Your gifts don’t need to be big. They just need to be gifts.
I saw a neighbour driving in the street this morning. Being Australian males, we both raised a hand of acknowledgement. Two little waves made a gesture of greeting and respect. In regional Australia, the gesture is refined down until only a finger is raised from the steering wheel, but it is usually raised to greet each vehicle.
Little gestures matter precisely because they are small and easy to ignore. Taking the time to recognise others specifically, is part of building community. Anyone can drift anonymously through a large city or organisation. Recognition reminds you that you have peers.
The genius of John Stepper’s Working Out Loud is his focus on making small contributions to one’s network. All networks are built on these little moments – gifts of recognition, support or respect. Working out loud refines the giving in your networks and build a generous atmosphere of community.
When I work with clients on enterprise social collaboration, my focus is to bring the conversation down from big set piece projects to these little gestures of community. The first three verbs of the Value Maturity Model, Connect>Share>Solve>Innovate, are foundations created by these small gifts of time, attention or value. Multiply small gifts and you multiply the power of collaboration. Most importantly of all, like a hand wave between neighbours, these gifts can be given everyday.
Build your community with little gifts.
May you enjoy the season of giving. Merry Christmas and a happy new year all. I look forward to further conversations with you in 2016 about the role of learning, leadership & collaboration in the future of work.