I had a good week. Actually I had a great week. I was in the UK all week but six or seven colleagues from other sites came to visit. I hit the fitness center each morning and was out for dinner each evening. I had lunch with someone different each day. Above all I had long, detailed and enjoyable face to face meetings. I am a social person.
Most weeks when I am working in the UK, I spend the vast majority of my time on the telephone, writing emails or sending instant messages. Almost everyone I interact with on a regular basis is US based. I have developed my communication skills on telephone calls (from my office or my car). I have honed my ability to communicate via email. Instant messaging is a great addition. But they are all a poor second.
There is nothing like talking in person. Seeing facial expressions and movement of the eyes. Seeing body language at the same time as hearing verbal language. Laughing together, drinking and eating together.
This week was unusual since the team were all over all week. It wasn’t just one or two for a day – it was more…for the week. This meant we could meet and work one day, but that we could follow up the next day…and the next. We had opportunity to develop conversations and ideas over several days. We debated hard and long on Tuesday and then chatted again Wednesday. A word here or a question there on Thursday. It works. It’s so easy when you are together. It’s so much harder when you are not. I am a social individual.
Every idea I have ever had – or have been involved in – originates from an interaction or discussion. Sometimes with the person who owns the situation we are looking to improve. Sometimes with a totally unrelated person. Often during a totally unrelated discussion. I get so much energy from people. I feel so much better after a ‘live’ conversation. I feel so much better after direct and personal interaction.
Face to face…eye to eye. In the same room. There is nothing like it. Video is better than telephone. Telephone is better than email. But face to face is where the value is, and where relationships develop…and where success is ensured. Misunderstandings are minimised. Ideas appear and develop. People become teams. I am a social devotee.
My first words in any conversation are almost always ‘what’s going on?’ or ‘what are you up to?’ As open and as non-directional as it’s possible to be. I want to see where we go. The unexpected is superb. Unpredictable is priceless. I want to hear and I want to learn. I have normally thought about people and situations. I have ideas. But what do I know? More importantly how much don’t I know. I am a social addict.
I love to find out about people. What they think and how; where they are going and when. I enjoy people talking so I can discover and learn. I listen. To everything. I remember. Every word and every emotion. Every idea and every passion.
I realise this was an unusual week. It was a hectic week. We did good work together at a busy time of year (budget setting). My week felt good…not just because of the work we did and what we achieved. Not just because of the time I spent in person with my team and because of the time we all spent together. It was a great week because of the energy, empowerment and enjoyment I felt. I am a social being.