When we think of building a connection in a new community, we often think narrowly about it, viewing it as a way of making friends and integrating into a new house of worship, place of work, or neighborhood. Similarly, when we think of building a connection in business, we often think narrowly about it, viewing it as a way of building contacts for mutual business benefits.
These ways of thinking are narrow because we are all amazing human beings and need social connection for its own sake, almost as a biological imperative. In fact, without sufficient human interaction, we may even wither from within, feeling anxious or depressed, experiencing a loss of self-esteem and a loss in sense of belonging. Without human connection, we cannot flourish.
The reason this is important to point out is that we are living in an age of disconnection and connecting with a real person whom we can see before us, rather than an image and some lines of text on a social media page, can make us feel much more alive and it can open a gateway for everyone involved in the exchange of ideas to flourish in business and in life.
Let’s take a closer look at the dynamics of how humans flourish in a community and in a business.
Building a Community
Integrating into a new community is essential for our sense of well-being and for the community itself to grow through the contributions of its new members. A new community could be any kind of social organization—it could be a church, a temple, a mosque, or a synagogue; a political group; a gigantic business; a neighborhood, city, or country.
The health of the community depends on how the people within it interact and how well the community itself interacts with surrounding communities.
As an example, let’s look at immigration from the perspective of human flourishing.
Immigrants to a new country often feel alone. Therefore, organizations like Homeis, funded by The Chernin Group (TCG), can play such a vital role in helping immigrants settle into their new home. Homeis is a network for immigrants to the United States to connect with other immigrants from their country of origin.
The organization gives its members the connections they need to share information and services, to learn more about the culture of their new society, and to connect with others who are also new arrivals.
It’s the brainchild of Ran Harnevo and Hanan Laschover, two highly successful Israeli entrepreneurs, who wanted to make it easier for immigrants to the United States to integrate into their unfamiliar country by building a community around their shared experiences.
Building a Business
If you feel lonely when working from home, then enjoying a slice of human interaction now and again can lift your mood, making it easier to get back to work, and making it easier to remain productive for the rest of your working day.
It’s also possible to feel lonely when working in a large organization. Although surrounded by people, you feel marginalized within the organization. The more an organization can convince its employees to feel as if they are part of a grand enterprise, the more successful it will be.
Most U.S. companies that don’t build a meaningful culture fail to flourish. Meanwhile, other companies, their competitors, who manufacture or sell similar products to the same demographic market do well, amazingly well, merely because their employees are eager to contribute to the growth of the company.
An example of a company that has learned the power of human connection is Google. Google’s employees refer to themselves as Googlers, which makes them feel that Google is more of a tribe than a high-tech behemoth that employs them.
Beyond Transactional Relationships
While a connection in a new community can help us integrate into a new social group, and while a connection in business can help us grow our business, there is much more going on than exchanging opportunities and sharing resources. Both communities and businesses flourish when they move beyond transactional relationships and create meaningful human connections.