Category: Community

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EP6 -Leveraging Community to Achieve Goals

There’s at least three really important inputs needed when you’re creating a goal. One is age, somebody who’s older or younger than you. The second is “talk to your spouse” or somebody from the opposite sex to get their input and insight. And, then the third would be from a different political, socioeconomic, racial, or cultural background. The more diverse a view that you can get, the more sustainable your goals are going to be.

A Tribe Lost

It reminds me of the story in the Old Testament where King Solomon, the wisest king that ever lived, dies and his son, Rehoboam takes the throne. King Solomon was an immensely wealthy near Eastern monarch having a net worth estimated around $4 trillion. This is opulence in the extreme. And, now Rehoboam ascends the throne with its accompanying net worth.

He no sooner becomes king when confronted with his first major challenge of how to deal with the people. King Solomon levied hard labor and high taxes on the people. A change in leadership was a chance to change this treatment. Rehoboam sought guidance from 2 groups: the older generation and his younger group of friends. 

The elder generation encouraged him to lighten the load and win their loyalty while Rehoboam’s younger group of friends told him the opposite. They told him to tighten the reins and impose harsher conditions.  Rehoboam lost the entire tribe. They became his enemies. 

Had he listened to the older generation while creating his goals, the empire would have flourished and grown. 

On Ramp to Relationships

It’s not easy to get a variety of people at the table. Entire organizations make it their goal to create cohesive multifactorial teams. Studies are done by private and public entities to conjure the best way to create dynamic, diverse teams. I’m sure you can think of a few yourself. What I’ve found is that the solution really isn’t that complex. One of the best ways to understand someone is to share a meal.

Sharing a meal is an underutilized, yet powerful way to develop a relationship with someone and get to know them. Sure, you can have a casual cup of coffee or Zoom meeting but those interactions are often fleeting. There is something about sitting down and breaking bread together that creates a sense of community like no other. 

You also bring honor into your relationship and develop a tighter sense of community when you share a meal. This isn’t just hyperbole. When you invite someone to a meal, you are on equal footing. Barriers often fade and real, quality conversations can take place. In fact, you may find yourself listening to opinions that are completely opposite your own. But, this is a great place to be to hear it and grow to learn more about each other in a way that may not have been possible in other settings. This small action helps build community in your organization. 

5 Spheres of Power

Community is critically important. I spent 7 years in 21 countries studying global poverty and its impact on its respective communities. I wanted to know how to systematically help the least of the least.

How can we actually create systemic change to alleviate poverty?

It’s a heavy and troubling question but I concluded that in a typical community there are five spheres of influence to contend with. 

These spheres of power include the government, art, business, education, and faith communities. The challenge with any of these communities is that they are primarily engaged in gaining and keeping power for themselves. Look at political parties, for example. Political parties use policies and positions as currency to grow power. The problem with this is that this is no way to create systemic or community change. 

Ironically, the best way to create systemic change is to share power and influence with others.

Hunger in a Hurricaine

Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating storms to rip into the southern United States. Levees broke and flood waters left a multitude of people without food, water, or shelter. Emergency systems were broken. Supply routes severed. This was a life-changing and life-altering moment that uprooted an entire community. 

Jeremy Everett witnessed the devastation in Katrina’s wake. He wanted to rebuild and restore the area but realized quickly that government wasn’t the answer. Taking this new-found perspective back to Texas, he formed a food scarcity organization to create change in his community. Children were hungry and foraging in dumpsters behind his own church. 

“This is 2020. How can this be?” His initiative to solve food scarcity had him sharing actual meals with members from each sphere of influence in the community. He consulted with local government, faith, education, business leaders, and teachers to form this organization. The amazing thing about this initiative is that boundaries dissolve in the process. 

Suddenly, you have the government, faith, education, business, and teaching communities talking to each other over a common goal. Partnerships are strengthened and trust is added into the community. This could have a far reaching impact because now the government can entrust members from the business or faith community they worked with on this initiative. 

We are so fundamentally bent on protecting and growing our power sphere, that we are never reaching across the boundaries, giving up some of our power, developing relationships, increasing the humanity of just having a reasonable conversation.

What we have is a bunch of silos of nice people doing good things, but it’s not actually good for everybody. It’s not good for the whole community. 

When we come out of these silos, we create community and find the best ways to achieve our goals.