Professional Community Network

Having a Robust and Diverse Community of Networking Professionals is Essential to the Core of any Vital Leadership Context Initiative

Professional Network Affordances

The general purpose behind the Professional Network is, of course, to connect the many small networks of Professionals together into actionable and productive systems of liaison. We feel that the vast wealth and resources of Human Capital across the Commonwealth is being literally squandered away through isolation and scarcity of interconnectedness.

We have long recognized that the segmentation of the Commonwealth into semi-autonomous zones (Tidewater, Piedmont, Southside, Mt. Rogers, Shenandoah, etc.), while useful for administrative purposes, tends to fracture the population into disjointed segments.

The ease of access and overall globalization of digital means has enabled us to repair this fragmentation and salvage our Professional Community. Our commitment to Excellence embraces this concept and actively participates in re-establishing these network links.

Professional Liaison

Professional Collaboration is the ultimate goal. While there are times that nothing will quite take the place of ‘meet-and-greet’ gatherings, the digital age affords us many opportunities for alternative liaison without the added expense of traditional travel and lodging procedures.

Simple google-doc collaborations are one inexpensive option. Teleconferencing (Zoom, Skype, etc.) are another. Much can be accomplished via internet cross-networking, especially in the areas of  promotion (venues and events) and education. Online classes, pod-casts, and seminars represent further options for exploration.

All of these new affordances are both powerful and entertaining (a factor which should not be dismissed out of hand because it keeps people’s interest focused on our projects).

Generative

By enlisting participation from a variety of professional networkers, our projects and initiatives become more expansive and gain greater importance in the larger continuum. Our rustic local designs acquire more polish and the overall architecture improves, which is in-line with our Leadership Environment and Commitment to Excellence. Generative Collaboration is possibly the secret sauce in affecting polished and well-designed initiatives of quality and repute.

Other magic happens as well. By enrolling networked professionals into our own projects, we will generate a cascading effect of further novel genius, which will lead to more networked projects and even greater professional enlistment and contribution.

This is known as Generative Synergy and greatly accelerates the Network development while  nurturing an environment of creative activism and spontaneous improvement. This is the proverbial win-win scenario, often referenced but rarely encountered.

Agency Training

Agency training is an on-going fact of life and helps elevate our agency’s professional qualifications, although much of it is repetitive and cyclical. Another benefit of periodic training is the development of trainers. Experienced trainers greatly enhance the Human Capital of an organization and lead to quality opportunities in inter-agency contexts where our agency’s reputation can shine.

No agency should dismiss the opportunity to develop its intramural training squad and every chance to develop an on-site practicum is quite valuable and in everyone’s best interest. Our Commitment to Excellence platform and Leadership Context initiative has already identified a number of potential opportunities to develop trainers on-site at our facility.

Staff Meetings

Our on-going staff meetings are a good example of small-group liaison, providing a chance to share individual insights with the group, leading to improved comprehensiveness, greater programmatic integration, and better strategic cohesiveness. The same can be said for the greater professional community vis-à-vis Professional Network Alliances and Inter-Agency Collaboration.

Professional Classes

A time-honored and proven way to enhance Agency Professionalism and improve an agency’s reputation for quality is to invite the participation of Educational Institutions into our workspace via after-hour curricula. Hard working Professionals may not have the time and energy for such activities without the incentive of credits and licensures being offered.

Alliances with Educational Institutions are of inestimable value to the on-going vitality of any agency. Many branching opportunities can emerge from these, such as participation in scientific studies (and the promotional benefits of being named in them) and outside opportunities related to affiliated grants and special funding. No budgetary office would diminish the value of this type of affiliation.

Beyond these observations is another interesting fact related to educational affordances. As time goes by, Human Capital amasses a certain store of agency expertise, asymmetrically distributed across its agency. Isolated by the role-constraints of a mundane job-descriptor world, this amassed expertise is tragically wasted.

By providing an outlet for the distribution of this amassed knowledge base, the agency itself shares in the accumulated wealth of collective experience. In developing their own classroom teaching specialties these experts participate in this sharing across the continuum. Modern Digital Media greatly facilitates the means of this production and affords practically infinite replication via inter-agency cross-fertilizations and even franchised learning opportunities. The current value of digital learning centers and learning labs cannot be overemphasized in today’s environment and every opportunity to enlist staff in the production and teaching of agency-based specialty curricula should be widely encouraged.

Community Space

The Daily Program for Member based consumers runs for a set number of hours, is regular and limited in that regard. This means that the expenses associated with brick and mortar properties must be condensed to self-limiting constraints thereby driving their cost per hour ever higher via inflation. Frankly, the expense-laden facility sits empty and useless the majority of the time.

It would be preferable to generate greater ROI from these underutilized facilitations. In the interest of greater Community Service, alongside the Community Engagement Initiative with its benefits in promotion, recognition, and networking for continued sustainability, it would behoove management to seek lengthier hours of productivity in the matter of Community Space and Digital Production utility.

The general purposes of Community Space will be taken up below but use as Digital Productivity labs is by far the most far-reaching, profitable, safest, and most efficient of any option available (and with a much smaller energy footprint). As mentioned elsewhere (above, for instance, and here, and here), Digital Platforms are infinitely replicable, scalable to need, franchisable, and return exquisite data pre-formatted for continued analysis toward actionable insight. Their value as promotional instruments and elevation of reputation is un-paralleled, and their contribution to Sustainability is immediate, inexpensive, and long-lasting. Liability concerns are low-level. ROI is superb.

In light of this, it makes sense to re-examine our definition of Community Space and consider the transition from analog (brick and mortar) to virtual.

Community Meetings

Despite the convenient affordances of virtual community, there are times when only live events will suffice. In times like this, it is up to the Community Services to provide these services to the community. That doesn’t always mean opening up the use of our facilities for such events. Especial consideration must be given to the modern complexities of hazards, perils, liabilities and their subsequent possibilities for negative press and detrimental exposure. Lately, collective health and civic responsibility figure in with great measure. Additionally, partisan acrimony is an increased and alarming risk as any event can be easily sabotaged, suddenly and without warning.

But Community Services can arrange for Community Meetings to be held off-site (perhaps at local schools, churches, parks, and civic centers) or variously promoted with our sponsorship (direct or limited). Again, our Digital Platforms are brought into the spotlight of progressive favorability in these situations. There are even affordances for Collective Teleconferences that bring Community Meetings into the virtual realm, with minimum expense, risk, or exposure; both collectively and institutionally.

Having covered all this, let’s take a quick look at the physical facilities here at Harmony House.

Our Physical Facilities

Harmony House has three main areas conducive to network meetings, with two adjacent facilities (the commercial kitchen and the staff kitchenette).

Commons

The first area is the Commons, a large day-room (with tables, which can be moved/removed according to need) with its adjacent commercial kitchen. This is the area most likely to be called upon for formal events with hors d’oeuvres, etc. A chart/easel can be set up in front, but it is not the most ideal for teaching. It is the largest space and is perfect for crowds and talks (speeches).

Media Center

The second area is the Media Center, which is smaller but also has tables and chairs. It also works well as an overflow room to the adjacent Commons. The main feature of the Media Center is the large screen TV, which is capable of use for power-point presentations, you-tube presentations, and any other digital media. It also features mobile and permanent whiteboards and charts can be erected on portable easels.

Boardroom

Lastly, there is a Boardroom (numerous chairs around a large ‘oval’ table). It holds right many but less than the foregoing. The drawing card for the board room is that it can be employed separately (while other events are going on in the other two) or during the day when the Members have use of the larger facilities. There is a convenient rear entrance and snacks and coffee can be accessed easily via the staff kitchenette. Xerox, printer, and office supplies are also more easily accessible. The Boardroom needs a large whiteboard to be placed on one of the walls (for visual facilitation). Otherwise, it is a choice location for Professional Networking and Liaison.

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