Mobilizing a Community Around a Shared Company Vision
“If a movement is to have an impact it must belong to those who join it not those who lead it.”
I recently read a CNBC article on the Schwarzman Scholars Program created by Steve Schwarzman with the vision to create a more peaceful world. A program built with the intent to run the next 50 years and find 10,000 Scholars who share this vision and are then taught the curriculum to act on it when they leave the program.
If you take a step back, think about how empowering this vision is and the people who can take part in it. Regardless of the program and everything Schwarzman offers their scholars, wouldn’t it be amazing to be part of a vision that can transform lives and this world as we know it?
That is the power of vision and letting others share what the leader believes.
After running multiple companies and communities the past four years, I have had the opportunity to pay attention to brands implementing effective community strategy. Here is what I believe it takes to rally a tribe behind a shared vision:
A. Clear Branding and Positioning: One of my mentors, Mike Porath, founder of the TheMighty.com stated from the beginning the purpose of his vision, “We face disability, disease and mental illness together”. Because The Mighty has created a powerful brand tagline, it’s an easy vision for people to understand and follow in the first 10 seconds. Mike is a true inspiration for his ability to lead others around his vision, and his platform has thousands of contributors and users who sign up everyday.
B. Clear Infrastructure that lets others lead your vision: If you want to find a community that operates at successful scale, look no further than Derek Andersen, founder of Startup Grind, an aspirational figure for any community visionary. Startup Grind is on a mission to educate every entrepreneur in the world. I learned he and his team have built roughly 300 chapters around the world to support entrepreneurs. When explaining what it took to to reach that goal, he strongly suggested implementing “repeatable systems and processes.” With the right infrastructure, it becomes easier for a community to scale and reach more people.
3. Invest time in the people who join your vision: A vision built with community infrastructure does not run properly if the people leading the community are not investing in the people wearing the brand on their back. It is the job of the community leaders to turn other people into leaders and make sure they feel nurtured and like this is their home to belong. Whether your community provides support, tools, resources, relatable connections, it’s imperative you create value for the leaders volunteering in your community to continue create value for others who join it. A great example of this comes from the Next Gen Summit Community, founded by Justin Lafazan and Dylan Gambardella.
In this example, both founders took dedicated time to share their thoughts and connect the person asking the questions about events to others in their community.
To conclude, building a community is relentless work. But it starts with a shared vision, great leadership, strong infrastructure, and the ability to nurture a network properly.
For more information on cultivating communities, read my last post on how to build communities around specific archetypes.