The Power of Connection
I have changed roles, functions and levels at multiple points in my corporate career. And, most of the time I worked with people whom I previously did not know. I loved that every change came with a significant challenge, so building meaningful relationships was critical. I knew I would not succeed without the partnership and support of others – my team, my colleagues and key stakeholders.
As I mentioned in a recent Forbes.com article, there are a variety of ways you can invest time in others that will result in stronger relationships: Be interested in understanding how you and your work impact them and their work. Invest time in conversations about their goals. And, be keenly aware of the relationship and interdependencies of everyone and their teams.
Many people still work in silos, however. That singular focus is a difficult muscle to retrain; but when you truly feel connected to others, magic follows. Trust, efficiency, faster problem solving, increased willingness to take risks, and simply having more fun while tackling challenges appear.
The desire to connect is best served when it comes from a place of interest in others and not as a means to get what you need from them. The former is the beginning of creating meaningful relationships; the latter is a checklist item.
Building alignment and expanding your influence depends on communication, collaboration, and connection. And without genuine connection as the underpinning, the other two will never be as powerful.
As I look back on my career, there are a handful of achievements that come quickly to mind; but what outweighs them all are the people with whom I worked. I have memories of sharing both fun and challenging experiences, and the exciting energy from brainstorming sessions and healthy debates. These connections were the real foundation of the achievements.
This Week: Find one person with whom you interact on a fairly routine basis but don’t actually know much about. How can you create a more meaningful relationship and connection? Be curious and see what happens when you deepen a relationship. If you’re not sure how to start, are some questions to consider:
- In what ways are you and your activities/actions impacting him/her (and their team)?
- What interdependencies have you not yet explored?
- What’s it like to walk in that person’s shoes (challenges, goals)?
- What do they want or need from you?
- What do you appreciate about them and their work (and have you told them)?
In Next Week’s Post: The value of taking a pause.
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