A journey of possibilities with community at the core 01 Aug 2010
One of my goals for Mutually Human Software is to create an authentic community. To create a place where everyone feels that this is where they belong at this time in their life. When people feel a sense of belonging they aren’t wishing they were somewhere else, they feel like they belong right where they are. This is one of the possibilities I aspire to realize with MHS.

The question I’ve been struggling with is how do we create that kind of community? There’s a lot of conventional business wisdom about how to build, run, and lead a business. Unfortunately, a lot of it what’s there is at odds with what I view as essential for building an authentic community. My sights are much higher then simply having a profitable company or a good company. I want an exceptional one. I believe an authentic community is critical to realize this possibility.

A few years ago I focused on the culture of a company being key to whether or not they were a great company and whether or not I wanted to emulate them. Recently it hit me that culture is merely an indicator of a deeper and more meaningful metric – the health and shared values of the community. Culture is a by-product of the community, not a means to achieve it.

Another way I think about culture is that it is a reflection of the community. This has been intriguing to think about because it exposes that you can’t copy culture. You can attempt to emulate it, but likely that emulation will fail to create the culture you want because culture is an outcome of community, not a thing in and of itself.

This is a lesson I’ve learned over the past few years. I wanted to emulate companies I thought were great and while some things worked for a short period of time, nothing created the kind of relationships, cohesion, or sense of belonging that we had the possibility to achieve.

Before I looked at the results of a great company’s community, but now I am paying close attention to the shared- values, goals, and disciplines of those companies and their communities. My focus is not to take what I see and put policies in place at MHS. That would not be authentic. Rather my focus is bringing what I see and allowing others to bring what they see and to allow the community to grow and evolve – allowing people to have a hand in creating the very thing that defines us and ultimately results in a culture we all are proud of.

Today is another step towards the realization of being an exceptional company and an exceptional community. I find the possibilities and the journey so inspiring!

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