The Secret Wave: Does Your Membership Create an Identity?

Aug 28, 2017

Create an Identity in your Membership

My husband recently purchased a motorcycle and I noticed something that was new to me.

Did you know that motorcyclists *wave* to each other?  It’s subtle.  It’s not like a big hi-there wave up in the air. It’s like they’re pointing at the ground as they pass each other going down the road.

I never noticed it until I was riding along.  Then I realized my husband does it every single time we pass someone as the other motorcyclist does it back.  You might think of it as a “secret wave”, but it actually goes beyond that… it’s part of an identity.

Strong communities tend to have a solid sense of identity amongst their members. Here are a few places you’ll notice it:•

  • Common language:  There’s a lingo or shorthand that happens in groups that spend a lot of time together. You can throw out an acronym and anyone who’s part of the group instantly knows what you’re talking about.
  • Visible values:  If you’ve created a strong purpose and values for the membership, you’d ideally expect that those who join will be people who are also attracted to those values.
  • Shared experiences:  Your members are likely on the same transformational journey. They will recognize themselves in what others share.

Smart leaders take notice of these identity assets and encourage them to flourish.

They also recognize that, while these characteristics can beautifully bond a group, they can also feel intimidating to new group members.  Ever walk into a group where you feel like you don’t understand anything that they are talking about? That’s never fun.

Hopefully, in such situations, you had the blessing of someone noticing that you were new, rushing over to you, welcoming you warmly and showing you around.

The STRONGER the group identity becomes, the more attention you’ll have to pay to making sure that new people are introduced in a way that allows them to very quickly become part of what’s happening.

I’m curious what identity attributes you are seeing emerge amongst your members?  Or, if you haven’t launched yet, have you given consideration to what might be important for your future members?

Post a comment below and let me know!

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About The Author: I'm Joy Duling. Since 2005, I've been quietly helping smart, creative, passionate changemakers launch membership programs. To me, membership is more than a business model. It's a powerful platform for uniting your unique tribe of followers around the change you were meant to bring to the world.  If you agree, let's connect.  #leadyourcause Facebook: Twitter: @joyofmembership Skype:  live:jduling Email:

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