The #1 thing you're missing in Change
As I wrapped up the first ever cohort of my Leading Successful Change course last week enjoying a virtual celebration drink together, the thing that astounded me the most was that this group fell into chatting so easily, as if we knew each other, and were fast friends.
They all knew me - obviously.
They'd spent the last 6 weeks absorbing everything I had to offer on how to lead change confidently.
But the opportunities they'd each had to connect with each other personally hadn't really been built into the course.
Yet here we were, all of us, sitting, chatting, laughing, sharing.
How had this connection been built?
How did it emerge organically?
I pondered these questions as I cradled my celebratory gin, basking in the curious moment I'd unintentionally created.
The power of our shared experiences
As I reflect on it now, I think it's down to one thing: shared experience.
I think it's shared experiences that connect us together. It doesn't really matter what the experience is - when you've lived, breathed, learnt and laughed with a group of people, it binds you.
And maybe that's why we put so much stock in our families - our strongest and closest circle of shared experience.
In many cases, this also extends to our friends.
But ironically, sometimes, your family and your friends don't actually think, feel and behave the way that you do. Sometimes they don't actually share the same values, you've just shared the same experiences.
And here's where the connection of "community" arises.
It's why - even when asked about "industry bodies" (check out last week's post on my top recommendations in Change), I instantly thought instead of "communities".
Because a community connects around the values and passions you actively choose and that aligns with you and your goals.
In a meaningful and fulfilling area like leading change, this connection around shared values is strong. Really strong.
To find a tribe of people who think, feel and believe like you in transforming the experiences of teams is one of the most powerful ways to succeed in Change.
So when you're trying to lead change and that community element is missing, you can feel like the lone wolf, spouting the "fluffy" stuff all by yourself because other people don't understand the true depth of what you're trying to achieve.
The luck of the draw
I've been there. When I was working at a local council, I was pretty much the only Change Manager and I had no Change peers to share my thoughts and tackle my unique Change challenges with.
So I created a community myself - I reached out to Change Managers I'd never met in councils across Australia and invited them into a Community of Practice. We met on a monthly basis to learn, share and solve together, connected through values and our shared experience of leading change in councils.
My next role I was lucky enough to step into a 50-strong community of passionate Change practitioners. It was my very favourite part of that role, the hardest thing to leave, and some of those colleagues are still my friends.
But it's always felt a shame to lose those communities just because I've moved on for my own personal and professional growth.
So what if there was a community that extended beyond organisational boundaries? That opened up the space for sharing practical, real, inspired change leadership and experiences? And wasn't just for Change practitioners, but for anyone leading change?
Well, that's what I've been pondering (sans gin, this time).
Lata Hamilton is the Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, an Executive Coach and Change Leadership Trainer. Do you want your training to stick? Learn how to easily create a video learning bite series with tools you probably already have with my Crafting Microlearning Guide: Request your free Crafting Microlearning Guide here