is a flip that can get switched accidentally. Like sometimes with work pressure you might end up being more of like a manager that's driving towards results without thinking about who you're managing <laugh>. Um, but I think if you checking in and making sure that that that type of community brain is activated for you, that that's like, I think that's a really great steer. So some of the organizations we work with, um, are trying to sort out as people return to the office or some people return to the office, how to think about belonging and connection when people are co-located or sometimes remote sometimes in the office, the experiences they're having are sometimes very different.Speaker 2 00:19:14 They're trying to run hybrid events, but they're, it's, it's I think sometimes get, they get stuck in the sort of technique of trying to execute on a thing and they're kind of missing the like bigger picture of like, what does community look like in their organization and sort of what are they aspiring to do for their teams to get to know each other and kind of mix and match and not feel like if you're not in the office, you're not in on the action, which means you're kind of like satellite somewhere else. Um, do you have any thoughts when thinking about, um, organizations that mix online and offline, um, spaces and community opportunities and sort of any like best practices or sort of ways you, you think about that?Speaker 1 00:19:52 Yeah, so one thing that comes to mind is again, that small group structure. So if you have an office in New York, then the New York office is its own small group and I think it becomes really important to introduce other small groups that maybe a couple people from the New York office are in, but they're also people from the Dubai office in IT and from the London office in it. And it's, those are like virtual groups and then there's like the in-person small groups, but they're the same structure and there's a reason for you to get together with people who are from different offices in those small groups and the the small groups and any community that you put together, the way you should think about it is not just like, this is a New York York small group, we're all in the New York office, so we're all gonna be in this group.Speaker 1 00:20:51 The, the more you can come up with, um, usually in partnership with like, uh, an employee who wants to lead that group, the more you can come up with a common growth journey that the people in that group has in common, I see community as all about growth. Like you come together with other people, not because you wanna keep things the way they are, but you're, you're imagining a different world for yourself. You're imagining world for this group together. So the more you can align where it is that those people wanna go together and define the group based on that, the more sticky it'll be. Because even if you have like an in-person group and it's like the New York group and it's like, oh, the only thing we have in common is that like we're in this office together that's not as sticky as a, a group that has lunch once a month because they're all focused on getting promoted or they're all focused on getting to know people outside of work, um, in their neighborhood. Whatever it is that the goal is for that group should be really explicit and it, the group should start with that. With that you can like, goal is never gonna be like only to be in person or only to be virtual. The goal is outside of that. And by starting with that goal, then you can start thinking about what those different small groups are and introduce a structure that that works whether people are in person or remote. But I know that's really hard. I mean that's that's your work Alex <laugh>.Speaker 2 00:22:26 Yeah, it's hard. I I was trying to cheat, I was trying to get you to answer other questions we work on. No, but I think that's a really, really great observation about the reason people feel connected and wanna feel connected and have that sticky experience where they keep coming back and it doesn't feel like an obligation. It feels like an opportunity Is that growth peace. And I think that's a real, you've kind of blown my mind a little bit cause I'm thinking now about all the different kinds of growth that an organization might be able to find affinity groups for because it's not just like career trajectory, um, like in some of the organizations we work with, it's not, um, they don't, most of the people are not aspiring to have more direct reports and grow and have more power in the organization. They're trying to like learn lots of things and create impact in the world and um, uh, get better at their craft. And I think there's a lot there about sort of the intersection between professional development and community that I'm now like, that's really good. Uh, employee, uh, resource groups I think of as based on sometimes demographic like identity groups, um, sometimes based on like department or like domain of expertise. But are there other sort of clusterings of people in larger organizations you've seen that are sticky and are sort of around a particular aspect of growth that might be a little different than getting promoted or those more, I don't know, hierarchical ambitions?Speaker 1 00:23:46 Yeah, when I worked at Imperative, we did this experiment in Westtown corporate and at the time they were exactly 200 employees and they were growing fast and they were kind of like past that point where like the company really needs to change in order to keep its personality but still grow and like do what they they wanna do. And we split people up based on the way they're like answers to this. Like this assessment that we had, which was around the way that they approached their, their work. So if they were community driven or if they were data driven, I forget the, the different categories. And then the idea was to, for them to get together and talk with these strangers from the, the rest of the company about their work and about how like that was helping them kind of grow personally also. Um, so we had like a set of questions that they would get together over lunch once a month and, and talk about those.Speaker 1 00:24:52 That was like very manufactured and it was more top down because we split them up. I don't know that I have any recent examples of like more random groups that formed, but we did brainstorm a lot of different ideas with both with West Elman, a lot of the other companies that we worked with. I think there's power in Yeah, like creating leadership positions for people to lead community within the, the organizations and having this structure where it's like, what is the growth journey that you're on that you wanna be supported in with with other people. And that could be the, the how of that like is is kind of up to them to determine like, is that gonna be a book club, is that gonna be just like a, a walk around the block club? Is that gonna be Yeah, like a, a fitness challenge, which is, which I've seen work within companies also. Um, but starting with the goal, I think it always works better.Speaker 2 00:25:51 There's also something in addition to it being appropriate for somebody within an organization to be thinking about that. I feel like it's because people get drawn to different organizations for different reasons and then they end up having things in common that you might not expect because it's just by nature of a group of people getting together in a shared mission. So I feel like the people inside the organization would probably be best positioned to sort of identify maybe where there's like a flock of people trying to do something particular and that that's a good opportunity, um, to empower them to come together and get to know each other and build those relationships. Let's super appreciate, I also really like the idea of explicitly having roles in an organization that are relatively senior and have, um, the power to sort of wave a wand, uh, and get resources, um, for, for community work. Like what department would you see that sitting in within large organizations or like how does that, have you seen seen that work well in, in a particular sort of organogram structure?Speaker 1 00:26:48 I haven't like, it's usually like a, a extracurricular job. Like it's, it's like the afterschool like soccer coach or something,Speaker 2 00:26:57 But it's such an empowering idea to think about it like being s because it takes, I mean this is your business. Like it takes a lot of mental energy and sustained energy, which I think that sustained energy is really difficult to have if you're, it's on the side of something else that's quite intense.Speaker 1 00:27:15 The way I've seen it work is under hr, like some p some like employee engagement person. Usually there's like a, it like kind of intersects with learning and development, but it's usually like, um, like employee satisfaction, employee happiness. I mean I don't think that these are roles that are super popular, but yeah, I think they're, that would be what I, where it should sit. Um, depending how community sits within the organization in general. Like obviously, uh, there are a lot of people advocating for community to report directly to, to leadership and to be part of leadership. But yeah, depending how that work.Speaker 2 00:27:58 Yeah, it makes me wonder too about organizations that organize convenings for external audiences. If those same people could be empowered to do the same thing sort of inside organizations and if the sort of, there's similar sort of skillset in terms of designing programming for external audiences and internal audiences. Um, but that's an interesting, I now wanna like scroll through roles and titles, uh, and look and see where community people are. Cause I feel like it's, I could very much imagine HR has like this whiff of compliance or I don't know, the people that tell you what you can and can't do. And I feel in some organizations and I feel like, um, yeah, but I can't really imagine a more, although I, I think your point about if the organization sees community as a differentiator, I could imagine it being a core sort of strategic role that sits more directly connected to leadership.Speaker 1 00:28:50 The external communities like the events and things like that, that's more, that's closer to marketing because you're, you're talking to your customers to uh, people outside the organization. Within the organization. Like when I was working within those organizations, we we're usually talking to some part of hr, it depends which side of hr, there's like the compliance side and then there's more of like the, the people who are within hr like trying to uh, cause a ruckus, which is usually who we would talk to. <laugh>. Yeah.Speaker 2 00:29:22 And the people that see the human element and the human engagement element of an organization and they're passionate about designing experiences and like connecting with people and creating opportunities for people. Yeah, I love, um, I got all, all all day for those, um, those types of people. I'm wondering, you just said marketing, another question I had for you is you work work with a lot of community businesses that are have to make the case to other people that they might want to join the community, which is a lot of sort of marketing and storytelling and also just being really clear about what people can expect from joining a community space. And I'm wondering if, when you think about the techniques that you one would use to sort of convince or uh, find the people that you want to join your community, those types of techniques that work for community businesses, is there anything that you think companies or organizations should be doing to recruit and market, you know, the community offerings that they are providing for staff? Or is there anything in there that you think they can learn from making the case that you've seen businesses do?Speaker 1 00:30:24 Yeah, so I always say that the, the main difference when you're marketing community versus marketing anything else is that when you're marketing community, the what you're selling is the people who you're talking to are also gonna be, become part of the product that you're selling. Like you, you, you're bringing people together in a group and then you're talking about that group as a way to bring in more people into the group. So because of that, unlike when you're just selling a product, it's really important to add intentional friction into the, into the process.Speaker 2 00:31:03 Can you give us an example of intentional friction?Speaker 1 00:31:06 Yeah. So you should never be trying to convince someone to join a community like too much. Like it should be you're invited to this and we really want you to come. If you come, here's what it's gonna be expected of you and this is what what we're expecting you to bring. If you come to this thing, like you're gonna show up to the meetings, you're gonna be there for people, you're gonna download the thing or whatever it is that the requirements are, have it be really clear before they join. You can do it in a lot of different ways. The the experience you don't want them to have is like to just like very easily be able to click a link and already be a member of the group. So if you wanna introduce an application process or they have to get in touch and talk to someone one-on-one who's already a part of the group, any way where you can make people jump through hoops a little bit both so that you get a sense of who they are so that they're primed to really engage in that community and also so that they get a sense of what they're doing and what they're joining and they feel a sense of like, okay, I've been through this process and now I've value this and now I've invested into into this whatever it is that, that you're joining.Speaker 1 00:32:26 So I think that that's really important no matter the type of community you're building. Obviously internal community's not gonna be a paid community, but the investment matters either way.Speaker 2 00:32:37 I think that's just really, really important cuz I think there's also the, um, like I've seen people that have been tasked with creating spaces where colleagues can connect and they're so thirsty for colleagues to be interested that it kind of creates this, and I'm sure it happens with paid communities as well where you're like, please, please, please, please, please, please like <laugh>. Um, and you wanna make it as easy as possible and like introducing friction feels like very counterintuitive, but yeah, fast forward and you really wish that you had done that because then, you know, there's this like dead weight, there's like a lot of people that aren't participating and that can be very like wonky and challenging to like get momentum and feel connected. So I think that's a really smart point. Have you seen, like what kind of friction would you imagine if I was working in a large organization and I wanted to initiate some community activities with some resources I had been given, is there any suggestion you for friction given it can't be too onerous because that their staff, um, and they, it can't be payment because they're being paid to be there <laugh>Speaker 1 00:33:40 There, there should first be friction for you to become that leader of that group. For the leadership part, I usually say there are at least two people who will co-lead whatever this group is.Speaker 2 00:33:52 There should be two people that are sort of co-leading something I imagine, so that one person doesn't get drunk on power, but two <laugh>. Um, but say more about, uh, the friction to become that leader that is given the resources to create the spaces.Speaker 1 00:34:08 Yeah, so if you are the one person who is like, well I'm really interested in starting a book club where we'll all learn about web three or whatever it is that, that you wanna learn about together, you're one person, but the the rules for you to start that club or to start that small group is that you need at least two people who are committed to being co-leaders of it and you need five other people who are interested in joining. So then it's up to you to go around and like really build those relationships one-on-one to, to have that before you even start the group. And then for those five people that you're recruiting, the requirements for them might be like, we'd love for you to be a part of this, but we're just getting started and we're really looking for people who are going to, uh, be able to give at least x number X time for this and or we're looking for people who would be willing to share this with their colleagues and recruit people to, to join us once we're we're off the ground.Speaker 1 00:35:13 So like that's an example of like really basic friction for, for joining. And it doesn't have to be super, especially in the beginning if you're just getting it off the ground, it doesn't have to be super, you didn't fulfill this checklist. Like it can be more of a conversation between those people. And then maybe once you grow outside of like just the tiny group like that, then it is more about first we need you to attend one of our events, but if you wanna join, like first attend an event, see if like the vibe is for you and then if you wanna join, then you have to fill this out and then we're expecting you to, to attend at least like three events a quarter or whatever it is, like the, the, the requirements that way.Speaker 2 00:35:56 I really like that. I also can imagine in large organizations that don't do that first part of having, um, a bit of friction for people to set stuff up. I imagine there's a bunch of graveyards and then it becomes harder to start something new that sticks because there's a history of things not sticking. And I've definitely, I've like personally seen that organizations where there's just a real reluctance to try, um, because there's a feeling that the past failures will somehow predict the future outcomes. I could definitely see friction being helpful in probably, I don't know, stopping eight out of the 10 likely to fail initiatives from even getting off the ground because somebody committed. Yeah, yeah. That's super interesting. Cool. Are there any, just thinking about, I guess connecting the dots between all of these questions, but um, if you were to give sort of tips of things to avoid, um, doing, aside from creating frictionless opportunities to join a hundred community spaces within your organization, are there any sort of tips for organizations that are thinking we should invest more time and energy in community, we should come up with more formal opportunities for our team to participate?Speaker 2 00:37:06 We should, we should, we should. Um, are there any sort of general tips you would give on things to avoid when, um, sort of thinking through strategies related to community?Speaker 1 00:37:16 Hmm. Yeah. I would say start really small. Like, I, I really do think that that's the best way of starting it. Like what are, who are like the two, three people who I think would really be into this. And like that's how that community starts with the conversation between those people and then it grows from that just one person or like just one kind of mastermind, but like it's growing already within the community and related to that not having things sound and be super polished before they, they actually are. And actually like not having things be polished and showing up kind of a little bit imperfectly is always important for, for people to actually connect. Like they always have to feel like, oh, it's okay, like that link didn't even work. So I know that I can show up as myself and like, and, and, and be in this space more authentically. So that's a mistake that I see people make with community in all different ways. So just knowing that if things are not perfect, that is a feature, not a bug, that's what allows people to really connect. That's also another part of like friction.Speaker 2 00:38:30 You're making me also feel watch better. Um,Speaker 1 00:38:33 <laugh>. Yeah, <laugh> I think think that's really important. I think in the cracks that people see each other's humanity. So especially if the leaders are able to kind of put that on the table, it it's much easier to inspire others to participate and to, to lead within, within communities. It's also important to be realistic and to always align what the actual, what the organization's mission and vision and where it's going with what the, the community can be. So just because someone wants to start like a, a conference for moms, if you and the the people don't see how it aligns with the organization, then you might support it the first time they do it, but the next time it could be like just because it's like not fully aligned, it could be something that kind of falls to the wayside. And it's, it's like what you said about the more things don't work, the more people are reluctant to, to take on those roles and, and do those. So to really think about like, okay, what are our goals and how does each different thing that we could do with community fit into that? Because you want the employees to be happy, but the the org it also has to match up with what the organization wants to the direction the organization is going in and what they, what they wanted to.Speaker 2 00:39:56 That's super helpful. Cool. Okay, well I've just asked you lots and lots and lots of questions. Um, I feel like is there anything sort of left, uh, floating around now that I've got you in this head space or any last parting words, um, you wanna share with folks who might be thinking about applying some of these techniques in their organizations?Speaker 1 00:40:15 I guess the last thing is if you wanna lead community, it, it's a big opportunity for you to really heal a lot of parts of yourself as a, as a person. And even if you think like, this is just like a, a project that I'm doing for work, all of the things that you still need to work out about yourself eventually will come out through your work in, in community. So I think that's like a beautiful thing and it's also a really hard thing and the more you're willing to go there, the more successful what you're doing, uh, will be. So the more you're able to really ask yourself questions like, you know, what was my experience in in belonging? Like Alex and I, you and I were talking about being immigrants and like moving to a different place and not really feeling like you super belong where you came from or where you are and like, being kind of in between places and questioning yourself. Like what are these experiences that experiences that I've had in my life that really shape how I feel about connection and how I feel about community. And then starting from, from that point and uh, finding ways of telling that story in a way that makes sense within the organization because the community's gonna be built in your image if you're the leader no matter what. So you might as well be intentional about that and show up in, in a real human way. That'sSpeaker 0 00:41:44 Beautiful. Thank you.
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