Engaging with Communities

Many of us in the United States will be reengaging with our regular business communities after nearly a week of visiting or hosting family for the Thanksgiving holiday.  This ritual will again be repeated for a number of upcoming holidays, depending upon your faith, upbringing and background, and if you travel to warmer climates during the winter season, your geographic location.

Transportation methods, flexible work schedules and discretionary income have all contributed to the formation of more communities that we easily move in and out of.  The social media networks are increasingly taking this to another level, as communities of all kinds are now represented both on an offline.

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How many different kinds of communities are there in your world?  More than you probably realize if you take the time to consider this.  These communities shape how you do everything in your life – how you work, how you enjoy your leisure, and how you make new friends.  So, this is my first challenge:  make a list of all of the communities that you engage with.  Think about work, play, education, clubs, activities, partnerships, and associations like PLANET, and that list will quickly grow.

Moving forward, you are going to become more aware of these communities and their value to your business, your life,  and your lifestyle.  You will start to measure that value.  Truth is you already do in some respects.  Why do many people join an association like PLANET?  Why does anyone join a club?  As with most inquiries, the best answer is often that it depends.  Does it raise the quality of the experience for you?  If so, it  helps to answer the question:  “Why are you here?”

This past Thanksgiving week I engaged with dozens of communities that mostly involved family and friends.  This took me away from my usual business communities where I will be spending most of my time this week.  And I am looking forward to reengaging with those communities.  This variety is essential to leading a fulfilling life that grows and leads to new opportunities both personally and professionally. However, it also makes me realize we should all  start considering how we balance our participation, contribution, and engagement in every community.

It is interesting to notice how some communities overlap and others do not.  Most of my family members do not know a great deal about the type of work I do as a professional speaker and consultant. They are mostly interested in how I am doing as a person – period.   How about you? Where does your green industry leadership fit into your overall plan?

Information in some communities seems to be transferred on a need to know basis?  This is just one aspect of how you can simplify your engagement with communities to maximize the value you receive and give to the other members.

How else can you  order your communities?  Please leave a comment below and share your ideas? Here are some ideas that that I am considering to balance out my online and offline community participation in the green industry, and everywhere else that I find myself from time to time.

Balance/Focus/Value

Boundaries/Rules/Exclusivity

Inclusiveness/Diversity

Trust/Acceptance/Friendship

Contribution/Participation/Integration

Education/Certification/Membership

Stability/Flexibility

Receptivity/Appreciation/Leadership

Risk

Our time is valuable, and with the increased functionality of social media, it is possible to share nearly everything with everybody.  Anyone can do this, and it certainly encourages a great deal of discussion.  But will that discussion be as productive if  it were more ordered to encourage a desired result that is highly valued by the majority of the community?

There is no wrong or right here.  You may believe there is no need at all to order your communities.  To that I will only suggest –  It all depends.

Photo Credit: Will Lion

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