Community the Grateful Dead Way

29 Nov

I love the Grateful Dead. One of the things that I find most amazing about them is that everyone in the band is doing something interesting. There’s no one slacking just because their part isn’t front and center. When I focus my attention on any of the individual instruments, I feel as though there’s enough there that I could happily listen to just that part. And the truly amazing thing is that it all comes together as a cohesive whole.

I was reading the other day about the process the band used to pull together the material for “Blues for Allah.” (cite, date, etc. Some context about the album for us non-Dead Heads) I realized that the Dead were a template for the way a successful community should be.

When they decided that it was time to record the album, they wanted it to be something new, something that pushed the boundaries for them. So, they decided that no one would bring any material to the sessions. They would just get together in the studio and jam. And when they discovered something that they liked, they would capture it. On subsequent days they would jam some more, but they would revisit those nuggets, refine them, extend them, and re-work them until finally, they had an album. And, to my ears, it’s brilliant.

For me, that’s what an idea community looks like. Everybody brings their best. We put it all together, we figure out what works and what doesn’t. We refine and extent. And if we’re doing it well, the results will astonish those around us.

One final thought… I think there is a connection between the community spirit that fueled the members of the Dead and the incredible community of “Deadheads” that the band inspired. Community is like that, what we do as individuals and leaders in our community shapes the community itself. If we want to “have” community, we need to “be” community.


One Response to “Community the Grateful Dead Way”


  1. Online Community Management Links Roundup 2/12/11 - Community Management | Blaise Grimes-Viort - December 6, 2011

    […] Community the Grateful Dead Way […]

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