Thursday, March 20, 2008

Connect and Prosper.



S
omething missing in a lot of big companies - whether office, factory, or what-have-you - is a sense of community and connectedness. There is frequently no connection between You and the Team. In the case of freelancers, it's between You and the Client.

What do I mean by connection? I mean empathy. I mean that feeling you get when you really understand someone, and they understand you. There's way too much focus on Lone Wolf, out-for-number-one tactics out there.

I recently read Connection Culture by Michael Lee Stallard and found myself nodding at every third paragraph. Michael's research is impeccable and his findings are both simple and profound. He goes into great detail about the hows and whys of connecting at the workplace. His conclusions are that A) connections at work make that company a great place to work for, and B) in the case of customers and clients, that company becomes a great one to do business with. People are happier when they're connected.

Michael doesn't go too much into scale and volume, but he does make notable mention of the fact that big companies that encourage communication and connection do demonstrably better work, backed up by trustworthy data.

According to his research and my own personal experiences, people who make connections are happier, healthier, more optimistic, and generally more energetic than those who do not.

So.

When's the last time you made an effort to make connections in your workplace? Do you know the name of the guy in the cubicle across the way? If not, introduce yourself. Get to know the people you work with, for, and above, and you will find that the rewards greatly outweigh any remotely possible cost to yourself.

2 comments:

Ryan Paugh said...

Ben,

Making connections with people in the corporate world sucks when everyone wants to make things "all business."

I don't know your personality type, but I'm an empathizer and love connecting with people. So I'm likely to struggle in environments with little interaction.

At my last job I struggled with things because the company was as conservative as they come. Very little social interaction at some points.

The way I turned things around was to hone in on the right people. In any socially limiting environment there has to be at least one person who feels exactly the way you do.

Ben Overmyer said...

Very true.

However, it's also true that there are many networking opportunities outside of one's own company and local social sphere. Attending conventions is one way to expand your network, though it's a little pricy.

A more fun way is to get in touch with high-visibility people in your field and try and find a few that you can connect with on some level. Expanding networks in this way can have local side effects too; in this world, it's definitely who you know that counts.