The Dynamic of Successful Small Group Organizing

I’ve said many times that what has defined me over the last year was community.  To clarify, I should add in organizing small communities.

I’ve been scratching my own itch in the past developing a tool to help people organize small groups.  I’ve started leaking out invite codes, and won’t announce the project myself for quite time (based on the last project I launched).  We don’t need that attention, yet.

Back to the dynamic of small groups.  I define a small group as under 100.  Any larger than that and you start talking about Godwin’s Law and that just isn’t a fun group to be a member of.  I can list over 60 small groups that I am formally or informally associated with.  All of these groups have a nice niche successes and failures when it comes to organizing their members.  Here is what works for my communities:

  • Single Vision.  This is a loaded term (almost a dictatorship?), but what is needed is a leader with a vision. They do what they need to do to get the group off the ground, up to speed.  It is their group, you are more than welcome to be part of it.  This doesn’t work without #2.
  • Empowerment.  Members of the group must be empowered to help drive the direction of the group, lead their own parts of it.
  • Communication Balance.  Too much communication = email hell, not enough = not active participation.  Members must decide what works best for them.
  • Voice.  Similar to empowerment, members must be able to make the group make sense to them, make it their own.
  • Branches.  Members like the option to branch off and do their own thing, sometimes even temporarily.  Think as in a cocktail party.
  • Quality Actions.  What are we doing here?  Why?  How can I help?
  • Fun.  In the end, most non family associations are based off of the promise of fun (you even are around work groups so you can go have fun).

I have left out quite a few vital things that quite a few groups practice (meetings, structure and democracy to name a few).  They can work in their own areas, but for me, those 7 areas are key to a successful, longterm, group dynamic.

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