What Star Wars Can Teach Us about Community Management
By Amy Turner, The Community Roundtable
Mythology, reality and storytelling are fitting aspects of community management. Every human being has their own preconceived myths that exist as a result of their individual life experiences. That is why a group of people can have a conversation and each come away from that conversation having interpreted a different meaning. Is it any wonder that communication is on the top of an organization’s general problem list, not to mention the problems that it can cause within a community?
One solution to help breakdown this communication barrier is to give people something to which they can attribute an emotion or a visual. Storytelling and analogies are terrific tools to help an individual identify and connect to the conveyed message.
We asked members of TheCR Network to share their favorite theme or character from Star Wars and create an analogy with community management. (Keep in mind this discussion took place before The Force Awakens – so no mentions of BB-8’s warmth and empathy or Rey’s strength and determination!)
Check out a few of our favorites:
- “Yoda is like the authentic leadership group within his organization. Like him, I try to get others to recognize they “have the power within” by teaching positive talk, that they can only change what they do, not necessarily their environment or the things around them.”
- “R2D2 is a great example of a community manager, always listening, seldom talking, but fixing things all the time and critical to the health of the dialogue.”
- “C-3PO is a great representation of the skeptic in your company that thinks social is a waste of time, always questioning you, suggesting that you go back to doing it the old way.”
- “Always have a few Jedi mind tricks on hand to get things moving.”
- “You are not alone Luke. There is another.” (Think co-leadership roles for community management)
- “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope”. (Do you often feel people are always asking for your help?)
- “Luke, I am your father”. (The power of the background you do not know or recognize. Evil lurkers may not reveal themselves or the evil within us.)
How do you create your own collective myth within a community?
Since communities are built with a specific purpose, there is already a certain context within which they operate. In other words, the myth already exists, regardless of the evolution of the community. The first step is to look at where the gaps exist by reading what is being said in the community versus what people say the organization/community does and it is not experiencing. The power of the myth is that you can, without being overbearing, raise an issue for discussion in a calm and professional manner because you are not attacking anyone directly. By making that mythology stronger, the community then becomes stronger around it because there is a highly articulated shared vision.
How do you use storytelling and mythology in your community? Any other favorite movies/stories come to mind when thinking of your role? Tweet your ideas to us and start the conversation!
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