The Similarities and Differences Between Community & Teams
Listen to Elements of Community today as Lucas Root and Anastasia Neddersen talk about the similarities and differences between community and teams. In your language, what makes a successful and effective team?
Welcome to Elements of Community!
I am your host, Lucas Root, and in this episode, we are going to talk about community as teams and their differences. Joining me in this episode is Anastasia Neddersen.
Anastasia Neddersen is a serial entrepreneur with 15 years of successful track record leading commercializing a broad portfolio of software and hardware products strategically and technically. In her experience, Anastasia has found that there are many inspiring and revolutionary undertakings in the world, but not many organizations do it with integrity, zest, and a kind of finesse that brings genuine value to the world and people. Anastasia’s aspirations are to increase collective team intelligence in any business environment. She’s on a journey to create accessibly and AI driven games to help teams build stronger connections and become exceptional at achieving their goals. On her quest, she is fueled by joy, authenticity, and personal growth.
Here’s just a taste of our talking points this week:
What Makes a Successful Team?
Anastasia described a successful team as a group of people that’s driven by common values, which is one of the key things that holds everyone together.
A team is also driven by the same goals or doing something that they striving towards. And typically identifies that there is a leader within a team.
With elements of community, values could be common heart. Values could be the bidirectional enrollment of the team, it could be the spoken or unspoken contract that people have with the team.
I have intentionally not focused on values as it pertains to the community, because I think that values are more like unspoken contract rather than a thing that people aspire to accept in corporate communities. Ironically in corporate communities, we find that values are often a marketing tool more than a true team cohesion driver.
Other subjects we covered on the show:
- The difference between communication and a project.
- Communication in elements of a successful team as a common heart.
- How can two people be a community?
- Relating cell isolation in community and teams.
- The fluidity of leadership.
- Curveball question—do the elements of community elemental?
If you want to know more about Anastasia Neddersen, you may reach out to her at:
- Email: Anastasia@Whiznook.com
[00:00:00] Welcome to Elements of Community podcast about discovering and exploring the Elements of Community. I am Lucas Root, and each week we talk with a community leader about what makes their community thrive and bring value to both the leaders and the members. Join me as we unpack the magic of the Elements of Community.
[00:00:36] All right. We are live. I’m really excited to bring this conversation. Anastasia came to me a couple of weeks ago with a really cool idea where she suggested that we talk about teams as community and take a look at the difference and talk about the difference in sort of a live conversation, which is very exciting.
[00:00:59] Anastasia, would you introduce yourself?
[00:01:01] Yes, of course. Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited about the work you do and being part of it is just really exuberating right. But yeah, I am by training a mechanical engineer and by engineer, but I’ve been kind of exposed to lots of different work especially lately as my new venture is exploration of inspiring teams and what makes inspiring teams and using basically simulated environments what we call play to extract behavioral metrics and learn about the teams.
[00:01:35] What makes them exceptional, what some of the challenges that they have and provide that data along with adaptive learning. And so I’ve been studying teams and studying leadership for a while now for close to 10 years. And When we met, and you mentioned about communities. One of the things that struck me right away was how similar the elements of the community are with what I believe is the elements of a successful effective team.
[00:02:05] So yeah, I’m really interested to dive a little bit deeper and figure out what are the similarities and what are some of the differences.
[00:02:13] Cool. So in your language, what is it that makes a successful team?
[00:02:21] So a successful team definitely is driven by common values. So that’s one of the key things that there needs to be something that holds kind of like as a glue almost in a team.
[00:02:32] And they’re driven by the same goals or doing something that they striving towards. We typically identify that there is a leader within a team, and that’s something that I wanna dive in with you as far as communities. And there’s also an importance of communication and more importantly, even psychological safety within team, because even if the communication may be struggling a little bit, then there’s, you know, not always smooth communication could be conflicts and everything.
[00:03:02] The psychological safety allows the team to hash through some of those challenges and being able to overcome some of the disagreements or areas where the team doesn’t really get each other. And then let’s see, what else is there?
[00:03:18] While you get your juices flowing, let’s take a look at this inside my framework.
[00:03:24] So values. Could be common heart, right? Values, could be the bidirectional enrollment of the team. It could be sort of the spoken or unspoken contract that people have with the team. So that could be the common heart, which is kind of cool.
[00:03:46] I haven’t focused on values. In fact, I have intentionally not focused on values as it pertains to community, because I think that values are more like the unspoken contract rather than a thing that people aspire to accept in corporate communities. Ironically in corporate communities, we find that values are often a marketing tool more than they are a true team cohesion driver.
[00:04:17] That is so true, but it’s definitely an area where we like to focus first because the team needs to buy in into those values. And if there’s people who not buying into it and really buying into it as in, they live by some of those values. And then if there’s areas that there’s disagreement, most likely that team will be challenged and really become an exceptional team.
[00:04:43] Doesn’t mean that there is an range of different teams and they can still achieve great things. But I guess what I’m fascinated about is when, and it doesn’t have to be in corporate environment, it could be sports. It could be many different places where a group of people reach a certain level of like almost cohesion and in some ways, I guess, even intelligence that they become greater together than individuals.
[00:05:10] Right. And with values, I do believe that at the core, whether they are on the company wall or not, if they are not shared among the team members, they will struggle. Because they will constantly, even if the project might seem more concrete, right? Like, you know, deadlines, timelines, budget, whatever it is, right.
[00:05:32] Like you are achieving something very concrete. Underneath it all, it’s still human interaction and that human interaction. It’s so important that you understand that we follow by similar rules. And I guess that’s what values to me are there’s underlying deeper rules that we live life with and I believe that those are very important, but I do see the nuances, like you said, the common heart and stuff like that.
[00:06:02] But to me, I think value is a bit more than just sharing that vision.
[00:06:08] Right. Then you also talked about communication, which depending on the context, that could be language or it could be project?
[00:06:18] Working out the communication is a project, which is really cool.
[00:06:25] Yes. No, I see that angle, but to me, project is something different project is kind of combination of everything, including communication, but it’s actual work too. That goes into that makes a project successful.
[00:06:41] But without that communication piece, you very unlikely to have a successful project. Right? Then in that I guess bucket of communication, there’s so many elements there because it isn’t just that the person is able to hear you and understand.
[00:07:02] But there’s that mutual willingness to, first of all, be challenged, right? That what you bring into the table might not be the best option or best solutions. So you are willing to basically allow somebody to bringing kind of these ideas and that’s that psychological safety that there is an opportunity to and apologize for that there’s a bug flying, but there’s the opportunity for challenges, opportunities to shift and be willing to shift from your original plan and kind of being flexible that way.
[00:07:42] To me also communication is kind of a certain level of vulnerability. Right? And so in the team, I think that that is important. You can be vulnerable, you can show up kind of with your authentic self and you’re not gonna be shut down. And that’s, again, part of that psychological safety and overarching bucket of communication.
[00:08:05] I think those things you’re describing are actually in heart. Like, their are elements of that heart.
[00:08:14] Yeah. To me, like when I looked at the elements, definitely heart is part of it. And then the language because the, well actually, can you again, describe in framework of teams, like how would you use that element of language?
[00:08:32] So when people first start working together, it takes them a long time to describe an idea. Right? They’ll describe something and the person will hear what they think they heard and you know, maybe they’ll go and execute and they’ll come back together again in a day. And they’re not even close.
[00:08:51] It’s not because they weren’t using the same base language English or whatever. It’s because they hadn’t established a community language yet, ie; when I speak to you, you don’t understand what I’m saying. You hear what you hear, but you don’t understand what I’m saying.
[00:09:10] That takes work. It takes projects. It takes heart. It takes bidirectional enrollment. It takes you trusting that when I’m speaking to you, I have your best interest at heart. I have our best interest at heart, and it takes the process of us talking and then going and working and coming back together and discovering that we aren’t even close.
[00:09:34] And adjusting, that process builds common language. So eventually, sometime in the future we have common language. And when I tell you something, you get it immediately. And vice versa. When you tell me something, I get it immediately. I just get it cuz we have built common language.
[00:09:52] Right. Yes. But I think to me that when you describe a language this way, to me, that is that communication piece that I’m talking about. Right. Because it isn’t just that verbal communication, it’s everything it’s nonverbal, it’s through projects, right? Like how you present and even the work ethic, right?
[00:10:14] Like what is to you done or complete, right? What is that level? And it might be different. And I think that that’s again about that common language, right?
[00:10:25] Yeah. You have to build it over time.
[00:10:26] Aligning of what does that mean to finish this particular task or this particular element of a project.
[00:10:33] Yep. And it takes time and it takes work and it takes projects and it takes some failures and it takes us having that common heart to try again.
[00:10:47] Yes, definitely.
[00:10:49] And get better and improve and keep trying again and get better and improve. And each time we improve our process and our capacity to execute the project, we’re also improving our language.
[00:11:03] And it’s not that we’re getting better at communicating. You were already an adult, you were already good at communicating it’s that we’re getting better at communicating between us.
[00:11:12] And understanding kind of each other.
[00:11:16] Right. So what we’ve done is we’ve built this unique language. It’s a sub language of English. It’s the Anastasia/Lucas language.
[00:11:25] So between us, we have a common language. As we work together, as we break, as we bump heads, as we mess up and succeed, we start to understand better what it is that we’re saying to each other and understand it faster and smoother and cleaner.
[00:11:43] And that is actually a unique language. It’s not just communication. It is a unique language.
[00:11:51] And I agree with that, but to kind of expand on it, if this is true, especially larger communities, you know, I’m assuming there’ll be shifts and there’ll be people coming and people leaving the community.
[00:12:02] Yeah, of course. And just like the English language as a whole changes. So to does a unique, common community language.
[00:12:11] Yes, but what you just described to me, it’s kind of sounds like culture in a way too. And that’s how we define that unique communication and everything that it involves. I would probably call it culture, although, think there’s other elements to culture than just that communication piece and that uniqueness.
[00:12:32] And what kind of came to my mind, because you mentioned that it is that unique that we build it over time as we’re doing a project. And then if I leave and if somebody else joins you, there would be already a different language. But an interesting thought that came to my mind is that in the corporate, let’s say corporate culture.
[00:12:53] Which takes a while to build. And usually it’s that founding team or kind of early maybe there’s like a significant restructuring, but whatever that was that allowed the team to create that common language. And everybody in that environment understands like, what are the social norms and kind of how they are interacting with each other, right.
[00:13:14] In that particular then scenario, if an employee leaves and a new one comes in and there’s already existing culture, it is not like starting over. Right. They coming into an existing common language. Yes. They will add their own slight little elements and maybe the culture will shift gently, but it’s not a significant thing. And so I’m wondering.
[00:13:36] Yeah. So the new person has to learn the language.
[00:13:39] So they have to learn the language, but they bring in their own language with them too.
[00:13:45] There’s an opportunity to, to improve the community. Yeah.
[00:13:49] Yeah, this is super fascinating.
[00:13:52] And it’s not just the way we talk either. I mean, how many times have you heard the phrase that’s not how we do it here? That phrase actually refers to language, right? The way that we do things here is its own version of language.
[00:14:07] And that’s a troublesome when those norms that formed that common language is actually not serving the team or community, right.
[00:14:16] Could be, yeah. That it has to change
[00:14:19] That we’ve kind of point out in our tools is that, hey, there’s certain things, certain behaviors, certain norms that you have created together that actually, making you less effective basically, and making it more challenging for you. And so, yeah, so not always, I guess, the common language, if we’re talking about in your language of the elements of communities, not always what evolved is actually beneficial for the community.
[00:14:52] Yep. Or it was once beneficial and now it’s an artifact.
[00:14:57] And now that hasn’t because it hasn’t adapted to certain environmental changes or whatever it’s right.
[00:15:03] Yeah, that was super interesting, well, I started saying that how synergistic it is, right? The elements of community and, what I kind of define an inspiring team.
[00:15:15] But I also wanted to focus a little bit on some of the nuances and potential differences. Maybe doing this conversation, we’ll find that it’s not different at all, but kind of some of those elements that seem to me.
[00:15:26] We’re building common language.
[00:15:28] Yeah. But what is actually different? And one stood out to me, there’s just several, but one that I wanna start with is just the size, right?
[00:15:37] Because the way I define typically a team is always a small unit. It has to be around 10 people cuz the more it is, and it’s almost naturally starts to first of all, break into subgroup, sub teams, whatever you wanna call it. And then usually if it’s a combination of main teams, I call it more of like the organizational culture or something like that.
[00:15:59] But it constituents kind of this smaller teams, whereas community, whenever I heard that word, I always always thought of larger communities. I know that they can be smaller, but to me, just even when I hear word community, I always imagine, you know, minimum, I don’t know, 20, 30 people, maybe a hundred people or, more, right.
[00:16:19] You can have very large communities. And so I guess I wanna explore this idea of in the community, especially if it’s a larger community and they are, have a common kind of purpose and goals, and project does it then naturally happen that they break into smaller teams in the community?
[00:16:44] Probably, I mean, we’re a community of two right now. We have a common language. We have a purpose. Our common language is not well refined, but it is being refined as we talk right now. Right. So for the last 20 minutes, we have refined our common language and we’re now 20 minutes better at communicating than we were at the beginning. Our purpose is to.
[00:17:10] It’s a common project.
[00:17:11] We do the project is this episode.
[00:17:16] All right. That’s fair.
[00:17:17] Our purpose is to make you look awesome. No, truly, I mean, unless I’m not doing my job, right. Our purpose is to make you look like a star here in front of our audience while we’re talking about the difference between community and team, cuz it’s a cool ass topic, right?
[00:17:34] So we have a common language. We have a common purpose. We have a common project. We have common value. The value is the output of the project, right? The value is this episode. We get to take that value. We’re gonna use it differently, but it is common value. And we have common heart.
[00:17:54] You trust that me as a host, I’m gonna do the best that I can to make sure that you look like an awesome expert in your field and, the people who are listening, walk away saying. Yeah, that was really cool. And she’s a smart woman.
[00:18:07] So then I’m curious because, you know, I’m sure there’s lots of people who will challenge you on the fact that you and I are already creating a community.
[00:18:16] I know that it fits the elements well. And so then it’s very easy if you define the elements yourself, and then you say, oh, look at that, we kind of fit every single one of them, but is it possible that, you specifically, I guess miss something with the definition of elements that there is a difference between community and team.
[00:18:38] No, that’s stupid. I’m perfect. Of course its possible.
[00:18:43] You and I versus kind of a community of many people, right? And maybe where the projects are little bit more and maybe they don’t have to be actually more than creating an awesome episode. But yeah, I wanna dive a little bit into that because that stood out to me right away the size.
[00:19:02] And I get what you’re saying about, well, yes, we are creating community right now, but to me, unless, by doing what we are doing, we start attracting other people that wanna share that purpose. They wanna participate in this project. Then we build in that community. But just the two of us, I wouldn’t yet call it community based on just what I understand.
[00:19:27] And so I’m curious to explore that and, maybe you’ll prove me wrong and I’ll walk away from this episode thinking, yes, Lucas, and I just created a community, but I’m definitely internally, at least challenged with that concept.
[00:19:44] Cool. So what’s our purpose?
[00:19:47] Well, I guess to even walk away a little bit from the elements, because I know that you can easily prove that we fit every single element.
[00:19:57] I want to, I guess maybe even try to step away a little bit from the elements of community and think about what most people, I guess, think of communities and why I believe that size kind of can be an important element of the community. That one or two or three, five people might not be quite enough to really call it a community.
[00:20:27] Go ahead.
[00:20:29] But I don’t know. I’m saying that, that that’s what comes to my mind, and I’m sure that there’s probably many people who would agree that, wait a minute, you just, maybe a group or a couple, or, you know, small team. But like when you say a word community for majority of people, I think it means something a bit more, but I don’t know what that is.
[00:20:54] And that’s my challenge to you that what if those five elements of community, what if it’s missing something?
[00:21:02] It actually, it could be. I don’t think it is. I think that we are a community of too. And I think that if you wanted to redefine our purpose as building long term conversation about teams versus community I think that we would attract specific audience and specific members who wanted to show up and have that conversation and participate in that conversation.
[00:21:27] And if we really wanted to put effort into building a community around this conversation starting with just the two of us right now, I think we could.
[00:21:39] I agree with that.
[00:21:41] So it starts with two and it grows, but it starts as a community of two and then becomes a community of three and then four and then 10.
[00:21:51] There’s something. And honestly, if you would ask me, well, at what point it becomes community, I wouldn’t be able to answer there isn’t a concrete number of people that I believe that, yes, if it’s this number or what.
[00:22:02] I agree. I don’t think there’s a concrete number. I think that there are five elements. When those are present, it’s a community when they’re not, it’s not, it’s just a group.
[00:22:14] Right. Okay. I mean, again, there’s something inside that still I’m challenged with that. For whatever reason, I always thought that you have to create in order for this to be called a community, it has to touch more people, I guess.
[00:22:32] The value, the heart, the purpose, the project, the language, it has to involve more people for whatever reason that that’s what kind of comes to mind. But I don’t know, at least not right now, maybe at some point I’ll have a revelation and I’ll share it with you. But right now, I agree with you, everything you’re saying about, you know, calling us to your community.
[00:22:53] Yes, I agree. But then I feel that, it’s very easily then to say about most people, most people that doing something together. And for that moment in time, they are kind of sharing a common language. Like you’re saying, like evolving, doing that project. They sharing hearts and they sharing a purpose, but then they just walk away.
[00:23:14] They kind of complete with whatever that task or activity was. And then they walk away. And to me, maybe another element besides size and maybe even more important element of community is actually time too, because time weathers things and tests things. And so to me, a community kind of is able to overcome challenges and things that are happening overtime.
[00:23:43] And able to really still, because it’s rooted in these values or elements, right. Then it’s able to kind of navigate that. But then I relatively easily can see that we can do this exercise with pretty much any two people or three people. And it would still fit because, you know, we, humans are able to craftfully create like, oh, this is our project right now to eat a pizza and watch TV, right.
[00:24:10] And or whatever it is. And then we’ll find a value in something that’s maybe watching sports. But to me that’s not a community or maybe it is, I don’t know. Maybe you’ll tell me. Yes, that’s a community too.
[00:24:23] I think there needs to be intentionality, I don’t necessarily think time matters. That’s more like an observation of maturity rather than a definition.
[00:24:36] I agree with that.
[00:24:38] But I think there needs to be intentionality and that’s somewhat described in common heart that, we don’t just happen to be in the same place, engaging in the same behavior we’re here together because we want to be here together. And I think that the purpose also has to be bigger than just the project.
[00:25:02] Yeah. So then in this example, it’s not just about creating this episode.
[00:25:09] Well, we’re only doing one project, but the purpose is bigger than the project.
[00:25:16] Unless you’re gonna throw this away when we’re done.
[00:25:21] I’m not, that’s super interesting. And again, I’m not disagreeing with you. I just realized that this is what comes to my mind.
[00:25:29] Good conversation.
[00:25:31] Yeah. And I’m wondering if other people think that too, and what is based on, right. Like why to me community means more people like, but maybe it is just something that I’ve learned culturally or, socially, and, that’s so rooted deep that it’s hard for me to imagine that us too can already be a community because we follow these elements.
[00:26:00] Yeah. I think there is probably some sort of a maximum size.
[00:26:05] Of a community?
[00:26:07] Yeah, I’ve been playing around with the idea, but I haven’t sort of put my finger on it yet. But my guess is that the maximum size is somewhere in the few hundred range.
[00:26:18] Really? What about like to me it’s just been kind of fascinating. So that’s why I’m bringing up. I think once a year, I wanna say in India, but you would have many people who would come and meditate together and it’s like this big event and it’s mostly monks, but not necessarily. I think there’s a lot of people that come and share that value and share that purpose and they meditate to better the world right through their meditation. And it’s thousands of people.
[00:26:51] Yeah. Burning man is similar.
[00:26:53] Burning man. Yes.
[00:26:54] Yeah. I mean, they’re not meditating to save the world, but it’s a similar example of how there could be a community that’s much larger. Maybe it’s appropriate to suggest that it could be a short term community or maybe an unstable community and the instability is acceptable based on the purpose.
[00:27:20] Interesting. Yeah. I always thought that, you know, for me in the size, like there’s the minimum kind of, that’s the one that I was just playing with in my mind, like, is there a minimum, but I don’t think I’ve had thought of maximum because I feel that in some ways we, as human beings just haven’t reached that yet, but there’s a possibility for us all, however, eight or 7 billion people, technically at some point it’s possible for us to become a community, a real community.
[00:27:55] It’s just very unlikely, at least not at this point in what are we observing? But everything that you mention of what makes a community and the potential of each individual human being, there’s nothing stopping us to become this one large community.
[00:28:12] It could happen. When I say there’s a maximum size, I’m not saying by definition, I’m saying more like your observation of maturity.
[00:28:21] I think there’s an observation of functional maximum. And it’s not like it’s a rule. It’s just like, when you get to, you know, let’s say 300 members, you fracture and could we overcome that? Well, it seems like there are certain circumstances like burning man where we can overcome that for a short period of time.
[00:28:45] Yes. And I think in, in the same with that meditation example, it’s a particular event and people come to it, but it’s not something kind of day to day or number days basis. Yeah. No, I think that makes sense. But in general, this idea, now we are talking about community and this idea of collective intelligence.
[00:29:09] And that’s what I kind of tend to, even though that and again, it might be the same thing, just talking about it lightly through different language. And even beyond that, what I brought up about the entire world is because I’m kind of fascinated. There’s a few people who are studying this of earth as an organism, right.
[00:29:32] As a kind of living, breathing organism and everything that’s happening of it’s just kind of systems and kind of these different systems affect each other. But there’s definitely some intelligence on that scale, which is obviously hard for us to even kind of fathom. Right. And so I think in that way.
[00:29:50] It only makes sense. Like if you look at medicine and medical studies today, all of the studies that were done on human cells that were in isolation, they all turn out wrong. I mean, like radically wrong. So it turns out when you look at these studies, you start to understand that the cell in isolation actually is insane.
[00:30:12] Like the cell itself loses its sanity. Which is an idea that only makes sense now, like 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago, you couldn’t even have allowed that thought into your head. The thought itself would’ve been insane, but we’re seeing it, that that cell in isolation is not sane.
[00:30:31] And it behaves in ways that it would not behave when it’s in the community of your body.
[00:30:38] Why not macro that one more level and suggest that earth is a singular organism. And when you study one single human you’re actually in isolation, you’re actually studying something that a being just like those cells in isolation, you’re actually studying a being that’s not sane. And it requires the other pieces of its organism in order for it to be sane.
[00:31:03] Right. And that’s really interesting to me, but it definitely will take a long time. I think, for us to get to a level where we really understand how independent we are from each other. And maybe get a little bit closer to kind of this idea of human beings is a community, but we definitely nowhere near that because I think of some of those.
[00:31:26] We’ll have to invent a new word for that. It’ll be humunity.
[00:31:31] Yeah. You know, sometimes in those fiction movies, they would have, you know, some kind of planet and they would have these higher beings. And I think the idea is that they became, and it’s not so much more intelligence. Sometimes we use that word intelligence as more cognitive intelligence, but I definitely, definitely believe that it is very much you know, cognitive sure.
[00:31:53] But social intelligence and you know, that community intelligence that’s where really we are still have lots of work to do it. And based on our conversations, you and I, it looks like we might have even had a lot more developed sort of social communities and we’ve lost in the last several thousand years.
[00:32:12] And maybe more you were gonna correct me, maybe, like how long ago we were maybe closer to more well functioning communities.
[00:32:26] It seems that way, doesn’t it?
[00:32:27] It does.
[00:32:28] Well, then we need to have conversations like this to bring it back.
[00:32:32] Yeah, no, for sure. And it would take, you know, many of us, not as individuals kind of, like you said about the cell, but as communities to start lifting humanity and lifting our capacity even to become more integrated with this organism earth, right.
[00:32:58] It’s very fascinating.
[00:33:03] Yeah, no, very interesting. But another thing that I’ve thought about is potentially different. So kind of going back to the differences because there’s definitely a lot of similarities was leadership.
[00:33:15] Right. And I mentioned to you that I believe that for at least corporate teams, and that’s really where my focus is right now that you do need strong leadership in order for the team to keep its course. And sometimes the leader doesn’t even have to be necessarily like fully in the team.
[00:33:36] So a good example probably actually be sports. You have a coach, right? And then you have the team. In my mind he is part of that team. Although we frequently call the team and separately, the coach or whoever else is kind of making this whole thing happen. Right. But there’s such an integral part of the team being successful because in many ways they help the team to define the purpose, to define what are the goals or, you know, project, I guess, in this case.
[00:34:08] And explore the heart idea because sometimes we join a team and we are struggling, sometimes it happens naturally, but a lot of times in corporate setting, we are taught to kind of keep you distance to be professional.
[00:34:22] Right. That’s the term we get be professional. Well, a lot of times being professional means also like don’t disclose personal information, be like, you know,
[00:34:32] Yeah. It means be disconnected.
[00:34:34] Be disconnected, right? Like you put on a mask, you put on that professional mask, you walk into the office and you are not you for duration of how many hours that you at work.
[00:34:46] And it’s you in isolation which is insane.
[00:34:50] Yes. And so many teams, let’s say again, going back to corporate setting, so many teams kinda missing that element, that they lose so much of their capabilities as a kind of this entity as a group that they just focus on their own individual things like, right.
[00:35:12] I have to write this report in isolation. I have to write this code. I have to create whatever it is. Right. And they all come together and it doesn’t fit or it doesn’t work together. Because they miss this opportunity to really get to know each other, connect how each person works and leverage not even each other’s talents and creativity, but like that new thing that comes, I’m almost born when people really allow that collective team.
[00:35:43] To become a community.
[00:35:45] Yes, right. So yeah, so the leadership piece I mean, of course you can always figure it out where to place it in the elements, but going back to the example of you and I right now creating a community, at least I don’t necessarily see that there’s a leader here. Maybe you do.
[00:36:03] I don’t think there is.
[00:36:04] And so do you.
[00:36:06] We have accepted roles. I mean, without taking the time to define them, I think we both probably pretty much agree on it and that would be common language. So we have accepted roles in the way that we’re playing together right now.
[00:36:20] But there isn’t a leader and we could very well hit the stop button and then decide that we want to do another recording and hit the start button and have different roles and, still be in pursuit of the same purpose and our common language hasn’t changed. It’s still that unique on Anastasia, Lucas language.
[00:36:41] As long as it’s in pursuit of the same purpose and we still have common heart, even if our roles change drastically, it’s still the same community. So the nice thing about community is that it doesn’t actually require defined roles. The roles change, they change in the project. They change depending on which community members show up.
[00:37:04] So do you then agree that, that could be the difference between teams as we define them and communities?
[00:37:15] I think that it’s possible that teams don’t require a leader. I think that leadership can be defined in the moment. I think that it’s culture.
[00:37:27] So then it’s leadership, but then it’s fluid and then another person takes that leadership and another person takes that leadership.
[00:37:35] Yeah, no. I mean in really well functioning community, I can see that happening. In more real settings. I see that in order to organize the people in order to inspire them, to even kind of come to this opportunity, to have a common language, somebody has to have a bit more of that leadership role. Maybe temporary, but they do.
[00:38:04] Yeah. It might not even be leadership. It might be the inspiration role. I mean, how many startups do you see where the person who pulled together, the idea and, it initially inspired the team does not end up being the CEO.
[00:38:21] Yes. It happens actually a lot.
[00:38:24] It happens a lot, right.
[00:38:26] Because it needs different types of skills, right. To be CEO.
[00:38:30] That’s right. That’s an example of fluid leadership in service to the community.
[00:38:37] And so then you argue corporation could be also a community, then?
[00:38:46] It could be I think that the more rigid that corporations are with their hierarchies and, the more dogmatic they are about following that hierarchy, the less like a community they actually are.
[00:38:59] Right? Because in order to be an effective team, you do have to have fluid leadership in order to be an effective community. You do have to have fluid leadership and dogmatic hierarchy is not the same thing as fluid leadership.
[00:39:12] They are actually in conflict. Those two things.
[00:39:15] Do you see that our workplace cultures would be shifting drastically in the next 10, 20, 30 years where we would see it?
[00:39:26] Well, I mean, some of them already have, the world’s largest and highest quality canned tomato maker is an employee owned company and everybody in the company defines their own roles their own pay, their own working environments and they do it with a committee of 10 of their peers.
[00:39:49] So they’re a member of a small community inside the larger community of that tomato company. And there’s no hierarchy other than that committee of 10 of your peers, and everybody has a committee of 10 of your peers, but it’s not the same committee for anybody. It’s actually really extraordinary.
[00:40:09] Yeah. They’d be interesting too just begin on a case study, right. Because they have become successful. Use a very, very fdifferent methods, I guess then there’s something to learn about that, especially, they have, you know, like this districts right now are pretty dismal for corporations as far as, you know, attrition and employee engagement, like all of this stuff. And so it would be.
[00:40:33] I’m pretty excited. Actually. I’m glad to see this.
[00:40:39] I’m curious companies like that tomato company, what’s the name of it by the way?
[00:40:44] I’ll dig it up and send it to you. It’s not in my head right now.
[00:40:48] No worries.
[00:40:48] I actually had a guest on Elements of Community several episodes ago. Who did do a case study on that company.
[00:40:57] Oh, she did. Oh, all right. Yeah. So maybe I can connect later and see what she found out or he or she?
[00:41:08] He, yeah, cuz that is fascinating. I’m sure there’s other examples too. Right.
[00:41:12] I think startups are a good example. Let’s call them the vision master of a startup, the person around whom the startup sort of coalesces at the beginning.
[00:41:23] I don’t think anybody actually needs or, is even well served by well defined roles in a startup.
[00:41:31] That’s true.
[00:41:31] And I think that if you watch the effectiveness curve of the team in a startup, it goes dramatically up as they’re building common language. And as soon as they’ve arrived at common language and they start to look for a definition of role it actually peaks and starts dropping again.
[00:41:51] And the definition of role and, that’s cultural, that’s U.S corporate culture. Like the expectation that there is a definition of role. That’s a cultural thing. It’s not required by community. It’s not required by the corporation. It’s not required by the customer. Right. The customer doesn’t care.
[00:42:10] It’s just cultural. And so as they start looking for that dogmatic hierarchy, just because they’re used to it and it’s comfortable, they actually become less productive.
[00:42:24] That is super interesting because I wonder if the opposite is true too, that if a startup starts with very defined roles, so you have a team of three, four people and you have, you know, let’s say one of the founders who takes on, especially if they are CEO, for example, and they take on a bit more of that traditionally defined role.
[00:42:49] And so everybody, even in the setting are more subordinate in the way. Right. And there’s less opportunities for that fluidity, less opportunities for other team members to kind of take on these different roles. They already set in their kind of define roles. I wonder if that’s what also potentially domes startup and they have a naked because…
[00:43:13] I would argue that that that’s an increased failure factor.
[00:43:17] Yeah. And that’s very curious because you know, I’ve had some unsuccessful experiences in entrepreneurship in kind of looking back. I do see those elements that they were present. Very, very much see that if you go element by element of where we really, really struggled from pretty much from the get go, except maybe the first six months of the honeymoon period.
[00:43:44] Then it just was very much really challenging and, heart and language and purpose, I would say was still define, but I think how we would get to that purpose. So on the project level, I think that that’s where the challenge was because I think the purpose to till end was very much aligned. I think very different understanding of how we wanna get there and what it took as far as a heart, you know.
[00:44:12] Someone steeped in american corporate culture would say that’s a failure of leadership. And I agree, but since everyone can and should be a leader as a failure of leadership, that’s actually everyone’s failure, not just one person’s failure.
[00:44:27] Yeah. And that’s what’s so powerful what you just said, because if we teach culture all the way from school, when the kids get first formed into groups, teams, right.
[00:44:41] And they have to do something, if we kind of early on provide maybe some of those, although I feel like kids probably don’t even need that. They don’t need defined language for right. It’s so.
[00:44:54] They’ll build it, give, give them freedom. They’ll build it.
[00:44:57] But adults, and I don’t know if you’ll agree or not, but I do find so frequently, at least in my professional life.
[00:45:04] We do need, I think a little bit of training in the way of no, that doesn’t have to be this way. Right? We can be this way and maybe even like a few definitions of what, or maybe even going through the exercise and actually defining these, you know, what is our purpose? What is our, like, how do we show up with our heart?
[00:45:23] Like actually sitting down and doing these exercises might be really beneficial for that first forming community.
[00:45:31] If was trained in school, you would still have to be trained to join a company, but it would change the training that you would need, cuz you would sit down and you would go through instead of trying to learn processes and procedures, you’d be learning common language. You’d be learning common heart. You’d be learning how to show up as a team.
[00:45:57] Yeah, no for sure. And it’s very, very interesting to look at it through this lens, at least for me. And not just, you know, in like previous experiences, but just stories you hear and big books that, you know, people write that had that element of failure maybe in the beginning of their start of their projects or whatever. So It’s, I think that’s just the way to do it.
[00:46:21] Oh man, I get triggered when I read like the, the annual CB reports where they talk about like product market fit, being the cause of failure. And I’m like, no, it’s not, by the way, for those who are listening, CBI reports, that product market fit is like 40% of startup failure.
[00:46:45] It’s like 5% of startup failure. When you look at a team functioning effectively from the lens of this, of building a community, Product market fit is you didn’t get there yet. You can’t say that a startup failed because of product market fit, honestly, until it’s had like three, 4 million or more in revenue, all the failure that happens before that much revenue, not funding, not money in the bank revenue, all the failure that happens before that is not product market fit.
[00:47:19] It’s vision. It’s team. It’s strategy, it’s leadership. It’s fluid leadership it’s team dynamics.
[00:47:27] Absolutely. And I think, you know, some accelerators, they start emphasizing the fact that most often it would be the team, but just didn’t figure it out their common language and their purpose and their ways of how they wanna execute that.
[00:47:44] That’s what really is the failure. And everything else is just, yeah, they didn’t iterate enough. They didn’t pivot enough. They didn’t kind of find the right market for what they’re offering. Right? Yeah, no, I a hundred percent agree and that’s definitely sad that there will be the founders who will basically say, oh, it’s just, you know, I’m one of the new ones that just happened to, you know, , or it wasn’t the right timing. Right. Or whatever, whatever the reason.
[00:48:15] That’s a lazy answer.
[00:48:17] Yes. Most often it’s and it’s not necessarily like something bad, right? Like a dysfunctional team. But the team that just didn’t really gel together in a way that really allowed, because it is difficult, otherwise everybody would be doing it.
[00:48:36] It is really difficult. And so, you kind of have to have that spirit and that motivation to kind of keep going and hold each other up. And that’s, I think that fluid leadership is that when potentially one of the leaders who maybe started it all, that was their inception of idea and they kind of brought the team together.
[00:48:55] They might be kind of stumbling for whatever reason and somebody else picks up and then they get reinspired right. Whatever that looks like. But definitely the accountability of the team is a important one.
[00:49:10] Cool. Yeah. This has been an awesome conversation
[00:49:15] yeah, I really enjoyed it. I definitely like it, it went into unexpected ways, but very interesting.
[00:49:21] And I honestly think that there is more opportunities to really dive deep into these, some of these topics we raised and look into defining, maybe more of yeah, at which point does community potentially, like we talked about the size, right? Like at which point maybe it needs something else or maybe there’s that element of time, but it has to be short term or whatever it is. I think that, that would be very interesting to explore.
[00:49:54] So let’s say that one of our listeners decides that they do want to join the community of two that you and I have. Where are they gonna find you?
[00:50:03] The easiest ways is my email. So Anastasia@Whiznook.com, it’s spelled W H I Z N O O K.com.
[00:50:14] Awesome. Thank you, Anastasia@Whiznook.com and that’ll be in the show notes. Final question before we completely disconnect. What question did I not ask you that you wish I had?
[00:50:27] Hmm. Good question, maybe that is the question. I think maybe since a lot of your effort has been in defining communities and hoping the bigger purpose is to actually create more communities, right? Including this community of Lucas Root’s podcast, right. The community podcast, but be even beyond that and by defining the elements, I’m assuming that that’s kind of part of that formula, although I don’t like that word, but kind of what makes a community so people can understand what they need to have in order to have a good community.
[00:51:10] But I guess the question maybe. Let me see if it comes to me. I guess, beyond that, like, what is the, I guess, do you define community just by having these elements and that’s already great. Or is there some kind of criteria that makes it really a successful community as in they of achieving something. And do you see the difference between the two and maybe that is not a question that you can ask me, but I couldn’t think of anything.
[00:51:56] So, I’m pivoting and asking you, do you look at communities this way as successful communities, but not successful? And do you believe if communities really have all of those elements present, then by definition will be a successful community?
[00:52:15] I do. But I we’re so achievement focus that we’ve taken of our lexicon, our larger cultural language, the idea that achievements could be something other than a widget.
[00:52:35] So there are families that are not communities, but there are families that are communities. And when those families get together and spend time together and they walk away from that community gathering that project that they just engaged in, of getting together.
[00:52:51] They feel fulfilled and refreshed. And the reason they keep getting together is because they feel fulfilled and refreshed. Right. And that’s what success looks like for that community is, is getting together and feeling fulfilled and refreshed.
[00:53:04] Definitely. And I agree with you that success in our culture often means kind of more tangible financially than but that’s not definitely how I thought of it when I raised this question.
[00:53:16] I guess the question was, do you really believe that those elements are so…
[00:53:31] Elemental, that if the community doesn’t have those successes, whatever they look like for them some of those elements maybe are not present, or maybe not refined enough or.
[00:53:49] Yes, I do.
[00:53:51] And so then if there’s a community who’s struggling and maybe at some point there were great, but something started to over time lose and people kind of like lose their engagement or fulfillment or whatever that thing that they believe they wanna achieve with their community.
[00:54:07] Would you suggest then to look at under the microscope at all, each of these elements and see what are some of the areas that maybe started to suffer?
[00:54:19] Yep. That’s what I would do, that is in fact exactly what I would do. I would start with language and heart and, see if they have them. Do they have a common language? Is there reasonably similar description of the purpose of the community across all the community members? Very first place that common language is gonna show up the description of the purpose of the community.
[00:54:47] Why are you here? Why do you keep showing up? Why do you expect other people to show up? What are you all working towards? Right. What’s the purpose? And if they don’t have a similar description of the purpose, they probably don’t have common language. Let’s be honest. And then go deeper.
[00:55:03] How do you describe, what are the words that you use to describe your role? How do you describe success by showing up, how do you describe failure? How do you describe the success of your community members or team members? How do you describe the failure? And if those languages aren’t similar, then we probably don’t have common language.
[00:55:24] And I think that’s definitely very powerful, and we should probably end on this note because that’s really that if you struggling in your project, or some in your work or in your family or whatever, those small, big communities that you involved in that start looking and asking those questions probably is the first step. Right.
[00:55:51] Cool. I agree.
[00:55:54] All right.
[00:55:55] Thank you, Anastasia.
[00:55:56] Yeah, I’ve really had fun and, the glitch, you know, maybe that’s another podcast. We can look at technology and communities.
[00:56:05] There is a lot there, right?
[00:56:08] Could a Facebook group be a community? How do you tell the difference between this Facebook group, which is not, and this Facebook group, which is right? There’s a lot there.
[00:56:17] For sure.
[00:56:18] Yeah. All right.
[00:56:20] Well, thank you. .
[00:56:21] Thank you. Bye.
[00:56:22] Thank you for joining us this week on Elements of Community. Make sure to visit our website ElementsOfCommunity.us or, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or via RSS. So you’ll never miss a show. If you found value in this show, we’d appreciate a rating on iTunes.
[00:56:44] Or if you’d simply tell a friend about the show that would help us out too. If you like the show, you might wanna check out our EOC inner circle, where we deep dive with each guest on the inner workings of their community. We cover things like community model, profitability and engagement strategies. You can join the inner circle at ElementsOfCommunity.us/innercircle.
[00:57:08] Be sure to tune in next week for our next episode.
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Lucas is the host of Elements of Community. He is a community growth strategist and works with mega companies like The Pokemon Company to help build and foster community. This podcast is Lucas' way of giving back what he has learned about the magic of building and growing community.
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