“What’s your social impact personality type?” I asked my 13-year-old daughter this morning in the car on the way to the grocery store.
My daughter didn’t give me an answer, but I hadn't expect one. It was a rhetorical question because I am sure my middle daughter is a “connector.” Connectors prefer to engage in philanthropic activities that are social in nature, ideally involving opportunities to get together with others. “Social impact personality type” was one of several intriguing discoveries we made during Embolden’s five-year research study exploring market dynamics that are changing the way people connect with each other at home and in the workplace, impacting productivity and success.
Why do I suspect my daughter is a connector, instead of an activator or an investor? I suspect this because my daughter has a condition called Williams Syndrome, which is the result of a micro-deletion of 26 genes on one chromosome. Although the missing pieces of genetic code represent only a tiny fraction of the nearly 19,000 genes that make up the human genome, the genes’ absence in people with Williams Syndrome cause cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning disabilities. Interestingly, though, people with Williams Syndrome are gifted with striking verbal abilities and highly social personalities (thus the “connector” personality type). According to the Williams Syndrome Association, the condition affects 1 in 10,000 people worldwide, equating to an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States.
Raising a daughter with special needs is one of the ways I’ve experienced first hand the work-life-community mindset that is the hallmark of today’s social impact culture. Research shows us that our individual personality types are heavily influencing the roles we play in the community and the ways we choose to support our favorite causes. The work-life-community mindset means that our connections with each other extend well beyond the traditional boundaries that once stood between work, home, and civic engagement.
What this means for me looks something like this: I can be on a conference call for work when I am picking up my daughter from her practice with a soccer team created just for kids with disabilities. When I am in the office, I can glance at my phone to see text messages from my husband about our daughter’s medical appointments (or her arguments with her siblings). When I am waiting in the grocery store checkout line, I can read social media posts about other kids with Williams Syndrome, and even donate to the cause with a few easy clicks before it’s my turn to unload the contents of my cart. And, I can check a few work emails while I attempt to add curls to my daughter’s hair before she goes to school in the morning. Work. Life. Community. It’s all there, all the time.
The ways we engage with our favorite causes are every bit as much a part of our lifestyle today as going to the grocery store, picking up kids at soccer practice, or trying a new hair style. We don’t leave our passions and causes at the door when we get to work, or when we get home, either. Instead, thanks to technology and the Internet, our passions and causes are part of everything we do.
The work-life-community mindset has infiltrated every business, nonprofit, and financial institution in America. What this means for leaders of high growth organizations, whether for-profit or nonprofit, is that it’s time to celebrate the mindset by seeking new, effective strategies for engaging the hearts and minds of the people we are counting on to work in productive teams, meet goals, and achieve success for everyone. For me, that includes success for my daughter, curls and all.