You cannot underestimate the power of community. Throughout history groups of people working together pursuing a shared goal have changed the world. In business the power of community, from the effectiveness of your executive team to the productivity of front line employees, dramatically impacts the bottom line. Building community requires two keys working in concert together.
1. Commitment to a Common Cause
The first key to workplace community is commitment to a common cause. The root of the word community refers to people sharing resources in common with each other. Not just physical resources, however, but spiritual and emotional: shared mission and shared ideals. This is what creates community.
2. Commitment to Each Other
Community is also about relationship. Healthy communities are not only committed to a common cause, but are committed to each other. They care for each other and treat each other with dignity and respect. Without this dynamic, a community implodes. Businesses do this and political movements, sports teams and religious institutions. The relational foundation doesn’t exist to bear the weight of the movement, and it collapses on itself.
An opposite phenomenon occurs, however, when a group of people is committed to each other but not to a common cause. The organization becomes ingrown, self-serving, and hopelessly insulated to the realities of the marketplace. One of the worst examples I’ve experienced of this was when my wife and I went out to a local pizzeria for dinner, and the large screen television was angled away from the dining area so that the employees could watch Dancing with the Stars. Customers be damned.
It’s About Both: Values and Vision
To unleash the power of community in your business, get everyone the same page when in comes to the values you uphold and the vision you pursue. Take the time to build these in a collaborative way so that everyone owns their outcomes.
Then treat your employees at every level of the organization with dignity and respect. Believe in your people and celebrate their achievements–large and small, personal and professional–and they’ll give you 100% effort 100% of the time. And that, too, impacts the bottom line. Big time.