(FIND IT! BE IT! KEEP IT!)

Over the past two years working with both organizations and individuals as a coach and facilitator, I have seen a common theme emerge, a theme of disconnection. In this day and age where technology has given us the ability to stay globally connected 24/7 through tweets, texts, Pintrest, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ (and the like), what we have gained in global reach and convenience we have lost in deep intimate human connection.

One of our basic human needs is a sense of belonging. We are creatures that need connections with others. We all desire love, affection and appreciation. Yet human connection seems to be a lost art form.

What is connection? For me, connection means the ability to genuinely and sincerely hear, see and acknowledge another person for who they are. It means I suspend my own sense of self-importance and judgments to truly pay attention to another. It means I take the time to ask questions and be curious about another person. And it means I remove some layers and allow myself to be vulnerable (yup, that is right, I said the “V” word).

So in this modern world of abbreviations, “likes”, 140 character replies and “selfies” I offer a solution to reconnecting with your co-workers and your family that is not time consuming or arduous, in fact it is easy as one, two, TALK!

Let me introduce you to “TELL ME” – tell me is an inclusive activity of celebration, reflection, moving forward and support. It is designed to encourage everyone in your group/family to share with each other three specific pieces of information about themselves.

From the perspective of an organization, here is how “TELL ME” would play out. During a weekly team meeting, each team member shares a proudest moment, a do-over, and what’s next/what’s needed.

Proudest Moment: allows individuals to share their accomplishments (big or small) they feel most proud of that occurred within the last week. For example landing a new client, or having a great meeting, or resolving an issue. It does not matter what it is, it just matters that the person has a sense of pride in their actions.

The Do-Over: in a moment of reflection, individuals can safely share a situation, that if given the opportunity, they would do things different in order to achieve a different outcome. This is a vulnerable moment, and if the person sharing their story is honest and takes accountability for their actions, they will immediately deepen their connections with others.

What’s Next/What’s Needed: Now that people have shared from the past, it is time to look forward. Individuals share what is the next big priority they are working on, and ask for any help that is needed. This part of the exercise is beneficial on four fronts:

  1. Allows the leader to ensure everyone is on the same page and moving in the same direction.
  2. Identifies opportunities for efficiencies
  3. Informs team members about what everyone on the team is doing
  4. Creates accountability as team members publicly declare their priority

The goal of the “TELL ME” session is to allow for dedicated human connection that will strengthen the bond within the group. The stronger the bond, the higher the team trusts. The higher team trust, the higher performing the team. The higher performing the team, the higher the profits.

Connecting: Tell Me“TELL ME” sessions should not be a formalized process but they should be consistent and reoccurring. They are meant to be light, fun and insightful. I would recommend for business teams to avoid sitting around a table in a meeting room. It is actually better to find a space where you can be casual and stand (in a somewhat circle) and allow the team to talk in no specific order.

The “TELL ME” sessions work within your family as well. Find a dedicated time when you are all together…at the dinner table, in the car driving to an event or sitting on the couch (with no TV or devices to distract) and ask each person to share from their day a Rose (proudest moment), a Thorn (do-over), and a Bud (what’s next/what’s needed). You will be amazed how much you will learn about each other in a very short period.

One more piece of advice; allow the human connection to happen by being supportive and curious about others. Suspend your judgments and sense of self-importance, and give yourself wholeheartedly to others. Step into their shoes and connect!

It is time to reconnect! Tell me, what is your Rose (proudest moment), Thorn (do-over), and Bud (what’s next/what’s needed)?