Day: February 8, 2019

SPARK Volume 6 – Applying Connection as a Leader


Making a Magical Connection

It takes at least seven minutes to form a true Connection during a 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 read and reply. 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 having a full seven-minute, face-to-face conversation with someone - no phone, computer, or device - and discuss something you've recently 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 or if you had been distracted by technology?

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 about how team members interact, what kind of environment that creates, and how it 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.” To test the project’s findings, one Google manager hosted a team meeting to talk about his recent cancer diagnosis. Initially, everyone was silent then eventually they began sharing their own stories. The manager had created a safe environment where team members felt comfortable sharing and Connecting. Once everyone shares the belief that it’s safe to take risks and contribute ideas, that’s when the magic happens.

How might we make Connections to create a sharing environment for our teams? How could we do a better job inviting people to Connect?

“I’m sorry. We’re out of snapper.”

When Experience Design expert and restaurateur Danny Meyer reopened his famous 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 their 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 team members that might enhance their daily Experience? How could it be programmed to enhance the patient Experience?