Don’t Just Communicate, Connect!

“Jim, what has made all the difference in the last few quarters is that our managers aren’t just communicating, they are connecting.”

I recently heard this from Andy, the Integrator at Weather Shield Roofing Systems in Grand Rapids. How cool is this? His comment was a light bulb moment for me. It has been said many times, and proven through research, that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. There are always exceptions, but most often this is true. I realized that Andy and his team are cracking the code. If you truly connect with your team and they know that you care about them at a deeper level than just as a means to get stuff done, they are most likely going to stick around.

I know, I know. Right now some of you are saying, “well duh, Jim”. But before you throw your tomatoes, answer me this: how well do you connect to your team? I can honestly say it made me realize that I have work to do. I, of course have some ‘great’ excuses (that is sarcasm if you missed it) like: I am too busy, or I am sure they know. But they don’t. This isn’t something you tell them. This is something you show them. This is something you have to do right, and if you don’t you will end up spending a lot of time filling replacements on your team. It reminds me of something the late, great John Wooden said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” I have some ideas how we can all do this better. Some are easy and some will take a bit of work, but I’m confident it will be worth it.

I recently attended that the EOS ConferenceTM (which you all should be going to if you run on EOS), and an awesome speaker asked, ‘why do we throw parties for people that are leaving, but we don’t really celebrate the ones that are joining us?’.  She recommended that we send a new member a bottle of wine, or write a note to the spouse or family about how excited you are to have them work there. Celebrate them and if you can, make it personal to what they like. I have a client that does something similar to this.  They send a gift to the new team member’s children. Another idea is to simply take your team members out to lunch and don’t talk about work.  Instead, talk about their hopes and dreams, their passions and favorite pastimes, their past, and what they see their future looking like. Get know them.  Yet another idea is to find out your team’s birthdays and get them something every year.  Let them know you are glad they were born.  Pick something that works for your culture, and integrate it soon to help you connect with your team.

I am sure you have some things you have done at your business or have some other ideas.  Add them here in the comments so we can all make a list of ways we can connect at a deeper level.

This will take work.  This will to take time.  It might not even come naturally to you.  But it is worth it.  This is how leaders make an impact on the world.  This can be your legacy.  So get out there and don’t just communicate, connect.

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