Is Community Building Just Team Building by a Different Name?

Is Community Building Just Team Building by a Different Name?


Community building and team building are different.  ( I’ve talked about this before  – and probably will again.)  They occupy different points on a continuum.  Community building is the evolution of team building.  In other words, team building is the elementary school; community building is the PhD.

The Difference

Essentially, team building and community building are distinguished from one another by their goals.  Team building is an effort by management to create a cohesive group for the sake of motivation, cooperation and productivity.  Community building seeks a deeper, more authentic level of connection among the people in a group.  The decentralized and inclusive nature of community means all levels of the hierarchy, including managers, are involved in the community building process.  

As Scott Peck said, an organization is the antithesis of a community.  While you can organize team building activities, you can’t organize a group into a community.  Community building is a gentle, organic, evolutionary process willingly undertaken by a group of people.

Why Build Community?

We build community because a community is the foundation for the most cohesive, collaborative, equitable, inclusive, supportive – and fun -relationships within a group.

If we want to build a strong, resilient group at work, at play, in our associations and clubs, at school and at home, our best first action is to take the time to build ourselves into a community. 

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” It’s time we all learned how to build the foundation that makes all the rest of our work possible. Maybe we can even begin by building this foundation from now on.

Wired for Community

We all need community in our lives because no matter where we work, no matter what our station in life, our ethnic, economic or family status, our cultural or religious roots, our age, our successes and failures, our dreams and fears, etc., there is one thing we have in common; the desire to make our way successfully through the trials and challenges of life with the support and listening ear of others who join us on this journey.  

I believe anybody can be a community builder once they understand how groups evolve into community and learn how to guide the process.  Are you a community builder?  Do you want to be?

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash


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About The Author

I have always loved writing and community building. I’ve written a book about healing and happiness, The Happy Place, as well as a Community Building book, Sounding the Drum: Community Building in the Digital Age,both available at any Amazon store. I’ve been through life changes that I thought were the end of my world, but I’m still here. You never know what will happen next. Isn’t that what makes life interesting?