Like many couples, Bonni and I struggled with infertility for many years as we hoped and prayed for children. After a long and difficult journey, we’ve been blessed with two amazing kids in our lives.
While neither of us would want to repeat the journey, one of many blessings that came out of it was building relationships with some wonderful people who helped along the way. One physician’s office in particular were tremendously caring, supportive, and ultimately helped us bring both of our kids into the world.
That’s why we were excited to receive a recent invitation from his office, asking if we would come and speak at their annual retreat. Each year, they ask a willing patient to share their journey through infertility to help the staff stay closely connected and aligned with the emotional peaks and valleys of infertility.
Perhaps not coincidentally, I’m currently reading Adam Grant’s fascinating book Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success [affiliate]. One of the key points Grant demonstrates in the book is what a massive difference it makes in performance when people are connected to those who ultimately benefit from their work.
Grant cites substantial research showing strong correlations with future performance when a meaningful interaction has happened between those who do the work and those who benefit from it. In other words, if I can see the results of my efforts in the work and lives of others, my performance is likely to improve.
Even better, the correlations are the strongest for those who tend to give the most. It turns out that greatest givers among us are also those who are most motivated by seeing how their work makes a real difference in the world.
While I doubt our physician has specialized training in organizational behavior, he clearly gets the significance of this more than most. He’s made a commitment at each office retreat for his staff and him stay connected to their patients through at least one extended, meaningful dialogue with someone they’ve worked with.
Although I’ve been fortunate over the years to be involved with many meaningful interactions between clients of clients, and our own clients with us, more often these interactions happened by chance or were initiated by someone else. I’ve rarely taken the time to arrange a substantial, meaningful interaction between our organization and the people we serve.
Perhaps the same is true for you?
Grant’s book reminds us that a meaningful interaction (even a brief one) between those that do the work and those that receive the benefit of the work can help organizations move mountains. Here’s a challenge for all of us:
[reminder]What could you do to create a meaningful connection between the people who work in your organization and those who benefit from their work?[/reminder]