I frequently get thanked for things I didn’t do. That’s because I take on projects that are way too big for one little mama to do all by herself. Like collecting, packaging and distributing cookies to more than 2,000 service members at holiday time. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love to bake. But 12,000 cookies? 10 days from now? Forget about it.
I’m something of a yes-mama. I simply can’t say “no” when I’m asked to take on an enormous project. I’m a project junkie. But I know I can’t be a do-it-myself project junkie. That would be ludicrous. And it isn't necessary!
People love to help with meaningful projects, so reaching out gives others the opportunity to do good. They'll also bring skills, talents and resources that Leading Mama just doesn’t have. Sometimes more is more. So I say “bring it.”
Crowd-sourcing is a relatively new concept in business. It amounts to getting people to build products without payment for their labor, and it flies in the face of years of pay-for-performance management. Community leaders have been doing something similar for hundreds or thousands of years. Think barnraising technology for the modern world.
I call it community-sourcing: harnessing the energies of community networks and everyday people to accomplish a shared pro-social goal.
Community-sourcing could help you collect coats for inner city kids or items for the school’s silent auction. It could be used to build affordable housing or clean up and refurbish a dilapidated baseball field. You could community-source a website or blog and get rich content from hundreds of contributors in the virtual community. If you're a ScaryMommy fan, you know what I mean. She has an eight-week waiting list for guest contributors to the Scary Mommy Society and the content is outstanding.
Done right, community-sourcing not only gets the job done. It gets the job done faster, smarter, and better. It builds community. And – if you have a tendency to take projects way too big for one person – it just might save you from yourself.
How could community-sourcing help you with an upcoming project? And what's stopping you from using it?