The Long GoodbyeCarrie Jones writes about the idea of celebrating the “right kind of churn.” She draws on an example from Alex Hillman’s Coworking Weekly podcast, where Hillman explained that when a company leaves his coworking space to move into their own office, they celebrate the occasion.

They celebrate that the company has reached a level of growth where they require a bigger space to continue that growth. They might be losing a tenant, but they recognize the success of an alumni.

I believe in this. Your community members are a lot like the cast of Saturday Night Live. I’ve never sought to dominate the lives of the people who join the communities that I manage. You don’t collect humans. We’re all alive for a relatively short period of time. During that brief moment, we gravitate in and out of many different groups and communities, based upon where we are in life.

I only want to create experiences that are worthwhile and valuable. I try to keep people until the moment where we are no longer needed in their life. That’s for them to say – not me.

When we talk about churn, we talk about making people feel welcome. We talk about onboarding. We talk about calls to action. But if you create something of value, that’s half of the churn problem – and dramatically helps the other half. An onboarding process to garbage just means they’ll jump off the ship after they board.

I love when my community members and staff members go on to do great things. In life and professionally. They will leave your community, but their story and your community’s history are now linked. When you tell these stories, or when they come back to say hello and answer some questions, it helps your current members to see the path forward, to see what your community can be a path to.

Churn isn’t a word I used when I started managing communities, nearly 16 years ago. I use it now, and have for a while, but only when I’m talking to community professionals or business types. When I’m talking to my members or to anyone else, I simply explain that people move on. And that’s alright.