I’m throwing this question out there. I started by putting down some jot notes in my journal but then I decided to keep it raw and throw out my thoughts for the blogosphere to read and comment on.
I think every organizational success story is a concoction of right place, right time, right people, and right need. If any of those four ingredients are not present then the journey will be a struggle.
When it comes to volunteer organizations (churches, service clubs, humanitarian groups, etc) the difference between one’s first day / experience and the rest of their journey is how well they ‘fit in’ to what is going on.
Some people seem to do a great job of being ‘bridge builders’… or what I like to call “Have You Met Ted”s.
If you don’t know what “have you met Ted” means, welcome to the population that never watched How I Met Your Mother. Short version, Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) plays a womanizing narcissist who’s best friend is Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) – though Ted would argue ‘his’ best friend was Marshall.
Anyways, I digress.
Barney had this repeating pick up line to help Ted meet women. He would walk up to a woman and ask her, “Have you met Ted?” and then walk away leaving a deer-eyed Ted to now make the next move and say something to her.
The first time he did it was hilarious! Ted had NO idea what to do. But as time went on, he became more and more comfortable with the notion that Barney was going to go out of his way to help Ted meet other people.
I wonder if we need more people like that?
As a church minister and working with other organizations, I know that putting people in the same ‘space’ does not mean that they will be in the same ‘place’. Proximity does not equal intimacy. They need, and perhaps, we all need, Barney Stinsons who will make the point of connecting people to one another.
I recently was at a gathering when a person asked me what my hobbies were. I quickly found out that ‘my’ interests were not very similar to his…. but when I spotted a guy a few feet from me who shared a similar love for this hobby of his, I reached over, brought him in and basically said, “Have you met Ted?”
For the next ten minutes they talked, smiled, wowed and laughed about their hobby (in some sort of code language I must add as I am sure they wanted me not to know what they were saying… at least that’s how it felt).
But I didn’t care that I was now the foreigner in the middle of this hobby discussion… because I knew that my relationship with both guys was built on ‘other’ things. But now there was a NEW relationship that stemmed only from me noticing that maybe ‘this‘ person might like to talk to ‘that‘ person.
We must always remember that we can ‘exist’ in a community without being a ‘part’ of it. But to be honest, I don’t think we were created and fashioned for that purpose.
What do you think? How can organizations keep ‘engagement’ in the forefront so that those who ‘come’ are not the same ones who ‘go’ without even being noticed?
Let me know your thoughts,