Talk to at least 10 people for five minutes every day.
Conversations you have in the course of your work with co-workers and customers don't count.
Leave your desk, your cubicle, your division or department and just go talk to people you wouldn’t normally chat with. Tell them what’s going well for you in your work and talk about the challenges you’re dealing with. Ask them how they’re doing.
That was a directive from Brian, a successful business owner I worked for many years ago.
“That’s where you’ll find answers,” he would say. “That’s where you’ll find ideas that become solutions.”
He was right. Driving employees to engage with each other in this very simple manner helped create a company culture built on relationships, and with more heads and hearts thinking things through, collaboration and inspiration emerged — often when it was least expected.
It seems easy, this talking to 10 people thing, but it takes effort. It means reaching out, breaking the ice and getting to know your colleagues in what might be a completely new way.
It’s not about complaining, but about sharing your challenges with others who may have experiences or ideas that could help you find the perfect answer to whatever problem you’re trying to solve.
It’s all about making connections, and some of us are great at it while others of us need some nudging to get that engagement ball rolling.
If you’re one of those who needs a gentle push to start having those 10 little conversations a day, do yourself a favor and give it a try, because as Brian used to say, “You have to put things out there into the universe because, if no one knows what you’re up against, they can’t help you get past it.”
So, get talking.
— Maureen Dolan, BJNI editor