What Does Community Mean to You?


Community Blog
Written by Clare Ryan

DECEMBER 8, 2020

As we get closer to the holidays, we all get more reflective, and at Evanta, we’ve been thinking about 2020 a lot. Or, maybe as we near the end of 2020, we are all just looking forward to putting this year in the rearview mirror! Either way, we’ve been thinking lately about the concept of a community and what it means. 

One definition of community is simply a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. This is what we most commonly think of as a community -- people who live together in a neighborhood, work together at the same company, or go to school together.

But in the case of a once in a 100-year pandemic, what if we’re not actually with anyone we work with, go to school with, or share a neighborhood with? How does that impact the idea of being in a community? 

A second, and maybe more interesting, definition of community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. A ‘feeling of fellowship’ seems to be an idea more fitting for 2020. Even if you can’t physically be with your community, you can adapt and recreate the feeling of fellowship in different ways.

Have you continued to participate in your various communities this year, and did that help you feel connected? Here at Evanta, we worked hard to create virtual opportunities for our communities to continue to get together. Our communities of C-level business leaders are looking for ways to share, collaborate and exchange ideas with each other in areas of common interest. 

They typically discuss a particular topic or key challenge, and 2020 gave them plenty of topics around shared challenges. When we are all going through similar experiences, we like to share and even commiserate on how it’s going, and business leaders are no different. One told us that these discussions are like “a sanity check with a trusted colleague.” 

Once they build trust with their peers and realize that they are often going through the same things, they have a chance to collaborate and compare notes on their solutions to common problems. Another executive said, “Everybody has done something that you need to do today or tomorrow, so don’t reinvent the wheel.”

Beyond solving business problems together, this year we realized that these leaders really do form a community. They embody the second definition -- of people sharing common interests and goals. They are eager to share what they’ve learned with their peers, and they care about each other’s successes and failures. 

Meeting with their peers is also a social outlet and opportunity for connection with their fellow community members. As another leader said, “What you want to be careful about is isolationism… Because we’re at home, we’re not going anywhere, you can wonder if you’re on the right track.” 

Of course, we adapted how the communities came together to collaborate, share and learn this year. Even though the formats looked different -- like everything else in 2020 -- it was still valuable to business leaders to come together with their professional community. 

We can’t be sure what 2021 will bring -- as much as we’d like to hope that the calendar turning over on January 1, 2021, will be a magic bullet! -- we’ll likely be facing business uncertainty for awhile. But we can be sure of the power of a community and what that delivers to people during uncertain times.

As one CIO community member put it, “There is the continued need to calibrate, adjust, and pivot as the world around us continues to evolve.”

 

Clare Ryan headshot

Clare Ryan

VP, Content & Product Strategy at Evanta, a Gartner Company


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