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Andrew Loveless

Pecan Partnership

Director

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Achieving connection: The gold dust of high performance

Connection is key for organisations; connected employees are engaged and better performing employees. Raising the level of connection with our team members requires re-adjusting our priorities and making impactful changes that can be sustained.
flock of brown birds flying on blue sky symbolising connection

How connected do you feel? What does being connected feel like? And why is connection important for organisations right now? 

Connection is one of the factors that drives engagement and we know that engaged employees perform better, add more value and stick around longer. Engagement is key to getting everyone behind achieving a common goal and going above and beyond in pursuit of it.

When we feel connected, we have higher energy and resilience, feel more capable and creative; our mindset tends to be glass half-full. Everything matters and our standards and integrity are high.

Making an instant and sustained impact

We can see this reflected in sports teams, where those that have a strong connection often outperform those with more resources but less team spirit.

Connection is the gold dust of high-performance, and it’s free!

So how do we raise the level of connection with our people?

Engaged employees perform better, add more value and stick around longer

Have regular 121s with your team     

This is one of the simplest but most effective habits for enabling connection and yet often it doesn’t happen.  

121s have always been deprioritised against other things that on the face of it seem more urgent. But at what cost?  

How does it feel to be cancelled or postponed because ‘something else has come up’? And if it becomes a habit, you will start to feel decidedly unimportant.

So, diarise regular 121s and prioritise them. Make your team the most important thing; they will really appreciate it.  

Even if there appears to be ‘nothing we need to talk about’ this could be a great opportunity to explore personal challenges or more strategic or more strategic opportunities.

When we feel connected, we have higher energy and resilience, feel more capable and creative; our mindset tends to be glass half-full

Be present and energised 

You’re just about to start a 121 with one of your team. You have had a tough day so far, are behind on a key project and there are some family matters on your mind too. You could really do without this meeting. We’ve all been there.  

But for your team members, this is an important event; this is their time.  

To be present we may need to take a quick walk and have a few deep breaths, focus attention on the team member, what matters to them and what they are currently dealing with. 

Bring your best self to the conversation, use emotional intelligence to create trust and practise great listening. Be curious and ask for specifics to help get to the heart of issues and shape solutions.

Above all, be energetic and positive. Not over the top gung-ho positivity but enough to make a difference. Bring humour where you can, nothing strengthens connection like laughter.

121s have always been deprioritised against other things that on the face of it seem more urgent. But at what cost?  

Think like an event organiser  

Most companies recognise that it’s a good idea to get teams together in a face-to-face environment. How often and for what purpose is up to you and is a good topic to discuss with the team. Think about what would make your team event special and memorable.  

Food and drink are enduringly popular, but how about raising the bar? For example:

  • Present the group with some fresh information or insight and discuss what it might mean
  • Invite a guest speaker to talk about something the team has said is important  
  • Allow time and space for people to get to know each other better; you may need to provide a bit of structure for this, especially for introverts or those who find social events more difficult
  • Ask for their input in solving a team/business problem – people get creative when they get together and it shows you value your team’s brainpower and diverse perspectives
  • Sometimes just choosing a different or off-site venue will make people feel different and stimulate fresh thinking and conversations

Setting solid foundations

By implementing these three things your team connection will increase.  

Team members will start to feel more valued and look forward to time spent with you and the rest of the team. You will find that the team becomes more proactive, innovative and open to change.  

Bring your best self to the conversation, use emotional intelligence to create trust and practise great listening

You are also building the foundations for a high-performing team with the potential to achieve great things. For some of your team members, this may be a life-changing experience and will shape their perception of what good looks and feels like. 

For you it may also be a life-changing experience! Enjoy the journey. 

If you enjoyed this, read: The importance of long-term support

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Andrew Loveless

Director

Read more from Andrew Loveless
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