EP6 -The 5 Spheres Of Community Influence And The Critical Role Of Diversity In Goal Setting

This episode talks about the 5 spheres of influence in any community and teaches the critical role of diversity in goal setting.

The Growability® podcast is designed to teach business owners and non-profit leaders a more excellent way to run their business.

Podcast Transcript:

Joshua MacLeod:
If you want to know what the ultimate heart is behind Growability, behind my heart and even starting this thing, it really is developing relationship across leaders, who are in spheres of power to do something good, to make an impact in their community. That’s what it’s all about.

Podcast Announcer:
Welcome to the Growability podcast, teaching business and nonprofit leaders, a more excellent way to run a business. Visit growability.com for your leadership, coaching consultation and business collaboration needs. Today’s episode teaches leaders about the incredible importance of leveraging community to create goals. Here are your hosts, Bernie Anderson and Joshua MacLeod.

Joshua MacLeod:
There’s at least three really important inputs when you’re creating a goal. One is age, somebody who’s older or younger than you. One 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, cultural background. The more diverse a view that you can get, the more sustainable your goals are going to be.

Joshua MacLeod:
It reminds me of the story in the Old Testament where King Solomon is the wisest King that ever lived…an incredible empire. I think his net worth was somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion in gold, as opposed to the richest people in our day with $27 billion or something like that. So King Solomon is this opulent extreme. When he dies and his son, Rehoboam comes to take the throne.

Joshua MacLeod:
All of the people come and they say, “Hey, can you lighten up the load on us a little bit and give us a little bit of an easier time.” And Rehoboam, the first thing he does is, he goes to all of the counselors in the kingdom that are a bunch of old people, “Hey, what do you boomers think that I should do in this situation?” So the boomers come back and they’re like, “Yeah, they’re right. You should lighten up the load a little bit. The people will respect you. If you give them an easier burden, that’s a great strategy. You should do that.” So then he goes, and he talks to his own peer group, and his own peer group are like, “Your dad whipped them with whips. We’re going to whip them with scorpions. You go tell those stupid people how great we are.”

Joshua MacLeod:
So if Rehoboam would have listened to the older generation when he was creating his goals, he would have actually had an empire that would flourish and grow.

Joshua MacLeod:
And instead he listened to the younger generation, and he lost the entire tribe. They became his enemies. So simply listening from a different viewpoint, it’s critically important to make sure that your goal is as mature and safe. If you don’t listen to different generations, then your goals are likely going to be slightly immature, not as safe.

Bernie Anderson:
Yeah.

Bernie Anderson:
No, I remember when I was a very, very young pastor, I wasn’t even 30 years old yet. One of my friends, was a guy named John. It was one of the first times I remember having a peer who was my dad’s age, but we were peers. We respected each other and fed into each other’s lives, even though I’m 25 and he’s 55, right. You can have peers outside of your age group in generational lines. And I think that’s really, really important, leaders, good leaders, I think are going to do that. They’re going to listen to the people older. They’re going to listen to the people younger. I mean, both have something to offer. So I think one of the important questions coming from this is, okay, so how do we go about that? What are some things you’ve done for that?

Joshua MacLeod:
I have a singular answer for this. It’s share a meal. There’s no better way to develop a relationship than share a meal. If you’re going to go out and have a zoom call, it’s not as good as having a coffee meeting. But if you’re going to have a coffee meeting, it’s not as good as sharing a meal. When you really want to develop relationship with somebody and get to know them, share a meal, have them to your house, eat a meal together, get your families together. So I want to go create a goal.

Joshua MacLeod:
Everybody that I would talk to is going to be a yes man that totally agrees with me. Why don’t you go and actually get someone with a different opinion. As you’re sitting there having dinner with somebody say, “Hey, I’m thinking about doing this and what do you think about this? How does this meet you?” And often the perspective that comes out of that is life-changing, it’s dynamic.

Bernie Anderson:
It’s funny because this is a leadership podcast, right? Our leadership, we’re talking about a leader’s lunch and learn thing, but I know a lot of leaders who hardly ever do that. Having meals together with people that are not like you, even to the point of being uncomfortable, it’s actually so good and so helpful. And it’s going to make you at the end of the day, set and achieve better goals.

Joshua MacLeod:
I mean, really what you’re doing is, you’re giving that person honor, simply bringing honor into a community, bringing honor into a dinner or something that is so valuable to developing relationship. But then the net result is your goals are more realistic, which allows you to serve more impactfully in your community.

Podcast Announcer:
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Joshua MacLeod:
I’ve done a lot of thinking about what makes a community, a community and really what impacts a community. So when I spent seven years in 21 countries studying global poverty, one of the things that I was trying to figure out was, how do we systematically help the least of the least? Not just a feel-good change here for like three or four people, but systematically, how can we help a local government or a region or a community? How can we actually create systematic change to fight poverty and alleviate poverty in this situation? And as I started studying that, I noticed that there are typically, in any community, five spheres of influence or five spheres of power. So the first is the government, whether the government is good or whether the government is bad, the government is a sphere of influence. The second is what I would classify as art, media, your musicians, your artisans, your filmmakers, it’s basically people that are creating art.

Joshua MacLeod:
So you’ve got government, you’ve got art. And the third is business. The business obviously creates revenue. It creates economic stimulus, gives people jobs. So business is a major area. The fourth is education, so your schools, your universities, there’s a lot of power and influence that come from educators because you’re teaching the minds of how people can learn, how to learn and how to think. And then finally you have the faith community. They’re the people that make things happen through goodness and kindness. It’s a powerful group in any community. So influence from government, influence from art, influence from business, influence from education, and influence from faith. The challenge in any community is that most of these spheres of power or of spheres of influence are primarily engaged in gaining and keeping power for themself. So if I am government say, and I’m the Republican party, my primary objective is gain power for the Republican party.

Joshua MacLeod:
If I’m the democratic party, my primary objective is to gain power for the democratic party. If I am the independent party, my primary objective is gain power for the independent party. And then even offshoots of that, if I’m black lives matter, my primary objective is I’m going to gain power for black lives matter. The challenge with gaining power for yourself or your own organization is that, that will never create a systematic change. It will never create a community change. The way that I create community change is I share some of the power and the influence that I have with others. So I’ve read an amazing book that I really recommend it’s called, I Was Hungry. This guy, Jeremy Everett, he went down after Katrina, and he was looking at the devastation that happened from hurricane Katrina. So many people were left without water. So many people were left without shelter.

Joshua MacLeod:
All of the emergency systems were flawed and broken. And he looked at this challenge of, well, how do we actually create help and how to create blessing and restoration in Louisiana, after Katrina. And he realized that the only way to do that is actually work in concert and community with others. So he started a program that was about food scarcity. So he’s from Texas or he moved to Texas. And he wanted to create change in his community about the kids that didn’t have access to food. So I think it was at church one day and he went to the back of the church and there was a dumpster. And there were these kids in the dumpster foraging for food. And he’s like, “How can this happen? This is 2020”, or whenever he did this, “There’s kids in a dumpster.”

Joshua MacLeod:
“Surely there’s a place where they can go get a meal.” So what he didn’t do, which is what so many organizations do, is said, “Okay, I’m going to start, the Jeremy Everett Food Pantry, and I’m going to get my friends to give me a thousand dollars so that I can actually give six kids food in the next week.” And how many food programs are already existing in a community? What Jeremy did is he said, “Okay, who are the decision-makers in the community? Where are the spheres of power in the community? And let’s get together, share a meal, have a conversation and talk about how can we work together to solve food scarcity in our city.” So had a big meeting. There was government people there, there were faith leaders there, there were business leaders there, there were art people there and there were educators there.

Joshua MacLeod:
Now what happens as the meals are being shared, and people are talking with each other. Now, I have some relationships and I’m not just thinking about how corrupt this business guy is. I’m realizing, “Oh, that business guy actually funded this food program over here. Maybe they would fund this thing over here.” And that government person says, “Oh, this faith community that we’ve been so worried about is actually doing the most good. And we shouldn’t be worried about them. We should be partnering with them.” And what happens is those generational boundaries go away. The cross cultural boundaries, go away, your prejudices in various angles, go away. And then when you create a solution, you’re actually creating a solution that is good for the community. And you know, Bernie, I’m so passionate about that, because it is so non-existent. We are so fundamentally bent on protecting and growing our powers sphere, that we are never reaching across the boundaries, giving up some of our power, developing relationship, increasing the humanity of just having a reasonable conversation.

Joshua MacLeod:
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.

Bernie Anderson:
So give me three steps, three things that our listeners today can do to begin to develop a community that is bigger than their power circle. Develop a community that’s going to allow them to make really big goals. How do we do that? What are three steps that we can do to make that happen?

Joshua MacLeod:
Number one, very practical, find three organizations that are doing the same type of thing and don’t start your own. It’s kind of like, if you’ve already got a fire going and you just throw logs on that fire, that thing grows a lot brighter. But if you go to start your own fire, then that fire is not going to put out nearly as much heat as if you just throw your log under the fire that already exists.

Joshua MacLeod:
What we do in community development, is we go start our own fire, because our own fire is going to have our logo on the logs that we throw in it. Well, guess what? The logo doesn’t really mean anything. What means anything is the heat that’s produced from that fire. Number two, set up some meals, listen to the people that you want to do good for. And don’t assume that, you know best what good means. Make your plans based on what the feedback they give you. Actually share a meal with somebody and hear their story. Don’t just focus on the good that you want to do. Focus on getting to know them and learning about them. And then the third thing is go out and experience what somebody else is doing and stop asking, “What is it going to take for me to create this change” but “What would be my best role in helping this other organization to expand what they’re already doing?”

Joshua MacLeod:
I wish that leaders would do that. Don’t you wish leaders would do that, Bernie?

Bernie Anderson:
Well, I love what you said, this is about actually changing the world and not glorifying your brand. And I think that’s really where people need to get that, leaders need to get that, leaders in particular, need to not be so insecure that, “Oh, we got to make sure, we got the brand, is there a t-shirt with the logo on it or whatever.” Instead, just do good and you don’t have to have your name on it at all.

Joshua MacLeod:
If you want to know what the ultimate heart is behind Growability, behind my heart and even starting this thing, it really is developing relationship across leaders who are in spheres of power, to do something good, to make an impact in their community. That’s what it’s all about.

Bernie Anderson:
I think it’s a part of what we, who are in the leadership space and the business space and the nonprofit organizational leadership. I just think that’s a huge part of what we have to be doing, or why are we doing it to begin with.

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