I am amazed by how many companies today are still run like factories. This byproduct of the industrial revolution has outlived it’s usefulness. In fact, not only are we past the industrial age, we have blown through the information age and are now in the age of connection. The connection age is a beneficiary of the all the advances made during the industrial and information ages, but also addresses the primary need we humans have, that is to love and be loved.
Because of freewill, the means we use to serve that end are not always good. Therefore, not all examples of “connection” in the connection age are good, i.e. Facebook, however in the context of this message, I am referring to the good.
Companies are not machines. They are living, breathing, organisms. They have character. They have heart. They have soul. They make mistakes. They can learn from those mistakes and become better. They think. They feel.
Companies are in the business of creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experiences and relationships. They may not realize it, but to survive in the connection age, they will have to adapt. The customer must always feel heard. It’s not about the customer being right or wrong, it’s about being heard.
This is also true of employees. Even with compensation as a motivator, companies that thrive in the connection age know that anyone who works for them chooses to do so because of what the company stands for. Anyone who is qualified for a job in the company is also qualified for many other jobs at the same pay scale. It’s up to the company to provide solid reasons for their employees to want to work for them, over and above the compensation.
It’s about feeling valued and respected. It’s about empathy and humility.
And this leads to a great opportunity for the person who coordinates the work of people to serve customers and employees in this capacity. I want to be that person. I want to find brilliant customers and teammates that others foolishly overlook.
To assist us in our journey, we all need a mentor and role model that coaches us along the way. For me, it’s Jesus. He has shown me how to arrange my life around simple habits that serve the way I want to behave. He’s set the bar for the character qualities I want to possess.
In fact, I view Jesus as being in the hospitality business. He was concerned about how he made his customers feel. He attracted volunteers because of what he stood for. He knew the best way to get a good hug is first to give one.
He understands our weaknesses and faced all the same tests we face. He demonstrated great compassion and forgiveness. He knew our primary need is to love and be loved. He understood our need for connection.
I think it’s wonderful that we’ve come full circle with Age of Connection. Companies are able to use machines, processes, technology, information, and artificial intelligence for the good of making customers and employees feel heard and loved.