Five Pillars of Community: Progress Awareness

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 age-old question of “are we there, yet?” is a principle that people never outgrow. This question often comes to mind on road trips, project updates, and even as we inch closer to achieving major goals. When people have invested interest in something, everyone always wants to know the progress and that is one community pillar to be aware of when establishing successful communication within our organizations. Progress Awareness is key for organizational success and motivation.

First, it is important to understand how people view your organization and how progress awareness can affect motivation and drive. A study by Harvard Business Review asked a group of workers to take a diary of any events that stood out to them during the workday. HBR found some expected information: “their remarks tended to make clear what they thought of the event—what it said to them about their work, their team, their organization, or themselves—and how it made them feel” (HBR). The importance of understanding workers’ feelings of their work environment has a direct link: “areas of the brain associated with rational thought and decision making have direct connections to areas associated with feelings” (HBR). The study found that emotions are what drive decision making, and depending on what emotions are exerted, motivations can shift and affect performance in the work space.

How does Progress Awareness play a role in this?

HBR found that to boost emotion, “the single most important differentiator was a sense of being able to make progress in their work. Achieving a goal, accomplishing a task, or solving a problem often evoked great pleasure and sometimes elation. Even making good progress toward such goals could elicit the same reactions” (HBR). Knowing or accomplishing some kind of progress reinstates motivation. When we know that emotions drive decision making, we must remember Progress Awareness and Personal Value. When we understand what people are looking to get out of their work experience alongside updating their progress to those goals, the members in our communities are in a fantastic position to be successful and motivated for the organization and themselves.

Progress tells people that they are doing something meaningful which leads to positive emotions.  Leaders need to actively communicate the progress and remind people of the goal or vision. If employees are emotionally invested and are being updated on the progress, a positive team mentality is established.  

Think back to that question again: “are we there, yet?” If leaders are driving the car towards their vision and make sure to remind people along for the ride how close the community is to getting there, it absolutely becomes a game changer. There is nothing worse than for a community member to ask for an update on progress because asking leaders questions is scary, doubt-raising and even frustrating. If leaders can answer that question before members get to that negative emotion, it can be flipped into motivation. Eliminate the worry as much as you can. Organizations must communicate along the Five Pillars of Community to keep people moving beyond tomorrow.