Communities need to get things done

Recently I helped organise an event called The Final Mile – a weekend immersion event for anyone working on a project they wanted to complete.

The event offered a place, tools and incentives to wrap up that thing they never quite got around to finishing (we’ve all been there).

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Participants worked on everything from building websites and apps, to business plans, to knitting and pop-up standing desks. The 3D printer hummed in the background as people wrote a public commitment to getting their project done and posted it on a shared declaration wall.

We took a break for a shared meal, progress check and some motivational words of wisdom from our friends at Culture Amp.

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Stuff got done.

Participants proudly posted to social media and returned to their routines with something they’d created from start – to finish.

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Pop-up standing desk – finished, thanks to The Final Mile

Communities need ‘finishing’ moments

In our busy lives finishing has become a rarity. The to-do lists go on and on, projects iterate endlessly and there’s those tantilising hustle-and-side projects just out of reach.

There’s a power in completion we shouldn’t let slip away.

Think of how good it feels when you finish something.

Whether it’s an unpleasant task or a happy one, putting it to bed delivers an energising kick. You feel satisfied, focused, You feel more confident. You get that endorphin rush.

Communities need this too.

Just as they need purpose they can invest in, they need regular forks in the road toward that purpose.

Gamers would call it levelling up.

What role does finishing play in your community or organisation?

Does the group often bring up things that haven’t been finished – promises that weren’t kept, tasks that were framed as important that have dropped off the radar?

Unfinished tasks can impact the morale of a group as well as the individual.

How can you utilise the emotional boost that bringing something to a close offers your people, teams or community members?

Tips for helping your community get it done

  • Create the time and space for ‘finishing’ community activities;
  • Celebrating finishing moments as a milestone. This creates another community ritual, which in turn makes the group more cohesive and cooperative;
  • Call out achievements in a public forum and let the group interact around that recognition. Individuals each feel they offer something to a group they belong to. Acknowledging completion of a mission, even a small one, validates their contribution to the group as a whole and affirms their connection to it;
  • Identify those lingering projects or promises that weigh on the group and agree to start afresh, or commit time to working through them together;

Getting things done together helps a community bond and deepens a sense of membership, belonging and influence – key factors in community health over time.

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