Small Connections Can Have Big Results
Change can bring fear and worry.
It often drives you to look for solace from those around you.
When things go wrong, you want to commiserate with someone you trust.
What about serious upheaval in your work life? Who can you turn to then?
You need to create connections with those you work with before the crisis hits.
But there’s another reason to forge relationships.
By creating connections, you not only create a safety net for yourself, but you will also be there for others.
Diversifying your relationships, in the end, will enrich your life and create opportunities.
Who are the people in your work life?
How well have you gotten to know the people you work with?
Think about your colleagues, the members of your team and even the vendors in your workplace.
Have you strengthened these relationships through collaboration and general conversation?
When you have cultivated these connections, you’ll have a support system already in place if something unfortunate were to happen at work.
You’ll also be able to lend your support to others when they need it.
Never discount the power of knowing how your coworker takes his coffee or what his pet cat’s name is.
These are the building blocks of trust.
What about life outside of work?
Of course, your family and friends are the most obvious part of your network.
What about your neighbors or the people with whom you worship, however?
These people are a part of the constant fabric of your life, but how well do you know them?
You’ll never know what they have to offer unless you take the chance to get to know them better – or what ways you may be able to meet their needs.
Improv encourages you to embrace diversity
Like most people, you probably tend to navigate toward those who are like you.
Attempting to get to know someone who’s different can be uncomfortable.
The principles of improv can help you to forge relationships with people you may have overlooked before.
If you approach conversations with good intentions and a dose of humility, most people will be happy that you reached out.
Mistakes may happen and that’s okay! Apologize, laugh together and try again!
Take the time to find commonalities. Even small connections can have impressive results.
The impact of face-to-face interactions
MIT scientist, Alex Pentland was interested in the power of small connections.
He and his team conducted a study in a call center that was suffering from poor performance.
The normal flow of their day was to have their break times staggered throughout the day – usually alone due to the nature of the work.
Pentland convinced the management to allow the workers to take their breaks all together for a period of time.
There was no directive given as to what they should talk about and, in fact, the researchers didn’t even know what was discussed during the breaks.
The results were dramatic.
The speed and efficacy of the workers improved greatly.
Remember, the only difference was that they were able to spend their breaks together, having human interactions.
Once the management saw the positive results, they instituted the changes throughout all of their call centers and increased their revenue by $15 million.
The moral of the story
Make the effort to get to know all different kinds of people – not just the ones who seem similar to you.
Getting to know others and investing in diversity will enrich your life and provide opportunities for growth.
If a crisis were to hit you – personally or professionally – you’ll be glad you took the time to build trust and foster relationships with people in all different walks of life.
You’ll also enjoy the satisfaction of being a help to someone else when they’re the one who needs support.
Make an effort to strike up a conversation with someone you may have overlooked before.