Behavior Modification for Tiered Communities
How to use the manual
1. Download the Dashboard in your preferred format.
2. Work your way through the prompts on this page in order.
3. Once your Dashboard is complete, start taking action based on your new information by implementing the triggers you have identified.
4. Use the Tool Library to help you make your new insights an everyday part of your community.
THE CONSTELLATION EQUATION
The Constellation Equation is made up of two main elements that together form the the basis for keeping your community under control.
In a circular community it looks like this:
CONTAINER + INFLUENCE = CONTROL
The container consists of your values, modifications, and guidelines while the influence is made up of triggers.
So, in reality the equation looks like this:
(VALUES+MODIFICATIONS+GUIDELINES) + TRIGGERS = CONTROL
Since this is an equation meant to be used in practice, not in theory, it also has a built in reality check.
Control consists of desired actions and impacts.
That brings us to a final breakdown of the equation like this:
(VALUES+MODIFICATIONS+GUIDELINES) + TRIGGERS = (ACTIONS+IMPACTS)
This gives you a natural order for building a solid foundation for your community as well as a tool for trouble shooting.
Let's start by getting all of your building blocks in place.
A tiered community functions as a container within which members have the opportunity to evolve towards higher levels. Members are encouraged to be active and take on leadership roles within their current tiers.
The organized leadership facilitates the process for members to become leaders within each tier as they evolve towards the next tier.
Indicators that your community is most likely circular:
- There is a knowledge and/or experience ladder for the members to climb.
- Information and activities is gated within each tier.
- Members are invited to become leaders as they evolve within a tier.
Examples of tiered communities includes the Girls Scouts of the USA, and Amnesty International.
Before you continue, make sure that your community truly is a tiered one by comparing it with the two other types.
BOUNDARIES + PURPOSE
Values are made up of purpose and boundaries. In a tiered community the purpose sets up the container for each tier and the boundaries maintain the division between the tiers.
The purpose determines what activities and information should be shared along with what types of initiative the members can take.
The boundaries determines the criteria for each tier and how members can evolve within the community.
An easy way for you to set up your first boundaries is to list the exact criteria for members of each tier. Then list the purpose of the community within each tier.
As your community grows you will need to continuously revisit the boundaries and the purpose to make sure that members move through the tiers having the right credentials and while also achieving the purpose of each tier.
The most important job the values in a tiered community is to maintain the evolutionary structure of the community.
Start organizing your values by making a list of the tiers in your community and the criteria that comes with each tier.
CORRECTIONS + INCENTIVES
Modifications help you control your community without the constant need for moderation.
Each constellation has a preferred primary and secondary modification that corresponds to the distribution of values in that constellation.
In a tiered community both corrections and incentives are preferred methods for modifying the behaviors of the members.
Incentives correspond to purpose. That means that if a member acts out of line with the purpose of your community the first course of action is to give them an incentive to realign with the purpose.
In short, use the right carrot to get them to engage correctly within their tier.
A correction should be used when a member crosses a boundary. That means that if the member takes an action that disrupts the structure of your community they need to be corrected.
Corrections come in two formats: rehabilitative and punitive. Both formats can be applied to a tiered community.
A rehabilitative correction is the best choice when actions overstep the bounds of the tiers since these are actions that are outside the control of the leadership and the purpose of the tiers is to maintain appropriate influence over the members.
A rehabilitative correction can be anything from education, to accountability and apology, to mediation.
A punitive correction is the best choice when the action steps out side of the entire community structure since it then threatens the community as a whole and will lead to the community changing in ways that are out of line with its purpose.
A punitive correction can be anything form a warning, to a temporary ban, to an exclusion.
Start setting up your modifications by listing a correction next to each boundary you listed when formulating your values.
DON'TS + DO'S
Community guidelines should guide your members toward the correct actions to take in your community.
Guidelines are made up of do's and don'ts.
In a tiered community the both actions that are aligned with the purpose and actions that are aligned with the boundaries are important.
The actions connected to boundaries are modified using corrections. This means that your guidelines should feature don'ts.
In your guidelines don'ts should be used to illustrate actions that would be disrespecting the tiers or are outside the structure of your community.
Format your guidelines primarily as discouragements and limitations.
An example of this would be if a member wants to teach other members about becoming published in a tiered community for fiction authors while belonging to a tier for unpublished authors.
The guideline can then be formulated as don't initiate any workshops that are outside of the scope for the tier you currently belong to.
The actions that aligned with purpose are modified using incentives. This means that your guidelines should also feature do's.
Format your guidelines primarily as permissions and invitations.
An example would be to pay attention to prompts from one of the leaders.
The guideline could then be formulated as do follow the updates of the leader in order to get the correct information.
Start organizing your guidelines by making a list of the don'ts you need for members to understand the boundaries of your tiers and your community.
Agreements equal the main activity you need your members to buy into in order for your community to function properly.
Each community constellation has a primary and a secondary agreement.
In a tiered community the primary agreement in to evolve.
Without active member evolution a tiered community will slowly stagnate and die. Most activities are based on members moving from one tier to the next. Evolution is the key to engagement.
In order to enforce this agreement make sure that your values, modifications, and guidelines are all set up to support member evolution.
The secondary agreement is to participate.
Without members actively following the leaders in a tiered community, participation within the tiers will slowly die. Most activities in the tiers are member initiated and led. Following is a key to engagement.
In order to enforce this agreement make sure that your values, triggers, and modifications are all set up to support members following the leaders in their tiers.
Start by evaluating your do's from the point of view of evolution.
Triggers lead to actions which lead to impacts. They are the initial stage of the behaviors that you want to influence in your community.
Triggers can lead to beneficial results in your community, or to harm.
Each community constellation has a primary and a secondary trigger. These are two most effective kinds of triggers for achieving the types of actions and impacts you desire in your community.
The primary trigger in a tiered community is values. The values determine the tone and type of the actions your members take.
If you value assertiveness that will lead to a different set of actions than if you valued harmony. Make your values actionable.
An example of a value based trigger is to formulate your communication to always keep your values top of mind. If you value collaboration give members a reason to do so when you engage with them.
The secondary trigger in a tiered community is facilitator. This is a trigger that is closely linked to how authority is expressed in your community.
If the authority of your facilitator(s) is compromised they will be less effective as a trigger. The same is true with too many facilitators as the members will have a harder time understanding the hierarchy among the leaders.
The key to this trigger is to continuously reinforce the position of the facilitator and the role they have within the community.
Start taking control of your triggers by making a list of the triggers you need to have in place to support the do's in your community.
Each community constellation has a preferred primary and secondary action.
In a circular community the preferred primary action is interactions.
Interactions primarily take place between members and are a way for them to form personal bonds and connections between each other.
The preferred secondary action in a tiered community is reactions.
A reaction, in most cases, is a response to a broadcast or interaction initiated by towards the organized leadership. The purpose of getting reactions from the members is to foster greater and greater intimacy and influence from the leaders point of view.
The two preferred actions enforce the structure and the purpose of the tiered community.
Actions are a way to evaluate your triggers. Start by listing the corresponding action(s) to each trigger you identified earlier.
Each community constellation has a preferred primary and secondary impact.
In a tiered community the preferred primary impact is collective.
Collective impact takes place when the majority of members in a specific segment of the community experience consequence from an action taken by one or more members.
The preferred secondary impact in a tiered community is contained.
A contained impact is limited to a member and the closets peers they have in the community.
A tiered community does not encourage members to form community wide networks and as such there are limited ways for members to be impacted by each others actions.
The two preferred impacts describe the most common vulnerabilities of the circular community. Actions that lead to these types of impacts should be controlled by carefully curated triggers that are aligned with your values.
Impacts are the final step in evaluating your triggers. Start by listing the corresponding impact(s) to each action and trigger pair that you identified earlier.
Now that you have build the foundation and understand each part of the equation it is time to use in in real life.
You will see that sometimes you will not get the desired end results in form of actions and impacts.
So what to do now?
Let's say you have aligned your values and guidelines and made triggers that support those but still find that your members are not engaging in the right actions.
The first order of business is then to go back and modify the trigger. Maybe it has been phrased incorrectly, used at the wrong time or place, or something else.
If modifying the trigger does not fix the issue, the second order of business is to re-examine how you have set up your do's.
Your triggers are all based on these and they are not expressed correctly they will set you up for faulty triggers.
If reworking your do's and then your triggers doesn't fix the issue either, the third order of business is to move another step back and look at the modification incentives you have set up.
Get your incentives updated, rework the do's based on your new updates and set up new triggers and see if that fixes things.
If not, the final order of business is to go all the way back to your values and look at the purposes of your community.
They are the foundations of the incentives. As you can see all the building blocks are linked together and the only thing you need to do is to find the faulty block and upgrade it.
This will take time and patience to evaluate properly, but the steps to getting there are always clear and simple.
Pick a trigger that could use some improvement and use this as a way to test the troubleshooting process.