5 Ways to Organisational Wellbeing/Asset-Based Community Development Readiness

Being ready to use your organisational resources to build community, instead of institutional prowess, client numbers, or revenue, involves making visible, through action, at least five commitments:

1. Exclusively focus on development not relief. If the development is done well and from inside out, enduring and proportionate relief will follow.

2. Be values heavy and issues light inside and outside your organisation. Start by valuing the gifts of your employees and they’ll value the gifts of the people they serve. 

3. Organise your systems the way people organise their lives; don’t expect people to organise their lives the way you organise your systems. Make your focus the reduction of dependency on systems and programmes in preference for the increase of interdependency in community life outside of ‘service-land’.

4. Bringing people together across difference in ways and places that support them to build dense and enduring places of welcome and collective efficacy.

5. Be clear about what you’re not going to do to be helpful. In other words, believe that ordinary people organised collectively are the best inventors of a better future. Therefore be curious as to how you can serve and support that invention, not be a proxy for it. Learn to lead by stepping back.

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These illustrations were created representing Cormac Russell’s speech at the July 2015 event at Health & Social Care Voices, who kindly shared them with us. ©HSC Voices

This orientation will reduce staff burnout, and increase your relevance and contribution to community life and citizenship. If you fit those five ways to organisational wellbeing you are in effect most likely supporting Asset-Based Community Development, even if you don’t use the jargon.

More importantly, you are acting as an acolyte to community building endeavours and priorities, and not as the high priests of a passive flock. Alongside active citizens in local communities, civic professionals who uphold these practices are co-creating and enlarging citizen-centred democracy, and consequentially stemming the tide of technocracy that drowns it.

Cormac Russell

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