The following is a guest post by Bob Grogan. Bob shares his notes and insights about the science of connection and trust from the book “You’re Invited” by Jon Levy.
Bob Grogan on You’re Invited
Bottom Line Up Front: My Top Takeaways
- Have a clear purpose/reason for your gathering. Ideally, it should allow for mutual participation (host and guest) and has steps/stages where everyone can help.
- Invite those who are likely to be aligned with your purpose.
- Get started, don’t worry about attendance at early events. Small well, executed gatherings lead to larger events. Make sure your people are there–even if they outnumber attendees–for shared learning.
- Digital advertising is no substitute for word of mouth.
- Let attendees who are aligned on purpose help you refine your approach.
Books are long. My most durable work-from-home shift has been replacing music with audiobooks and a modest sprinkling of podcasts while doing chores. I really enjoy reading, but listening to a book is like meeting an enthusiastic stranger that never stops talking. I can mindlessly clean with virtual company until something sparks interest, and then I stop, even rewind. In the case of You’re Invited by Jon Levy, I found the anecdotes, research, and practical results to be endlessly interesting.
Whether you believe the pandemic fundamentally altered society or merely put in stark contrast existing tensions and gaps, social connection and cohesion has taken on a renewed focus. Research continues to show that our bonds with other people, from the ephemeral to the lifelong, contribute greatly to our health, success, and happiness. This understanding has developed against a backdrop of economic dislocation, lack of trust in institutions, and a general fraying of the bonds that have historically formed the basis for community.
While Levy was pushed to research the value of other people in our own lives long before the virus, his synthesis of research across behavioral science, psychology, sociology, and neuroscience into a coherent narrative is very timely. He moves the conversation well beyond extroverts versus introverts and into the nature of building relationships. How they happen and why they are important to us as individuals and as a species with trust as the foundation.
Trust is, in his estimation, supported by three basic pillars: competence, honesty and benevolence. A community with a high level of trust makes people feel welcome, engaged, valued, and inspired. I cannot avoid making the analogy to Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose created by Daniel Pink in his book Drive to describe satisfying employment. In each case, the authors highlight the basic human needs for validation and inclusion in something larger than themselves. I believe the endless conflict around remote work and returning to office misses these fundamental truths, and employers that invite their people to build into the future – trusting them to help set the direction – routinely outperform peers stuck in this debate.
You’re Invited was for me the first coverage of the subject of belonging that went beyond the anthropological into the practical. I have no desire to host dinners for celebrities but understanding the dimensions of community in terms of personal need, memorable engagement, and meaningful impact served as a catalyst for my own choice to become a founder. Having had far too many conversations with leaders in companies routinely failing to generate positive return on major technology investments and no real insight into why has given me a mission to bring employees and their relations to each other to the forefront of transformation efforts.
You may not find the same revelation in this book, but as I said, books are long. I would be surprised if you did not find something that brings a little extra meaning to your day.
The Power of Community
You’re Invited by Jon Levy is a book that explores the power of community and how to create one. The author draws on his own experience as a behavioral scientist and a host of influential dinners, as well as research from psychology, sociology, and neuroscience, to show why belonging matters and how to foster it.
The book outlines four steps to building a community: invite, connect, create, and delight. Each step involves specific strategies and techniques to make people feel welcome, engaged, valued, and inspired. Some of the key elements of a successful community are:
- A clear and compelling purpose that aligns with people’s passions and goals;
- A diverse and inclusive membership that reflects different perspectives and backgrounds;
- A sense of trust and safety that encourages openness and vulnerability;
- A culture of generosity and reciprocity that fosters mutual support and collaboration;
- A shared identity and narrative that binds people together and gives them a sense of belonging.
The book also provides practical tips and tools for starting, building, and maintaining a group of people with a common interest, whether it’s a professional network, a social club, a hobby group, or a movement. By following the advice in You’re Invited, you can create a community that enriches your life and the lives of others.
About Bob Grogan
Bob Grogan is a technology enthusiast who knows how to make software work. For more than 20 years he has been improving legacy systems while building technical roadmaps and teams that deliver amazing digital solutions. He enjoys sharing his insights and expertise with talks on digital business design, agile product development, and technical architecture. He is currently building a SaaS platform that enables people to connect in the real world to do the things they enjoy together.
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