Paying Attention—and Discovering New Partnerships

It is a small world after all. That makes the people in it—and the partnerships we build with them—incredibly important. If we foster those partnerships with care, they might spark all kinds of opportunities to make a difference. Too often, however, we pay no attention to people around us. In the process, those opportunities are lost.

Have you ever walked past people with your head down, looking at your BlackBerry? Perhaps it was a particularly crazy day, with meeting booked on top of meeting, and you simply “didn’t have time to talk.” It happens to all of us. But what if the people you walked past are the exact people who, in collaborating with you, could co-create positive change in your workplace? What if they have a perspective that, when combined with yours, could lead to an entirely new level of performance? That collaboration could transform the course of your organization. The impact could be so great.

You are never going to know everything about the people who are in and around your life. On occasion, you literally can’t stop to talk at length. But if you take the minute to engage in a short conversation with them—even if it’s just hello—you open the door for a potential partnership. From there, the possibilities of what the two of you could do together are endless.

This isn’t just about the people you see every day, either. Keeping in touch with old friends, college professors, and peers, checking in with past colleagues and business partners…you never know where one of these encounters may lead.  So take a breath, look up, and connect. The world is small, and you may see—and need—those people again.

By Victoria Gammerman and Julie Bush