From formal to informal, from control to chaos 

Remember last week I said there is an old, hard way of organizing ourselves and a new, easier wayThe change won’t happen when you adopt new tools. The change will happen when you adopt new behaviors

What are those new behaviors? I just started working on this list, and I’m dying to share it with you.

Old way: Formal
Structured committees, officers, meetings, notes, reports

New way: Informal
Get-togethers, self-organized, idea exchanges, action

Old way: Control
Issuing orders, commands, follow-ups, accountability

New way: Chaos
Trying, acting, talking, duplicating, starting, stopping, retrying, repeating, learning

Old way: Few
Officials, appointments, selections, committees, officers, back rooms, the old guard

New way: Crowd
Lots of people, everyone, anyone who wants to 

Old way: Decide
Pick winners, eliminate choices, cut off options, streamline, one “best” way 

New way: Test 
Experiment, test, try, fail, succeed, partly fail, learn, revise, give up on some things, get better through experience

Old way: Isolated
Meetings with no public attendance, gatekeepers, qualifications, prerequisites, requirements

New way: Connected
Out and present in the community, participating, listening, involving

Old way: BIG
Large projects, big costs, hard to do, long term, difficult to stop

New way: small 

Tiny businesses, small steps, little failures, small successes, easy to do, short term, easy to quit if not working

Old way: Failure is bad
Hide failures, don’t talk about them, be embarrassed, remind people of their failures to shame them

New way: Failure is good
Learn from failure, celebrate good tries, look for lessons, let things go quickly that aren’t working

If this scares the heck out of you, that’s OK. But know that it’s coming. This is the way all things will be organized, sooner than you think. Are you ready to let go? 

Keep shaping the future of your town, 

PS –  What’s coming next for rural communities? Here’s your first chance to sign up for our Small Town Trends webinar (that’s more like a conversation) with you coming up in January. This will be a good one to get a group excited about your future.