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What if we built professional communities with the sense of beauty and humanity that many of us experience in communities in our private lives?

A recent conversation with my friend Lauren Higgins brought up the following observation: from our observations, there seems to be a significant difference between how people build and perceive community in their private lives versus their professional contexts.

Why does this matter?

Many organizations struggle with creating meaningful communities, either internally or externally with their fellows / customers / supporters / voters etc.

The fascinating thing is that when you speak to the actual people in those organizations, many of them actually know quite well what a meaningful community is. They have experienced it in their church, their neighborhood, their family, their volunteer work. They see the beauty and power of genuine community, focused on relationship, resulting in trust and belonging. They intuitively know that such a community needs love and careful nourishing to prosper. They can feel a sense of community.

Yet for reasons I don’t fully understand yet, the same people often find it hard to imagine, that such a community — with that same feeling, that same power — can even be possible in the professional context. They totally compartmentalize the two experiences. And when they build communities in the professional context, they use their capitalistic, MBA mindset to build communities. But as a result they end up with transactional groups without heart.

I’m clearly exaggerating my point here, but there is something there to this distinction between our personal experiences around community and our ability (or disability) to translate these experiences into a professional setting.

Why is that?

Curious to hear what you all think!