At the foundation of every community is its consciousness and what it stands for. This consciousness doesn’t come from governmental edict or legislation. It doesn’t come from its institutions. In the end, institutions will always exclude and over-centralize power, introducing inefficiencies, bias and out-dated self-perpetuation.
Your community’s consciousness, its personality, comes from the values and expectations of its people, regardless age or socioeconomic level. This foundation will determine the actions and effectiveness of those actions as the community takes to address its needs and opportunities. This conscious architecture, can either form on its own too often through the will of selfish and nefarious actors – or it can be set from a dedicated inclusive effort of the residents. This dedicated effort is most effectively accomplished through the identification, empowerment and nurture of impassioned peer leaders and their use of Situational Leadership.
- Moving Beyond The Hierarchy
- Giving Permission
- Creating Communities of Permission
- Consciousness of Community
- Peer leadership and searching for your own Billie
- The Failing of a State
- Situational Leadership
Creating a Situational Leadership Ecosystem
Determine Your Community’s Consciousness Vision
Create a Vision statement: It’s not so much a plan as it is an observation. How you get there will be dependent upon the foundational conscious or Smooth Space your community creates and the actions and engagements (Body Without Organs) that laid on top it. Both Smooth Space and Body Without Organs will be spearheaded by the peer leaders in our community you uncover and nurture. Among others, components of your community’s consciousness vision should include: empathy; inclusion; creative expression; designed and serendipitous engagement; and a permission to pursue for all residents, regardless of socioeconomic level, age or any other demographic labeling.
Create Your Community’s Infrastructure
- Front Porch network:
- Identify locally owned centers of current activity that can be transformed into civic hubs of engagement working from your peer leader efforts
- Acquire the sites through a combination of direct sales (via evangelists), public relations announcements and referrals through guerilla marketing efforts
- Leverage the owners, employees and patrons of each Front Porch to build your network’s Member base (specifically peer leader targets)
- Resident base:
- Build your community participant base via the efforts of your Front Porch network. Provide Resident acquisition, training and guidance to Front Porch management and employees
- Reach out to and organize in local high schools and colleges seeding a cause-specific young generation movement (e.g. green and conservation actions)
- Focus on social media and public relations pinpointing community specific causes
- Use the health and well-being Assessment (“A Look In The Mirror”) as a conduit to attract and spur Resident participation
- Develop Solutions that address the components of the Vision Statement as well as building off the strengths and focuses of peer leaders (both enlisted and targets)
- Use your Front Porch network as the physical presence and base for your evangelists to bring in a diverse offering of participants
- Create a clearinghouse for ideas from all people in your community to be implemented now and later as appropriate
- Use the The Art of Collaboration as a guide to flesh out the ideas and develop implementation strategies
- Engage with other communities adopting the Melvin’s Neighborhood model by sharing Solution ideas and execution techniques — as well as creating cross-community collaboration (regional and beyond)
Building the Peer Leader Team
Build a team of peer-leading evangelists to anchor the efforts. Often hidden in weeds are the true leaders of the community – the ones people really follow. Fight the urge to fall back on community icons from the status quo; instead identify key community segments (often underserved, ferret out the influencers and solicit their input. Find that one key member that will contribute in outsized proportions: and when you find them.
- Breakdown target segments and research peer leader prospects — connecting with the Solution project you’ve identified
- Identify the referral sources (Sourcers): Find people in public access position who see what is happening in the community. These aren’t necessary peer leaders as they are eyes to the community. Focus on referrals from the Front Porch network
- Recruit the referrals — the strongest mechanism since the “eye” is putting their reputation on the line
- Meet people where they are using their physical hubs (Front Porches)
- Offer the access to the system with the blessing of the entire Neighborhood network
Nurturing the talent and working the system
Journey of Engagements: Imagine a journey of permission and incremental engagements that specifically aim benefit the individual and collective health and well-being of the community. This is not rigidly following a plan or adhering to a predetermined destination. It is recognizing the flow that arises from our appreciation for situational awareness and adjustments constantly needed due to dynamic relationships we constantly encounter.
- Unique solutions: There are no “best case” solutions (since there is no one context); only engagements specific to one of multiple contexts and delivered in a decentralized manner. The specifics of the engagements that prove most beneficial are the ones most applicable to the parties involved and the situation at the time.
- Stories of engagements provide context: Proper context is best arrived at through stories and anecdotes of our engagements as they depict unique situational alternatives that lay on the matrix of our community’s Smooth Space. And it’s with these stories we can manage the relationship that make up our community’s every-changing intermezzo.
- The bleedingEDGE Experience Platform is the platform that nurtures these engagements through. The platform uses the information gained from the Assessment upon Member onboarding and periodic updates and uses it to best direct the most applicable engagement suggestions (including where they come from) to each Member