The Connection Game

May 22, 2024

Entering Their World – Playing the Connection Game

We have 5 grandkids. They are the light of our life. At the moment they range from ages 7 – 1, three boys and two girls. The grandkids and I play a lot. We wrestle and go on adventures in the house and in the yard. I chase after them, and they chase after me. There is a game each of them likes to play. The youngest is in the peak-a-boo stage. The 2-year-old wants us to chase him. Both of the 5-year-olds want me to be the horse and to ride them around the house going on adventures. The 7-year-old wants to play sports. In one way or another all of these actions are parts of the connection game. The connection game is the collection of activities you do with someone that builds trust, joy, and confidence.

One of the 5-year-old has asked the same question the last few times we have visited, “Buck, can we play the dinosaur game?” It’s a game I started with her brother a few years ago. We put some dinosaurs on a box top and push them around the house to do different adventures. We’ve been to Disney World, the beach, the mountains, and other places, all in the confines of their house. I was the horse, and he was riding. She wanted to do the same. The brother, now 7-year-old, wants we to shoot hoops. His game has changed as he grows. The other day one of the 5-year-olds paid me what may be the ultimate compliment. She came up to me and said, “Buck, come sit on the sofa and let’s talk.”  She officially invited me into her world. It was a hilarious conversation.  It didn’t last long - but it mattered. Somehow, I had done something that made her think I could be trusted. It’s not about what we do, it is about doing “it” together and creating an adventure.

The workplace has connection games just like families. Ultimately, here’s the question everyone on your team is asking about you, “Do you care enough about me to enter my world, to get to know who I am and what makes me tick? Are you willing to play the connection game with me?”  If you want your people to emotionally invest in what they do every day and what your organization does, play the connection game with them. They don’t magically show up motivated to work every day. You have to invite them to go on the adventure. In fact, if you don’t enter their world and get to know who they are, they will not emotionally invest in the work they do every day. It’s that simple – and it’s not an option. The connection game is the way you gain the credibility that makes people want to show up and invest their time to help the organization grow.

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