A few weeks ago, I had dinner with a bunch of very dear friends with whom I built a community-team in my last corporate experience. It’s been more than two years since our “formal” team disappeared. None of us work anymore in the company where we met. But we still keep the same communication channels, we are updated every day on what each of us are doing, we keep on discussing the same topics we used to, and we also keep the same team codes. All of them are now in HRD roles in leading companies and are creating their own community-teams. With our current perspective on our time together at that company, we agreed that the strength of community-teams depends on its members, as these kinds of teams exist and work together even if they do not belong to the same company anymore.
Throughout my professional life (both corporate and entrepreneurial), I’ve been honoured to be a part of several community-teams and I find them highly addictive. Community-teams gather around a common purpose which becomes the leitmotiv for the universe they will create. The profiles of their members are very diverse. They could even live in different cities or countries, they have different professional backgrounds and even different political beliefs… But they have a very strong driving force keeping them together: the will and the skills to make things happen. They do not need a leader (such a stereotyped, overused word) since they work as a naturally self-regulated, self-managed entity. It may be that, eventually, one of the team members becomes its official face, but they will always be just this, the team’s speaker. There’s no dynamic, book or training to build a community-team. You just need people with a shared purpose.
Community-teams generate a sustainable movement. With their own language, their own codes, their own working style providing specific results. And what makes these teams really awesome is their lack of selfishness when contributing internally and their generosity when they open up and share the outcome of their work with others, so that the community grows. The feature which defines the community-team above all is its ability to build in a positive way. They spread their enthusiastic energy all over and, most of the time, they manage to make a positive effect on their environment.
But it’s also true that, sometimes, there are some changes outside of the community-team. New interests may pop up or ways of doing which are opposite to its purpose. Even if it looks like reckless nonsense in the 21st century, organisations have the right to reverse its evolution (i.e. to involute) if they suddenly decide to do so (I’m still wondering why on earth they do this, but that’s the way it is so far).
Even in the worst-case scenario, something magnificent happens: the community-team members, very true to their purpose, honest, authentic and genuine, gradually leave that environment. It is a brave, compulsory action, since not being honest to oneself means losing one’s authenticity. And, if you are not authentic, it’s impossible to build in a positive way, which is a force that prevails over staying in an organisation whose values do not resonate with you. Those team members, then, take their savoir faire with them. It belongs to them, not to the organisation (which has been a mere atrezzo). And the organisation loses those best practices that brought fantastic results. Such has been the organisation’s choice.
Of course, when the community-team members land in a new environment, together or individually, they will connect with other people who share the same purpose and a new community-team will see the light. So, we create an infinite network. Purpose, on top of the creative urge, brings resilience, which keeps enthusiasm intact. And this is how, day by day, without looking back and welcoming new people on board, community-teams work towards changing the old status quo.