Community and cohesiveness are terms used to describe the ease with which people work together and communicate. Generally, the more that people have favorable and successful interactions, the more we see a sense of community, and the more likely it is that people have satisfactory relationships. Community building is a big part of our executive retreats and our cross-functional projects, but we also can directly address issues of community building for associations, companies, and other organizations.
Frequently a large organization will have specific profession specialists who are integrated into hierarchies around the world, reporting to bosses who have little background in their specialty. This might include medical or health professionals, safety officers, environmental managers, controllers, quality managers, or many other specialists who have no shared organizational structure or hierarchy. One approach that we have taken to community building among such specialists is to bring together these experts from across the company and conduct creative team leadership and problem solving training. In the sessions we build strong connections among the participants, supported by the development of tools such as contact directories or collaboration software networks. We also directly address the issue of the fit between their specialty and the on-going strategic goals of the organizations and their bosses, knowledge which often makes them far more effective when they return to their organizations.
Community building is often called partnering when it is used to accelerate the collaboration of large cross-functional projects that span great distances and/or span many different organizations. We are unique in our ability to simultaneously address issues of trust/cohesion, cultural differences, goal differences, processes of complex thinking, and the actual technical issues and conflicts of the projects.
Project based community building is also a valuable tool for professions and associations to build cohesiveness in order to better serve members and the profession.