Recently I was at a meeting where they brought in various teams from around our Company to showcase the work that they were performing.
Unexpectedly, I recognized someone, who I hadn’t worked with or seen in 13 years, running one of the booths.
We immediately fell back into an old level of comfort with each other, hugged hello and started laughing while talking about past stories, what we’re doing currently and what’s happened over the last few years.
After processing that encounter for a while I found myself wondering why is it that I seemed to have a better and more authentic connection with a person I hadn’t seen in 13 years and only worked with for a shorter time compared to many others I have worked with for longer periods of time or more recently.
There are lots of factors that play into what makes groups work together well and build connections, but looking at the traditional factors didn’t seem to uncover the answer. There had to be more. I really wanted to be able to find the answer so I could try and use that to continue to build great relationships with the teams I work on and people I work with.
That’s when I realized the difference between the strong bonds that had been formed over 13 years ago versus some of the more tenuous bonds today.
When we were working together years ago, there had been many more offsite and not-directly-work-related interactions. Our teams and colleagues would spend more time doing things out of the office together and we had more support for little things like team lunches and offsite dinners.
Great relationships build great teams and great teams accomplish great things easier.
Since that’s the case, why is it that when budget cuts come around some of the first things to go are those very things, like off sites and team meals, that can help build great teams?
The next time you hear about a startup or some other smaller company having happy hours or buying everyone lunch realize that it’s not only a nice perk, it’s a strategic investment in accomplishing great things. The next time someone asks you for budget for what may seem like fun vs. work related activities, realize it will pay off much more in terms of the work.