Value Community: It’s More Than Just Being Together

Micah Fox heads our sales department and serves on the North Star leadership team. He also works to coordinate many of our company volunteer and ministry projects. The ways he pulls us together as a team has given him a unique perspective on our Value Community core value.

Value Community: It’s More Than Just Being Together

A friend of mine spent several years working at a fast-growing technology firm in Durham. We talked about some of the things his employer put in place to improve or impact their sense of community in the workplace. In the office, they supplied a fully stocked kitchen with unlimited snacks and beverages to encourage co-workers to take breaks, be refreshed, and get to know one another. Outside the office, they organized corporate outings, happy hours, celebrations, and game nights. It all sounded great. 

Shot of a group of unrecognizable businesspeople high fiving in an office

But from my friend’s perspective, it never did add up to a real sense of community. It turns out that all the perks and programming for bringing people together were undermined by a “me-first” attitude that began at the top and trickled down the ranks. There was disorganization, unfulfilled promises, and a company culture that new hires soon discovered was quite different from what was promoted on the website or discussed during their interviews. 

Where Does an Experience of Real Community Come From?

True community cannot be bought or forced. I believe it is the natural overflow of those who truly understand how we are made for meaningful connections and how sincerely dependent we are on one another. Wherever we work, whatever we do, we are more than simply co-workers, only responsible for our own little agendas or to-do lists. 

Believing this will inevitably mean personal and collective sacrifice for the good of others. That can be hard to do, even if we mentally agree that it is a good idea. That is why valuing community is so vitally important to a company’s culture. Honoring others and the ways we need one another subverts all kinds of selfish attitudes and behaviors.

What Value Community Looks Like at North Star Marketing

I have been a part of the North Star team for over 10 years, now. My wife and I have celebrated the births of each of our children in our community at work, and we have been on the receiving end of a lot of care and support during the tough times, too. I have also witnessed some powerful expressions of how we put “value community” into action here.

Several years ago, Ryan Caldwell, one of our senior developers, got some terrible news with a completely unexpected cancer diagnosis. He is a survivor—after six months of surgeries and chemo treatments—he got an “all-clear” report from his doctors. But he remembers how our team surrounded him—literally—when he shared the news with us, to pray for him, cry, and express our love and support. 

All along the way with his treatment and recovery, people visited, brought care packages, cards, and kept letting him know we were in this fight with him. He leads his department, so his absence meant others really had to step up and shoulder a lot of extra work during an already busy schedule. In many ways, that was transformative for their department and our whole company. That interdependence I mentioned earlier was something we all experienced in a new way during that time.

Each of our core values at North Star is connected. Value Community feeds right into the last value on our list, Find Joy in Work. When the blinders start to come off, and we begin to see and experience the reality that needing one another and being built for depending on one another truly is a good thing, it is funny how that opens the door for something we do not often expect at our work desk: joy.

 

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