Welcome to my guest blogger Damian Hamill of Watt Works Consulting, Ltd., Business Consultants in Cheshire (UK). I appreciate getting permission to share his articulate support of the notion that connecting with others matters in both business success and personal happiness.
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Harvard tip for workplace practices: unplug the headphones; plug in to the “grapevine”
Recently I received the ‘Management Tip of the Day’ from the Harvard Business Review (HBR – a good free resource to subscribe to). It connected in my mind with another piece of research that caught my attention recently to really drive home the importance of building good relationships and networks for business success.
The HBR tip was that staff in an office setting should remove their headphones whilst at work. Some people wear headphones to listen to music believing it reduces distractions and helps them concentrate upon their work – therefore increasing productivity.
Whatever the merits of that viewpoint, the HBR writer pointed out that it also disconnects the headphone wearer from the ‘grapevine’ of chat, discussion and other information that can provide vital knowledge about opportunity, change and the general corporate culture they are part of. Without keeping one’s finger on the pulse, it is less easy to respond to cultural change in ways that both advantage oneself and the organisation.
This opinion is consistent with another piece of research I recently read which shows that workers who sit with larger groups when lunching in the staff canteen enjoy greater career success than those who sit in smaller groups, and it was suggested that this too was due to being able to access a greater amount of information about events and emerging trends within the organisation.
Research supports value of networking
Fascinating, I am sure you will agree, but perhaps not surprising to those who have followed the work of psychologist, Professor Richard Wiseman. Wiseman, a Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, has devoted a lot of his time to the rather more intriguing areas of psychology research and one of his areas of study was the phenomenon of ‘luck.’
Wiseman and his colleagues asked themselves a simple question – is there really such a thing as ‘luck’ or are some people simply more effective in the way they think and behave that generates positive results that they attribute to being ‘lucky’? His research suggested that the second scenario was the case.
Interestingly, when surveying a research group of those who believed they were ether ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’, subjects were asked to read a number of statements and then score them on a 1 to 5 scale as to how true they felt them to be. One of the statements was:
“I sometimes chat to strangers when queuing in the supermarket or bank.”
Any guess what the result was? Those respondents who seemed to experience a lot of ‘luck’ in their lives scored that statement as much truer for them than those who believed they were more ‘unlucky’. It seems that by connecting to even chance social networks (such as those created by a queue for in a bank or supermarket), they experienced more fortuitous coincidences and mutually beneficial encounters and conversations.
Have you noticed a pattern?
For personal and professional success – connect with other people. Very often those who get the best out of such networking are those who go into such encounters looking for opportunities to do favours for others rather than helping themselves.
On our NLP for Business training (NLP = Neurolinguistic Programming), we look at many subjects including how to develop satisfying, sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships with other people and organisations.
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In case any of my readers have need of such services in the U.K., here is more about our guest blogger’s company:
Watt Works Consulting Ltd.
Sustainable Performance Improvement for Individuals and OrganisationsAddress: Booths Hall, Chelford Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 8GS (UK)