Think about how you usually get stuff done. I mean the important stuff, how you will get your next job, find your next exciting holiday destination or make your ideas happen?
I believe that important stuff gets done because of the people you know as well as the people who know the people you know. It’s all about networks.
Consider this. Someone asks you for a favour. How do you decide whether you do it? From my experience there are three key factors;
- What’s in it for you? – for example, will you enjoy it, will it be a good experience, will you learn something new, will it raise your profile, fill empty time, make you feel good?
- How they ask – have they thought about what’s in it for you, have they asked you, well ‘nicely’, have they overcome and obstacles that might prevent you from doing the favour?
- Do you know, like them and trust them? – how well do you know them, are they credible, do you like them, would you feel good to help them out?
When these three factors are in all place stuff gets done. If one or more factor isn’t quite right stuff stalls.
Think about it, someone you know like and trust asks if you would meet a colleague to give them some advice. They know your time is limited so they offer that the meeting is near your office at a time that suits you. They know you like coffee in the morning, so they suggest your favourite local coffee shop for breakfast as the meeting place. They are appreciative that you would consider helping them out. They also suggest that the colleague might have skills and experience that could help you with a project you are working on.
You are busy. You are more likely to do the favour because you know, like and trust the person, they asked you well and they spelled out what could be in it for you.
All the factors compound, if someone you didn’t know or like, or didn’t ask well or didn’t make it clear what was in it for you you’d be much less inclined to say yes.
So, it makes good business sense to get to know your colleagues, because more stuff will get done.
And when it comes to innovation having a diverse network is important. Research shows that humans tend to gravitate to other people like them, people from similar backgrounds, with similar viewpoints. When we all have a similar experience, we start to think the same. We start to operate in an echo chamber of our own similar ideas. If innovation is about thinking differently and developing new ideas then we need people in our network that are different from us, that will challenge and build on our ideas. And because we naturally gravitate to people like us we need to be deliberate about seeking out a diverse network made up of different experiences, perspectives and thinking. That’s where, I believe, successful innovation lies.
One of the reasons I’ve set up the Lucidity Network – an online and offline learning and support network is to create a diverse network to help people to think differently and get better results. Already we have members from a mix of sectors from around the world. If you’re interested in joining the Lucidity Network there is more information here. Don’t tell your friends though.