Monday, March 1, 2010

The Power of Community Shines

Nancy and I are in Washington this week to meet with folks at Microsoft. As part of our trips, we often try and have dinner with the HTG members from the area, and tonight we met with a dozen or so HTG member companies in Redmond for some food, fellowship and sharing. We have built into our peer groups non competitive membership within each group. So inside our small communities of 10-12 companies, we work to make sure there are no conflicts from competing in the same market. But since we now have 22 groups, we have many markets that have numerous companies that serve that market. Seattle is one of the places we have a large concentration of HTG members.

A few years ago there was a lot of concern about having folks from the same market belong to HTG. Some were upset believing they owned a market and could serve all million or two or ten million people. But as our members have caught the Go Giver mentality and see the value of working together, there is a lot less concern about the other HTG members in their market. We see more and more members that were once competitors working together to help grow their companies. Tonight in Redmond we had a dozen HTG member companies from the same geography spending time sharing and learning from each other. They weren't sharing financials, but they were sharing things about their businesses and comparing notes on how they serve their customers. It wasn't panic about letting the silver bullet out of the bag. HTG members have figured out there really aren't any secrets in our business any more, and it is better to build relationships with those you can learn from than to isolate oneself from the world and try to go it alone. The power of community will always win out.

There was also some sharing of life which is part of our HTG values. I won't rat on the guys who stayed a little long so they could escape some parenting duties - that isn't part of life-work balance. But it is amazing how the sharing goes as friends sitting around the table. We find that not only are we facing the same issues with business, we are facing them at home too. Kids are kids everywhere, just like employees and customers are the same for all of us too. There are far more similarities than differences as we run small IT companies and live life. That is why HTG works. People helping people - giving and sharing life together - as we serve each other in community. It was a great night of sharing, laughter and life. Thanks to all the folks here in the Seattle area for some hospitality and making us feel at home.

We also had one of our newest sponsors, Quosal join us for dinner. A few of us spent some time this afternoon at their office reviewing their product and plans for helping us build the HTG community. It was great to have time with Kent and see his vision for Go Giving align with the HTG mission of sharing and building community. How wonderful when there is tight alignment between all facets of the program. Great days are ahead for all of us when we take on the challenges as part of the community!

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