Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Creating a High Performing Community

On Saturday, March 23rd Silver Spring community members representing seven (7) different organizations and associations gathered at the Coffield Community Center in Lyttonsville to dialogue about how we create a high performing community.

The group generated some thoughts well worth sharing.

We began by discussing what inspires us to do the work we do; why we give of our time; how we do community work; and, what gifts we bring to our efforts.  Some of the (paraphrased) comments that resonated included:
  • “What inspires me is learning about my community”
  • “The results of the work is certainly inspiring”
  • “I give because of the children”
  • “It is fun to give of our time to the community”
  • “Giving connects assets”
  • “Success builds success”
  • “NIMBY is misspelled; it is actually NIMBIES (Neighbors In My Backyard: Invested, Engaged, and Stakeholders”
  • “Awareness of others and seeing opportunities are some of the gifts we bring to community”

The dialogue was rich indeed! We then discussed how we can “operationalize” these personal comments into action.

Thematically, that dialogue could be summarized as follows:

  • Before we act as a community, we must be ‘aware’ of our surroundings. It may be as simple as opening our eyes to grasp the richness of the assets in our community; the ‘human capital’ that abounds.

  • There are so many opportunities for ‘making a difference’ in our community! Be it in our block, neighborhood association, affinity group, issue-oriented organization… Opportunities abound.

  • Whatever action we choose to take as individual, association, or community, it is indispensable that we approach it from with optimism, enthusiasm, zeal and passion.

  • Pragmatically, breaking down tasks to make sure everyone is involved is a practical approach to ensuring maximum participation from all community members.

  • Our actions, result oriented activities, and programmatic endeavors can be most effective if the leadership projects an authentic sense of being inviting and welcoming .

This “asset based” approach to community building does not in any way negate the recognition of needs, problems, obstacles, and hindrances.  Nor does it minimize the importance of in-depth analysis, outcome driven strategies, and critical path planning.

This “asset based” approach to community building simply affirms that ultimately it is much more effective – if not always as efficient – to spend the time to reflect what drives us; what inspires us to do the work we do. We can systematically approach our community work linearly and scientific.  And – not but – simultaneously we can seek to spark constructive and positive action by unleashing the best in us to build a thriving and vibrant community.

Thanks to all the participants of this workshop for contributing so willingly to this dialogue!

…Interested in continuing the dialogue? Let us know by leaving a post and/or contacting us.

Reemberto Rodriguez, Director
Silver Spring Regional Area


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