Several years ago, I was given the opportunity to work with a new organization. Most of the team that made up the organization had been together for some time. So I was definitely “The New Guy.” For the most part I got along with everyone. I was young, and very zealous, probably too zealous.

I brought a lot of ideas with me. Many things I wanted to try, many things I thought would work. Although I was overly excited and virtually unproven at this organization, I did have some experience, I wasn’t a novice by any means.

I also was keenly aware that I could see necessary changes that they couldn’t. They had been steeped in the past culture and it wasn’t clear to them; not because they weren’t smart or creative- they were truly some of the most creative people I had ever met. It’s like the old saying, “You can’t see the forest for the tree’s” They had been there for a long time and hadn’t had an outside perspective in a while.

For most of them though, I quickly became a part, but there was one guy who, for whatever reason, just didn’t like me. Every idea I had, he opposed. When I would speak up he would act frustrated or even put out. It was as if he thought there was only so much room at the table, and I didn’t have a place to sit. As if I was hovering over them waiting on the opportunity to steal one of their seats.

So I begin to think what we had, in that situation, was a failure to communicate.  I thought that if I was more clear, and could communicate well, he would get what I was saying and embrace my ideas. “He just doesn’t understand,” I thought.  If he understood then surely he would give me a chance.

So I worked on being more clear and listening to him. After all, communication is a two way street. 

No matter what I did he was not going to see eye to eye with me, but I understood that it was important that we work this out or we would cause the organization some real problems.

I realized, I was communicating, but I was not connecting. There is a huge difference. Most people feel like communication is the end all be all of relational interaction. The truth is however, most people communicate but they don’t connect. It’s so important to know the difference and to learn the precise art of connecting.

Leaders need it to cast vision. Entrepreneurs need it to engage their customers. Business owners need it to achieve results. Spouses need it to grow together and parents need it to make a difference in the life of their children.  

It is truly a necessity to lead effectively.

“I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?”

Mother Teresa

So I decided to pursue a relationship with him. I put all the work stuff aside. I just started showing up at his office and talking. I asked about his family, and about him. I tried to find out what he was passionate about; what mattered to him. With this I just developed a friendship.

The story behind the story was that before I came, he had gotten in some trouble on his job. Truthfully he was on his way out.  As a result he saw me, even though my role was nothing like his, as his replacement. His insecurity caused him to be threatened by me. These were all things I was unaware of.

The truth is, whether aware or not, communication is never enough.  For true influence, and to truly make a difference we have to make a connection.  So by building a relationship with him.  By sincerely making him my friend it changed everything. It let him see that I wasn’t what he thought I was.  He realized I was for him, not against him. He saw that I cared.  

This connection brought us to a place of cooperation, that moved our organization forward. When he left the organization, he told people that I was one of the best friends he had.

That is the power of connection.

To learn more about HOW TO CONNECT.  Register for our Group Coaching experience.