Sunday, November 24, 2013

What if you looked at your local campaign group as if it were a rock band?

You'd be surprised how many parallels I see between local campaign groups and rock bands.

Wait, come back...

They are both collaborative, social units with shared aims and values. They both engage, in different ways, in performance and interaction with a public. They're both in the business of changing people's minds. And at their best - they both entail a collective surrender of ego to the shared goal. 

I'd be interested in the reflections this metaphor might suggest to you. 

And what rock band does your local group remind you of? Hopefully not Spinal Tap...

But here's one long-form thought to get you started.

Lovely photo of  the fabulous Arboretum via Greg Nate at Wikimedia Commons

Visible and invisible contributions

The relationship between the campaigners/musicians/performers in a group is vitally important. The value of each member should be measured by both their visible and invisible contributions. 

Think about your favourite bands. Think about the one who might not write the songs, but is absolutely crucial to the creative dynamic, or to the social glue of the band, or to the relationship with the fans.

Or, think about your local campaign group. Who's the member who might not be your coordinator or your issue expert in residence, but is the one who invites you all over to dinner in December? Who takes your 'crazy idea' for dressing as giant traffic cones and helps you turn it into something which works? Who makes the newcomers feel welcome?

Given the number of big personalities among musicians and campaigners, who's the one who stops you all killing each other and keeps you working together? 

Cos yep, that's your invisible contribution right there.

And that's why understanding and nurturing the ecology of your local group is so important.

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