You must have heard in project management that the task which takes the longest time to complete automatically becomes overall project’s critical path.

In communities contrary to popular belief, I feel the weakest member of the tribe defines the direction the community finally takes.

Because dealing with a weak member is one of the key challenges that the group on the whole faces. That weak member is a good friend to many. That weak member is inclusiveness. That weak member is etiquette.

That weak member is your weakness.

Live examples!

My life, if I look back, is a complex maze of situations and people interactions. And things that often haunt me back are some of my decisions that left the box and probably occupied space on the vacant floor space next to it.

A friend of mine and I decided to embark on a social experiment. Yes I have been a pro when it comes to playing with humans. 

Well back to subject. So we decided to embark upon this social experiment. Pray ask what? 

The experiment was simple. We created a whatsapp group of people who loved books. We added two members each to it and then there was us two. So total of six people.

And within a few days we were nose deep drowning in our phones. I was the only one married but all the rest of them were heavily accused by their peers of having embarked on a relationship of intense love kinds.

We all avoided social gatherings to spend time chatting on that group.

Well I need to focus on subject. Focus. Weakest member.

In this group was my college best friend. Due to paucity of time or perhaps interest she was least active here. One could call her the group’s weakest member. And I was admin. So mostly people didn’t say much but a sense of weirdness was attached.

One fine day I proposed that she quits. Yes out there. BTW she is still my 4 am friend and the fury I had to face over this public announcement was immense. Took weeks to settle down.

But even then I knew her being inactive was the elephant in the room. And needed to be dealt with.


Community building is more long term

Back to subject.

What did we learn from this example?

Dealing with your weakest member reveals a deep routed intent of the community. It ensures that you are here to mean business. And when we say business we say business of being a productive community. And not just social etiquette.

You know what happened post the so called ouster event?

We grew. We realised that these relationships we have formed sharing our hearts out on random nights are real. They mean something akin to an offline bond.

Dealing with your weakest member always ensures that your community grows. 

While one could say asking the member to leave is an extreme step. Which is yes.

But dealing in ways that are more subtle and indicative is not.

Four ways we can engage with a weak member:

  1. Remind them through a private message what is the intent of the community and what is expected of them
  2. Speak to their peers (ones who have better bonds) and explain how they need to help the member out
  3. Engage on a one on one complain session and see if the weakness is perhaps an offshoot of your own doing
  4. Give that person a testing responsibility and see if that brings about motivation

If all of the above fail to evoke a sense of belonging then the idea of closing a deal with no remorse must be floated.

When we become members of a community there is a silent WIFM that we begin to see. What is more important and crucial is that community on the whole sees a WIFM by including people in their larger circles.

Hence dealing with a weak member ensures that our stronger members know that their work is far more appreciated.

As mentioned earlier, I will be crowd-sourcing ideas and elements for all my posts. Your comments will be a valuable entry to the above content.

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