“Team Building” is a common initiative within companies pursuing excellence on a new level.  I play in that sandbox as well as a Leadership Coach. My job is essentially to create an environment for leaders and teams to achieve professional development and performance goals through coaching conversations, establishing relevant action steps, adjusting mindsets/behaviors as needed, and holding them accountable to their “end goals” as we journey from meeting to meeting over a period of time.

I love my work and am always keeping my eyes out for ways to support my clients as they strive towards becoming better versions of themselves.  So this morning as I was contemplating the leadership program I am currently managing for a corporate client, I suddenly had an epiphany.  One of the reasons their program has shown a series of successes during just the first three months of implementing leadership and staff develop initiatives is because of the company culture they have cultivated over the 20 years they’ve been in business.

That culture consists of more than just great teamwork. They seem to have developed a “Community” environment – which I believe will significantly impact their ability to achieve their 2017-18 operational and growth goals.

Communities tend to have stronger bonds than teams – even for someone new to the community. An example that comes to mind is the motorcycle community. I’ve owned a bike since 2001 and have lived in 3 states and multiple cities within those states over the last 16 years. It didn’t matter where I lived or what group I joined.  The moment I stepped into that community within that area I lived, I was immediately welcomed like family and generally any need I had was met quickly when I asked for help.

According to the Center for Community Health & Development at the University of Kansas 1 , community is more than just people living in a geographical location. It actually refers to any group sharing something in common – a faith community, a business community, a ethnicity community, an alumni community, etc.  They all have the following traits, though the specifics for each vary from community to community:

  1.  Physical Aspects (even if it’s just the building or type of place they meet at regularly)
  2.  Infrastructure (the basics needed for the operation of the community)
  3.  Patterns of settlement, commerce and industry (where they shop, where they hang out, etc.)
  4.  Demographics (age, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, education, first language, etc.)
  5.  History (their stories, conflicts, factions, important issues, etc.)
  6.  Leaders – formal (elected/appointed) and informal (trusted by most)
  7.  Culture – formal (traditional events and slogans) and informal (patterns of behavior and ways of doing things specific to that community)
  8.  Existing groups (an array of organizations within the community)
  9. Existing Institutions (important establishments dedicated to community causes/programs)
  10. Economics (how they produce, consume and transfer money)
  11. Government/Politics (the power structure within it, formally or informally, to oversee the “rules” of the group)
  12. Social Structure (how they relate to each other and solve problems)
  13. Attitudes and Values (the core positions they hold which guide their actions/reactions in any given circumstance)

Individuals within successful communities – professional or personal – tend to be in alignment on some level throughout all 13 traits, despite differing opinions/feelings between members with regards to any of the 13.

So let’s bring that theory back into the corporate world:  People who genuinely like each other, feel a sense of camaraderie, and have common interests generally work better together.  And better working people generally produce better results!

Therefore, building a “Community” culture instead of just focusing on team building initiatives will probably be a more effective approach long-term to achieve the next level of success you are seeking for your company.

A wonderful example is the WD-40 company.  Garry Ridge, President/CEO, has successfully developed a tribal community within his organization – and it’s thriving in the marketplace year after year. Their website notes the following: “At WD-40 Company, we value the uniqueness and variety of languages and cultures woven into the fabric of our corporate culture. We are a unified tribe bound together by our shared corporate values, hard work, celebrations and memories created along the way. We value succeeding as a Tribe while excelling as individuals.”2

Sometimes doing things differently and taking meaningful risks is the key to uncovering new levels of success.  Take a minute and consider….What it would be like if YOU developed a “Community” in 2018 within your organization instead of just focusing on team-building?

If that question even sparked a small amount of curiosity or excitement within you, give me a call at 404-551-3601 to set up a no-obligation Coffee & Conversation meeting (virtual or in person, depending on my proximity to you) in the next few days.  Or just go to my website (www.BeginToShift.com) and click on the “coffee” picture.

I look forward to chatting with you soon!  ~Kris :)


About Kris (Cavanaugh) Castro & Shift Inc.

Kris (Cavanaugh) Castro is the owner of Shift Inc, and she is committed to your growth and ambitions!  Her  background includes over 20 years of experience training, mentoring, and coaching individuals and teams. As a certified ICF coach and expert strategist, Kris has an amazing ability to pull her clients through difficult challenges to remain on top of their game, enhance their professional performance, develop effective leadership skills, and produce more consistent results.  To learn more about individual, leadership or corporate coaching programs, or to purchase one of her self-improvement products, go to www.BeginToShift.com.

Reference Links:

1 Understanding and Describing the Community (University of Kansas Center for Community Health & Development):  http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-and-resources/describe-the-community/main

2 WD-40 website:  https://www.wd40company.com/careers/our-tribal-culture/

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