Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

You Already Have What You Need to Build a Community

Problem:

My company doesn’t have a good internal tool for social networking so I can’t really build an internal community or a following.

Solution:

Actually, you do.

Back in the olden days people used to get to know each other by sending messages with an ingenious invention called electronic mail.  And although it may be clunky and inefficient, some people still use it today.

There’s even an older method that you might have heard stories about, where people actually meet together in person, where they can see each other’s physical bodies.

I would venture to guess that your company still has these ancient options available.

So, whatever way you can get to know another person, you have a way to build a community.  Email allows you to send messages to all of them at once, so they all have a subject to talk about, or you can connect with one person at a time, building your relationship with that person.  And if you can get everyone in the same room, you can have a shared experience to talk about.

New tools are nice. But if you want to build and lead a community that can make things happen, the only thing holding you back is your desire.

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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.)

Develop Meaningful Relationships (through bribes)

Guest post by Regine Albrecht. Visit her blog at: www.expatlinq.wordpress.com

Problem:

You frequently need help, assistance or just plain favors from people in other departments than yours.

Solution:

The way to a colleague’s heart is through their stomach.

In one of his last blogs Rex talked about “Go on a Field Trip” as a nice way to meet your colleagues from other departments. Back in my “corporate” days I had to work with several other departments and I remembered how I connected with them. Instead of calling my colleague(s) to ask for anything, I went on that field trip mentioned by Rex and introduced myself. It wasn’t really common for women to go to the manufacturing level so it was a little unusual, but I did it anyway.

I didn’t go only once, but almost every time I needed something or had a question, especially if it was something out of the ordinary (which happened quite often). Often times I would take some treats with me such as home baked cookies, chocolate, or some other candy to share with them.

OK you got me, I have a sweet tooth and yes, you may call this “bribing”.  I totally agree, but it worked miracles.  It opened so many doors for me and helped me a lot when I needed their support. Even if I had a request on VERY SHORT NOTICE they would do everything they could to help….which of course lead to another visit with a big thank you of some kind.

Where’s your guest post?