After googling “coalition of the willing” I fear it may be too hard to rehabilitate the phrase. But it would be nice use it to sum up a strategy that can work rather well: work with the active volunteers don’t get too hung up the less enthusiastic (often those “resistors” are figments of our imagination anyway).
Phil Dourado points to this video of a panel of web community founders hosted by Guy Kawasaki. Phil says
Community-based networks of common interest have the potential, it seems to me, to teach the corporate world some lessons in how to bring people together to pursue a common purpose, add value and generate income for participants.
I agree. These folks are different from many business leaders you meet. They seem to have discovered how to work in what I’m glibly calling a volunteer economy.
There’s a bit of credibilty gap when trying to convey this to corporates. I regularly experience that gap when talking to corporates about Open Space. It tends to bring to the surface unspoken assumptions about the willingness and ability of one’s fellow man to collaborate productively. It’s often a surprise to find how little carrot or stick is needed once you set up a reasonably transparent, non-very-hierarchical framework and focus your energy on the willing.
And then you realise that, the leaders, hitherto sceptical, are usually just as pleased to work within the space as the group formerly known as the followers. In the right context, most folks can move beyond the stereoptypes of formal hierarchy and get along fine.