Community Values – The Backbone of a Community

Today we are going to talk about an essential feature of all communities. Values. But prior to that, we must understand what they truly define. For instance, in the LikeMinds community Defense Tribe, discipline is held sacrosanct for community members, as it should be for any aspirant of a competitive defense services exam. Similarly, depending on nature and type, each community harbours inherent some values.  

What exactly are community values?

Values are the set of belief systems that we consciously or subconsciously hold. They ideally determine our daily actions and influence our decision-making process. Aligning our values with our actions is the key to living with integrity. Many individuals fall out of integrity when their values and actions become mismatched or misaligned. 

In a similar fashion, communities can stand the risk of losing integrity with their stated values. This undesirable phenomenon often occurs within brand communities. And what happens when our values and actions fall out at a community level? Loss of trust. Demotivated members. Drop in engagement. Decreased brand value.

Why are community values crucial?

  • Distinguish between you and other players in the field/domain 
  • Define the clear distinction between who can become community members and who would remain as visitors
  • Define whether we should pursue a given initiative for our community or not

They are an indispensable feature within a community. Why do values matter? Values help you understand how you are going to pursue your community goal while sticking to the value systems that will get you there. You do not want to get lost in the sea of communities doing the same thing. Values act as the differentiator between you and any other community. Shared values, moreover, help segregate members and visitors and clearly define if or not one should pursue or seek a particular community objective.

Ideally, you need about five community values because a lot of values will mean a harder task at prioritizing. 

Steps for defining community values:

Make a list of all your values: Firstly, gather all the potential values your organization might want for the community. This can be achieved by having everyone anonymously submit what they believe to be the values for the organization to generate a long list or you could gather the members together to generate a values list in a live workshop.

Sort primary and secondary values: The values that are closest to your belief systems are primary, and those that fall away are the secondary values and even tertiary values. Repeat this process until you whittle down the list to five values and no more.

Clearly define your terms: It’s crucial to define the community values you have made a list of and be on the same page with your team. Define the words and share examples and illustrations of values in action. The team members can then make use of those values to aid their decision-making process.

Check out LikeMinds YouTube channel to know more about different aspects of community building.