We use many key concepts in our work: soul, community, learning by doing, and many more. We are in the process of documenting all these concepts in a living online book. For now we have summarised a few in the Frequently Asked Questions listed below.
A community is a purposeful group of people that is united in serving a higher purpose together. It is a space that is characterised by cooperation, trust, support and a culture of learning. A community does not know any silos, corruption, internal politics or competition. It is driven by a desire for excellence and continuous improvement. Within a community individuals find meaning, develop their capacities to the hightest potentialties, and take purposeful action. In communities the individual will merges into collective action. A community is greater than the sum of its parts and finds expression for its latent power.
The more cooperation exists within a company, the greater the success will be in all its aspects: finances, innovation, efficiency, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction. We are convinced that the most successful companies of the future will be those that have mastered the capacity of community building.
Yes, a company can initiate a community building process with its main suppliers or clients, thus creating new opportunities, greater efficiency, and enduring relationships.
The Soul of an organisation consists of those intangible things thatmatter most and define the essence of the company. Why does the company exist? How does the organisation make the world a better place? What values define the way the members of the organisation work together? Exploring these questions inspires people, gives meaning to people’s work, and gives clarity and direction to the company’s strategies and operations. A community requires an inspiring and lofty purpose.
Learning by doing is a continuous cycle of action, reflection, and consultation. We understand that we do not know what we do not know; we can not read the future. We need to have a process of learning by doing to anticipate tomorrow’s challenges. This process of learning by doing forms the foundation of our approach.
We believe in our work and have experienced the power it can release in an organisation. We have worked in several countries in a variety of settings. Some of our clients have been:
- Roche International
- UNICEF Netherlands
- ABN AMRO
- Rabobank Rotterdam
- Insights Benelux
Our experience has shown that building a community can start in a variety of ways. But instead of elaborate kick-offs or gatherings, it may be more effective to start in a rather inconspicuous manner. One way is to identify a few individuals within the company who are eager to learn and who desire positive change. These selected individuals can learn about the nature and dynamics of a community and receive some initial training to carry out simple yet profound activities. One or more spaces can be created within the company for these individuals to start putting into practice what they have learnt. For example, fundamental to community building is the capacity for an individual to operate in a learning mode. We accompany a small group of people in mastering this capacity by trying to resolve some of the most immediate issues that the company is facing together. Once sufficient capacity is built, we assist these same people in building capacity in some of their colleagues, thus creating an educational system within the company for the development of human resources for community building.
Capacity building means to develop the ability to perform a well-defined task or activity. This involves the acquisition of knowledge and insights in relation to a particular subject as well as the development of certain qualities and attitudes that are essential to carry out the activity and to learn new skills. For example, in order to cooperate effectively with others, one needs to appreciate the power of oneness and understand the traps of competing with others. Furthermore, one needs to develop a humble posture of learning and acquire a service orientated approach. Lastly, one needs to learn how to listen to others, to understand what is needed, and to communicate in an effective and clear manner.
When we talk about service, we don’t refer to customer service. We refer to that noble quality of helping others, of dedicating one’s talents and capacities towards a higher goal that is greater than one’s own interests and constitutes a meaningful contribution to the world. We believe that once service is placed at the heart of the organisation, the company will make make leaps in its own development and will become highly successful. Elevating one’s work to service is not something that is done over night. Individuals need to be trained how to serve with determination, and the structures within the company will need to gradually change to stimulate and promote a culture of service and learning.
By joining our educational programme, you immediately become a collaborator in building communities in organisations. You become an active contributor to the body of knowledge that we are gradually developing about the process of enabling meaningful changein organisations. As you continue to advance on your path of service and develop greater understanding and experience in community building, there will naturally be opportunities to strengthen our educational program or assist in some of our consultancy projects.