Is there a tension between enterprise and community?
Depending on the type of project you’re building, there is.
Enterprise says: Do what’s right for the business. Increase profit. Cut unnecessary expenses. Make your money generation machine as efficient as possible.
Community says: Do what’s right for the people. Build relationships. Value inclusiveness. Be supportive of others and help them.
But many enterprisers can see the value in community, and many community builders can see the value in enterprise.
Most businesses and communities aren’t on extreme ends of the spectrum. They’re somewhere in between.
These days, businesses frequently visit the notion of adding value to people and earning their trust, the same things community builders work on.
Community builders often discuss the health of their hub in terms of attendance or ticket sales, the same things businesses must concern themselves with.
One is not evil and the other righteous.
But you must be clear on what model you’re building.
In enterprise, you might have to put money before the people.
In community, you’ll often put relationship before the money.
It doesn’t mean your end goal is any different. But the means you’re using to achieve that end will have consequences in terms of what you prioritize. There’s a difference in terms of values.
At the same time, it doesn’t mean business is always heartless, and community is always warm and inviting. A business can stand for something and support a valid cause, and a community builder can become greedy and try to rip people off. Problems exist in all dimensions.
The people we surround ourselves with makes the biggest difference. They influence our thoughts and the direction of our project.
You may have been hired on in an enterprise thinking you were going to build a community. You may have joined a community thinking you were going to have a chance to put your business hat on.
At the end of the day, we choose who we align ourselves with.
And if you’re in a leadership position, similarly, you choose who you work with. Who you work with must be chosen with care if you want to see your vision become a reality.
Whether it’s an enterprise or a community, there will be challenges to navigate. And if you’re serious about the project, you will encounter this tension at some point. What you do with that tension is important.