23 December 2010

Here Comes Clay Shirky

Another entry in my irregular "What I highlighted and why while reading Here Comes Everybody" series.
Our social tools are turning love into a renewable building material. When people care enough, they can come together and accomplish things of a scope and longevity that were previously impossible; they can do big things for love.

Shirky, chapter 5, page 142.
When I read this, I immediately thought of Jamie Notter and how often he talks about the importance of love/passion to what we do. I quote:
Passion matters. Yes, it opens up opportunities for let-downs and heartache. But that's the price of admission to a world where more gets done, and potential is realized, and synergy is actually accomplished, not just referenced in a keynote speech. Don't let the hard parts of passion scare you away. Stay with it and marvel at where it takes us.
At Tech10, I had the opportunity to sit in on the Open Community fireside chat, and this topic came up there as well as part of a discussion of chat participants' experiences with online communities over the years. The number one thing that distinguishes successful online (or even real life) efforts is that people CARE.

So that raises a key question for associations: do you know who cares about your organization, among your staff, volunteers, members, and other supporters? Because I assure you that not everyone does. Some of your staff members just want a paycheck. Some of your volunteers just want a line for their resume. Some of your members renew out of habit. Some of your supporters are there purely for selfish reasons. But not all.

The people who care are critical to your association. And they're likely going to be some of your most vocal critics, too. Why? Because if what you do or don't do didn't matter to them, they'd just let it slide. And because they DO care, they are your engine for growth, for change, for innovation and for improvement.

Make sure you know who they are. Make sure you know what they want and can do. Make sure you listen to them and make use of their energy. And, particularly at this time of year, make sure you say thank you in ways that are meaningful to them. Without them riding your ass, as painful as it can be, you'd never get anywhere.

1 comment:

Jamie Notter said...

Love is the ultimate app, my friend!