Think about a time when you wanted to do X, and you decided that Y is the best way of doing so.
When a time came to explain what you were doing, instead of talking about X (the actual, original problem you set out to solve), you talked about Y (the solution that you decided was the best way to solve the problem).
What’s the result? The person you’re talking to knows what you’re doing without knowing why you’re doing it.
The XY Antipattern in Communities
When starting & growing a community, one technique to gather people is to rally them around what you are doing.
We built a website! We’re teaching a class! We’re opening a space!
But then what? The website is launched. The class is over. The space is open.
What will they rally around now?
Sometimes, you launch another website, teach another class. But the excitement begins to wear off. Momentum starts to slow down unless you keep applying pressure and dreaming up new things to do.
The problem – and the XY Antipattern in full effect – was that you put all of your focus on what you were doing instead of why you were doing it.
Remember to share the X
When you remember to communicate the X – the why behind what you want to do – the need to constantly apply pressure starts to fade because suddenly, other people who understand the X are motivated on their own because that’s their X, too.