How to Ask Better Community Questions: It’s as Easy as ABCD

In this conversation Joel Zaslovsky discusses with Cormac Russell:

  • Why our unexpressed gifts can do tremendous harm.
  • How an institutionalized five-year-old changed Cormac’s life direction.
  • Why community makes a better verb than a noun.
  • How to get past the sense that someone’s either trying to sell you something or sell you out.
  • The two words that simply summarize Asset-Based Community Development.
  • How to have conversations that respect the past and present, but aren’t held captive by either.
  • When to show up as a host or guest in someone’s life.
  • How to ask better questions about and within your communities.
  • Why consumer culture is actually an anti-culture.
  • Why emphasizing discoverables is better than focusing on deliverables.
  • How Asset-Based Community Driven Efforts may be the next evolution of ABCD.

Timestamps for discussion topics:

  • [03:17] How I think about community and my sense of belonging
  • [12:41] Cormac’s seeds of awesomeness
  • [19:23] How being an orphan informs Cormac’s ABCD work
  • [24:23] How Cormac’s background in psychology and “community care” led him to ABCD
  • [29:31] The essence of ABCD
  • [33:30] Community as a verb, not a noun
  • [39:38] The tension between trust and privacy
  • [52:02] The limits of ABCD and discoverables over deliverables


Republished with the kind permission of Joel Zaslofsky.

Find out more about this conversation: originally published  – How to Ask Better Community Questions: It’s as Easy as ABCD with Cormac Russell – SASM 127

Find out more about Joel and his community:


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1 Comment
  • Yvonne Daddow

    Joel, absolutely loved your podcast with Cormac. I recently had the honour of meeting him here in Western Australia. In the beginning of May. I appreciated his honesty and his wisdom when it came to discussing Indigenous Aboriginal Communities here in Western Australia. Some of the ABCDE concepts did not apply to us here, but we discussed the terminology and came up with alternatives that would better depict the community, using this formula. I find yourself equally intriguing, and would love be to hear your thoughts on Indigenous Community building as well. Thanks again for the insight.
    Yvonne Daddow
    Elder for the Yued People of Western Australia

    June 8, 2018 at 12:41 pm

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