Human connections are the energy on which business runs.
Remember the last time you tried to start your car only to realize the battery was dead. The dread we feel in that moment is proportional to how isolated we are. Alone on a road - the WORST. In the Home Depot parking lot, a minor setback. Either way, that battery needs to connect to be recharged. That's why we keep jumper cables in our trunks. We are prepared to connect. How prepared are you to connect at work? Are you on the road alone or sitting among a sea of other drivers ready at a moment's notice to lend each other a hand?
Just like having an emergency kit with jumper cables in our trunk, we have to plan ahead and be deliberate about relationships. Connecting with people is not something else to do along with your job. It is your job. Connecting with others is the only way you can do what you needs to be done to the fullest.
The Best Leaders are Lifelong Learners
I'm not a golfer. But, my partner Denny has taught me there's a long game and a short game. When it comes to connections, the long game is a commitment to personal curiosity, growth and learning. Take an honest assessment of the leader you are today. Know what to keep doing and recognize where you need to improve.
Then, look to the future. See the leader you want people to remember you as. Take daily steps to become your aspiration. Make it a point to meet people. Treat everyone well. Build trust so that when the time comes, cooperation is easy. Learn new skills, gather ideas, and adopt healthy habits. Practice. Fail. Try again. Relish the process of personal growth.
The Here and Now
The short game is about the last few feet or even inches to the hole. It's the projects you are you leading today, the deadline around the corner, the work that just has to get done immediately. Don't go it alone. Make a plan for how best to engage with each person or group important to the outcome. Know their world. Walk in their shoes. When you interact, seek first to understand before trying to be understood. Size up situations TOGETHER before jumping to solve. Collaborate. Always collaborate. Co-author the story; each contributing from their strengths and unique experiences.
Finally, tend to relationships. Nurture connections so the roots grow deep, the branches spread wide, and you bear much fruit.
Inspired by burrito bowls with Peter. Thanks for being my Harry Nyquist.