The Power of Authentic Connections

“How’s it going?”

It’s an innocent question. But it can also be a missed opportunity.

We respond with “it’s good” or “okay, thanks” or deflect more creatively with something like, “Livin’ the dream.”

This year we’re challenging ourselves to ask one another, “How’s it really going?” and waiting for the answer, and we’ll push until we get to the deeper one.

Andrew Freedman, managing partner at SHIFT, threw down the gauntlet. SHIFT is a Baltimore-based and internationally known business transformation consultancy.

We gathered our team — in person and with Atwater’s sandwiches in hand — for Andrew to speak to us about one of his areas of expertise: building a strong and vibrant company culture. As he guided us through the workshop, we all kept coming back to the same desire: How can we build authentic connections in the age of remote work?

In an office space, there’d be moments to connect while waiting for a meeting to begin: “What are you bingeing on Netflix these days?” At the end of the day, there’d be a bridge into each other’s home lives: “Are you headed to the gym?” Or, “Where are you going out to eat?”

As a team, we’re highly focused on our work, so those opportunities for connection weren’t happening organically over Google Meet and Slack. Which leads us to …

“How’s it really going?”

When we know how it’s really going for one another, we can support each other. Feeling overwhelmed? Let’s redistribute the load, restructure a process or shift a deadline. Are there challenges in your personal life? Let’s provide that person with grace and understanding. So you miss the energy of collaboration? Let’s make it happen. Suddenly we’re feeling human again!

Connection is a human necessity. Although Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs ranks love and belonging behind food, water and shelter, years of research questions that. True, you need to eat and drink, but without connection you may not feel fulfilled, optimistic or even content. That’s what we want one another to feel at Orange Element.

It may seem awkward in a video call, but we’re giving ourselves permission to get more personal. We want to know the story behind your tattoos. We want to hear all about your new puppy. Yes, we’ve built a talented team, but our first goal is to bring together people who are the right fit. We want them for them.

We also want clients who are a great fit, and we’re grateful to have found them. Don’t be surprised if the next time we ask how it’s going, we ask it again: How’s it really going?

Let’s connect.