Article by Penny Power OBE
With this having been heightened as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, having a supportive and inspiring community is essential and can really make all the difference in achieving success.
Community is an emotional word. It sits alongside the word ‘belonging’ and evokes the emotion of ‘being of value to others’ or of ‘mattering to others’. It is not a transactional word, unlike the word ‘networking’, which has become linked to achieving an outcome for oneself. Unlike networks which purely serve business purposes, communities are mutually encouraging and supportive within personal life too.
Loneliness is growing in society, especially since the start of the pandemic. Recent research reveals that as of February last year, people experiencing loneliness was over twice the pre-pandemic level at 26%. Business people are not immune to feeling lonely and it can be a painful experience, resulting in an economic impact through the reduction of self-worth, innovation, resilience and motivation.
By building a community, business leaders are building a ‘place’, virtual or face-to-face, that is joined by a common set of positive values that seeks to enrich one another; they serve each other, reducing the risk of loneliness. We hear people say, ‘I belong to BIP100 Club’, while they might say ‘I use LinkedIn’. The use of the word ‘use’ indicates that it is a utility that performs a task and outcome. Belonging provides an emotional hug and builds self-esteem; this is why Maslow places it after the human need for safety and before the human need for self-esteem in his ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ model.
When you create the right culture within a community, it will feel like a family. A non-judging, supportive place where everyone can be themselves. This can be quite a daunting thought for many people; in a world where we ‘present’ our best self all the time, it can be a strange experience to know that you can be entirely open and honest about your life and how you are experiencing it. The benefits of this transparency and de-masking ourselves in the workplace, opens a hidden world of truth, not only to others but to ourselves.
Now imagine building a community that provides this sense of freedom and sharing, of love and caring. It is not hard to imagine the benefits for all when that culture is created. This is community-led business growth; this is not a network. When each person rises, the whole team rises. When we look after the wellbeing of each other, we all feel stronger.
If you have a community for your clients or employees, ensure that each person is given the opportunity to create goals and learn how to be fitter for their work. Create a culture of this truth so that wellbeing becomes a core principle of your business, because after all, a strong mind creates a strong business.
Penny Power OBE is an entrepreneur, public speaker, author and co-founder of the BIP100 Club. She believes in ‘Community-led Business Growth’; her belief in business has always been highly personal. Penny’s latest book, Business is Personal, helps thousands of business owners to find their success and happiness in business. She is also a contributing author to the new book, Success Secrets for Wellbeing.