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Category Archives: People Systems

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Hahrie Han on Gun-Control vs. Gun-Rights Groups

Posted on by kevin

There’s a palpable difference between a tight-knit community and a loose group of people with a shared interest. This article in the NY Times by Hahrie Han illustrates this contrast. Hahrie, a gun-control advocate who studies grassroots movements compares the traits …

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Progressive Elaboration

Posted on by kevin

One of my favorite terms that I learned last year was “progressive elaboration.” I studied (and passed the test!) for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification which yielded plenty of project manager vocab including this gem. Progressive elaboration means to …

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We Finished a Draft

Posted on by kevin

My team and I finished a draft of our book on community building yesterday. Woo! A milestone. Plenty of editing and design work lie ahead. There are holes and inconsistencies. But, we finished a draft. If I were to teleport …

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The Next Generation

Posted on by kevin

I mentioned yesterday that the last section of the book I’m working on is about cultivating nascent communities. Part of that is investing in the next generation. How does a community bring in new energy? How do they invest now …

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Communities and Gardening

Posted on by kevin

Today I wrote an intro to a section of our book entitled “Once you’re big, go small.” It’s about cultivating nascent communities and helping your group evolve. Organizing a community is a lot like gardening. You can water, nurture, plant, …

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Leadership Rich

Posted on by kevin

The image of the singular leader is a myth. A good test of a leader is how well they enable leadership among those they serve. Instead of being the most valuable node in the network, they build the network’s value by …

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Mobilizing ≠ Organizing

Posted on by kevin

Mobilizing isn’t the same as organizing. From  Marshall Ganz: “I want to make a distinction here between mobilizing and organizing. Mobilizing is getting people to sign the petition, show up at that rally, or click the mouse. Often that’s a tactic …

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Successful Organizing

Posted on by kevin

For any type of work, defining how to measure success is a critical undertaking. Clarity around success metrics helps us make decisions big and small. Yet defining success is especially tricky if your work involves organizing people towards a common …

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Communities and Structure

Posted on by kevin

My former boss Jerri, once said: “A community isn’t a community unless it’s organizing itself.” Structure like guidelines, hierarchy, roles, and expectations can help a group of people effectively organize and operate. But too much structure can be stifling. Too …

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How to Keep Track of Your Community

Posted on by kevin

Today I wrote about what data to monitor as you or your organization work to cultivate a community. The most important thing is to pay attention to who keeps showing up. Observing how many people regularly participate, discovering who they …

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