donderdag 19 augustus 2010

The kick of connection

The attraction of the word 'connection' is huge. And actually that applies to all words which come a bit near to it, such as communication, teamwork, directness.

Not for nothing these words are so often used to capture people. Not just in personal ads, but also in recruitment ads or reorganization plans. Apparently the need for being connected is high.

And for connecting. That appeared recently at a meeting for employees of the municipality of Amsterdam. At that occasion there were eight types of employees listed, each with its own qualities, which the city needs to function properly. These types included the 'networker' and the 'connector'. When subsequently the employees were asked to classify themselves into one of the types, the networker and the connector, together with the 'playmaker', scored by 75 percent of the points. The ‘finishers’ got no further than one and a half percent.

In Amsterdam nonetheless we know quite a few situations in which those connections are accidentally not in place, and not only with respect to the North-South metroline. Then we appoint coordinators or communication experts or social innovators. They, already by the sheer magic of their function names, respond to the need, even if this is just for a short time. In reality these solutions often lead only to more bubble blowing instead of connection.

The need for connection seems to have a physiological basis. I regularly read articles about the functioning of the brains in which the health of the brain is associated with the degree to which parts of the brain connect with one another. It appears that depression can be countered by removing hitches in the connections between braincells and that older people remain sharper when they continue to train their brains to create links.

I am inclined to believe that. The tying together - in a sensible way - of elements which in first instance are foreign to one another is stimulating. But in organizations you better don’t do that by primarily talking a lot about it, as in Amsterdam is the case a bit too much.

You better just do it. Literally. With a simple click I can connect one department of my work to other departments, through information which flows from the one to the other. And always based on a discussion between representatives of both departments. Each connecting click gives me a kick each time again.