Archives for posts with tag: community building

What better time of year to focus on the goodwill that makes for human closeness and connection?  Valuing individuals and interactions as we Agilists do, it’s the stuff we work to create.

I spent a day at my cowork space last week.  Not even a whole day, just stopped in to punctuate a stretch of meetings and deadlines.  It was enough to bring home the mystery of the season and the beauty of a coworking environment.


Picture receiving four hugs in the space of an hour and a half.  Real hugs, not those wimpy one-arm backpats.  All were for different reasons.

The first was from a coworker who had recommended me on LinkedIn.  He was energized to move that task into the “Done” column.  By his action and commitment I felt cared about and respected.  So, when we saw each other we hugged.

The second was in solidarity with a coworker overwhelmed by life and its multilayered demands.  We speak frequently and seem to take turns, as luck would have it, with our ups and downs.

That day his body language – the set of his shoulders and the tension in his jaw – spoke volumes.  We all want to give it up sometimes and go do something easier than this whole entrepreneurial shebang.

The kind of encouragement I wanted to give has no words.  No pep talk can motivate like a strong, caring hug.

The third involved a colleague visiting from another community to attend a workshop.  We are mostly facebook friends, so standing actual face to actual face was an unexpected pleasure.   After a split-second of decision-making in that awkward moment where you’re not sure if you’re going to hug or shake hands, we hugged.

The fourth was a welcome home.  I was standing near the reception area when a coworker I hadn’t seen in a while entered.  She and I have been open about personal challenges, heartaches and absurdities over lunch or coffee.  A lot had transpired in the interim, and we needed to catch up.   A long, friendly hug was the best place to start.

Like the holidays and the complex process of community-building, when it comes to hugs, receiving is also giving.  I am happy to be part of a workspace – as well as a global movement to improve the world of work – where such chance affection is not only allowed but commonplace.

For an international directory of cowork spaces, see .

What’s in the mix for making things flow between people?  Enthusiasm, Curiosity and Desire!  Active, receptive and responsive in kind, these three interpersonal strategies reinforce one another and build lateral engagement in communities.


Enthusiasm means putting it out there.  Let people see your passions and be happy to see theirs.

Curiosity is the moment when you or I decide to cross the threshold that separates us with a blank and an invitation.  Only an open mind can be receptive to new ideas and grow.

Desire is the spark that encourages people to connect.  It means expressing the notion that there are many good things in the space between us just waiting to be discovered.

When in doubt…

  • TRY enthusiasm.  “I like….”
  • TRY curiosity, “I wonder…”
  • TRY desire. “I wish…”

For best results, try all three!


I developed this three-part recipe for Wetting the Cement after some intentional experiments with the ingredients during Summer 2013.   Two sets of results were validating.

1. Getting  invited to become more and more involved with the Stoos movement and organizing Stoos in Action  The core Agile team of organizers was based in Denmark. Fifteen satellites across four continents responded to our invitation to participate.  The “action” was a 6-hour virtual conference dedicated to improving the world of work.

2.  Submitting the idea for a Guinness-approved world record attempt for Largest Chalk Pavement Art to the Awesome Foundation.  Positive community response mobilized over 1,000 individuals, 18 community groups, eight city agencies and a unanimously supportive City Council.  The current world record holder embraced us, not as challengers but as successors.  The Agile community is now interested in the use of scrum to make public art.

In both cases, the individuals could not have predicted what finally occurred.  Enthusiasm, curiosity and desire magnified in an organic way to global scale.

Find out what happens with YOUR special blend in the mix.   Share enthusiasm, curiosity and desire to connect.  I am always happy to hear from you!


Deborah Hartmann Preuss A Bigger Game

Akshay Kathari “I Like, I Wish, I Wonder, a framework for providing constructive feedback”

Andrew Bangser, Awesome Foundation, Connecticut Chapter: “What Would You Do With $1000?”

Mark Wagner, Drawing on Earth

CityWide Open Studios (pictured)

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