Ways of working effectively with community stakeholders
Skills development along with the use of productivity tools and processes is an essential aspect of creating a productive working relationship, and working effectively with community stakeholders. Just because you possess the skills does not guarantee you will get the results you are seeking. Community members need to expand their capacity to be involved in acquiring skills which will:
- Visioning the future along with opportunities and possibilities
- Get the ‘grapevine’ working with word-of-mouth
- Give them some entrepreneurial skills and new ways of thinking
- Seek understanding and development of relationships with community members
- Understanding the role of governments and other institutions
- Help them understand the big picture and the community problems and frustrations
- Improve their negotiating skills to create win-win solutions
- Engaging and influencing others by helping them meet community objectives
- Improve collaboration skills, so everyone starts working effectively
- Help them to deal with complaints and unhappy citizens
- Using effective sales and marketing method
- Help the identify success factors and how life works
- Monitoring and reviewing progress.
- Help with their business planning and modelling.
There are a vast number of skills to teach; this list covers only a few. It would be overwhelming for people if they had to learn them all in one go, and for you to have to manage the learning process. A study of the community’s ‘education ecosystem’ would be an excellent place to start looking for assistance.
Working effectively requires a focus on essential activities
Not only are we are creatures of habit, but we are also creatures of comfort and safety. Doing trivial tasks with little impact very well does not lead to good outcomes. Continuously repeating something you have learned to do well does not make you an expert; it makes you a robot.
Doing tasks which are unconnected to your Economic Gardening program, will eventually stress everyone to the breaking point.
- Lead with empathy and treats people like ‘family’, focus on trust, and respect
- Check regularly to determine why you are doing what you are doing
- Listen to the voice in your head which is pulling you toward new possibilities
- Assess if what you are doing is making a positive difference in people’s expectations
- Ensure people are doing their best work, without micromanaging
- The most important traits to look for has nothing to do with skills.
Fortunately, there are ways which the community can learn skills using a step-by-step approach. The starting point for this is to segment the people wanting to learn:
- Entrepreneurs and gazelles
- High-Potential community members
- Business and non-profit organisation managers.
- Senior community leaders
- Non-learners, people who want to maintain the status quo
With new skills, community members will become more focused and capable of working effectively as their capacity to implement projects expands. Chances are, they will find it easier and more natural to manage their activities. Improving their problem-solving and decision-making will go a long way to accelerating community development. Innovation also becomes an essential by-product of learning new skills.
Overseeing people working effectively
Monitoring people and change can be one of the most challenging community development tasks.You need to manage the expectations and demands of the stakeholders, get the buy-in of potentially reluctant or anxious community members, and to plan and execute the required changes.
Word-of-mouth is the most effective, but it requires content marketing as a catalyst in leveraging what you have.
Day-to-day team management is the “bread and butter” of their community developers role. You must strive to understand the bigger picture, as it applies to a particular community along with the political and economic environment.
Making full use of content marketing can put you on autopilot, as your initiatives become exposed to a whole new audience which you cannot ever quite reach organically. A fly-in fly-out approach, irrespective of your knowledge or previous experience will have little impact without the support of good content marketing.
If people can relate and apply your thinking to their circumstances, they are much more likely to take the necessary actions. When something is personal to someone, and it is having a positive impact, they will pass it on. Having corresponding values makes things a lot easier to manage and achieve desired outcomes.
If you have expert knowledge on a community subject, pass it on
Do not leave people to wondering what you were trying to achieve when you visited their town? People want and expect content they can discuss, and the more this is true, the more your content will get shared.
Without good content to support your initiatives, people forget what you discussed with them, irrespective of your expertise and previous experiences only you know and understand. When people share your content, they are putting their reputation up for all to see. So be careful not to alienate groups or down talk minorities in the community.
A successful team is more than the sum of its parts, and it is your role to turn a collection of individuals, with their different strengths, weaknesses and personalities, into a cohesive unit with the capacity to make things happen.
“Your real job as an Economic Gardener, at any level, is to make people think, take action, not do it for them so that they can be effectively working with community stakeholders “. Peter Sergeant
“Seeds have the power to preserve species, to enhance cultural as well as genetic diversity, to counter economic monopoly and to check the advance of conformity on all its many fronts”. Michael Pollen