Archives: Sparks18

EQ, Not IQ

“According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020.” We found this eye-opening stat in a great piece in Fast CompanyWhen we place value in someone’s ability to forge Connections and label that as a strength, we build great leaders and great teams. What once was deemed a “soft skill,” emotional intelligence is increasingly one of your greatest professional assets.

Celebrating you and your team’s ability to lead in a way that’s not only cognitively but also emotionally intelligent helps create meaning in your work each and every day. Emotionally intelligent individuals are not only better at connecting with others, they’re better at connecting a problem to the best solution.

When we tune into the way in which we are connected to everyone and everything around us, we create more compassionate services and servants. Our Connection to the universal “we” helps us find greater meaning in our purpose within our organizations.


Share a Cup

How do you get people to connect and share success stories with each other? You set up a giant cup of coffee on the street and ask people to hop in and chat, of course! It’s incredible what you learn over, and sometimes inside, a cup.


SPARK Volume 06 – Applying Connection as a Leader


Making a Magical Connection

It takes at least seven minutes to have a true, Connected conversation. In an age where technology buzzes, pings, and interrupts us on a nearly continual basis, this finding by social psychologist Sherry Turkle inspires us to think about how we can practice Connection. She discusses conversation and gives us some ideas about how to make it happen in this podcast from the Note to Self series “Infomagical.”

What does it take to have a truly human, face-to-face interaction for seven minutes these days? Why seven minutes? It takes that long to get past the settling in – the initial chat – and really dig into the meat of the conversation.

As leaders, when we encourage our team members to truly connect, and take the time to do it right, we create a Connection culture – a culture where Connections are sought after because they create valuable interactions. We know it’s not easy to remove all of the dings,  mental distractions, and alerts, urging us to send a text. It seems so much easier to shoot off a quick note and be done with it. But, creating human Connections opens the door to so much more – and is truly time well spent.

Try this: Have a full seven-minute face-to-face conversation with someone - no phone, computer, or device - and discuss something you've heard, read, or watched. What is the hardest part about this exercise? What did you discover that you would have missed if you had Connected for only a minute?

Google’s Search for the Magic Team Formula

The folks over at Google launched an extensive project – codename “Project Aristotle” – to determine the magic formula for teamwork. After years of intense analysis, they discovered the key is just plain ol’ being nice. It’s not so much about who is on the team, but how team members interact and what kind of environment that creates and fosters teamwork.

Google shows us the incredible importance of taking the time to understand others – finding a way to relate and then making yourself understood – in other words, making a Connection. With Project Aristotle, the Google team thought it would surely be the mix of people on the team that determined its success, and then they spent several years proving themselves “dead wrong.” Once they began to realize what was going on, they tested the concept with a team leader, who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. After initial silence, the team began to share stories, connect, and create a safe environment where members felt comfortable sharing their own stories. Once everyone shares the belief that it’s safe to take risks and contribute ideas, that’s when the magic happens. Read the whole story here.

How do you make Connections to create a sharing environment for your teams? How could you better invite people to connect?

“I’m sorry. We’re out of snapper.”

Bridging Hospitality and Technology

When Experience Design expert and restaurateur Danny Meyer reopened his infamous Union Square Cafe, he did so through the lens of Connection. Bridging the gap between dining and technology, Meyer partnered with a reservation system startup to create an Apple Watch app that pings every manager in the restaurant when there is a potential moment for service recovery. For example, if a menu item runs out in the kitchen, the managers can inform their guests ahead of time and provide them with an alternative suggestion so as not to disappoint.

This technology, aimed to enhance human Connections, also provides opportunities to create small moments of surprise and delight for diners; when the managers are pinged that the guests are signing their check, the host can retrieve the guests’ coats and have them ready when the guests exit.

If technology can create Connection in fine dining, how can it be applied to health care? We have so many opportunities to enhance the Connective Experience we create in our organizations – sometimes we just have to think outside the box.

Brainstorm! What could an app be programmed to tell your team members that might enhance their daily experience? How could it be programmed to enhance the patient experience?

SPARK Volume 05 – The Power of Connection

Connection. It’s the energy that ties you to a person, a place, a memory – a relationship to your team members, to yourself, and to your work. It is one of the most vital aspects of our existence.

When we use last month’s principle of Intention, as a guide and decision filter, something powerful happens – we are connected to a greater whole. It’s no surprise, then, as we wrap up our focus on Intention that we are moving next into the principle of Connection.

As leaders, we are the connective tissue and the bridge between people, between partners, and between goals. Understanding and creating a connection across all of the disciplines in the work you do ensures that all of the pieces fit into the whole we’re aiming to make: a better Experience for our team members, providers, patients, and guests. A better healthcare Experience.

While Intention is a practice that can be done solitarily, Connection, by definition, requires an “other” – another person, another team, another goal we’re trying to reach. When we make the connection and connect the dots, we are bridging the gap of the unknown. We are the glue.

Healing requires connections. Between doctors and patients. Between patients and family members. Between the many members of care teams. These are the connections that define your patients’ memories of your hospital. When their family thinks of your organization, they remember the way your triage team held their loved one’s hand and told them they were going to heal.

Write down the people and things you feel the strongest Connection with. What strength are you providing the people and what sustenance are they providing you? How do you maintain this Connection over time?

Eyes on Connection

We can’t stop watching this intense video by artist Marina Abramovic. As part of a retrospective at the MoMA, Marina created a live exhibit in which she would simply sit and look into complete stranger’s eyes without speaking for one uninterrupted minute. Strangers can form deep Connections with their eyes alone. What she didn’t know was that her former lover and fellow artist, Ulay, whom she hadn’t seen since the 1970s, was waiting to look into her eyes again.

What it sparks: Without uttering a word, we can feel the sparks fly and the Connection crackle between Ulay and Marina. Researchers at Cornell University recently scientifically proved that looking into the eyes of another fosters a sense of Connection. The study found that “only actual eye contact fully activates those parts of the brain that allow us to more acutely and accurately process another person’s feelings and Intentions.” When you take a moment to truly see someone, you will understand the power of eye contact in making a Connection. Try it with your team. Pair off. Look with just your eyes and no words and see what kind of Connections you can make.


The Power of Human Connection

This beautiful and powerful thank-you note and subsequent New York Times article brought us to tears. Last October, Peter DeMarco wrote an incredible letter about his wife, Laura Levis, after her passing. He vulnerably shared their experience at Cambridge Hospital by way of a thank-you note to his wife’s care team. What he shared not only underlined the importance of how the team treated her family and him, the grieving, frightened, madly-in-love patient advocate, but also, a Connection that might be overlooked: the way the care team allowed Peter to connect with Laura.

“There is another moment – actually, a single hour – that I will never forget…when I returned, [her nurses Donna and Jen] had shifted Laura to the right side of her bed, leaving just enough room for me to crawl in with her one last time. It was our last tender moment as a husband and wife, and it was more natural and pure and comforting than anything I’ve ever felt…I will remember that last hour together for the rest of my life. It was a gift beyond gift, and I have Donna and Jen to thank for it.” Read the whole piece here.

Think of a time in your life that you made an incredibly powerful connection. Did someone else help you make that connection? How could you enable connections every day?

Grab and Go Shopping Arrives

This past week, Amazon continued to show us what LEADING for Experience is and opened its doors to a whole new way to shop. And, the world sat up and took notice. Amazon Go, the first-ever no-checkout convenience store uses the Amazon Go app to check in shoppers as they enter. It is an example of Connection at its best – Connecting to the convenience of what consumers want.  You simply walk around, take what you want, and walk out. No one chases after you because AI algorithms track you and everything you pick up and keep. If you put something back, cameras track that too. When you leave, the app simply charges your Amazon account for whatever is in your bag. Although it’s still in beta, Amazon Go is truly flipping the industry on end and changing the Connection with customers with this cutting edge, highly orchestrated Experience. We can’t wait to see what’s next.