My mother always wanted to live near the water,” she said. “She said it’s the one thing that brings us all together. That I can have my toe in the ocean off the coast of Maine, and a girl my age can have her toe in the ocean off the coast of Africa, and we would be touching. On opposite sides of the world”— Megan Miranda
Many leaders are mentioning to me that they are missing the hallway conversations, the encounters at the snack counter, the discussions over an informal cup of coffee.
They are missing the usual connections with the people they work with, but also, they are not missing chances to hear often vital information that may originate in those casual conversations.
I suddenly realized that some people have not mastered the art of walking around the virtual hallways. For various reasons, I had been doing a significant amount of teleworking before it became business normal for a large portion of the workforce.
To be successful, I learned that I had to become masterful at making casual connections with people without being physically present. Here are 5 of the methods I have been using plus two bonus things I’ve done recently.
1. I send concise notes to the people I work with that would be of specific interest to them.
2. When I haven’t had a chance to talk one-on-one with someone for a couple of weeks, I make sure to call to connect on the various things we are working on together.
3. I invite people to inform me of the current status of their projects.
4. I share details about projects I am doing and ask for any ideas others have about the next steps.
5. In meetings I run, I periodically set up time for people to share any of the things they are doing that people might not be aware of. These things could be directly about work or cover general life events.
Bonus New Thing 1. One of my kids was building an expert level Lego kit, the BatMobile. We did a Livestream over Zoom. His friends and some of my work colleagues checked in for a while.
Bonus New Thing 2. I’ve prepared lunches and shared a meal with others over a video-sharing platform.
All of these do help the information flow. And more importantly, all of these build connections, relationships, and trust.
It takes intention to keep strong connections!
Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,