Some of you who follow along on my blog and podcast know that for the last 6 months, I’ve been navigating the treacherous waters of a crazy landlord, a gnarly rent increase, and the likely need to relocate our coworking space in the near future.
Many friends and colleagues have been quick to point out that other coworking spaces are going through similar challenges or see them on the near horizon, so I’ve been going out of my way to do as much of this process in public as possible.
Today I published my latest update, which includes a bit of a peek into what you might expect when you’re interacting with people in the real estate industry, but also a look into how I’m keeping our priorities straight in spite of the challenge.
Previous posts in this series include:
- The one where I delivered the news to our community.
- The one where I recognized 6 distinct KINDS of conversations I had across 100+ meetings, emails, and tweets. And how I was thinking about each of those different conversations. That one includes an audio version!
- The one where I recapped two separate Town Hall meetings (#1, #2), including peoples’ initial reactions, and who came out of the woodwork from outside of our community to support us.
- The one where I made the tough call NOT to cancel a 3 week vacation in the middle of the process
- The one where we asked our members for financial support, and the follow up after we raised over $20k in just 3 days without pitching a single bank or investor (this bought us several months of time with our increased rent).
Each of these posts are carefully crafted pieces of communication that were sent first to our community on our internal discussion list, often garnering more support and feedback there, before then publishing to my site for a broader readership of curious supporters.
It’s probably worth noting that this isn’t just an experiment in transparency - this is a large scale demonstration about how we do everything in our community.
In case it’s not clear, consensus isn’t the goal. Instead, I’ve put my focus on making sure there’s room at the table for people to be and feel heard, and for our members to be and feel like they are a part of the process. It’s ultimately my job to make many of the decisions, but instead of making them in a vacuum and then delivering the finished product to our members, I’ve invited them into the process.
Even the people who’ve responded with “I trust you - wherever we end up will be great” appreciated that they were given the opportunity to say that instead of it being assumed. That’s subtle, but powerful and crucially important to the end result of the experience we create.
As far as I’m concerned, the only way we screw this up is by changing our standard operating mode just because we’ve been dealt a crappy hand.
In addition to giving y’all a peek into how I execute transparency with our members, and the language choices that we know make a difference, you’ll also get to see how this has been affecting me personally. Because that’s something that doesn’t get talked about enough is how hard it can be to face this stuff and still keep it together.
When “staying strong” as a leader means faking that your frustration and anxiety don’t exist, literally nobody wins.
If you’re interested in how I’ve worked through that underlying personal psychology, check out Episode 14 of “The Coworking Weekly Show” (the second half, Episode 15, is dropping shortly).
Finally, I’d encourage more people here to share THEIR process. If not with this list, with your own communities. It’s tempting to spend all day in your own head trying to solve problems, and forget that you’re in a room full of professional problem solvers who have a vested interest in whatever you’re trying to make better.
And I’m pretty sure that’s what we’re all here for too - to make it better.