By Ruby Vesely - April, 2020
Wow. WTF. #kindoffreakingout. Life is really off-center right now, and we are all “going a little bananas” as we deal with unprecedented change, a gigantic spike in uncertainty, and a complete loss of control (which – as a side note – was an illusion anyway). I find myself completely distracted and dealing with an increased undercurrent of anxiety, fear, and worry for myself, my loved ones, my work, our community, our country, and our world. How do we navigate this? No one has the answer, but with hindsight this will be the greatest case study EVER in economics and human behavior, AND how we show up in this moment matters.
We can’t do this alone.
How can we rise above in this super stressful environment? How do we get through and lead others? The only thing I know is that we need each other now more than ever. No one knows the “right” answer, and we can’t do this alone. We have to get extremely intentional about building connection and relationships. If we can focus on this now, we will be better as individuals, families, teams, organizations, countries, and as a global community.
The only thing I know is that we need each other now more than ever.
With the requirement to work from home, our critical stakeholder relationships have become instantly remote. So not only do we have to get intentional about building connection and relationships, we have to learn QUICKLY how to do this virtually. Our ability to build the connection and psychological safety in relationships is absolutely critical to get through the day to day and ultimately come out better together on the other side.
The Four Yeses
As we are losing our face-to-face time, how can we create and maintain strong relationships? What are the steps and tactics to do this? According to Morag Barrett, in the book Cultivate. The Power of Winning Relationships, there are four questions we ask ourselves in every relationship:
Our goal in an Ally relationship is to be able to say “yes” to each of these questions, and conversely, that the other person can ultimately say “yes” when thinking about us in that same relationship. Following are some ideas on how to move toward building Ally relationships in this new reality of working and interacting virtually and get a resounding “yes!” to each of these four questions with your teammates.
1. Can I count on you?
This question is transactional and reactive in nature. Do you do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it? This is the baseline for any relationship, but even more critical in a virtual one. If you do not get this right, it is difficult to move into a more complex and trusting relationship.
How to get a “yes”:
2. Can I depend on you?
This question is also transactional but more proactive. Do you step up when you see a need, or do you wait for your co-workers to ask for help? Do you anticipate the needs of others? Are you proactively checking in on your team members?
3. Do I care about you?
This question is more interpersonal in nature. Do you know what is important to your co-workers (e.g. family, hobbies, friends, interests, etc.)? Do you connect on a personal level? How can you create opportunities virtually to build connection?
4. Do I trust you?
This is what truly differentiates your relationships from acquaintance to trusted coworker, friend, and Ally. Do you allow yourself to be seen at your best and your worst? Can you have candid conversations with others?
We do not have time to waste right now, and we do not have years to build trust – we have hours, maybe days to ramp up the connection with others.
What tactics are you using to build Ally relationships and get to four “yeses” with your remote team members?