Our ancestors, in the spirit of community, regularly sat around a fire to have conversations that deepened their own communal connections. This dialog assisted in increasing the quality of life in the places where they lived. In our modern-day communities, there is a longing for shared meaning, connections, and the deep conversation that coaching can bring to our world of electronic social media and speed-of-lightening pace.
Can coaching build and support community?
How can coaching support the individuals and organizations that sometimes struggle to define their roles and find their place in the modern community? What are the ways that these organizations can work synergistically to optimize the spirit of community? What does coaching have to learn from a community? What can a community learn from coaching?
Senior coaches and community leaders will explore these topics through “Synergy in Community”, the first International Consortium of Coaching in Organizations’ (ICCO) Community Symposium on August 27-29 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The word “synergy” invokes the combined sum of individuals doing greater good than a single person can alone. In this ICCO community symposium, we will be exploring how the combined sum of individuals and organizations can work together to create and sustain greatness within our communities.
We’re all the “somebodies” responsible for our communities
In the places where we reside, people often pass by their next door neighbors without knowing them; they expect their governments or “somebody” to take care of the problems of crime, poverty, empty buildings, unemployment, litter and whatever else plagues the places they live and work in. These problems must be dealt with in order for us to enjoy the successes of synergy in our communities. They can be only be addressed by the “somebodies”(individuals and organizations) who are willing to roll up their shirtsleeves and work together for the common good of the places they live and work in. Does coaching have a role in supporting the somebodies who are responsible for enhancing the quality of life in our communities? Many believe it does.
Kalamazoo, Michigan is a mid-sized city with a cultural history of somebodies who have taken responsibility to assure that life in their community is the best that it can be. It is a city of business innovation, beginning with W.E. Upjohn and his “friable pill” that fueled The Upjohn Company growth, as well as a myriad of companies throughout its history, embraced the innovation that fueled prosperity and the growth of the community: Checker Motors, Gibson Guitars, Stryker and many others. More recently, it is the home of the ground-breaking “Kalamazoo Promise”, where an anonymous group of donors has funded the college education for every graduating high school senior. In refusing to accept the economic recession as reality, Kalamazoo has recently supported new and existing companies in moving here or expanding, resulting in several thousand new jobs in the region.
However, Kalamazoo, like any city, cannot simply sit back and revel in its success. The quality of life in any community requires an ongoing collaborative spirit of dedicated individuals and organizations willing to “grab the rope” and work together, as in this excerpt from the book, Community Capitalism: Lessons from Kalamazoo and Beyond, by Ron Kitchens:
“”Grab the rope!”
That is what you are likely to hear if you find yourself on a ship, becalmed and threatened. That is what you will hear when you have no wind to sail by or engines to propel. You must resort to kedging to get out of trouble.
?€¦..Kedging is the act of having a light anchor (a kedge) loaded into a rowboat and taken out as far as the lines tied to it will allow. After dropping the anchor, every man, woman, and child on the main boat grab the rope and pull the line as if his or her life depended on it, literally hauling the ship to the anchor. This is repeated again and again until the ship arrives at its destination or the fair winds once again blow.”
We hope that those of you who work, live, volunteer and have your heart in your community will consider joining us and grabbing the rope at the ICCO Symposium in Kalamazoo, Michigan on August 27-29, to explore and learn together how coaching can support the synergy in our communities.