When trying to motivate or nurture a community, the first thing you need is a solid culture: the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group. A major part of a company’s culture are their core values and the “Noble Cause”.
What values are embedded in your community, and how do you identify them?
In many interviews you may be asked a question like, “What are your values?” The response to these types of questions are easy, because we know what our potential employers want to hear. To really find out about values, (and thus begin to establish a culture) we need to remind our communities why they value honesty, communication, being ethical or teamwork.
Ask them to tell a story about a lesson they learned. Chances are what they identify as values will appear – and I encourage this approach to be done in a group setting. Before you know it, people will not only remember each other’s values, but bits and pieces of their personality will begin to shine through, and that’s memorable.
Once your core values are established, it is extremely important that thought leaders (You or your boss) refuse to make decisions that work against these established values, no matter how much pressure they may be under to make a fleeting decision. When this happens, it not only looks as if you are some how “above the law”, but takes your culture and sense of tribal community backward.
The point here is to be equal. Avoid using “I” and “me”, and start getting into the habit of “we” and “us”. It’s important that people do not feel like commodities. The commoditization of people is very discouraging, and is commonly seen as, “No matter how hard I work, I’m valued for my results, not for who I am.” Who wants to be a part of something like that?
Suggested Reading: Tribal Leadership: How Successful Groups form Great Organizations