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Community Buy-In and Working Together

How can we motivate the masses to participate in the revitalization of their city? And once they're motivated, how can we get people to work together effectively?

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Written by DeletedUser

While I know that there are some people in downtrodden communities who are adamant about improving their surroundings, but I don't expect that its a very significant number. Since this is supposed to be a culture change, its going to take participation by the majority of community members to make the change stick. A lot of people talk the talk (say they wan't things to get better), but how do we get them to walk the walk and actually participate? 

Additionally, how do we prevent people from getting disenchanted? Dysfunctional teams don't get much accomplished ( see this clip from The Daily Show). The picture is from Patrick Lancioni's " Five Dysfunctions of a Team", which highlights what he believes to be the reasons why teams break down:

1) Absence of trust—unwilling to be vulnerable within the group
which leads to...
2) Fear of conflict—seeking artificial harmony over constructive passionate debate
which leads to...
3) Lack of commitment—feigning buy-in for group decisions creates ambiguity throughout the organization
which leads to...
4) Avoidance of accountability—ducking the responsibility to call peers on counterproductive behavior sets low standards
which leads to...
5) Inattention to results—focusing on personal success, status and ego before team  success
which leads to complete ineffectiveness.

I thought this might be helpful in figuring out how to prevent team breakdown. Anyone else got any ideas? 


Join the conversation:

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I think that Lancioni's "Five Dysfunctions of a Team" clearly states the real issue... TRUST. I recognize that he is talking about people in teams, but I'm going to apply this TRUST conversation to systems. If the systems within these neighborhoods are broken, why should residents trust these systems to fix systemic problems by creating better surroundings? Trust needs to be built within the design process by asking people what they need and want which could possibly even lead to a system's change.

Example: Corbin Hill Road Farmshare

A farm share developed by New School professor Dennis Derryck to deal directly with the inequitable food access of underserved neighborhoods. He's developed a new distribution system for food partially based on feedback from residents about what they'd like to buy, when and how they would buy it and what was affordable to them. By going through this process, he was able to better determine the parameters of what he was trying to create. In addition, he's used existing trusted service networks such as churches to help him to grow the distribution.’s-corbin-hill-road-farm-share-wins-wallace-center-grant/

In terms of the desire in the community for improved surroundings, it is present, I say this as someone who lives in a transitioning neighborhood and as someone who has posed this question to long-time residents. The over arching concern is one of displacement. Fine you fix it, but then what, will you make me move?

In regards to the idea of majority participation, I personally believe that people should have the ability to access the engagement and participate if they so choose.

Thanks for posting Tyler.

Photo of Alicia Riley

Interesting way to break down what keeps good intentions from reaching follow-through and realization, Tyler. Michelle, I like the way you translate this to a systems level. Do you think that modeling and sharing successes, even if they are from different or far-away communities, could be a positive influence on helping people trust moretrust that their effort can make a different?