Five Pillars of Community: Direction and Desired Outcome

Establishing the Pillars of Community within member-driven organizations is vital to their success.

Having a strong community encourages and activates the full potential of the communities you are trying to build and serve. How do we create strong communities?

As featured in Why Community Matters series with Kiki L’Italien of Association Chat

Join us over the next several weeks as we answer this question and feature each of the five pillars in JUNO’s Five Pillars of Community: Connecting Humans for Organizational Growth, available for download here.

The first pillar to consider when building a strong community for your organization is a clear Direction and Desired Outcome. If everyone in the organization understands the company's vision, everyone will be on the same page. With everyone working together for a clear and straightforward mission, employees in your organization will not be confused nor concerned, but rather in a place to produce more motivated work.  

To help define vision, it is first important to ask your community members a simple question: “where is our direction, and why does it matter?” Everyone wants to envision a positive future because here is scary and depleting, but the future is there and exciting! The vision of the organization creates motivation, purpose and story, and it establishes the question of: “why am I here?” Vision gives people something to believe in, but it also provides a common goal for everyone to look forward to.

When employees understand the vision of the organization, they understand how their work has an impact, why they are doing it and what the end goal will be. If there isn’t a clear direction or desired outcome, this could be a major problem for an organization. When we talk about work motivated by vision, it is important to understand the current state of total engagement in the workplace. That provides some insight to how member-driven associations like your own could be affected by these trends.

According to an article featured in Gallup in October 2020, written by Jim Harter, “the percentage of engaged employees -- those who are highly involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace -- has dropped back to just slightly above the pre-COVID-19 rate of 35%, to 36%. The percentage of workers who are "actively disengaged" -- those who have miserable work experiences and spread their unhappiness to their colleagues -- in this latest survey remains the same, at 13%.” To make matters worse, “The remaining 51% of workers are "not engaged" -- they are psychologically unattached to their work and company.” Think about how costly that is! When you put these two things together: thirteen percent of people are actively not engaged and fifty-one percent of people don’t feel engaged at all.

How can we get our employees and members both engaged again? Vision. What is the organization's Direction and Desired Outcome? What do we want to achieve, how can our organization help people understand common goals, and how can we make sure everyone who works for us is committed to that vision?

It is never wrong to sit back and honestly say, ‘I don’t know what our vision is,’ but that indicates a problem that starts with the community’s leaders. People are always looking to invest their time into a track that is going somewhere; it is simply not sustainable to not have an answer. It might take some time to solve that question, but it is crucial to do so. In organizations without a vision, that’s when the percentages of engagement really drop. Organizations of all types must claim a clear direction and desired outcome: ‘We are going here for this specific reason and it is vital that everyone understands that.’ The more that is communicated, the more successful, profitable, motivating and effective the community can be.

Consider taking a simple survey that asks community members what the organization does. Ask people what they do and why they do it for the organization. When people understand what the company wants to achieve and how their role impacts that vision, people will be more motivated by that vision because they know that their role has an impact.