Hello, aspiring community leaders!
In the spirit of nurturing and growing a successful community, it’s essential to balance two types of work: routine, day-to-day tasks, and ambitious, transformative projects.
Like maintaining the perfect balance on a tightrope, the ratio of these tasks forms the lifeline of your community.
See the Four Use Cases below, and the template link at the end that you can copy and use as you build! 💪
Managing the Daily Work
The first type of work can be seen as the nuts and bolts of community management: daily tasks. This involves routine maintenance, like answering emails, posting updates, organizing events, and moderating discussions.
These tasks are critical to keeping the wheels turning. Without them, your community might become stagnant or unresponsive.
It's like keeping the lights on in a physical community center, ensuring that everything is clean, welcoming, and in working order.
Book Club Community Example, Part 1
Daily tasks could include updating reading lists, moderating discussions about the latest chapters, reminding members of upcoming meetings, or even facilitating introductions between new members. These tasks may seem small in isolation, but collectively, they're the lifeblood of your community.
Doing the Transformative Work
The second type of work involves initiatives or projects that can dramatically advance your community's growth or impact. This might be things like securing a guest speaker for your group, launching a collaborative project, or implementing a new communication platform to enhance member interaction.
While these tasks might not need to be done daily, they require foresight, planning, and significant effort.
Book Club Community Example, Part 1
A 'big work' initiative could be organizing a local author for a live Q&A session. This requires planning and coordination, but the payoff is a memorable event that enhances member engagement, sets your community apart, and potentially attracts new members.
Where Do You Find the Balance?
In establishing and growing a community, the key is to find and maintain the right ratio between these two types of work.
While the ratio will differ based on your community's unique needs and stage of development, it's critical to remember that both types of work are essential to the community's success.
Here are some examples to help you find the right place to start.
Use Case 1: Start-Up Community
When launching a start-up community, it is crucial to understand the dynamics between transformative work and daily tasks to set the right foundation for growth and success.
In the initial stages, a higher proportion of 'big work' is typically required to establish strong foundations and generate interest among potential members. This involves focusing on transformative initiatives such as creating a compelling vision, defining the community's purpose and values, and designing engaging events or programs that attract early adopters.
Investing time and effort into these transformative endeavors lays the groundwork for a vibrant and captivating community that resonates with its target audience.
As the start-up community begins to gain traction and evolves into a more self-sustaining entity, the ratio of work naturally shifts towards daily tasks to maintain engagement and foster meaningful member relationships.
Daily tasks become essential for the smooth functioning of the community, ensuring active participation and providing valuable support to members.
These tasks may include facilitating discussions, organizing regular updates, implementing feedback mechanisms, and nurturing a welcoming environment for all participants.
By dedicating attention to these daily tasks, you cultivate a sense of belonging and foster a strong community culture, which in turn encourages long-term engagement and active involvement from members.
Use Case 2: Re-Starting a Community
When re-starting a community, it is crucial to balance transformative work and daily tasks.
Initially, the focus should lean more towards transformative work to generate excitement, breathe new life into the community, and attract new members.
This could involve launching innovative initiatives, organizing engaging events, or implementing fresh communication strategies.
By investing time and effort into these transformative projects, you create a vibrant atmosphere that captivates potential members and sets the stage for growth.
As the community gains momentum and begins to flourish, it becomes essential to shift the balance toward daily tasks.
These routine responsibilities form the backbone of community management, ensuring smooth operations and consistent engagement.
This includes activities like responding to emails, moderating discussions, organizing regular updates, and facilitating meaningful interactions among members.
Dedicating attention to these daily tasks creates a cohesive and responsive community that fosters strong relationships and sustains ongoing member engagement.
Striking a balance between transformative work and daily tasks is key to re-starting a community successfully, as it lays a strong foundation while keeping the community active, dynamic, and poised for growth.
Use Case 3: Migrating a Community
During the process of migrating a community, finding the right balance between transformative work and daily tasks is crucial to ensure a seamless transition and enhance the overall experience for community members.
The initial focus should be on transformative work, prioritizing tasks such as planning and executing the migration strategy (including content, access, and existing subscriptions), integrating new features or platforms, and communicating the changes effectively to the community.
These transformative projects help streamline the migration process, alleviate any disruptions, and create a positive environment for members to adapt to the new community platform.
Once the migration is complete, shifting towards a balanced approach that incorporates both transformative work and daily tasks becomes necessary.
This entails allocating time and resources to maintain the community's daily operations, including moderating discussions, providing timely updates, and addressing member inquiries or concerns.
Simultaneously, it is important to continue implementing transformative initiatives that enhance the community's growth and impact. This could involve organizing special events, collaborating with external partners, or introducing innovative features to enhance member interaction.
Finding the right equilibrium ensures a smooth transition, sustains member engagement, and fosters a thriving community environment in the new platform.
Use Case 4: Joining a Community as a New Staff / Lead
When stepping into a new role as a staff or lead in an established community, it is vital to navigating the balance between familiarizing yourself with the existing routines and introducing transformative projects that drive growth and innovation.
Initially, you should focus on familiarizing yourself with the community's existing routines and daily tasks.
This involves immersing yourself in the community's operations, understanding the dynamics, and identifying the key responsibilities that keep the community running smoothly.
By learning about the community's existing processes, you ensure a seamless transition and will be able to help maintain the continuity of operations.
As you settle into your role, it becomes essential to gradually introduce transformative projects that propel the community forward.
These initiatives can range from introducing new programs or features to implementing innovative strategies that enhance member engagement and foster community growth.
While driving transformative projects, it is equally important to strike a balance by ensuring the necessary daily tasks for community upkeep are maintained.
These tasks may include moderating discussions, providing timely updates, addressing member inquiries, and nurturing relationships with community members.
By concurrently managing transformative projects and daily tasks, you create an environment supporting innovation and growth while upholding the community's operational stability.
Moving Forward by Maintaining Balance
The challenge lies in finding the right balance without neglecting either type. Too much focus on daily tasks can keep your community running smoothly, but without 'big work,' you risk losing growth momentum and novelty. On the other hand, focusing too heavily on 'big work' can lead to burnout and may leave members feeling neglected if their daily needs and queries are not addressed.
So how can you find and maintain the right balance? Here are a few tips:
1. Regularly Audit Your Work: Assess how much time you're spending on daily tasks versus big projects and adjust accordingly.
2. Delegate: As your community grows, consider bringing on volunteers or team members to help manage daily tasks or contribute to big projects.
3. Prioritize: Not all tasks are created equal. Determine what's most important for your community's growth and member satisfaction, and focus your energy there.
Remember, your goal is to keep the community vibrant, growing, and meaningful for its members. This requires both the regular nurturing of day-to-day operations and the ambitious strides of impactful projects.
Use Case Template List
Copy this google document as a starting point for your work, edit as you see fit.
I hope you've found this discussion helpful in your journey to start and grow a successful community. If you want more insights, tips, and best practices on community building, sign up for my newsletter. Not only will you receive weekly updates straight to your inbox, but you'll also join a community of builders learning together!