Valued and Connected
What do you want from your career? What fills you up? What makes you feel like you belong? These are questions worth asking. And they have answers worth knowing.
So, I ask them. Maybe not directly … maybe the question sounds a bit different at first … something more like, “What would you focus on/prioritize if you were the CEO of M3?” I have periodic meetings with each and every M3er to ask this question, because I’ve found over time that this is the best way to work on making M3 better. Over the past 12 months the participants have represented all corners of our organization, but there have been answers in EVERY meeting that follow the same common thread — and that common thread answers all of the questions referenced earlier very simply:
“I want to feel valued and connected.”
I was at a workshop recently which centered on building teams and culture — and it solidified everything I was hearing from M3ers. The workshop touched on how to fulfill the basic human need of “belonging.” Hopefully, feeling as if we belong is something we have all experienced — whether at home, at school, or as a part of ensembles, productions or athletic teams. When we feel like we belong, we are simply better equipped to make a contribution and overcome adversity that inevitably arises. Most importantly though, what I’m hearing from M3ers is that “valued and connected” is a two-way street. We want to provide value and be valued for what we bring. As much as we want (and need) the connection, we also want to be a part of the “connecting.”
But how do you actually, practically accomplish this?
Get together. Have a face-to-face personal interaction. TALK to someone while looking them in the eye. Share a smile. Remember that connection reliant on technology is a false sense of connection. It’s a supplement, not a replacement. And it’s a tool we should never allow to become a crutch. Social interaction, true social interaction, is a practice that requires practice. It’s not always easy, but it is worth it. Be specific in your praise and in your efforts to include people in the fun or the celebration of a win or the work of solving a problem. That connection is what keeps careers fulfilling year after year. It’s what keeps families together. We are all in search of those moments when we can say: “I get it. … I’m part of this. … My contributions bring value to this.”
I see a lot of people. I get to know a lot of people. I value a lot of people. Extroverted or introverted … gregarious or shy … haughty or humble … congenial or cool – the craving for connection connects us all. I get it. I’m part of it. And so are you.