Many economists say that because of the Internet and global digital communications, we live in a “connected economy.” Although it’s true that we have more fibers of digital connectivity than ever before in human history, sociologists argue the opposite – that in fact we’re a disconnected society composed of people who have fewer and fewer human interactions.
So which is it: Are we a connected people or a disconnected people?
Well, have you ever gone to a restaurant and seen a family sitting at the table, with each member staring down at their personal digital device? They can send text messages, emojis, photos, and even money to each other, all without talking or even looking at each other.
Are they really connected?
And as a leader who wants to ahead of the innovation curve, are you really connected to your team, your stakeholders, your customers, your vendors? Or are you living in a digital simulation of reality?
I believe we’re a selectively connected society that is driven by a high degree of the way in which we architect engagement. We can choose to engage virtually through digital media or the old-fashioned way of face time. In this case, it’s a good idea to strike a balance between the old and the new.
Being connected means having a personal relationship with your employees and other stakeholders. No, you don’t have to know every detail of their private lives, but you should have a mental picture of as many people as possible in your organization. You need to see them as individuals, not as cogs in the machine.
The Ten-Question LeaderLogic Connection Quiz
To help you strengthen your personal connections, here’s a little quiz that you should give yourself on a regular basis. The quiz takes the form of ten simple questions.
For every question, the answer of “email” does not count. Emailing a subordinate counts as zero on the connection scale!
You should self-administer Part 1 of the quiz at the end of the workday:
1. How many subordinates did I see face-to-face today?
2. How many subordinates did I speak with one-to-one today?
3. How much time did I spend out of my office, visiting different areas of the organization and meeting with the people who staff them?
4. How many subordinates did I meet for the first time today?
Part 2 of the quiz you should self-administer every week:
1. How many of my subordinates can I name by sight?
2. With how many of my subordinates have I exchanged a personal greeting?
3. How much time, in hours or minutes, was I directly interacting with subordinates?
4. How many suggestions submitted by subordinates have I seen and reviewed this week?
Over time, I hope you can increase the numbers of the responses to every question. Every time you increase your connection to your people – which boosts employee engagement, which is another emerging key metric – you make your organization stronger and more resilient.