Always Be Closing

Still Image from Glengarry Glen Ross

There is a famous scene in the film Glengarry Glen Ross, when a character played by Alec Baldwin attempts to motivate a team of salesmen. One of the most quoted lines is: “A-B-C. A – always, B – be, C – closing. Always be closing.” They are salesmen – they should always be closing sales.

However, there is another ABC that most people would probably be better served by: Always Build Community.

When I spoke at CNN, I told a group of professionals there that if they built community around their work at the company, it would not only be good for CNN – it would be good for all of them, as individuals. It is one of the most important ways for them to avoid putting all of their eggs in one basket. Most of them have CNN in their Twitter handle. What I asked them was this: when you leave CNN, and take that brand out of your Twitter handle, will anyone still care about you?

I talk mostly here about serving community – how to most effectively manage community and add value for your members. But let’s not forget that community is reciprocal in value. Community is a support system, an insurance policy and a safety net. When things go right, your community makes it even better. But when things go wrong, your community is what can save you.

We see this on a personal level all the time. A personal tragedy creates a financial burden. People start a collection and before you know it, you have some relief in the form of donations. On a professional level, our community helps us advance our career. If your a company that has made a mistake or is facing criticism, your community helps you through those moments by remaining loyal and countering critics.

Community isn’t just for the good times. It’s for all times. Always build community.