Last week I spent some time sitting outside on a balcony chatting with Matt Partovi. Matt is the founder of Culturevist, a community of people so passionate about culture that they’d leave their jobs rather than see theirs compromised. Check them out their events here.
Ostensibly it was a business meeting (because we talked about maybe working together), but it didn’t feel like one because mainly we talked about shared purpose. Matt wants every person to have access to a great culture at work. I’m all about championing better work and working lives (luckily as is my employer). It was time well spent.
In the evening there was a gathering of CIPD employees in our OpenSpace area, an area where members can drop in and work. I was still working when people started having fun and someone asked if I was missing out because I’d spent so long chatting to the guy on the balcony. I guess I was. I guess it looked like I’d interrupted my working day to go and grab some sun with Matt.
I like to think that the time we spend developing trust, relationships, shared things to laugh at and an understanding of what the other person cares about is work. It’s probably more of the foundation of work than most other things. It isn’t a diversion, it is the quickest route to performance. I know you, I trust you, we can work together to do great things.
Everyone benefits. I’ve spent my first weeks in my new role trying to meet as many people as I can. It’s been tiring and manic and confusing, but it has never been anything other than worth it. It has never crossed my mind after meeting someone that I would have liked to have known less about them.
Work happens in the cracks, it happens in the places where you develop trust. It happens in pubs and it happens when you queue for lunch and it happens when someone makes a joke. It happens when you grab five minutes for a coffee and it turns into 60 minutes that you don’t really have – but that the other person needs. All of this counts because relationships count.
And that is why an hour on a balcony with Matt was time well spent.