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Barry McDonald
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Barry McDonald
March 26, 2024
March 26, 2024

Why Generalists Shine as Community Builders

CodeBase's Barry McDonald explains why generalists shine as community builders

Thanks mainly to the exceptional work Mily Tamati has been doing building the Generalist World, I began thinking about the role of generalists in the startup ecosystem and came to the conclusion that generalists shine as community builders.

For the uninitiated, a generalist is described as: “one whose skills, interests, or habits are varied or unspecialized.” An updated version, if you like, of a jack of all trades, master of quite a lot actually. 

I think it’s their diverse skill sets and adaptability which make generalists exceptional community builders. Unlike specialists who excel in a specific domain, generalists possess a broad range of skills and knowledge. In the context of community building, this versatility is invaluable. Community dynamics are multifaceted, requiring more of a holistic approach.

Some of these versatile skills include:

Adaptability: Generalists can easily pivot between tasks, adapting to the evolving and sometimes fickle needs of a community. They are quick learners and can handle various challenges, making them well-suited to the dynamic nature of community development.

Versatility: Community building involves a myriad of activities, from organising events to facilitating discussions and introductions. Generalists can seamlessly navigate through different roles, ensuring that various aspects of community development are addressed effectively.

Interdisciplinary: Understanding: Generalists often have knowledge spanning multiple disciplines and have a wide ‘lived experience’. This interdisciplinary understanding helps them to connect with diverse community members, catering to a wide range of interests and backgrounds.

Collaborative Approach: Community building is a collaborative effort that demands effective communication and cooperation. Generalists, with their ability to communicate across various domains, can bridge gaps and foster a sense of unity within the community.

Problem-Solving Skills: Generalists excel at problem-solving by drawing on their diverse experiences. This skill is crucial in addressing the unique challenges that may arise within a community, promoting resilience and sustainable growth.

Holistic Vision: Generalists tend to view situations holistically, considering the interconnectedness of various factors. This holistic vision is essential in creating comprehensive community development strategies that encompass social, cultural, and practical aspects.

In essence, the above - as well as many more attributes - make them well-suited to navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of community building.

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