Blogging Reflections: April

In recent months we have tried to create some podcasts, interviewing community building practitioners from around the world. In our most recent podcast Molly Sutcliffe, Trainee Community Builder talks to Carolyn Vincent from Brisbane in Australia. You can listen to the podcast here http://www.yourewelcome.to/gloucestershire/listen-now-international-podcast-with-carolyn-vincent

Carolyn talks about her epiphany moment when she realises that you don’t have to go anyway to make a difference in the world. In her case she could use her own business, Luggage Direct! She describes the moment of sharing a vision with her team, inviting them to change their relationships from simply work colleagues to creating a happy family. She then invited them to think about ways they could relate better to each other. Over 8 months they changed their workplace creating a home away from home, moving to a more relational style of working, essentially shifting from a traditional hierarchy to a community. As people took shared ownership and responsibility of the business the company’s sales went up by 60 percent in just 6 months. As Carolyn describes, all they really did was to become more human with each other.

She has since taken her learning in business to her community where she lives. In the same way she invited her colleagues to think about what their workplace would look like if it was one big happy family, she is now inviting her community to think about a similar question to create a dream suburb. As part of her contribution Carolyn has created a local project called ‘Turn the TV off, and the community on’, where she invites her neighbours to spend time outside their houses on a Friday afternoon to connect more with each other.

At the heart of the community building process we are inviting people to be more human with each other, sharing our life experiences and our dreams with the people around us, whether that be in our streets where we live or our workplaces. As we connect more deeply, we see beyond each other’s labels and learn to understand people for their unique talents and life experiences. Through these relationships we learn how we enhance each other’s lives and grow interdependent on each other.

As Parker Palmer said ‘Our freedom comes from being aware that we do not have to save the world, merely make a difference in the place where we live’.