Here’s another amazing part of my job: I get to talk to people and companies of all kinds about what they do. Not in terms of the product they create or service they perform, but what they do to accomplish those goals. In essence, I get to ask the question of how.
Nine times out of ten, the conversation usually heads in the direction of connectivity. We desire better or more effective collaboration amongst our work force, so the notion of better tools is usually the answer. While I think it is possible to come up with fun ways to better connect our work days, I don’t think this problem will be really solved with a better instant messaging feature.
No, what we suffer from is called The Great Talking Disorder. Notice I did not use the word “communication”. We do that through social media, texts and emails a ton. What I’m referring to is sitting in casual or corporate settings and looking at each other while our lips are moving. Preferably with sounds coming out.
While it is true this kind of behavior cannot be forced (therein being the trick to cultivating engagement and collaboration), it can be demonstrated by leaders on a day-in-day-out basis.
True leadership is modeled, and there is no substitute for in person communication. Have remote teams? There’s an app for that. Have different schedules? There are parts of the day that overlap. A culture of communication, live and face to face, will bring together the masses.
Ask yourself how you can model this behavior in your office. It will look different to other people, but it will always be effective.