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The Value of Community in a Shared Space

SHARED SPACES PART 3
Dan Morris, CPA, Kurt Sussman, portland Oregon

A network is more defined by whom you keep out rather than who you let in. This is counter to the prevailing feel good; bigger is better, social media Twitter and LinkedIn love fest. 1

Dan Morris, CPA, Networking, portland OregonI’m really picky about who I let into my network. In part because what I offer people is a world class, well-nourished, global network that can be tapped at a moment’s notice to solve almost any request. And I have learned that my network is the most valuable offering in my portfolio of skills, capabilities, knowledge, and wisdom that I offer my customers, friends, and colleagues. 2

A network is more defined by whom you keep out rather than who you let in.

Dan Morris, CPA, Kurt Sussman, portland Oregon, Gill PenneyAccordingly, a primary question that I will have when selecting a shared spaced/co-working environment will be the community they have formed. If the management of the facility is weak in its acceptance, then all participants suffer. If the management is too stingy, then all participants suffer. Management has to seek to provide a community that is strong with diversity of ideas, opinions, personalities, skills, business models, and habits. And this is no simple task. 3

As I have mentioned previously in this series, I seek a shared space that meets a criteria that helps me accomplish several objectives. One of those is to expand my personal network while helping others through my network. In order to accomplish this, I need a community worth investing in. Because, that is what I will do. And I seek a strong return on my investment and I do not mean monetary.

Money is not an objective. It is a result of performing a service so well, that people will pay you a profit to provide it. In order to achieve this, I have to continue to fertilize and promote my current network, prune my dead branches and under-performers, and plant new seeds by seeking additional fertile ground in which to develop new relationships.

Ultimately, the investment to join a co-working space is bi-directional. The space is investing in me/my team in that they desire our participation is helpful and beneficial.

Dan Morris, CPA, Kurt Sussman, portland Oregon
One way for shared space community manager to facilitate this strong sense of community will be to provide an outline of targeted types of enterprises and how they will decide to entertain their application. And once they have approved a new participating company or team, management needs to communicate their participation. We should timely receive an introduction, what they do, why they do it, what is their background; how we can assist them achieve their goals and objectives. 4

Along with a communication when people join and when people leave (hence a kind of census of our community), an active (e.g. weekly) communication should be distributed to all members. This helps members understand what is happening and changes afoot. Transparency is important in a closed system as even slight changes can have logarithmic impacts. Whether this is because a change is noise, or smells, or business type, or size, each change creates additional complexities, opportunities, and risks.

Ultimately, the investment to join a co-working space is bi-directional. The space is investing in me/my team in that they desire our participation is helpful and beneficial. Likewise, I/my team am/are investing into their community in the desire that my/our goals will be achieved faster, better, and more effectively. None of this easy and it shouldn’t be as nothing worth valuing is achieved without effort.

Remember to invest wisely as a network is valued by who is kept out and not by who is let in.

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Dan Morris is a founder of VeraSage Institute, a think tank dedicated to promulgating and teaching Value Pricing, Customer Economics, and Human Capital Development to professionals and businesses around the world.

Dan presents frequently at national and regional conferences.

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