Working With the Community for Growth

Working With the Community for Growth
Monday, October 29th, 2012 Scott Bossart

                Last week I talked about things to consider when making a financial investment for growth.  During this past week, I had the pleasure of attend a symposium on the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).  While the concept is inspiring, achievable, and successful for communities who choose to take the leap the path to the end task is certainly a long range goal.  This type of goal cannot be achieved without support and assistance from area business leaders and owners.  During this symposium, many thoughts came to mind which sparked bullet points in my head but the most pressing topic was how a business collaborates with the community from which it is located.   By community, I not only reference the immediate physical area, but also the virtual area.  By virtual, I refer to groups and entities that are not immediately observable when simply driving by.  These include city organizations, educational organizations, charitable organizations, as well as other organizations and groups promoting growth of the community for a common good as a whole.

                It is important to consider everything involved with keeping an organization going such as the infrastructure (roads, utilities, etc.) and things such as delivery services, network services, security services, and the like.  These things are typically provided or maintained by the environment around the organization and not specifically the organization itself.  Yes, you could argue that taxes and service provider bills get paid by the organization and the expectation is for those providers to respond with an expected level of service.  While this is exactly true and spot on, consider for a moment what if you have an opportunity to assist with an improvement or upgrade from the current state to a higher level which is not currently covered by current providers?  Consider also, what if your assistance to such improvements was able to improve your organization more over a long term, than the organization could achieve on its own?  This is not to say only those things that return an investment to the organization is viable for leadership assistance.  It is to say assistance for the good of the community as a whole, regardless of the specific target, always returns back to the organization itself.

There is a mindset that can develop, regarding business leaders, to simply stay quiet, self-centered, and simply move along its own path while focusing only on those things that are a direct impact and in full control of the organization.  Often times this attitude leads to missed opportunities.  Having a broader perspective and a full understanding of what piece of the puzzle the organization fits within, will result in better community collaboration and an improved business environment.  As a simple example, walk around your physical buildings and see how the area grounds and outside exterior looks.  Does your business typically put saved unused items outside where anyone can see it…even from the satellite views provided these days?  It detracts from other neighboring businesses and residences around yours.  Another collaborative activity which assists the community is road adoptions where you step up to help pick up trash or debris on public roads and grounds.  Thinking along a broader picture, there are community projects or city endeavors with which your business leadership could offer assistance, guidance, or even a volunteer force.  All of these might be minor and small in effort, but can end up large in community improvement.

Initially, getting involved in the collaborative community around the organization not only benefits the community as a whole, but also the organization itself.  Doing what is in total control of business leaders on their own property is not only good stewardship, but also good for the business itself.  If attention is paid to the impact of the business actions to its surrounding community, typically it is more focused on the internal aspect of managing the business as well.  There is no limit to the level of collaborative assistance good business leaders can provide to the collective community.  For projects such as the ICF mentioned above, the effort can be quite large, the timing for completion long, but the reward can be high…not only for the collective community, but also for your business.  Consider the network capabilities which could arise and the increased possibilities for growth to the organization.  The bottom line is to consider getting involved in the community around your organization.  You might be surprised how much your leadership skills can assist with the community around you…called collaboration.

Stay Well

Scott B.


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