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If you want to achieve more as a leader, as a team member, or as an individual, one of the most important things you can do is get more connected.

No, this isn`t an article about faster internet access or the latest social media website. It also isn`t advice about networking and "getting your name out there." All of those things have value, but none are what I am talking about here.

This is an article about broadening and deepening human relationships.

At some level I`m guessing you are saying, "Yes, Kevin, of course I need to connect with people." Yet most people, most of the time, don`t make it a priority.

In other words, you may know the importance of and want deeper connections, but I`m guessing you aren`t investing the time required to make it happen.

Why Connect?

There are probably hundreds of benefits of building deeper relationships and connections with others, but here are six that are especially important in the context of your work (whether as a leader or an individual contributor). Greater connections with others increase each of these factors:

Trust. There is a correlation between connection and trust. We trust people more when we know them better. The opportunity for trust increases (though is not guaranteed) with familiarity and knowledge of the other person.
Engagement. When people know you, and you share something valuable with them, they are more likely to become engaged in your project or idea.
Speed. Steven M. R. Covey wrote a book called the Speed of Trust. While trust is valuable in and of itself, it serves as a multiplier for progress. As you build connections with others you are literally accelerating your progress anytime you are working (or even communicating) together.
Energy. Higher speed and trust yields more energy! Would you rather work in a situation with high or low energy? Enough said.
Ease. Isn`t life easier when working with people you know and feel a deeper connection to?
Enjoyment. Life is too short not to enjoy it. Even unpleasant tasks become more enjoyable when you are working with people you have a connection to.
Look at this list. Are there any that you don`t want more of in your life?
How to Connect?

Three practical ways to build more, and deeper, connections:

Be Conscious. If you want to build deeper connections and better relationships, you must decide it`s important to you. Make this activity intentional and consider it an investment. Like many investments, it will never be an urgent matter, but something that when done will pay dividends far beyond the initial effort.
Be Concerted. When you think about something being a concerted effort, it is both intentional (see the last point) and an effort. Deepening relationships requires taking action. Find opportunities to connect, and do new types of things that may help build those connections as well.
Be Consistent. This isn`t something you will do for the next 30 days, and cross it off of your to-do list or consider the goal achieved. Deepening connections is something that is done every day, and we must make it a habit. Ask yourself this question: "What have I done today to build a better relationship with someone?"
What About Me?

Building connections is really about the other person. But there are some things you must keep in mind about how to build relationships. And it all starts by looking in the mirror; if you want to do this well, start with yourself.

Be Genuine! What we are talking about isn`t a tactic or a technique. You must be real and authentic if you want to build lasting relationships - and your intentions for doing so must be other focused as well.
Be Glad! Enjoy the process! Don`t think of it as a chore, but as a journey or expedition. As you get to know people better and find connections enjoy the new ideas, synergies and fun you`re creating.
Be Grateful! Be grateful for other people and the value they bring to your life. Appreciate them (and tell them so). You might be amazed how much a short email, call or comment of thanks might mean to the other person.
There it is. I hope I`ve helped you think about the power of connections in a new way - one that hopefully will compel you to fix your focus more clearly on others and on building relationships with them.

Potential Pointer: If you want to make a bigger difference in your world and have more fun doing it, you must build deeper relationships with others. In any endeavor in life you will achieve more with the help, counsel and support of other people. When you build deeper connections with people you can provide those things for them, and they for you.

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