Consistency creates trust

A simple and often neglected community design principle

Too many groups are rollercoaster rides — Photo by Matt Bowden on Unsplash

The community rollercoaster

This illustrates a simple community design principle that’s too often overlooked: humans need consistency and a stable rhythm to build long-term trust into a group and an organization.

To say it differently: for a community it matters more to have small things that happen regularly and consistently than to have big things happen sometimes.

Consistency matters, because it affects how members assess the future of the group.

On the flip side, we have all experienced groups that didn’t go very far. If the community is on and off in their offerings and activity levels, it’s natural to assume that it won’t last that long. And in that situation it makes sense for people to show up with a consumer mindset: let’s see what value I can get out of this in the short-term, and let’s see how it develops. That’s a dangerous dynamic for the wellbeing of the group.

Consistency can show up in a variety of places — for example:

  • How regular do events happen?
  • How regular do you email people?
  • How often are new people being added to the group?
  • Is there a calendar that looks months ahead or does everything happen last-minute?

Curious to hear what you think about this! This is related to the cheap & simple design principle.

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Looking for more community building resources?

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Together Institute

Hi there, we are Together Institute, we exist to help people and organizations build more meaningful communities. Here is where we share what we learn and think about.

Fabian Pfortmüller

Written by

Grüezi, Swiss community builder in NYC, author of @CommunityCanvas, co-founder Together Institute, fabian@together.is www.together.is

Together Institute

Hi there, we are Together Institute, we exist to help people and organizations build more meaningful communities. Here is where we share what we learn and think about.

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