Last week, on the drive home from our fantastic Christmas party I started thinking about magnets. Not in a scientific sense, but as a metaphor for how we interact. Each side of the magnet has a different polarity and I started thinking about how people are a lot like that. Some act as forces that draw others in, while others tend to push away. This week I’d like to look at how this magnetic force manifests in our day-to-day lives. Are we attracting the right connections, the ones that enrich and challenge us, or are we creating barriers, perhaps unknowingly? Let's explore this magnetic analogy a little further.
In the workplace, consider how some colleagues seem to repel others. They often build walls, maybe unintentionally, around themselves. This behavior, while it might provide a sense of control, can hinder teamwork, and limit the exchange of ideas. The exclusionary environment they create usually keeps new employees from acclimating quickly and eventually results in a culture that people don’t want to join, making it hard to find enough help. But then there are those who draw others in. These individuals create an environment where ideas flow freely and collaboration is the norm, leading to innovation and a stronger team fabric. They help others get better, and in my experience, they are usually a part of the highest-performing units.
In our personal lives, this magnetism can be just as prevalent. Some find comfort in pushing others away, staying within familiar circles and it can be seen starting at an early age. Remember the kids who said, “if you hang out with him, I won’t be your friend?” There’s an adult version of the same situation in which the tight-knit group is the only allowable option. I’d ask, what is being missed by not opening up to different perspectives and experiences? On the flip side, there are people who attract and intentionally include a diverse group of friends. The magic is when those people, who attract a diverse range of people enrich their lives with varied viewpoints and experiences, and also integrate others multiplying the connection.
My wife (Michelle) is one of those types of people who are exponential connectors. She gathers and connects friends, resulting in greater connections for the people she integrates. She puts in the effort to plan parties and activities and intentionally invites new people into the fold whenever possible. People who know her will tell you that she is a kind, welcoming, networking, energetic, joyful Jesus lover. Exponential connectors exist in the business world as well. They are the people who always seem to “know a guy”. They are a person who can seemingly make a call to create a connection at will, and not just in their industry. When you link up two or three of these exponential connectors something special happens. It's a magical thing to see the number of connections that are linked when analyzing opportunities or problems. The number of intellectual resources their networks integrate to connect allows for an accelerated pace of progress rarely seen.
That leads me to this week’s challenge… Take a moment to reflect on your own magnetic qualities. Are you more inclined to repel or attract, both at work and in your personal life? Additionally, look at the magnets you surround yourself with. Ensure you’re attracting the type of people that expand your opportunities rather than diminishing them.
I’m thankful that you were willing to go to work today, that you took the time to read this, and for being a part of what makes this world wonderful!