If you are going to spend time working on a project, in a team, etc., make sure the work is significant to you, and that you care for the people you are engaging with. Sure, there will be trying times and moments where self-discipline is needed in the absence of motivation, but on the whole, you will always be best served by doing work you can love with people you can love.
If someone on your team is more skilled, more capable, or more ready, get out of their way. If you are the most skilled for an assignment, then you must go first. Just do not confuse the two. If someone is more skilled than you, choose them to do what they do best while you take on a supporting role.
As a manager, you might get people to do what you tell them to do, but what happens when you are not there to tell them? If people choose to follow because they believe in the vision and mission of the work they are doing with you, they will not need to be micromanaged. They may need some assistance solving problems and operating more efficiently, but they will not need you to always tell them what to do.
At some point along the way there was a fallacy, a make-believe story, that a person could behave one way “at work” and a completely different way “in real life.” Here’s the thing: people see right through that. Those who have chosen to follow you will observe everything about your life, the stories you tell and the way you live. Live a life you are proud of!
Think of the people whom you have followed in your life. Why did you choose to follow them? Was it because you trusted them? Because you admired them? You wanted something they had? These are all reasons one person may choose to follow another, and there are many more. Now--think to yourself--why would you want someone to choose to follow you? Is it because you live out the ideals of integrity and success? How do you choose to lead?
Because you have gathered hundreds of pages of valuable memories, the temptation will be to include it all. However, consider the cost of publishing (which is based on book length) and what book length your readers prefer. A good target would be 60,000 to 80,000 words. Be assured that having a word limit can only be a good thing because it will help you choose only the most significant aspects and key interviewee accounts.
At a Team Meeting after at least six interviews are completed and documented, develop a loose chronology of a community timeline, updated map of hubs, landmark events, challenges, and any names recurring in the interviews. Note commonalities or patterns that may become themes. It is important to allow the data and not personal interests to drive this process. Give out assignments and set your next Team Meeting.
Schedule one to three interviews for each interviewer over a several-week time period. In a few weeks, you will know much more than you did when you started this project! The objective should be to conduct the interviews — being open to what may emerge — and complete all documentation of them in time for an Initial Interview Follow-up Meeting (whether for a team or just you!), which you should also schedule.
Might some stakeholders have competing interests in this project? What are their goals? Look for ways to build bridges among individuals or groups with disparate interests or ways of doing things. Could you collaborate towards a shared goal? Is there an umbrella organization that is trying to do on a grand scale what you are trying to do on a smaller scale? How might this become a win-win situation?
Now that you have the idea to write your community story, you may be in a rush to start. Yet you have limited time, energy, and funds. This is all the more reason to create a sustainable project that attracts support, energizes the community, and gets done. Start with setting your intention. Try borrowing our strategy: Say what you want to do in just six words. Got them? Congratulations!