Balancing Growth and Human Connection
Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash
Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

I recently finished reading Pat Flynn’s book, Superfans. I thoroughly enjoyed it and took away many lessons that I immediately applied at Reformed Forum. We’re thankful for the many people that have come to our website or YouTube channel, subscribed to our email newsletter or read one of our books. But we also want to develop a relationship with these people so that we can better pursue our mission. The goal is not ultimately to increase our audience, it is to effect change. Flynn’s book was helpful for me as I am thinking through how to continue connecting with people during a season of organizational growth.

In the entrepreneurial world, growth and success often come with a unique set of challenges. Yet, the very elements that drive a business forward can sometimes become obstacles to preserving the human connection that initially fueled that success. This tension is eloquently described by Flynn:

After some time, their businesses started to take off . . . The attention and the money started to get to their heads . . . They became self-centered, like everything was owed to them . . . They also started automating a lot of the transactions and interactions with their audience . . . But when you forget about the relationship aspect and focus too much on the money and prestige—then add over-automation into the mix, where you’re cut off from your audience—that’s a recipe for disaster.

Flynn’s words resonate with a truth that applies not just to entrepreneurs but to anyone seeking to grow and expand their effectiveness in any field. The allure of success can subtly shift our focus from building genuine relationships to pursuing money and prestige. That will kill any hope of genuine value creation.

The Human Connection

The essence of any business, especially in the content realm, lies in the relationships we build with our target audience, audience, and community. These relationships are not mere stepping stones to success; they are the core of what makes our work meaningful. They’re the fuel that keeps the engine running.

As Flynn acknowledges, automation and systematization are essential as we grow. Without them, we can’t keep up or serve our community effectively. But this doesn’t mean we should lose sight of the human aspect of our work.

Striking the Balance

So, how do we strike a balance between scaling our operations and maintaining genuine human connections? Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Stay Grounded: Remember why you started and who helped you along the way. Keep those foundational values and relationships at the center of your operations.
  2. Personalize When Possible: Even in automation, look for opportunities to add personal touches. It could be as simple as a personalized email or a thank-you note.
  3. Engage with Your Audience: Whether through social media, webinars, or community events, make time to engage with your audience. Let them know you still value them as individuals.
  4. Evaluate Regularly: Periodically assess your practices. Are you still in touch with your audience? Are you focusing too much on money and prestige?

Conclusion

We must not forget the human connections that make our work truly significant. Our relationships are not a means to an end; they are the essence of what we do. At root, we must seek to serve others—to provide benefit and value.

In the words of Flynn, over-automation and losing sight of relationships is a “recipe for disaster.” May we continually strive to grow without losing the human touch that makes our work fulfilling.

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