My email inbox has been inundated lately with offers to generate more business leads than I could possibly know what to do with. I haven’t asked, but since Outsight works with leaders who share our values of fearless questioning and respectful listening, I am wondering how those lead generation companies would identify people like that. But that is a topic for another day.
“Holy, good friends,” is how one network leader describes who he wants to work with now. I used to think I could never consider the people I work with to be my friends. As much as I liked them, I always believed there was a necessary separation between the identities of co-worker and friend. I am no longer sure of that, and the idea of working with holy, not perfect, people – people dedicated to working for good – seems like the right thing to do right now.
Another network member says he is working on “winning back relationships that he has let go over the years.“ At Outsight our mission is to build lasting relationships and be relentlessly helpful. Ideally, we never let relationships go. But that’s not always how our lives work. So how can we show up, with integrity and authenticity, in the lives of the people we used to work with and ask to pick up the relationship again? I think by being honest and curious. And brave. My favorite strategy is to pick a name, at random, every day, and ask that person a thought-provoking question. That practice has led to some amazing conversations.
One of the leaders we work with has observed a growing, “need for people to be seen and heard.” To be curious about someone, to listen to them, to ask questions without expectations, is a rare and precious gift we can give each other. I think it is even more precious when we give that gift to people in our work life, because it is so unexpected.
I don’t expect everyone I work with to want that kind of relationship. Sometimes people just want to focus on the work, not the relationship, and that’s okay. But I think I, too, am at the stage of my life when I want to work with holy, good friends.