Are you using the full power of your business community?
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Episode 1 Transcript:
Chris Curran: Growth Igniters RadioSM, Episode One. Are you using the full power of your business community?
This episode is brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated, enabling successful leaders and companies to accelerate to their next level of growth on the web at businessadvance.com. Now, here’s Pam and Scott.
Pam Harper: Thanks, Chris. I’m Pam Harper, Founding Partner and CEO of Business Advancement Incorporated, and with me is my business partner and husband, Scott Harper.
Scott Harper: Hi, Pam. I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful day today.
Pam Harper: Yes, thanks.
Scott Harper: I want to remind people that the purpose of Growth Igniters RadioSM is to spark new insights, inspiration and immediately useful ideas for leaders to take themselves and their companies to their next level of growth and success.
Pam, we’re here with a whole new adventure− Growth Igniters Radio.
Pam Harper: That’s right. It seems appropriate to talk about how the people who are listening to us are going to be able to take full advantage of the power of their business communities in whatever form they take. The fact is that we’ve both seen that communities are transforming. They’re not what they use to be.
Scott Harper: That’s right. Absolutely.
Pam Harper: It’s interesting to think about how many different types of communities there are out there.
Scott Harper: How many different types of communities are there?
Pam Harper: Not literally the number.
Scott Harper: Okay.
Pam Harper: I mean types.
Scott Harper: We’ve got support communities. We have learning communities like Growth Igniters Radio. There are other communities out there. Some people think of their outsourcers, their partners, even their customers as part of their community.
Pam Harper: That’s right. Who is the community?
Scott Harper: It’s more than just networking.
Pam Harper: Well, that’s very much true. I mean, communities have been around forever but again, the function of the community is changing in so many ways because organizations are changing. We used to be able to rely on a community. It was the business association, the trade association, our organization.
Scott Harper: Some networking groups.
Pam Harper: Networking groups – right… but things are changing. They’re changing fast. I think what’s happening is there’s greater diversity, even greater geographical and demographic reach …
Scott Harper: That’s true.
Pam Harper: … and the mobility. That’s why we’re able to be here today.
Scott Harper: That’s right. We’re inviting everyone who’s listening here to become part of the Growth Igniters RadioSM community. We’re going to be talking about how things are changing, what Growth Igniters RadioSM is and how people can really take full advantage of all their communities including Growth Igniters RadioSM.
Pam Harper: That’s true. I think it’s very important to stay alert to all the new opportunities that are out there. That’s pretty much been a guiding force of my life I would say, at least my business life.
Scott Harper: Pam, tell us a little bit about what you’ve learned over your career, first in corporate and then in Business Advancement Incorporated, about community.
Pam Harper: I used to think about my organization as where the community was. It was where I relied upon the greatest number of business relationships, the greatest amount of learning, the greatest amount of resourcing. All of these things were right there in the organization and sure, I was a member of a professional association or two, actually, that I really felt were very important to me.
Scott Harper: Right.
Pam Harper: What ended up happening is that I happened to go into organizations that were going through gut-wrenching change.
Scott Harper: Crazy change.
Pam Harper: Crazy change. We’re talking about before it was fashionable. We’re talking about way back in the late ‘80s. What was happening in those days and the early ‘90s is that the organization would change. There was a new CEO that would come in; I was the person who is in charge of leading the infrastructure when I was in corporate. It was something that was somewhat of a political position, really. When the CEO would change because it was globalization or merger or whatever it was …
Scott Harper: … Technology has changed, knocks the company out.
Pam Harper: Technology, that’s right. That person would go; I was on to the next thing. I figured out for myself, “Time to go and get a promotion.” I went up and I did. I kicked myself up the ladder, which is great on the one hand, but I’ll tell you what was so disorienting was that lack of community. All the things that were going on, people would talk about it − just the water cooler talk back in the day.
Scott Harper: …Knowing who does what, how…
Pam Harper: Who does what, how, all the things I was saying before. That sense of community was gone. When I finally did start and made the decision to launch Business Advancement Inc. back in the early ‘90s, there still wasn’t a lot out there. I had to find my own way.
Scott Harper: How did you do that?
Pam Harper: I found a unit of the Small Business Administration called the Small Business Development Center, which is still around today. I will tell you − one of the best resources for anybody who is ever thinking about launching a business.
I became so engaged in what they were doing that I became a resource to them myself. I was working with some of the people − some of the clients who came in to SBDC. What I found was, that was a community. It didn’t stop there. I realized that there were other groups, other associations that could also benefit me.
Scott Harper: It was far more than just associations, right?
Pam Harper: It was. It was, but I think it’s important to recognize that things are evolving. It’s not like anything is obsolete. Over the years since, I’ve become very committed to different associations. Right now, for the last five years, I’ve been so committed to the Association for Corporate Growth in New Jersey that I’m on the board of directors. That is a very committed type of relationship, a very committed type of a community. The other thing I came to recognize was that I could build my own.
Scott Harper: Your own?
Pam Harper: Anywhere I found people where it made sense to connect, and especially over the years as the internet has come into play.
Scott Harper: …Big game changer…
Pam Harper: I mean, I have one of my closest colleagues in Milan, Italy. We Skype every week. Another one is another very close colleague in Birmingham, Alabama. We Skype, well, we talk on the phone. Those people are extremely important to me, and there are others as well. Community is really what you built on your own.
Scott Harper: You can build it out of things that sometimes people don’t think of as community, but for instance − outsource providers or strategic alliance partners …
Pam Harper: That’s right.
Scott Harper: … as we said, even customers.
Pam Harper: That’s right, and that’s been a very important part of our community. We have, including the very people who are helping us to launch this Growth Igniters Radio community, which we list in resources. Community is what you make of it in a sense, but you have to be strategic. You have to be able to figure out what you need − what kind of community you need. Do you need a learning community? Do you need a resourcing community?
Scott Harper: If you have an objective in mind, you’re much more likely to build the organization or community that will serve you at the time and …
Pam Harper: That’s right.
Scott Harper: … that transforms and changes.
Pam Harper: That’s right. We’ll talk about that more in a bit.
Scott − you’ve had some interesting insights as well when you were in corporate and beyond?
Scott Harper: I started out in academia. My first job assignment on my first day − my boss called me from London, and he said, “Scott, start coordinating a international consortium of researchers to study this particular issue.”
I said, “What’s an international consortium?” It turned out that it was people from all over the world from academia, from industry… It was like herding cats. We were really focused, though, on a particular set of tasks. As I went on, I started to develop relationships with these people. It occurred to me over time that community is relationships.
Pam Harper: That’s so true.
Scott Harper: Some of the relationships I formed early on went with me from organization to organization, university to university. When I entered corporate, I was working with some of these same people, and even working with people in competing organizations, competing companies.
I sometimes was very focused on this idea of relationship. Sometimes, I let it slip, and I got very task-focused. I was the chairman of a workgroup for the International Standards Organization a number years ago, back before I joined you − and I’ve been with you for five years.
Pam Harper: That’s true.
Scott Harper: This was a group of people that had to make standards for testing safety of products. When I came on, it was chaos. People were at each other’s throats. They were …
Pam Harper: Like herding cats.
Scott Harper: Worse than herding cats. They were cats and dogs. I had to rally people around and say, “Okay, how are we going to develop these methods?” At first, we were very task-focused, but then I started to think… divide and conquer. I went out to lunch with this professor; I had coffee with this guy from the other company. We started to coalesce. One of my mentors said, “Scott, everything you do is based upon relationships.”
Pam Harper: That was the key, relationships.
Scott Harper: That was the key. Relationship was the key.
Pam Harper: Whether it was one on one or whether it was with the group, it was about relationships.
Scott Harper: Then, I brought people together, taking the relationships that I formed and bringing them together to form relationships on their own. We became a very powerful force, and really succeeded beyond our original objectives. Going from there, community has really served me very well.
I keep reminding myself − “Don’t get caught up in your underwear. Don’t get caught up in the task. Pay attention to the community. People will always amplify you if you let them.”
Pam Harper: That is a really good point.
With that, we’re going to take a quick break, and when we come back, we’re going to talk about how Growth Igniters RadioSM fits into the world of business communities. Stay with us…
Scott Harper: You’re listening to Growth Igniters RadioSM with Pam Harper and Scott Harper, brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated, enabling successful companies to accelerate to the next level of innovation and success. For exclusive offers and quarterly Harper reports highlighting emerging trends and issues in the business environment, click the join our community button at growthignitersradio.com.
Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters RadioSM with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. In our last segment, we were talking about some of the ah-ha’s that Scott and I have had about communities, and how they are transforming. Now, we’re going to talk about Growth Igniters Radio.
Scott Harper: A new community…
Pam Harper: Who is … The new community we’re forming, because we can, because mobility makes it possible. We’re going to talk about who it’s for and what it can do for you.
Scott Harper: Who is the Growth Igniters RadioSM community for Pam?
Pam Harper: If I think about it, these are some characteristics of the people I think who’ll get the most from this community: They’re successful, innovative business leaders who are committed to lifelong learning. Now, this sounds like a mission statement… I’m just thinking about different aspects of it − the people who are committed to lifelong learning, because that’s really the focus of this community. They want to be …
Scott Harper: They want to pick up new ideas and inspiration…
Pam Harper: They want to become even more successful. Our listeners, the ones who are really going to get the most from this community, Growth Igniters RadioSM, are committed to making a significant difference in the world. They want to leave a legacy.
Scott Harper: The leaders we’re talking to want to leave not just footprints in the sand, they want to leave footprints in the concrete.
Pam Harper: Exactly. The other thing is that our listeners, the ones who are going to get the most out of Growth Igniters RadioSM are the ones that want to get the most out of business and life.
Scott Harper: Right, but they’re in a dilemma because they are very busy. They are successful…
Pam Harper: Extremely busy.
Scott Harper: They are time-stressed. We’ve talked to people, and they say, “I wish that I could go to this conference, or talk to this person, or interact with this group, but I’m so stretched. I’m herding cats myself. I don’t have time to go everywhere.” − As you said Pam, with mobility, they don’t have to go anywhere. We’re coming to them.
Pam Harper: That’s right. In fact, what we’re doing, is we’re sharing our network with you out there who are listening, because that’s one of the biggest things that we can do − we can take some of the world’s foremost authorities on business, on conversations, on building relationships, on building trust…
Scott Harper: Strategy…
Pam Harper: Recruiting talent…
Scott Harper: Pam, you are a people collector. Ever since I’ve met, you all those years ago, you just go around collecting fascinating people. I guess it’s genetic, because your mom and dad did that too. You’ve developed this tremendous community that’s really diverse. Some of them are really fairly famous people.
Pam Harper: That’s right.
Scott Harper: Others, maybe not famous so far, in the conventional clhannel.
Pam Harper: They’re emerging.
Scott Harper: They’re emerging …
Pam Harper: They’re emerging thought leaders.
Scott Harper: … thought leaders.
Pam Harper: Of course the world keeps changing so …
Scott Harper: It does…
Pam Harper: … emerging thought leaders are emerging. One of the best things that we can bring in terms of value is getting the word out and helping feature these people so that we can all share in the things that they bring to us. That’s very exciting.
The other kinds of people, the other people that we’re going to be featuring, are CEOs of companies that are successful − especially in middle market companies, but companies of different sizes too, where they’re doing amazing things. They’re transforming the face of business.
Scott Harper: I bet they are.
Pam Harper: That is so exciting. I mean that’s where my passion is. I love to see this. I want to feature them. I want people to know about them and to learn from them. This is all what Growth Igniters RadioSM is about.
Scott Harper: We’re going to talk to them about more than just best practice,s or how did you get here, or how did you do that, but really − the transformational experiences of their lives, and inspirations and the ah-ha moments, perhaps, that some of them have had that really turned their careers and their companies into significant forces.
Pam Harper: That’s right. That’s why we say that the purpose of Growth Igniters RadioSM is sparking the inspiration, the insights and immediately useful ideas. We are committed to making sure that this is not just an academic exercise. By the end of any Growth Igniters RadioSM episode, there will be at least one or two ideas that you could take and use and apply to your own business.
Scott Harper: I say you’ve set the bar for us today.
Pam Harper: That’s right, I have.
Scott Harper: We’d better do that.
For instance, let’s get specific; who are some of the people that we’re going to be talking to in the next few weeks?
Pam Harper: Well, next week we’re going to have with us Jim Blasingame, who is the Small Business Advocate®. He is one of the foremost experts in the world. I won’t go into it now, but he certainly has an interesting take on the age of the customer.
Scott Harper: An expert in entrepreneurship and small business…
Pam Harper: That’s right. Judith Glaser, another world-renowned expert on conversational intelligence in creating, what she calls Creating WE, the CreatingWE Institute.
Scott Harper: …Bestselling author.
Pam Harper: Bestselling author. We have Leslie Austin, who is affectionately known as “the lion tamer,” that’s right, talking about how do you deal with difficult star performers and stay sane and keep them − retain this talent.
Scott Harper: Make them even more productive…
Pam Harper: That’s right.
Scott Harper: Leslie is an old friend.
Pam Harper: That’s right. That’s just to start out with. What we’ll do is, we’ll have a list of some of the people who are going to be joining us so that you can look online and see ahead of time.
Scott Harper: The cool thing about Growth Igniters RadioSM and why we’re doing it now, is because there are more ways to take in things like this than ever before. We will be available on iTunes and Stitcher, perhaps other networks as well, as well as on our website at www.growthignitersradio.com.
You can listen streaming. You can download. You can listen in your car or while you’re exercising. Any number of ways − it’s information and insights and inspiration for you when you want it, the way you want it.
Pam Harper: That’s right. On the page, you’ll also be able to get a transcript. You’ll be able to ask questions − there’ll be a link to ask questions of us. What we’re looking at is a full range of ways that you can participate.
Scott Harper: With a number of other resources as well.
Pam Harper: That’s right.
We’re going to take another quick break and when we come back, we’re going to talk about immediately useful ways to get the full power of Growth Igniters Radio or for that matter, any other community you belong to. Stay with us.
Scott Harper: You’re listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. We’re brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated − on the web at www.businessadvance.com.
If you like what you’re hearing, go to growthignitersradio.com, select episode one, and use the share links at the bottom of the page to tell your communities all about us. Sign up on iTunes or Stitcher. We encourage you to subscribe so you won’t miss a single episode.
Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper, that’s me, and Scott Harper. Now, in the last several segments, we’ve been talking about what is happening in the world of communities, which is they’re transforming.
Scott Harper: Changing radically.
Pam Harper: Transforming. We talked about how Growth Igniters RadioSM fits into all of these. Now, as promised, let’s talk about some immediately useful ideas for how you can get the full power of your business community including Growth Igniters RadioSM.
Scott Harper: Pam, when you see people joining communities and being part of communities, you’ve seen sometimes it’s very effective and sometimes they say, “This community stuff just doesn’t work.”
Pam Harper: That’s right. I think we all know how to join a community, but not necessarily do we take full advantage of being there once we’re there. I think the reason is a few-fold. What happens obviously is bandwidth; you get in to all the issues of different priorities. That’s why I would say that the first and foremost thing to get full power of your business community would be to be strategic.
You need to find the relevance. People who say, “Well, this isn’t my real work,” those are the people who are not going to be long. The moment I hear somebody say that, I know they’re not long for the community, because building relationships, learning, exchanging ideas, resources, that is the real work.
Scott Harper: Why? Why is that the real work?
Pam Harper: Because we can’t just depend on the old traditional ways of gaining those kinds of benefits. Our organizations are changing. Our own positions and organizations are changing. People who are with an organization now are starting different companies. People in companies change positions within companies. People are buying and selling companies.
There are so many things that are going on that we need to be able to stay very fluid. The people who say, “Well, this is not relevant to me anymore,” they’re not necessarily thinking about strategy − what is the strategy.
Scott Harper: If they’re focused, they’re going to get more out of it because they’ll say, “This is not what I want to do, but these are the sorts of people that I want to meet. This is the kind of relationship I want to build, and this is how it fits into my career, my company, everything else I’m trying to do.” Is that right?
Pam Harper: That’s right. You need to be looking at “what is it that I need to get most of all in a year?” Think about it like in a year. What is it that we need most of all this year? We need to take a greater emphasis. For example, one year we were focused on a particular industry, so we joined an industry association. Later, we made a switch, and we decided to go broader in terms of how many industries we reached − and we do reach something like over 30, and so we needed a different type of community.
Those are ways that you think about it so that it isn’t like, “Oh, I’ve just… this isn’t relevant anymore.” You need to stay strategic. You need to evaluate it on a year-by-year basis. That’s the first thing, but that’s not the only thing.
Scott Harper: That’s true. As I said before, from my learning in my career, relationships are so critical. You can’t just join a community, “I’m joining a community,” and go in and expect people to welcome you with open arms and be productive and give you stuff. You really have to take the time to think about “what am I doing to listen to people, to create relationships, to help people understand what I want from this relationship and what I can provide in return.”
Pam Harper: Let’s actually flip it around. “What is it that I can give to this relationship?”
Scott Harper: Even better.
Pam Harper: Actually, “why am I here? How can I add value?” That really takes me to the third point, which is the people who are going to get the most out of any community are the ones that realize that it’s about giving, even more than it’s about getting. There’s a get in the give, if that make sense.
Scott Harper: That does make sense. It’s about more than just showing up.
Pam Harper: I mean, I chair the 2015 ACG, Association for Corporate Growth New Jersey, Corporate Growth Conference and Awards, and I have to tell you, it’s been one of the most rewarding things that I have done. It’s a tremendous amount of work, but in that work has been developing relationships, has been learning, has been so many opportunities to learn how to do things that are really vital for our own growth as Business Advancement Incorporated. That’s what I mean by giving as well as getting. The get is in the give.
Scott Harper: How have you built this community? Because I remember when you first took on this world, there was that herding cats thing again.
Pam Harper: You know, you learn. Sounds very Zen but the fact is that that’s just a part of what you do. I happen to be good at it. Aside from that, those are three things. Let’s talk more specifically because this is a virtual community, about what it is that we can do here that parallels those three principles.
Scott Harper: We’re talking about …
Pam Harper: The Growth Igniters RadioSM community, specifically, because we want to be immediately practical. We want to be talking about what people can do now that we’ve talked about in any other community. The first is show up. How do you show up for a virtual community?
Scott Harper: You listen. You download, and you make it part of your schedule because you never know when you’re going to get that inspiration. You’re going to hear somebody who dings something in your head, and it really resonates. If you’re not listening, if you’re not showing − up and you can show up anytime because this is on your own time − when you show up, you open yourself up to possibilities and opportunities that just aren’t going to be there any other way.
Pam Harper: That’s right. That’s why we’re going to give you a schedule of who’s going to be guesting so you’ll know and you’ll be able to schedule that in.
Scott Harper: That’s part of that strategic thing you’re talking about.
Pam Harper: That’s right. The second way is to share, to share what it is that you’re learning. To put a twist on it too, and share that with your communities, your other communities. By spreading the knowledge, there’s a certain amount of giving, but you’re also getting.
Scott Harper: You’re talking partly about sharing on social media.
Pam Harper: That’s right.
Scott Harper: Even beyond that, if you get an idea, write it down. In fact, one of the things that I was taught a long time ago when going to conferences − it applies almost anything, meetings, whatever, conversations − come back and debrief yourself very quickly. Sit down; think about, “What have I just heard now? What are one or two things that I can take from this that sparked an idea, that resonates with something that’s important to me right now?”
Pam Harper: That’s true.
Scott Harper: Write it down.
Pam Harper: You know, sometimes, the most unlikely people can spark some of the most relevant insights that I’ve ever had. I’ve spoken with people in totally different fields that have so much to share, and on surface, people say, “I never thought I would get that from you, or I never thought I’d learn that.” We do.
Scott Harper: If you write it down, it stimulates a whole different part of your brain. It really makes it sink in. Then, you’re going to be sharing because you’re going to be taking those ideas and sending them out to the people you work with, the people you interact with. That’s a whole different level of sharing.
Pam Harper: That’s true. The third way that you can get the most out of Growth Igniters RadioSM community is to contribute. For us, we’re interested in your questions. I think that anybody can − although we’re not going to have formal comments per se − you will have an opportunity to contact us with your questions. Your questions will become the basis for future programs, future episodes.
Scott Harper: What’s on your mind? What is something that you care about or you’re interested in? What do you want to find out? Who do you want to listen to? What topics are important to you? This is all important for us because it will help us build this community to serve you, our listeners out there. We’ll get better and better and better at it as we go along.
Pam Harper: This is the baseline. The fact is, like every other community out there, the Growth Igniters RadioSM Community is going to grow. We’re going to evolve. We’re going to be, as we learn more about you and you learn more about us, we’ll be able to be even more relevant to each other going forward.
Scott Harper: That’s great. Pam. Now, what’s the one thing that people could take away from today’s conversation that they could put to use and to be thinking about?
Pam Harper: Be clear about what you’re looking for in your community. Stay alert to the new opportunities for building community and then get fully involved. Focus on building mutual value. When you do those things, you will get so much power from that community − whatever community you belong with, I should say. We really hope that you continue to come back every week. On Wednesdays, you’ll find out about a new Growth Igniters Radio episode.
Scott Harper: With that, join us next time when our guest will be Jim Blasingame, author of the award-winning book The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance. He’s one of the world’s foremost experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He’s the creator and host of the weekday radio program The Small Business Advocate Radio show.
Pam Harper: Until next time, this is Pam Harper…
Scott Harper: And Scott Harper…
Pam Harper: Wishing you continued success and leaving you with this question to share with others on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and anywhere else.
Scott Harper: If you lived in a perfect world, how would you know it?
Chris Curran: Growth Igniters and Growth Igniters Radio are service marks of Business Advancement Incorporated. All Growth Igniters Radio episodes are copyrighted productions of Business Advancement Incorporated intended for the private use of our audience. Except as otherwise provided by copyright law, all other uses including copying, editing, redistribution and publication without prior written consent of Business Advancement Incorporated are prohibited. All rights reserved.