Nothing feels more rewarding than creating a good set of rules. Few things feel better when people follow those rules. When the rules work it feels like you’re cutting paper and the scissors just glide through the paper. It just feels good.
When a community is just starting, the people who create it need to establish a set of rules. That’s very very important. The reason being, as the community grows, which you hope it does, people need to know the boundaries and the consequences if they go outside them. Also, they need to know the rewards for positively contributing to the community.
When I work with a new community I tell them to keep the rules simple. Have rules and consequences around the negative stuff to address punctuality and conduct. Whenever things go off the rails, it’s normally because someone is always late (which means they’re not committed) or their behavior promotes a toxic environment. Next I have them create some goals with fun little rewards when someone helps get the community closer to achieving them. Something like you get to wear the Viking helmet when you run your first class without any help or you get embroidered Viking swag for every year of service. Over time those rewards and consequences become that invisible person in the community that helps drive the group forward as a unified group. That invisible person is called the culture. You can’t see it, but you can sense its presence and see that people are clearly following it.
With Viking my leadership team has worked very hard to create a culture of fun. I mean if you specialize in it, you’ve got to practice it right? If you do things that puts that fun in jeopardy, there are consequences. If you do things to elevate the fun, you get rewarded.
Developing a community culture takes time. A lot of time. But once it takes root the community flourishes.