Together Institute
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Together Institute

“Community is like a muscle that grows when you practice together”

Photo by Meghan Holmes

“Community is like a muscle that grows when you practice together” — Ants Cabraal

A powerful metaphor

Examples of “community muscles”

A community muscle shows up in:

  • A rhythm that feels natural. For example: we always meet on the first Tuesday of the month.
  • Rituals that happen regularly. For example: we light a candle at the beginning of our gatherings.
  • Key formats. There are a few gathering formats that we continuously organize and people know how to organize them well.
  • Distributed knowledge: it’s not only a few people at the top who know how to do things. Many people know how to do things. This knowledge spreads by peers watching peers.
  • Embodied values: we have internalized that in this group we treat each other in certain ways. For example: In this group it’s normal, even encouraged, that we challenge each other’s opinions.
  • Co-creation: It’s natural in this group that things are created together. Nobody waits for top-down leadership.
  • Comfort with hard things: we have capacity to deal with conflict, tensions, disagreement.

Community muscle -> distributed leadership?

What do you think??

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Fabian Pfortmüller

Grüezi, Swiss community weaver in Amsterdam, co-founder Together Institute, co-author Community Canvas, fabian@together-institute.org | together-institute.org