I know people who have bounced constantly from one company to the next without ever getting the support they felt the community needed to succeed.
The language they use is telling.
“My boss doesn’t get community”
“The CEO doesn’t understand the benefits of a community”
It probably feels like a relief to shift the blame to someone else.
But the truth is you haven’t earned their support yet.
You haven’t built relationships with senior leaders, learned what they need, and how best to articulate the benefits to fit their worldview.
You haven’t delivered tangible results yet or you aren’t showing metrics which they care about (or even helped them identify which metrics to care about).
None of this is in your job description, but it’s all part of your job.
If you expect your boss (or her boss) to magically believe in the power of community one day, you’re expecting too much.
This means you need to learn how to build relationships and communicate with senior leaders, you need to learn how to distill the power of a community into an easily-digestible sound-bite which makes the community an immediate priority. You need to learn how to ensure the community isn’t seen as a threat to other colleagues and identify how they can best benefit from a community.
The most powerful work you can do isn’t to build a community for a company, but to prepare a company for a community. That’s a legacy you can be proud of.