Three Forces for High-Performance Business Communities

For a business community to generate good returns, three forces must be optimized: business benefits, community concerns, and participant payoffs.

1. Business Benefits – Why does a beekeeper build beehives? For honey. Why does a business invest in a community? For returns.

Examples of business benefits include:
• Improved operational performance
• Better product and services development
• Increased skill for staff members
• Increases in membership for associations
• Improved communications

2. Community Concerns – These are the common causes that unite the members of the community. This is what turns a group of bees into a hive. Community concerns are the shared motivations that drive people to collaborate and make contributions. These concerns must compliment the business benefits for a community to achieve its optimum business performance.

Examples of community concerns include:
• Championing a change initiative
• Executing a complex task in a difficult environment
• Contributing to a field of expertise
• Receiving group recognition or advancement
• Achieving political objectives

3. Participant Payoffs – This is what motivates each individual to show up and give their best. Since communities are volunteer in nature, the payoff must be clear and inspiring.

Examples of participant payoffs are:
• Professional advancement
• Recognition
• Proximity to power
• Skill building
• Access to peers for problem-solving


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