PATTERN : CONNECTION
Others have desirable qualities that you lack, and vice versa.
Connect before transmission; get close enough to others so that all risk sharing desirable qualities.
The same sloppy practices that degrade the emotional environment (for example, the repression of feelings, tolerance of lack of thinking, and frequent loss of intention) have other pernicious effects:
- Teams cannot decide anything.
- Shared vision is generally neglected.
- Useful feedback is seldom available.
These weaknessesdescribed in antipatterns throughout this bookhave a corrosive effect on team results and negatively affect team durability. Sustained, high-performance, collaborative connection among team members is impossible where such practices prevail. Thus, connection is a prerequisite for the transmission and reception of desirable qualities among teammates.
It is possible to connect with one another by adopting new, intentionally designed behaviors. The idea of adoptable, designed behavior may be new to readers. It may be difficult at first to even imagine a new way of being together, much less to design one. What would it be like? What could it be like?
The difference between the lifestyle determined by the everyday antipatterns you typically encounter and the results-oriented lifestyle of The Core is enormous. It is the difference between an intentionally designed and optimized team culture and a loose collection of accepted practices that a team has accidentally inherited. It is the difference between dwelling in a cave you happened upon and living in a house you designed.
CONNECTION AND RICH INFORMATION
Rich information is produced when a more open environment exists among team members. For example, personal weaknesses are freely discussed and team help is sought to remedy them. Personal gifts are acknowledged and accepted without fuss. Rich information carries more commitment, discloses more vulnerability, and clearly identifies more gifts and talents than does commonplace information. It carries more weight but does not consume more bits.20 Each bit counts for more because the team culture requires more significance and less obscurity in each exchange.
It costs the same amount of time for your listeners to listen whether you say something trivial or something profound. If you say something important, you use your "bit allocation" more effectively. Of course, both listener and speaker must be prepared to deal with units of greater significance than "normal." This preparation, which resets expectations, establishes the higher bandwidth connection among the team members. Higher interpersonal bandwidth is characterized by more significance per utterance.
In The Core, the additional significance derives from the personal integrity behind the utterances. For example, you don't speak unless you have filtered your planned utterance through the CheckIn commitments.
Rich information is invariably produced when a team member expresses criticism in a way21 that adds significant value to another's work. This value-generating capability is uncommon even though adding value is the normal, healthy thing to do.
Human-human inefficiencies must be handled before you can expect to routinely make the best class of connection and achieve the resulting hyperprogress. Most people spend their working hours in the default human-human interface environment, created by no one, but affected by everyone. The default interface provides only the most rudimentary, often self-defeating, interpersonal connection. Preventing discomfort seems to be the highest value in the default interface. This is at the cost of achieving results. Being a part of this undesigned interpersonal world, day after day, people simply don't connect, except by chance. Chance22 determines the most vital linkages.
For your team to gain the capacity to perform remarkable interpersonal feats, you must implement (if not design) numerous new interpersonal practices, beginning with Connection. The problems addressed by the Connection pattern are easily stated:
Initiate relationships with people and groups with whom you can have significant communication
Ensure that you and other team members or groups can collaborate based on the continuous exchange of rich information
Once people are connected, the richer the information transmitted, the greater the team.
In The Core, a connection is made when two or more people explicitly decide to collaborate intentionally. They agree to disclose and receive information that, even at the start, is sufficiently rich to accelerate the process of collaboration. A connected team has the capacity to receive and transmit information according to mutually acceptable protocols. That is, it is positioned to communicate.
Most teams fail to connect because they don't define the vital preliminary tasks of Connection. They don't "test the line" to see what speeds are attainable. They don't invoke any communication protocols.
You are connected when your team meets the following conditions:
Team members agree that the first goal is to establish a connection.
The state of connection has been explicitly acknowledged.
The effectiveness of the connection is constantly monitored.
Obviously, explicit connection will always precede attaining the highest rates of transmission and reception. In The Core, you don't bother to attempt communication without connection. As all of The Core protocols heighten the probability of sustained connection, no single connection protocol exists. CheckIn, however, is the protocol used most often to initiate a connection.23