It’s 3:11 am.
I was tossing and turning thinking of the most weird things. Namely, Bligh and the Rum Rebellion of 1808 in the penal colony of New South Wales.
I had been thinking that if I time travelled back to this time, and met the man himself (who let’s face it, copped two mutinies in his life time), he’d probably be quite little and small in size compared to my gargantuan size of person born in the 20th century. For some reason I was tossing and turning thinking about the little tiny weeny uniforms they would have worn as I recalled the same naval uniform Lord Nelson wore that is now on display in London’s Royal Greenwich Museum. (Excellent museum and highly recommended if you’re ever there. Naturally that was one of my first stops when I was there). 🤣
But Bligh and Nelson apart, I’ve been tossing and turning about something that’s been bothering me and I don’t know how to handle it or frankly, if it’s worth bothering about.
Yesterday I was approached again to manage a few communities in the area of skill development for industries. I’ve been getting such requests for community manager roles on average about once a month through LinkedIn and I always chat to the people about the roles and their expectations. It’s been interesting to learn why they are now searching for such skills in the marketplace.
What I love about this is, not being approached (yes, this is nice) but how community is now becoming a role in itself in many companies and organisations seeing the value of it.
They’re realising that it takes time to build, support the growth and enable people to contribute and participate in conversations online that will not only help build relationships with their colleagues across silos but will also assist them in skill development and also building career options. Most of all, it helps the company to identify skills and talents across the company, which in turn would save them money in recruiting and onboarding.
(After all, if it wasn’t for community, I wouldn’t have been getting these job offers because people wouldn’t have known about me.)
Participating, contributing, building opportunities for people to talk, share, connect experiences where they share their own knowledge, talents, experiences and stories helps break down silos, helps colleagues to listen, learn from each other in the spirit of collegiality.
Building more networks than silos in an organisation makes good business sense.
I’m not going to lie, my current community management role has been a hard slog. There are days where I think, “what am I doing? Is this even valued? Should I just quit?” to days where I hear a positive comment from someone (usually colleagues who don’t participate in any Teams or Yammer communities) that what I write and share is “inspiring”.
Inspiring can be tiring when you’re the only one doing it.
So I’m in a quandary.
Community is not about me. It’s about others. Uplifting and sharing their stories. Sharing their work. Connecting people to them. This is what I love to do but what happens when they don’t want to participate? Or see it’s value?
I keep at it but I’m getting tired. I may have missed something in the telling of the “Community Story” because people aren’t buying it, leaders may not be seeing value in it. I need a way to explain it all as a metaphor and supported with something. What? I don’t know. It takes time. Maybe this is my last hurrah?
Maybe that’s why I resonate so much with William Bligh. In history books, he’s down as the brilliant navigator knowing his craft inside out, but where he failed was to inspire others to see value in the bigger picture, instead becoming bitter about it, feeling like he was getting nowhere.
I’m feeling the same way.