Within my previous Newsletter post, the first one I wrote, I shared that I believe that every business will have ‘community’ embedded into their business model.
I know that if you are a ‘leader, of a company’, of a ‘team’, of a ‘thought’, then you are already a community leader in waiting, you just have not looked at it with this filter on.
I cannot possibly persuade you of this in one post, in fact it would probably take a good chat about your business to convince you, however, in this post, I am sharing some history to my personal journey and why I believe this.
I have conducted many tens of talks about wellbeing, how to create psychologically safe environments, with large and small companies, many worried about the wellbeing of their staff and their clients., especially since we have moved a hybrid working world. I am not a ‘wellbeing’ expert, I just have experience and I talk from that experience, I guess time and commitment to ‘community’ has given me this wisdom. Especially from the words of Lao Tzu, “to know and not to do is not yet to know”, I can certainly claim the ‘I have done’ aspect of wisdom and I have observed my beliefs come true, that “emotional wealth, leads to financial wealth’. It makes sense doesn’t it, if we are emotional strong, emotionally connected, we will do better business.
I wrote my book “Business is Personal” in 2018 and little did I know how relevant it would become to an even wider network of business people, at the time, it was mainly ‘business owners’ who were home workers, I was concerned about, the ‘business loneliness’ and the sense of disconnection, now across the world, the majority of us are working from home and it is hard to know who we really matter to, who truly hears and sees us.
People are seeking stability and closeness, in a hybrid, disconnected world. People still need the water cooler, the non focused, non task based conversation that reminds us all that we are human and we have needs. To be heard, seen and known for who we are not just the tasks we perform.
To give you some history on me and my technology and digital career.
I came across a letter to my parents recently, following my father’s passing in January. In it, aged 20, I wrote to tell them that I had been Awarded ‘the best knowledge of digital’ in the company I worked for; that was back in 1984. In 1983, I had planned to study Psychology. Having failed to amass the money to take a degree course that I was offered, I found myself in sales, selling hardware and software to Computer Dealers. I had to find my own path in business to make the contribution that my heart was desperate to make, I didn’t believe that business had to be about my own gains, despite some of the personalities I met, it could be about us all, this is when as a leader I first learnt that I was a ‘servant leader’.
So since that letter to my parents, I have spent 38 years in tech and digital, and I have remained committed to the opportunity that technology presents us. I am a sales and marketing person at heart. The possibilities for communication through digital is phenomenal, and I have learned that ‘Community Based Business Growth’ is the best way to manifest the intentions and passions we have, the values and the mission, and we can deliver it through a commercial model. We don’t have to become poor to be kind and caring. As a man once said to me when I was battling these conflicting values, “Penny, the world doesn’t need another poor person, that is your job in life, build a business that gives, but doesn’t render you in need as a result‘.
Ultimately, my dots all joined when my husband, Thomas Power and I Founded Ecademy, the World’s First Social Network, in 1998. Leading up to a big moment in our lives as husband and wife, I was inspired by 3 things that were happening
- That Sir Tim Berners-Lee founder of WWW, believed in the connectivity of people and the sharing of knowledge
- I read Permission Marketing by Seth Godin – Turning strangers into friends and friends into customer
- I read a book called Celestine Prophecy, about nine insights into human existence and within it he shared the importance of tribes and communities and how we should protect their existence and look after one another
February 1998, the concept of Ecademy and the concept of creating a ‘community for business owners’, that would honour Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s dream and would carefully provide safety for its members, was founded.
In my next article, I am going to share what those 3 people/insights did to create the foundation of what we believed the Internet could bring to humanity.
*This article first appeared on my LinkedIn newsletter