Connection Leads to Relationships
If connection is the product of the future, the problem is not going to be connecting; human beings connect naturally–and arbitrarily.
If connection is the product of the future, the problem is not going to be developing the tools and technology to mediate, facilitate, develop and encourage those connections; human innovation is already beginning to drive that development.
If connection is the product of the future, the problem is going to be determining the value of that connection.
The assumptions, decisions, and even the drivers, that encourage the development of markets, regulations, policies, and procedures, at scale are absent in the face of something ephemeral, long-term, relationally based, and seemingly arbitrary from person to person.
Connection Requires Imagination
Remember that old Beatles song by John Lennon? Well, let’s engage in a bit of imagining….
Imagine if engagement with customers, clients, and others could be measured as a trackable KPI of success in your organization?
Imagine if you actually engineered your organization at all levels to compete not in a race to the bottom on price, product, or service, but instead if you engineered (through reward and recognition) for engagement through failure, risk-taking, and decision making?
Imagine if the digital tools you have lying around that you don’t know what to do with, were engaged in actively and intentionally increasing engagement, rather than just selling?
Imagine if engagement were the service your organization offered, and the product (physical, digital, or another form) was actually an afterthought?
Imagine if quality engagement with your employees through open-book management, pay transparency, and treating adults as if they are adults, were the “new normal” rather than a “radical departure.”
We don’t have to imagine the answers to any of these questions.
There are organizations at scale, that are doing all of these things all around us in all areas of the global economy. And even more so in a post-2020 work environment.
Connection Begins With Answering Questions
You can connect your employees socially, or via an LMS platform, but then what? Here are a few questions to get you thinking about this differently:
- What are we charging our customers and clients for?
- What are we paid to do?
- What do our clients and customers believe we are paid to do?
- What is the value of education about connection to our customers and clients?
- What is the value of connection for our customers and clients?
- What is the value of the tools around the act of connecting with our clients and customers?
- What do our clients think they want from each other?
- What is the market value of our network, to our customers and clients?
- What is the risk profile of our market, our clients, and our organization?
Answering these questions, along with carefully considering the inherent (and growing) value of storytelling, self-awareness, and conflict management (not resolution—that requires skillsets you, or your employees, might not want to acquire) will open the door to creating a macroculture of connection.
Avoiding these hard questions and hoping that another innovator, entrepreneur, or visionary will come along and create the web of support that the system of connection-as-the-economy requires, is foolhardy and dangerous.
If connection is the product of the future, the problem is going to be answering the questions, in brave ways and then acting on the scary answers.
The only question you really have to ask (and answer) in your organization is: Do you have the courage to go past imagining to acting?