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UC Goering Center news

Community: It bridges the loneliness gap

By Carol Butler

Way back in February – it feels like a lifetime ago – I penned an article asking, “Can ‘community’ bridge the loneliness gap?”

We were in business-as-usual mode then, facing the challenges that occur in any normal business cycle. My message was about why community matters and about making a focused effort to develop it.

As I write this message 12 weeks later, I have come to a new-found sense of, and need for, community. The Goering Center team – like many of you – has been working remotely since March 16. It is a very different experience for many of us. Myself included!

It can be lonely at the top

The greatest challenge, other than overly easy access to the refrigerator, is working alone – especially for extroverts. I arrive at some of my best ideas by being in conversation with others. Finding ways to connect with people is very important to me.

Fortunately, Goering Center members, and staff, have our roundtables available to us. While these tight-knit groups have migrated from conference rooms to video chats, the connections remain strong. We have formed tight bonds, sometimes over decades, and continue to share those 3 a.m. issues – both personal and business – that trouble us.
Our business boards are another great resource to us, providing ready access to wise advisors who help us make tough decisions that will help us survive (perhaps thrive) on the other side of this crisis.

At the end of the day, the truly important things come to the surface: the mission, the message, the impact, the work, but most of all – the people.

Carol Butler, President of the Goering Center

For now, I believe we are moving past storming into norming. Our team has settled into a pace and a pattern with a regular meeting routine and consistent, focused agenda. Weekly one-on-ones bring insights to new opportunities and are shaping our vision. Webinars bring great member engagement – a win/win for us both. While uncertainty remains with us as to how long we will continue to work remotely, the days are getting brighter and our view of the future becomes clear.

Dealing with ambiguity

Many of us struggle with significant uncertainty. It’s a leadership trait that takes time and maturity to develop. Those who have mastered it can effectively cope with change, shift gears comfortably and can decide and act without having the total picture. Developing this skill creates calm amidst the chaos. The good news is that you can take it with you wherever you go.

At this writing, we are now in our seventh week of remote working. Some say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Some say 66 days. Either way, we have very effectively developed new habits, successfully moving into new effective and productive ways of being.
I find myself shifting between “this is awesome” and “this is tough.” Probably the blend of a professional extrovert with a personal introvert. At the end of the day, the truly important things come to the surface: the mission, the message, the impact, the work, but most of all – the people.

Regardless of this temporary physical separation, I feel remarkably present, and I believe that is due to the investment we make every day in our relationships. Thank you for all that you do, and for who you are, supporting your family, friends and, of course, your colleagues within the Goering Center Community and beyond.

Carol Butler is president at the Goering Center. You can reach Carol at or 513-556-7414.

Featured image at top: Carol, Maeve and the Duchess of Mayhem find new ways to stay connected with others in our ever-changing world.

About the Goering Center for Family & Private Business
Established in 1989, the Goering Center serves more than 400 member companies, making it North America’s largest university-based educational non-profit center for family and private businesses. The Center’s mission is to nurture and educate family and private businesses to drive a vibrant economy. Affiliation with the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati provides access to a vast resource of business programing and expertise. Goering Center members receive real-world insights that enlighten, strengthen and prolong family and private business success. For more information on the Center, participation and membership visit

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July 7, 2020

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