(Updated in 2020)
10-POINT PLAN: A Foundation of Solid Thinking
A Good Business Values Customers; A Great Business Values Every Person Who Helps the Business Thrive
I once had the best job of a life-time, working for the best boss I could have ordered up in my wildest dreams. Our relationship brought out the best in each of us and that ethic was true throughout the entire company. The operation of that business was smooth, reliable, and totally centered on customers and how to serve them. In an industry that was experiencing 2-3% growth, we were doing 10 to 20 times that. Conversations were honest and thinking was naturally strategic.
We were a community on a quest.
We loved what we did and we were outstanding at doing it.
Love. Not like, enjoy, or get kick out of, but have a passion for, live for, hold in highest esteem.
Every company that wants to grow should have some of that.
Here’s how to explain the value of internal community to leadership in ways that shout ROI and make business sense.
Why a Loyal Internal Community Is Crucial to Every 21st Century Business
People perform amazing feats when they’ve got a quest, a cause, and a purpose. We rise to our better selves when we become part of a community dedicated to building something that no one of us could possibly build alone.
It’s how we’re wired as humans. We’re better when we’re inspired by deep feeling. We bring our best to whatever challenge we face. Any less is inauthentic, second-best, didn’t try, plan b, ho-hum, phone it in, stand in right field and let that pop-fly pass us by instead of saving the game . . . we might as well be out!
The people who understand passion and work are not promoting self-indulgence. When people do what they love they perform better, faster, and with more skill. When a community gathers around a common quest, they raise the performance bar even higher by supporting each other.
What Makes an Internal Community So Important Now?
Big brands and small businesses have been talking about building customer communities for a few years. Yet, it’s been proven that the way we treat our employees is the way they treat our customers. So, it only follows that the strongest community starts inside the business.
The high touch and high concept of community draws a company together around a single goal. What could attract and support brand evangelists better than that?
In his book, A Whole New Mind, Dan Pink points out that “high concept” and “high touch” values (design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning) are as important to business success in the 21st Century as linear thinking, detailed analysis, and spreadsheets.
In this global economy, conversation and relationships matter as much as schedule and budget do.
In plain and simple words, thinking and doing what everyone always has thought and done no longer work.
It’s time align our goals and values and invest in what we do together. That’s the only way to attract the best people — employees, partners, vendors, and customers. That’s the only way to be the best.
Rather than checking our personalities at the door, why not check out what a loyal internal community can do for a business that wants to build a brand that wins the loyalty of life-long customers and fans.
7 Reasons Why Investing in an Internal Community Makes Solid Business Sense
A community challenges us to bring our best to a situation. We invest in the community and they invest in us. And in that manner, we share our goals to build something that becomes a common cause. When we bring all of who we are, full engagement of head and heart, 7 deeper values and higher outcomes show up in our work.
1. Complete presence — focus. We’re all there — the all thinking business is no longer sufficient. The business is more well-rounded and friendly to the people who help it thrive. Computers can’t smile. Computers can’t listen to the spaces between words. People conceive, design, build, buy and talk what we sell.
2. Peak performance — productivity. A computer might work every minute achieving great computation effort, but it will only be as good as the people who program it and it will never over-achieve its programming. People invest more, do more, go further for the work we love. People connect to other people who are doing that.
3. Tolerance — perseverance. We have more patience, time, and energy for problem solving when we directly reap the benefits. Peter Drucker proved that money is a disincentive … it has the most effect when it’s not there or too small. What leads folks to achieve greatness is the payoffs that a loyal community offers: support, feedback, acknowledgment, sense of purpose.
4. Value and Appeal — compelling story. To compete a product or service has to be useful and beautiful. Simple and elegant, for to the adult and the kid in each one of us. Bringing logic and emotion to a business outdistances the world view of logic alone. Competence and great execution are expected. A loyal community builds in added value in how they tell the story, how they treat the product and the customers who buy it, and how they talk about the company as a value in their lives. What’s more appealing than working with someone who’s not only good but also loves his or her job?
5. Total Differentiation — identity. An internal community develops it’s own culture and identity. The uniqueness of that common bound shines through in concept and execution. The respect of a loyal community shows in everything it does. It becomes it’s own barrier to entry. The competition can’t knock that off.
6. Fully Invested and Worth Investing In — market value. Rolling all of the above values into one, nothing beats the 360 degree investment of brains, money, and dreams all in the same direction. Any financial firm worth its salt looks for that combination when funding a small business.
7. Sense of Worth — authority. Community builds authority. We value what we earn and what we love. That value telegraphs itself. It’s contagious. Customers, vendors, and partners pick it up as well.
Can you see why it’s only sense that a strong business would move to build the most supported internal community on the planet? A fiercely loyal internal community is a secret weapon that stands on its own.
Have you ever worked for or interacted with a business that was a community of loyal fans? What was your experience of that?
To follow the entire series: Liz Strauss’ Inside-Out Thinking to Building a Solid Business, see the Successful Series Page.
–ME “Liz” Strauss