What Matters Most When Asking People To Join You?
Have you ever thought about why you join what you do? What types of people do you follow? What types of projects do you work on? Why you shop at certain businesses, or donate and volunteer for only certain organizations or ministries?
But when you translate this to your role as a rising leader, what gets people to join you doing something good in the world isn’t usually what keeps them there. So then, what matters most when you ask people to join you?
The world screams and clangs for our attention. We’re left to struggle and find meaning in the noise.
As a communicator, I’ve been studying marketing continually for the last ten years. Especially now, as I plan the revamp of my websites, and being part of the My Blogging Mentor Mastermind, pushing me, providing feedback and community.
In this season of refocusing on marketing, one thing glares: people join you when you meet their needs, and meet them quickly.
Advertising has trained our culture to choose whom we will join dependent on who caters to us the clearest, quickest, cheapest, and prettiest. Commitment has morphed to minimal, and then it becomes routine.
My “Join Me” Failure
Years ago I asked everyone I knew online and in real life to join me. I promised them that if 400 people joined me, together we could change the world.
Five people joined me. Everyone else didn’t believe me, trust me, like me, or care about changing the world in the way I did (at least not yet). From a marketing perspective, I didn’t deliver. If I was even heard, they didn’t know what was in it for them immediately. It didn’t provide all of the clear, quick, cheap, and pretty distinctions people look for.
Sure, it broke my heart. But it also helped me reframe my message–to revolve around you. (Read more on that by clicking the this link or the picture below)
Joining The Team
The other day I got to hang out with Rob Nigro and some other good people at Family Life Church (San Diego) to clarify a vision. I chose to be part of the team to bring this plan to fruition. I invest my life into it. I joined it.
It isn’t perfect. There are just as many loses as wins sometimes. I don’t always agree with the team. I wait it out, serving and eventually they listen to me. Sometimes I’m the one who’s wrong.
But I’m in. I’ve joined, and not based-off of what’s in it for me. I am not a consumer: I am a player.
Finding Team Players Instead of Consumers
Marketing requires me to cater to consumers. But I still want the players, those five people who joined me. I just want 400+ of them.
Quick marketing doesn’t lend to this. Commitment, investment, and trust does. A shared vision does (even if the process isn’t perfected).
So we switch the question: how do we find players to join us instead of how do we find people to populate us?
Five Ways To Create a Culture Where People Join As Team Players
I’m still tripping, forever picking myself up, and brushing off as I try to translate my real life leadership experience to the culture of online spaces. But in my very real struggle to rapidly clarify to my visitors, I do not want to forget what is vital: to seek out the players that make the culture and the team.
Although I haven’t figured it out yet, these are some of the things I believe matters most when asking people to join:
1.) Start With Why:
I talk about this all the time during Blackout Trafficking, and the same thing goes for creating a team, but we always must start with the belief we share.
Example: What’s Average Advocate’s why? We believe that everyday people can make a difference in the world in a healthy way–despite everything that hinders them (cynicism, dead-dreams, no dreams, crazy kids, adulthood, past burnout or failure, lack of mentorship or safe places, etc…)
2.) Focus on Relationship:
Creating engagement is paramount. If you are really going to lead people to a vision, you yourself aren’t the vision. Together you reach a vision. This means that your team’s voice matters as much as yours does.
Example: How do I try to create engagement with you guys? I do your world changing projects and invite you into mine. I answer your questions. I listen to you and give you access to me in so many ways. I am still getting better at doing this online vs. in the real world, but my desire is for us to be a team.
3.) Always Go Back to the Simplified Vision:
The vision, simplified, is something the people who join you should hear over and over and over again. This is one of the things I am working on.
Example: One of the phrases I purposefully use to do this is, “Be who you are meant to be, make the difference you are born to make.” Then, for Blackout Trafficking everyone knows, “Freedom is the new black,” “Together, we can change the world,” and “We help you do something about human trafficking even if you don’t know anything about it except that you don’t like it.”
4.) Be Content With the Long-Game:
As you are trying to create a team, a tribe, a community of players instead of followers, it is worth being content with less that is more.
Example: I know I can grow my following much quicker if I do giveaways or talk about things that aren’t really in line with Average Advocate’s vision. Sometimes it bothers me, because I know I can easily grow quickly implementing certain tactics–but I intentionally choose not to in order to find the players. There is no point in having followers who are here with me, but aren’t really here.
5.) Build a Culture:
Rob noted, in our meeting, that the process does nothing unless the culture is there. Culture in this context still means our shared values, beliefs, humor, traditions and desires. We invite people to participate in the culture and ask them to perpetuate it. If they don’t want to, it’s better for them, our vision and our team if they leave.
Example: At Average Advocate I’ve been trying to do stories at Instagram that help people know the culture I want to create here (safe place, down-to-earth, humble, hope, for the whole family, adventure, authentic, life-giving, simplified ideas, passion for justice). When I see something that is “us,” from you guys, I repost it. The only reason I am planning on revamping my website this summer simply so I can make the culture more obvious.
How Can You Ask People To Join You In the Way That Matters?
Marketing is great. So is clarifying the message. The process is essential.
But as our leaders met the other day, Rob reminded us that it is the vision, the culture and the team that still matter most when calling people to join us.
How can you do this yourself? Tell me which of those five points you want to practice in the comments!
Alternatively, let me know what areas you are leading in or what teams you are part of. Then, where you see room for improvement to ask people to join you in your vision.