“I’m going to change the world in a BIG way. It will be the BIGGER than anything anyone has ever done before. The BIGGEST. Everyone will agree….”

The thought of changing the world, or wishing that we lived in a slightly different world, seems to be on everyone’s mind at the moment. Whether it is a business man trying to change politics or politicians trying to change industry, change has never happened without the support of a group of united people. It’s a sentiment I heard Sinek speak about recently, and it struck a chord with me. Especially in light of everything that has happened over the last few days.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. Margaret Mead

Small groups are often called communities and communities are wonderful things. They are groups of people united by a common set of values and beliefs. A company should be exactly that, a group of people united around a common set of values and beliefs. A country? A group of people united around a common set of values or beliefs.

Running a company? Running a country? Similar things….?

Of course not, but to compare the two would be missing a very important point.

To get anything done, and it is clear that the world is obsessed at the moment with a self-professed “doer” who says he will get things done, you have to win the hearts and minds of people. You do that by building a community.

“Engaging with your fans and building a community are two totally different things”. Mitch Joel

So what is a community? Really?


If you look at the official definition on Wikipedia (as outlined by Scott M. Peck in his brilliant book “A Different Drum”, the real characteristics of a community are as follows:

Characteristics of True Community

Scott Peck ~ A Different Drum

  • Inclusivity, commitment and consensus: Members accept and embrace each other, celebrating their individuality and transcending their differences. They commit themselves to the effort and the people involved. They make decisions and reconcile their differences through consensus.
  • Realism: Members bring together multiple perspectives to better understand the whole context of the situation. Decisions are more well-rounded and humble, rather than one-sided and arrogant.
  • Contemplation: Members examine themselves. They are individually and collectively self-aware of the world outside themselves, the world inside themselves, and the relationship between the two.
  • A safe place: Members allow others to share their vulnerability, heal themselves, and express who they truly are.
  • A laboratory for personal disarmament: Members experientially discover the rules for peacemaking and embrace its virtues. They feel and express compassion and respect for each other as fellow human beings.
  • A group that can fight gracefully: Members resolve conflicts with wisdom and grace. They listen and understand, respect each other’s gifts, accept each other’s limitations, celebrate their differences, bind each other’s wounds, and commit to a struggle together rather than against each other.
  • A group of all leaders: Members harness the “flow of leadership” to make decisions and set a course of action. It is the spirit of community itself that leads, and not any single individual.
  • A spirit: The true spirit of community is the spirit of peace, love, wisdom and power. Members may view the source of this spirit as an outgrowth of the collective self or as the manifestation of a Higher Will.

Whether you are building a brand, growing a company or trying to change the world, in the end not much will happen unless you can learn to be respectful, fight gracefully and have an inclusive place where everyone feels welcome and listened to.

So whatever happens over the next four years, in our countries or in our companies, if we just remember these things, and keep reminding our leaders of them, then we probably won’t go far wrong.

“The difference between an audience and a community is which way the chairs are facing”. Chris Brogan

Communications Designer @IBM • Climate Reality Leader • Lover of Old Business Books, Clever Technology and the NHS • Based in London, UK.

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