Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Closeness Only Counts...

fractal collision
(Photo credit: Dark Souls1/Pixabay)
There is an old adage that says, "closeness only counts in horseshoes and grenades." We know these two things are not the only places where closeness matters. In this blog, we will discuss the effects of closeness on relationship development.

"Closeness helps create efficiencies of connection." - Daniel Coyle, The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups
A couple weeks ago, my husband, another couple, and I arrived early for a meeting. A gentleman whom I did not know walked in the room. I know all the attendees, so I surmised this man must have been looking for another meeting that had recently stopped using our facility. This serendipitous encounter (or "collision"* as Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO and entrepreneur, calls it) provided an opportunity for connection.

Now, I could have told the gentleman (I'll call him Hank.) the group no longer met at our facility and moved him along. After all, our room was small for the size of the group. Instead, I used that moment to make an invitation for Hank to join our group. I explained what we were studying and told him what to expect. I must have created a safe place for Hank be because he stayed. Group members followed my example and welcomed him like family. Since that first encounter, Hank has sought further involvement with the group. That serendipitous encounter has spawned new relationships.

The more "collisions" you have, the more opportunities you have to develop relationships. Not every "collision" will be fruitful, some may even be disastrous; you won't know until you go beyond the initial "impact."

I challenge you to think about serendipitous encounters you are yet to have. Start by watching this incredible video about the effects of proximity between German and British soldiers on no man's land in France during World War I.

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper

In the summer of 1914, thousands of young men from all over the British Empire signed up to fight in the First World War.

They went to war thinking the fighting would not last long and they would be home by Christmas, but by December, it was pretty clear that was not going to happen.

The war had reached a bloody stalemate. All along the Western Front, the opposing troops were dug into trenches with just a few yards of no man's land between them.

But on Christmas Eve, something extraordinary happened - the soldiers on both sides just stopped fighting. And even more incredibly, as these photographs show, German and British troops left their trenches to spend Christmas together.
 (BBC's "What really happened in the Christmas truce of 1941" website)
  • Watch BBC's video "Peace in No Mans Land - The Christmas Truce."
  • Take our 2018 National Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge and read Daniel Coyle's book The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups.
  • Think about the following questions:
    • What is your team's culture code? Are relationships and connections important?
    • How might closeness be used by your team to further its mission?
    • How has the lack of closeness affect team cohesion? 
    • Where will you put yourself?
    • Who will you encounter?
    • What do you need to accomplish? 
    • Might "collisions" be a way of advancing your mission?

*"The collision theory states that when suitable particles of the reactant hit each other, only a certain percentage of the collisions cause any noticeable or significant chemical change; these successful changes are called successful collisions. The successful collisions must have enough energy, also known as activation energy, at the moment of impact to break the preexisting bonds and form all new bonds. This results in the products of the reaction. Increasing the concentration of the reactant particles or raising the temperature, thus bringing about more collisions and therefore many more successful collisions, increases the rate of reaction." (Wikipedia)

2018 National Wildland Fire Leadership Campaign - Leading Through Relationships

About the Author: Pam McDonald is a writer/editor for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and member of the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee. The expressions are those of the author.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A song about the Christmas Truce and some of the serendipitous encounters it lead to for the songwriter.