Is community in your budget?

A recent McKinsey Quarterly article: When your calendar is a moral document article featured a talk by Reverend Jim Wallis.  Although he was talking about how we should live in our modern world with its current crises at Davos, I was pulled in by the notion of something as benign as a calendar having any moral impact.  But as he spoke, I was reminded by thoughts I’ve had in the past.

In my life, I’ve had lots of exposure to the religious concept of the tithe.  Whether you take it literally or not, the idea of giving some portion of your earnings elevates the value of the rest.  I think that’s where Rev. Wallis is going with his idea of a calendar being a moral document.  It is, just as a budget is. If you would give a dime of each dollar, would you give 16-17 hours of each week to doing good?

Budgets and calendars each establish priorities.  A financial budget is a spending plan and a calendar or personal diary is a time plan.  The items on your budget are your priorities as are your scheduled meetings and appointments.  That’s my jumping off point.

Last week my client, a 50-something 3-star, said, “A lot of news shows are starting to report on the viral video of the day… I start every day looking at a few sites that I follow.”

YES! That’s a priority.  It’s in his budget.  This will be his tithe or investment in the community.  His staff will know they want to be in the social computing environment saying things and commenting on the ideas of others, because they know they will be noticed.  This is exactly the behavior we’re looking for to drive adoption.  It reminds me of the time back in the 80s when executives didn’t have their own email accounts or manage their own calendars.  They couldn’t quite understand why they didn’t know what was going on (their assistants did, though) and they couldn’t understand why their staffs were wasting their time “doing email”.

The beauty of the social media versus email is you don’t have to handle it all (yes I know you can have email filters, but truly most execs won’t go there).  As an executive or staffer at any level, you can spend a little time every day, say 15-20 minutes, looking at the channels you are tuned into and you can get the vibe of your world.  You can feel the ebb and flow of your river of activity and you can recognize and stimulate good activity.

Remember the old saw “leaders are readers”?  There should be a corollary in the social media world.  “If you are an executive or leader you need to commit that 5% (24 minutes of an 8-hour day).”

If community and collaboration are important, you need to get them on your calendar, in your budget.  The leader needs to not only commit their own time, they should communicate that they want this in everyone’s budget.  It’s that important.


One thought on “Is community in your budget?

  1. Fascinating stuff, Dennis! I have noticed some of this kind of prioritizing in how I manage my time on Facebook. I’ve decided that my daily/weekly face-to-face relationships are the most important to me, so I’ve turned off the newsfeeds of almost everyone who I don’t see at least weekly. There are exceptions, of course, but I try to keep them as few as possible. This means I’m not as in touch with my college buddies as I might like, but it means I’m MORE in touch with my neighbors, the parents of my kids’ friends, and my spiritual community. Accepting the fact that I can’t be best friends with everyone in the world, I’m choosing to focus my social sphere locally, because it’s local people to whom I can best show love in practical ways.

    Who would have thought: Facebook newsfeeds are moral documents! =)


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