Spark #

Cues of Belonging

Belonging cues have to do not with character or discipline but with building an environment that answers basic questions: Are we connected? Do we share a future? Are we safe?

Spark #
Cues of Belonging
What We're Talking About

The principle we're discussing

Connection, a shared future, and safety are key to creating a sense of belonging. When these elements are missing, mistakes follow. 

Here’s an example of what “successful” cues of belonging can do: During WWI, there was a brief truce on Christmas Eve. Enemy soldiers left their trenches and met on the battlefield to share food and celebrate. 

Wait—how did this happen? 

Since they were in such close proximity, the soldiers noticed shared behaviors, routines, and struggles. Over time, these “belonging cues” fostered empathy and led to a truce that would have otherwise been impossible.

Why it Matters

Why this principle is important and matters to you

Apply those same questions to an organization (Are we connected? Do we share a future? Are we safe?), and you’ll see the same results. 

When challenges or conflict arise, teams that share a sense of belonging are far more likely to be successful. Each individual feels a sense of purpose and wants to make a difference. When people don't feel a sense of belonging, the whole group suffers.

How You Can Use It

This provides practical ways to apply learnings from this Spark

To recap, the core tenants of belonging are: 

Connection: Common goals, experiences, and interests

Shared future: The sense that individuals will benefit from the group‘s success, no matter how that success manifests

Safety: Feeling free to experiment, take risks, and speak openly without fear of reprisal

Leaders and teams need to assess and consider their belonging cues as early as possible. By the time you realize they’re missing, it may be too late!


An opportunity to reflect on yourself and/or your team and how you can apply these insights

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