A sense of community.

I was on holiday last week (it was great but I could use a weeks holiday to recover now!) and got back to find a ‘we tried to deliver…’ card from the Royal Mail in my letterbox. Two minutes online and I’ve organised a redelivery for today but have no idea what time it might arrive, so I head to the coffee shop to catch up on emails as usual and bump into my postman on the way into town.

I’ve been saying good morning with a smile and exchanging thoughts on the weather with him for years and today that let me ask if he had a ‘signed for’ letter for me, he checked, no letter. We discussed the cold weather that has finally arrived and I let him get back to delivering letters. The good news for me is that I don’t have to wait in all morning for a letter that isn’t going to arrive.

Community is a strange thing. People seem to think it is difficult to develop a sense of community but I have to disagree. All it takes is a smile, a cheery greeting and a few seconds treating people like you want to be treated, as a human being.

I’m speaking at a conference in Milan in a couple of weeks (www.DominoPoint.it) , about the global business community that exists in the IBM software space where I work, which has grown and matured over the last 25 years. It was only as I was writing a script for the talk that I realised both how easy and how hard it can be to maintain a community that is changing because people don’t like change and it’s easy for them to become disenfranchised.

So what can we do to help? Well let’s start with a smile, a good morning and maybe a hug. Watching the faces change in a community doesn’t mean the sense of communiy has to be lost, it’s an opportunity for growth. Embrace change, embrace your community and smile, at everybody!

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