Connect the Peeps

Problem:

People work in silos.  They don’t communicate, except by filling out forms and following the process for transferring information.  Everything takes too long to get done because the processes cause information to get stuck at various stages.

Solution:

Start a connecting or networking effort where everyone knows everyone else by their first name.  Processes are established in large corporations so that things are consistent, repeatable, and with a recognized level of quality.  Yes, they are necessary, but because they work so well for large, complicated systems, we think they’ll work for everything.  But at a more local level, they actually cause communication problems and slow the flow of information.

We all know that relationships of trust help information flow easily and freely and fast (see Stephen M. R. Covey’s Speed of Trust), so why not base the processing of information on those?

I think there is a flawed foundational assumption that fuels most of our desire for forms and processes.  And that is the limit of how many people someone can know.

Think about how many people you know.  I’ll bet it’s a lot over the years.  But now, due to the ease of connecting with people on the internet, everyone ‘knows’ a lot more people.  I’m really curious what kind of numbers the really popular bloggers are pushing, like Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Brogan, or Seth Godin.  Of course there are all kinds of levels of ‘know’, but I’ll bet these guys are pushing in the thousands on a first name basis.

And I’ll bet you could know at least a few hundred or more.

So let’s just do it.  Start organizing lunchtime events where people get together at small tables and meet a few people.  They should also have some kind of task to work on together, like helping someone with a problem, or brainstorming ideas for improvements.  Leave it completely open and unstructured and allow people to connect.

Start having these once a week and people will really get to know each other.  Also make sure that the invitation is extended at a larger level so that people who show up will be from varying organizations.  This causes cross pollination and diverse networking.  Their organizations may or may not be related or coordinate with each other, but you never know when you might need to know someone in ____ organization.

When everyone starts really ‘knowing’ more people and have built relationships of trust, things will start to happen a lot faster and more smoothly.  (And you might not even have to fill out that tedious form.)

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