The New York Times has had a number of great articles related to connection and how it leads to success at work and in life. In an article about what Google discovered from Project Oxygen, a rigorous study of its successful managers, Laszlo Bock, the leader of the study stated:
“In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you…It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing. It’s important, but pales in comparison. Much more important is just making that connection and being accessible.” (italics mine)
This is exactly the point I made when I spoke about Connection Cultures described in my book Fired Up or Burned Out at Google in late 2009 as part of the Leading@Google series (you can see the video of my presentation at this link and read the article here.)
An article about Starbuck’s CEO Howard Schultz describes him as humbler and listening more as well as considering the opinions and ideas of his colleagues. This reflects the character strength of humility and the element of Voice in a Connection Culture that our research shows builds emotional and rational connections with employees. Read the article at this link.
Finally, The New York Times columnist David Brooks’ new book The Social Animal is reviewed. In the book Brooks argues that the ability to develop social connections is under-appreciated and extremely important to our success in life. You can read the review at this link.
Connection is a muscle that must be continuously exercised. The more you connect with others, the better you become at connecting. Here are three ways to connect that are common practices of outstanding connectors:
- KNOW THEIR STORY – Invest the time to learn the life stories of the people in your life at home, in your community and at work. Take them out for coffee or a meal and ask them “so you were born and then what happened?” Listen and ask questions.
- ASK QUESTIONS UNRELATED TO WORK – Ask the people in your life what their interests are outside of work, what’s their favorite movie, musician or place of vacation.
- FIND A WAY TO SERVE THEM – Look for ways that you can serve someone you want to connect with. Perhaps they need to hear an encouraging word. You might also consider offering to bring them a coffee or soft drink. If they like gifts and they’ve been facing a difficult time in life, send them a gift they would like. You might consider sending one of my favorites: Ben and Jerry’s ice cream from www.icecreamsource.com.