The New Community

July 26, 2012 | 123 Views

The New Community

John Isbell

Director of Learning & Development | Portillos Hotdogs, Inc.

When I was a kid I have vivid memories of growing up in a community. I was raised in Bellbrook, which was a small suburb of Dayton, Ohio. Everyone knew everyone. Most of the time that was awesome. You could go to Dot’s Market & see at least 4 people you knew that day. If you had a flat tire someone would be along to help you fix it. Sometimes, if you were someone like me, growing up in a small community could also be bad because, well, everyone knew you! There was no anonymity so if you got in trouble – someone was calling your mother. Trust me, this actually happens! Also everyone knew what kind of medicine you were taking because we all used the same pharmacist, so hopefully you didn’t have a weird rash because people would be talking about you behind your back for weeks.

Even though it was good & bad – it was all filled with awesome sauce in the end & it helped shape who I am today as a person. I don’t feel like cities & towns have that same sense of community anymore and I miss that for my kids. I miss that for me.

So, I’m on the plane returning from another amazing Council of Hotel & Restaurant Trainers (CHART) Conference. Then it hits me – I have that same feeling I used to have, that inner peace, when I’m at a CHART conference. And now I realize why. There is a sense of community among our membership. There is a sense of belonging & of being around family. If you have a problem on the side of the virtual road – one of our members will stop & pick you up. If you need help on a program you are working on – one of our members will get you what you need or at least point you in the right direction.

There is more to this than just feeling good too. There is a training implication that I just put my finger on. During the conference, we had folks who were assigned to tweet & some folks who just like tweet in general were also tweeting. It was pretty tweettastic (you can use that if you want)! So while a speaker was speaking – the “tweeters” (which sounds like a vocal group from the 50’s) would tweet something they heard from the presentation that spoke to them or that they thought someone else would benefit from reading. Pretty soon I began to notice a pattern. A lot of us were tweeting the same things. It turns out that a lot of the same pieces of info that we were digging & that spoke to us, others were getting the same vibe from. The twitter community for #chartchicago was collectively telling the speakers which parts were the important ones. We gave them information that they can then go back & use to emphasize more & make their presentations even better.

It was a cool feeling to be part of the collective community that was shaping the very presentations that others will hear. I wonder if we could use twitter & facebook to build close communities in our own companies to gain valuable feedback on our training sessions as well as to get the same feelings that I get when I’m at a CHART conference or when I think back to my time in Bellbrook. And, in the new virtual community – you can always stay in touch with each other & no one has to know if you have a rash…

Thanks so much for reading this today,

John Isbell   @johnisbell85

CHART Community Discussion

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