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3 Reasons Why Connecting is Essential to Progress

| | General Leadership
3 Reasons Why Connecting Is Essential to Progress

In our fast-paced, rapidly changing world, there is an endless demand for things that need to get done. It’s not hard to make a case that the need for organizations to be productive is paramount to success. Yet all too often the path to increased productivity excludes time to connect with each other. Some would say that we have too much to do to stop and just talk to each other. Or do we?

I’ll suggest that we are actually sacrificing productivity when we don’t consciously take the time to just talk to each other — human to human — and take the time to connect meaningfully.

There are three fundamental reasons why taking the time to connect is actually the key to productivity and its ultimate objective, to make progress!

As a professional facilitator, I include time for connection in every meeting. Many times I meet with resistance. There are those who find sharing something beyond the equivalent of “name, rank, and serial number” uncomfortable. Some believe it is unnecessary when they have worked with people for a while, thinking they already know each other. And there are also those who get annoyed that valuable time is being taken from the agenda of important topics.

Nonetheless, I have seen it play out time and time again that taking the time to connect beyond introductions and have real, honest, revealing, and sometimes even tough conversations adds to the velocity with which progress can be made. And not only does connection fuel progress, but it also is the source for progress that is both meaningful and satisfying.

Here are 3 reasons why connection is essential to progress:

1.  We are humans, not machines.

Machines have to be maintained properly to operate a peak efficiency. In the case of humans, it is our relationships that must be attended to properly if we are to be not only efficient, but also effective. We are social beings and the need for human-to-human connection is designed into our DNA. Trying to ignore our humanity in the interest of getting more done often impedes rather than enhances productivity.

2.  Progress requires trust, and trust requires connection.

The bottom line is that people do business with people they know, like, and trust. This can only happen when you take the time to get to know someone and connect with them in some meaningful way. Just because you have worked alongside people for a while doesn’t mean you know them enough to trust them! Now of course, there are some people you don’t choose to work with or even like, yet you need to work with them regardless.  That only makes it more important that you take the time to connect meaningfully.

3.  Knowing each other leads to discovering common ground and shared commitments.

When people take time to share a bit of their story, you not only learn about their experiences, you discover something about who they are and what matters to them. This can also reveal the wrong assumptions we may have about each other. For example, a well-groomed white man in a suit who you know went to a prestigious school may be assumed to be from a privileged background — until you learn that he was in 5 foster homes and dropped out of high school. If you are talking about issues of poverty, you might assume he has nothing to contribute — until, of course, you know his story.

In the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 

Consider that the undistinguished element of those groups that do indeed do great things together is connection with each other.  What do you think?

 

Image credit: andrewlloydgordon

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Chery Gegelman   |   16 March 2016   |   Reply

Susan, Great post! #3 Resonated the loudest! As the discovery of who someone really is – is an adventure that had endless possibilities.

I’m sharing your post on Social Media and with Eric Lynn – The Founder of Culture Q’s. As it emphasizes the reasons he designed his program.

Susan Mazza   |   17 March 2016   |   Reply

Well said Chery! And thank you for sharing this article and making the connection to Eric Lynn.

Scott Mabry   |   16 March 2016   |   Reply

Great stuff Susan. Love the point about being humans and not machines. Also really appreciate your point about making time for connection in the workshops you facilitate. Let me be one to agree and encourage that you continue to do so.

Susan Mazza   |   17 March 2016   |   Reply

Thanks Scott! About a year ago I did a talk on communicating to connect and the experience in the connection exercise and the learning generated from it was so rich I didn’t make it past slide 3. More evidence for me re: just how valuable connecting is! Not surprised you are an advocate of the conversation 🙂

Karen Murdoch-Lahey   |   01 April 2016   |   Reply

Building Trust Through Connections

Susan Mazza   |   29 April 2016   |   Reply

Yes Karen, connecting is fundamental to building trust!