I'm Not With Them

There is a huge difference between attracting someone to a cause and keeping them engaged. The attraction comes from a common interest. Caring about a specific ideal or being drawn to a particular mission. Being a loyal supporter, however, has less to do with an issue and more to do with the one’s own identity.

Do I identify with THIS group? Do they reflect who I am? Am I proud to be associated with THEM?

A cause may attract us, but it is our identity with the other supporters that will determine whether we stay. It is true of the religions we follow, the political parties we endorse, the sports teams we support, and the groups and associations we join. If there are not enough people similar to us in the room, we feel uncomfortable and leave. Even if we believe in the cause.

A perfect example of this can be seen in a video that was posted online over the weekend. An assembly of protestors gathered in Atlanta to support the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations rallying against corporate greed and social injustice. The cause generated a crowd. But as you will see, the crowd and their behavior determine who will stay.

In what can only be described as “bizarre,” the protestors established a set of rules for the attendees to ensure consensus and respect that included repeating everything a speaker would say and using hand signals instead of clapping. They come across as loons and will never establish a large, loyal following, even if they do find others who support their cause.

Loyalty comes from a sense of belonging. Make sure that the groups you form, the leaders you choose, the events you hold, and the rules you establish are attracting the people you want - because your cause or mission won’t do it alone.

James Kane