This era of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube can cause each of us to react, rather than lead. No matter how much or how fast technology is thrust upon us, the one thing that remains constant is that each of us will use it to connect with one another, to learn, to create, to teach, and most importantly, to share our experiences. Shared experiences will always continue to impact our lives. It is important that we utilize technology to enhance relationships, not just data and information.
Relationships, facts, clear consistent communication and guidance are critical touchpoints with employees and customers. It is paramount to describe, communicate and commit to the experience you want employees and customers to have. Shared experiences open the opportunity to learn about each other. By doing so, we learn each other’s:
- Emotional makeup
- Communication style
- Hot buttons
Shared experiences make us feel connected in both good and bad times, and make each of us relatable, approachable, and seek goals while speaking the same language and leading to shared focus. A question: Are sharing and caring in your business vocabulary?
Life and business experiences prepare us for the future and help us cope. The more leaders CARE, the more employees SHARE, which results in higher morale and improved performance. Sharing reduces knowledge gaps and stress and lowers employee turnover. Employees seek to know the organization’s values and to pursue what matters most. The mission is to invest in distributed communications and transparency to ensure all employees understand the core mission, vision and values of the organization.
It is paramount to create a company culture that engages employees and gives a sense of control to do their best work. We all know that micro-management does not work and can result in a negative culture and increase employee turnover. It is important to always keep employee well-being and mental health as a company focus and objective. The shared mission is where employees work for something greater than the transactional nature of business. Technology will continue to change. One thing stays constant: humans need humans! We crave social interaction, at home and at work. Most of us would agree that resolving a customer issue is easier when we talk to another person, rather than playing email ping-pong. Can you relate?
Lest we forget, the best way to build employee and customer relationships is face-to-face meetings, an easier way to work through issues and to handle sensitive subjects. Customers, employees and colleagues tend to be more engaged and participate more in face-to-face meetings. It gives us the chance to watch body language, to make eye contact, and limits distractions, helping us all to stay focused, not multitask, and give our full attention to the subject at hand.
There is no escaping the fact that technology has revolutionized the way people and organizations communicate. More than 205 billion emails are sent out daily. It is important to point out that positive human interaction increases good feelings and improves work satisfaction. It is imperative to good mental health as well as our physical health and brings vibrancy to life. The desire for human connection lies at the heart of each and every one of us. I submit that human relationships are the most important thing in life — and business.
Being in the actual presence of other people is indeed powerful (think of APPEX). It raises our energy level and renews our faith in the future and each other. When we need to establish or deepen a trust level, and when the stakes are high, being in person, face-to-face, is essential. Social media is effective in forming and developing connections, but cannot replace the impact, need, and desire for human interactions.