By Caroline Crowder, GrowCo and Chris Heivly, Build the Fort
We have an unfortunate skeleton in our Columbia closet: an overwhelming lack of trust. We often come up with excuses not to work with Person X because:
And the deadliest of them all: “What am I going to get out of this?”
The excuses as to why someone in a community can’t be trusted are endless. When we constantly spend our limited energy questioning the intentions of others around us, it literally stops or slows progress. It hinders the progress of community development, and it hurts the community and its members. It also inhibits us from creating a cadence of positive energy.
Trust and collaboration are the foundation to fostering a supportive community that actively lifts up one another. Trust and collaboration without a transactional mindset (i.e., what am I going to get in return) opens up endless opportunities for the ideas, companies, and projects we are passionate about. It allows us to look beyond our individual agendas and collaborate within a safe environment.
The key to healthy trust and collaboration is remembering that our community needs are much larger – and ultimately more impactful – than our individual needs. This is called our “community culture,” and each one of us is individually responsible for contributing to that fertile environment.
At Techstars, a global accelerator, this ideology is referred to as #givefirst. It’s the same premise we are adopting for the Columbia entrepreneurial community. We believe diverse perspectives that are inclusive of multiple backgrounds, demographics, and life experiences add breadth and depth to this community.
The easiest way to actively give to your community is to simply ask: How can I help you? And then act on the answer shared with you.
This is a powerful, open question we often ask to promote connectivity within the community.
Here’s a quick litmus test for trust:
If someone is contributing their energy to receive a plaque, award, participation trophy, or any other personal gain or recognition, they’re in it for the wrong reasons. And they’re inhibiting progress. As John Hill at Techstars promotes—don’t be the splinter in the block of wood.
Want to create a positive impact? Give to your community without expecting anything in return. This is a bulletproof way to receive a lot of joy this holiday season and transform the way you do business in 2023. Trust us.