We live in a day and age where you really don’t need to leave the comforts of home and venture out into the big scary world. More and more people are working from home, doing on-line shopping delivered straight to their front door, avoiding the theatres and streaming their movies. Doctors are even able to do check ups via new and improving technology. People pass on the big crowds of sporting events to stay home and watch the game on the television because of the better view and they have the comforts of home.

Though I enjoy many of the above benefits, I was recently reminded once again that nothing beats live. A couple months ago I went and seen one of my favorite groups, Rush, with my oldest son. I have listened to Rush pretty much all my life but I enjoyed them most when I seen them live. The energy and the atmosphere bring the experience to a whole new level. As my son was growing up we also enjoyed local music in small intimate venues live. The personal touch and the background stories about the songs helped transform the music into something you just can’t get from a recording.

More recently I spent three weeks in the presence of my co-workers and people whom I consider friends. We are a virtual company and though we see each other in gotomeeting chat rooms, we seldom get to spend time face to face. When the meeting is over we switch off the camera and continue to work void of one another’s energy and enthusiasm. The three weeks was spent not only live and in person but the majority was divided amongst spending time at their homes and with their families. Some of the best working discussions took place while we relaxed and played. Locations like the hot tub, the local swimming pool, driving to a eat and the golf course sparked deep and sometimes personal discussions. These discussions not only moved the work needle but also built stronger bonds of friendship.

Even jobs where people have to go away from home, tend to be alone. We place people in their 40 hour a week cubicle. We divide up the patient list and concur alone. Though there are are others around we only acknowledge them when needed. In the Mandt System we spend a lot of time talking about our interactions with fellow staff members. The do’s and don’t of communication. We focus on how we go about building healthy relationships. Most of the discussions in the trainings involve in the classroom, in the group home, and on the unit. The daily “norms” of the working environments. Though the interactions are “live” they often are scripted by organization norms. They are encumbered by organization time constraints. Our interactions become robotic. My challenge to you is get away from the normal environment whenever possible to work on relationship building. Simple things like a walk around a park, grabbing a coffee after work, some time on the golf course, or if modesty allows, a soak in a hot tub. These interactions bring life to our relationships…and nothing beats live!

Tim Geels – Senior Vice President of Organizational Development