Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Recognition, Synergy & Human Trust

Three hundred people were standing in the conference room and I searched to find just one familiar face. It was clear, either I need to get out of my cubicle more often or the company I work for has way more employees than I originally thought (or maybe both).

It’s funny, right? I go to work repeatedly in the same job, same function, same parking space, same entrance, same circular door, sit down in the same ergo chair and wave to the same people to say good morning over and over, but a large majority of the people I work with are still strangers.

Now, some may like it that way. Quiet and private is safe. You can actually see the invisible line that separates the hall to your office space. It’s bright red or yellow so, although it’s not physically there, you’re hoping the person that stopped to talk to you can see the beaming color.

“This is my space. This your space.”

I agree that sometimes in professional environments safe and quiet is good. It makes us less vulnerable to judgment and we convince ourselves that “I only know this person because of work”, which may be irrevocably true.

However, there is an undeniable truth that the connections you make with people outside the office may help you inside the office.

That’s where the recognition conference comes into play. Somebody at some point in time decided to recognize the fact we are dynamic human beings. Rational beings, we do great things because we can.

Next is synergy. Yes, we can do even more great things together than what we could possibly accomplish individually. So while 300 employees were receiving recognition for accomplishments in their individual jobs, they were also there because their efforts are working towards a greater purpose for the organization.

That’s why connections are so important. I’m not talking about who knows who. I’m talking about the what and why and how. Getting to really know the people you work with. What are their likes, do they run marathons, do they take pictures? Are they vegan? When they go home after work do they have to pick up all three kids from basketball practice at different schools?

Simply talking with people builds trust and trust is what helps build concrete connections. 

 Honestly, you could do trust falls all day long but you’re still not going to know anything special about your co-worker unless you’re playing “Scream one interesting thing about yourself or your co-workers will drop you”, which I’m sure will sky rocket the office morale statistic in the next workplace satisfaction survey. A recognition conference with co-workers is the perfect opportunity to talk and build trust among your fellow employees.

Community Relations event: Building bookcases! My team built the bookcase while I was automatically put to work decorating the bookmarks. 
The Photographer of the Group
The Sports Princess

My point is this. Business is business. Bottom lines and budget restraints trump most all other things. But real human connections are important. People help us through times of desperation or life events. People take the time to explain processes ten times until you finally understand or offer help when you can’t possibly take on another project.

Yes the recognition conference last week was a time to give myself a pat on the back and enjoy the events, but it was also an opportunity to build trust among my co-workers. I encourage you to make connections with the people you work with outside your normal social circle. The friendships you make could help you on a professional level and you never know who may have something unique and interesting to share.


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