(Updated in 2020)
Community Starts at Home
During my years in publishing, I was a serial community builder. It seems that every job I took included “rebuild the department, refocus the vision” in the role. I’m fairly certain that those two challenges are what attracted me.
Even as a teenager, explaining the quest, translating the context, and helping folks bring their best to what they’re doing has been my natural response. I’ve always done that. Not that I’ve always done it well. Still the failures and successes of the past have taught me what moves people to trust in a vision and to join in to build something they couldn’t build alone.
So I was the one they hired
- to rebuild the company and the strategy for growth six months after the company had laid off 40% of the previous employees.
- to re-establish the department identity when it had grown too quickly and lost its role within the organizational process.
- to build a cross functional team that could function with professional ease and confidence from a crew of new hires when the start up started growing.
- to establish a winning brand and a high performance product / marketing team from a single product offer and a squad of contract workers
- to lead an ad hoc SWAT team of 60 professionals to reconceive and bring to market a product in crisis (in 1/6 the time originally budgeted for development.)
Every one of those jobs was the best job of my life while I was doing it, because we built teams that made outstanding things happen. Who doesn’t want to work with people who are “in with both feet,” working at their best level, and having fun?
The 10-Point Plan to Build an Internal Community of Brand Loyal Fans
Now I’m working with two new clients that very topic close to my heart and my business. Both are asking how they might get their teams to “raise a barn” rather than “build a coliseum.” Both companies want a to build an internal community of brand evangelists the expands from team to team, from department to department that will spread from inside to outside their company’s “walls.”
We’re going to use traditional interviews, a social tool called a “histogram,” and tested, collaborative instructional design to build an internal community of brand loyal fans. Here’s a 10-Point Plan to build an internal community of brand loyal fans. It’s exciting to offer a program and a process that grew out of the of the working model we use every year at SOBCon.
- Articulate a clearly defined vision.
- Negotiate a leadership commitment to live that vision.
- Assess and benchmark the current status.
- Identify and enlist a core team of champions to lead the quest.
- Build a brand values baseline by gathering the values that drive the brand.
- Challenge the brand teams to condense and clarify the brand values baseline by talking them through with stakeholder and bring back less than 7 words.
- Align your brand values with your brand value proposition
- Engage the brand teams in identifying and collecting cultural stories, signs, and rituals that exemplify the values of the brand values baseline.
- Move the process outward training teams in — a leadership team that focuses on departmental quality and performance and communications through persuasion.
- Exhibit leadership commitment by investing regular time and resources to ongoing collaborative brand values conversations to build decision models, communication models, and performance / hiring standards that align with the brand values baseline.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about each step in the process. We will explore what each step is; why it’s important; how to put it into action; and how to know whether it’s working in the way you intended. Then we’ll talk about how to connect that internal community to the community of customers, partners, and vendors who help your business grow from outside.
READ the Whole 10-Point Plan Series: On the Successful Series Page.
–ME “Liz” Strauss