My last blog discussed how to prosper in this “New Economy”. I put forward a simple 4 step process for doing just that. Step 2, Form Communities, has caused the most interesting string of thinking and dialogue. The main question is “How the heck do I Form a Community?”.
Let’s start with my definition of Community. Community is a group of relationships that choose to gather around a particular passion, God-calling, idea or offering for the purpose of sharing life and values. Community is completely voluntary with each member contributing as much or as little as they desire.
In the previous blog I encouraged Business Owners to “Form Communities with your relationships”. A common question here is “why would anyone want to participate in a Community around what my company does?”. If we are operating in the World’s Economy then our primary concern is making money. If that is our reason for Forming a Community, IT WILL FAIL! Community is about shared values and Communities that prosper focus on SERVING each other.
While we shouldn’t form Communities only around our businesses and money we DO form them around our passion or calling. So what are you doing that matters? What are you doing that you are passionate about? For me it is all about helping people Trust God.
So pick a passion and Form a Community (more on HOW later). Note that our relationships can choose to be part of our Community without doing business with us and vice versa. Your business is only one way you participate in your Community. Other ways include listening, spending time, being transparent etc. Also our relationships can stop doing business with us and remain in our Community OR leave our Community and remain as a customer or stay in both. It is their choice.
Once we have created a Community around our passion we simply invite our relationships to join us and serve them. The rules of the Community should mirror the Values of our businesses/lives. As leader of the Community our job is to steward those Values in the Community. If we do this our Community grows.
We can now offer our business value to the Community separate from trying to “sell” them anything. We have many options using this approach as opposed to “just selling” them something. We can talk to our Intersections about:
- Our Community and how we might serve them (for me Godintersections.com)
- Our Business and how it might serve them for money (for me Leadership Productivity Forum)
- A combination of both.
This approach gets way cool when the economy shifts (which I believe is going to be a way of life for the foreseeable future). Let’s say you are in the construction business and the economy just rendered your type of construction as unneeded. If our Community is only about construction then we have no choice but to wait for “business to improve”. If our Community is about something we are passionate about we can use our business skills and experience to offer something else to the Community. Better yet we can receive a God Idea to provide a whole different type of value to the Community using our skills and knowledge. This new offering then sustains us. Using this approach we begin modeling “God Led Businesses” leading us to operating in God’s Economy.
I suspect this all sounds a little crazy to you. I look forward to your comments.