Identify Community Stewards

A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go ahead, whereupon the others will follow, not realising that all along they are being directed from behind.

—Nelson Mandela

Another important source of Action Team members in a Community Led Impact Partnership centres on the concept of stewardship. Community Stewards are integrators who cross boundaries of jurisdiction, sector and discipline to address complex regional issues. They see the connections between economic, environmental and social concerns and know how to “connect the dots” to improve their regions.

Community Stewards build support from leaders, citizens, interest groups and policy professionals in government, business, education, community sector and the public. They build a shared regional vision; they are coalition builders.

Stewardship supports the assumptions of a cooperative world; it replaces competition with collaboration, self-interest with service. It asks us to care more about the impact of a community led project than about self-interest.

Think about who are the stewards in your community who might put the project above the self-interest of individual organisations or careers. They might NOT be the obvious high profile leaders one normally thinks of. They might not be people with important titles.

Whoever you see as Community Stewards, they WILL be important given that a community led project by definition is about doing something good for the whole of the “community”.