I have come to believe that your community is at the core of what shapes your culture.  So then how do we cultivate community? What is community?

Community is a feeling of fellowship with others as a result of sharing common values, beliefs and purpose.

Most of you likely already recognize the importance of culture. As the saying goes “culture eats strategy for lunch… and dinner”. So what shapes culture? There is a lot to ponder in that question.  It is many things but as I stated upfront, at the heart of it is community. Too often leaders limit there efforts in shaping community to stating mission and vision statements along with their values. Which are rooted in what you aspire not what you are, or how you behave.  And rarely delving into why you exist.  It would be easy for me to digress further into a better way of doing this but that is not the topic of this post so I will go deeper on that in a future post.

Today I want to go deep on what is required to cultivate community which in turn shapes your culture.  Let’s start with these four essential aspects for developing community… 

Honesty – Authentic community can not exist without candor.  Yet candor has become a lost art.  It’s typically your fear of conflict that gets in the way of the kind truth coupled with a misguided need to protect a false sense of peace.  Yet conflict is healthy, it is a powerful pathway to intimacy and trust if you face and resolve issues and differences. This is not a license for rudeness or thoughtless words, respect is necessary in order for your honesty to cultivate trust.

Humility – There is no room for self importance or pride in community.  Pride blocks your growth while humility opens you up.  This is not about thinking less of yourself, it’s about thinking more about others and serving them.

Reverence and Curiosity – Community requires honouring and embracing differences.  In fact it requires much more, it requires you to have a deep sense of curiosity of others.  Where they are coming from and what is their point of view?

Commitment – Community is not built on convenience it is built on conviction. You must be genuinely committed to your common values, beliefs and goals.  This requires you to show up.  Even if you don’t feel like it.  It means giving up any sense of it being about you.  It means building and committing to fellowship.

What else is required to cultivate community? What could you do to cultivate more community at work? And what about at home?