What is “community” and how do we achieve it?

“A community is best defined as a group of people who, regardless of the diversity of their backgrounds, have been able to accept and transcend their differences, enabling them to communicate effectively and openly and to work together toward goals identified as being for their common good.” http://www.community4me.com/comm_definitions.html

I discovered that definition while working with The University of Kansas Medical Center to help develop a sense of community among students in the Master of Public Health program. http://ph.kumc.edu/

I like that definition. I have often commented that the role of community theatre is to knit diverse elements of a city together. At Topeka Civic Theatre and Academy, http://www.topekacivictheatre.com/, where I first learned improv (Thanks Shannon) I have often commented that the theatre contributes to the community by bringing diverse people together for a common purpose. It is not unusual to find an attorney in a minor role, a food service professional in the lead, and a business leader building sets.

Organizations, whatever their purpose need a sense of community. It you think about it, any team is made up of diverse individuals. It has to be. Numerous diverse skills are needed for an organization to function. But if it is to function at its highest level, it must have a sense of community; the individuals must be able “to accept and transcend their differences.”

Improv training is a wonderful way to do that:

  • First we laugh together. The more we laugh together the safer we feel with each other. It is very hard to bear a grudge after you share a laugh. (Hey I just made that up! You can quote me.)
  • Next, in that same spirit of laughter, we begin to work together toward common goals. It’s good practice that will translate back into the work place.
  • We make discoveries about each other, learn new things and discover new commonalities. We are all much more alike than we are different, and there are several improv exercises that help us discover how very much we have in common.
  • And through it all we have fun!

How often do employees come back to work from a required training session with a smile on their faces? After a session of community building through improv they will. And, if Laugh2learn provides the service, and you are not completely satisfied, you won’t have to pay me!

 What do you have to lose?