Community is the foundation of my work: building communities of ideas and idealists. Whether I am leading a retreat, delivering a keynote to a thousand people, or facilitating a workshop at a conference, I design the experience to build community, connections, and shared purpose.
One of the simplest community-building exercises I use is to copy each of the following quotes on to different colored paper (the same color for each quote) and distribute them randomly among group participants. People first find others with the same quote (same color paper), discuss the quote, and explore its individual and organizational connections. Then they form mixed quote groups where each person shares his/her quote and talks about the different meanings and connections it held for others in their initial quote group. Through this simple rotating conversation, individuals learn more about building community as they create community with others.
After this exploration, it becomes easier for a group to develop its own community, the purpose it wants to pursue, and the norms and values to guide its pursuit.
“Some people think they are in community, but they are only in proximity. True community requires commitment and openness. It is a willingness to extend yourself to encounter and know the other.”