I was making a deposit at my bank last week when the teller, who I don’t know, asked me if she could ask me a question, one to which she’s in the discovery of answering for herself. I said yes and she followed with, “What makes life valuable?” I paused.  We then engaged in a 10-minute conversation that was a bit awkward and quite interesting.  I walked away, taken by the exchange.  A barrier had been broken.

That interaction, one that’s the epitome of transactional was DISRUPTED.  It was disrupted by her curiosity and willingness to break social stranger norms – especially during this time of hesitancy, where we play it safe by sticking to our own social bubbles.

Many of us spend quite a few of our waking hours working hard to look good – to prove ourselves, to prove our value – primarily to those social bubble comrades.   And when we’re here, in this mindset, we don’t expand.  We’re like hamsters on a wheel clicking off the number of rounds we go, hoping that means progress.

So the one step is simply this – get curious, about other people’s worlds.  Focus less on looking good and more on uncovering the adventure of real deal exchanges.   And maybe your question looks like…

  • What’s your dream?
  • What’s one of your favorite life experiences?
  • What lights you up?
  • What do you want to be known for?

I promise, that wheel won’t go anywhere if you want to come back.

Now if you wonder – how does this relate to work?  Consider the social barriers, rules and expectations that keep everyone “in their place.”

Real deal exchanges lead to retention – period.  They also happen to lead to new discoveries and innovation within your organization.  Free your team from the stale constructs that make every interaction feel like a checklist task – where everyone is just so doggone amenable and the exchanges are forgettable, uninspiring, meh.