I am usually thinking about how to get more done in less time, to become more efficient. This involves challenging how I spend my time and what I spend it on. After all, getting more done is the name of the game isn’t it? If we get more done we are sure to generate more value. This premise was challenged in a recent conversation with a client. One of their goals was to improve the quality of the relationships within their organization.
The pursuit of being less efficient
It is an interesting idea because it isn’t directly focused on getting more done. In fact, it might lead to getting less done, at least in the short term. It reminds me of when I first left Intel in 2016. I had an extensive network of contacts in the tech industry but very few in Portland outside of Intel. For a Portland based coach this was a problem. If I wanted to grow my local business I’d better build my local network.
At Intel, I only attended meetings that had a direct connection to a valuable outcome. As I started meeting with people in Portland, I didn’t have an idea of what to discuss beyond ‘let’s get to know each other’. At Intel I didn’t see this as an efficient use of my time, and it didn’t happen. As I started in Portland an interesting thing happened. Even though I had no agenda, something unexpected and often very useful came out of the meeting. It might have been an idea or a connection to another person who could help me. This pattern has repeated itself over and over, and it never ceases to amaze me what comes up.
The value of relationships
Going back to my client’s goal to improve the quality of relationships, I think they are on to something. There might not be an immediate return but in the longer term stronger relationships will pay dividends. When things get difficult, people pull together rather than fracture. New insights are generated increasing the possibility of new value generation.
As I sit here and write this I realize I need to introduce a request into my existing meetings. Who else should I meet with? Who else should you be meeting with?