I've just started a really great book "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi and it reinforces my belief about the power of connections. If you've read anything I've written here before, you know how important I believe relationships to be in all of human interaction.
I believe the core of this book is the answer to making our business lives more happy and fulfilled - oh, and by the way, more productive.
It seems often that in the quest to fulfill the needs of our shareholders (whoever they might be), we forget the elements necessary to create that productivity. And this usually involves the issues related to the more human characteristics of our existence.
This book connects characteristics like relationship-building with external success (read: bottom line financial success).
Why is that surprising? Yet there are still those leaders within our business world who don't understand the importance of those characteristics like relationships, effective communication skills, and - dare I say - LOVE. It comes down to the disparity between fear and long-term success within the business world.
As I'm writing this I'm watching Clean Sweep on TLC - the show where couples get rid of their clutter by having the show come in and help them start over. It's a great metaphor for that point at which we determine we want things to be different - whether in our home lives, our work lives, or any part of our lives.
In this episode Peter, the host, is identifying how the language the couple uses affects not only their clutter but their relationship. Both Janelle and Shane have gotten into the rut in their marriage of separating their clutter into "his" and "hers" and then they end up justifying their attachment to their individual stuff and end up blaming the other for keeping the stuff, which causes the other to feel more defensive and keeps the attachment to the stuff stronger than their commitment to a clutter-free life (or to each other). It's a classic example of collusion.
It's a great metaphor for business relationships, too. Where are we setting up our connections? In places they can come between working relationships by helping us justify our traditional behaviors and mindsets? If we're considering external connections (those outside our companies) without considering the effects on our internal connections (those within our companies), we may actually be building walls rather than tearing them down.
It's another example of how giving up our need to be right can give us more satisfaction with our connections with others than our self-justification will provide in our being alone.