In pursuit of the ubiquitous

I have been summer clerking at a law firm for the past couple of weeks and had my first ‘unofficial’ review this morning. It went well and I was asked about the things that I thought would make my summer “great”. I thought about the question for quite some time afterwards, and it made me think about the way people interact with each other and the things that make a person want to go the extra mile for someone else.

A lot of people forget that employment is a two-way street. Although the employee is anxious to make sure that they are performing and meeting expectations, an employer has every incentive to make sure that the employee is happy and well supported. Getting paid at the end of the week isn’t it. An unmotivated employee will only do what is obligatory, which probably isn’t very good for business – just think about the salesperson who doesn’t believe in the product.

I found the following passage from this article (Forbes: The Value of Stepping Back to Achieve More) really interesting:

Our addiction to speed and action, busy-ness, and pursuit of the ubiquitous more in our 24/7, constantly connected, globally caffeinated cultures conspire to diminish rather than strengthen our leadership capacities.

Although the article talks about the importance of pausing to see the insights that you would otherwise miss in our day-to-day ‘busyness’, I think a similar idea applies to relationships. I find myself constantly having a lot of micro-relationships that are defined by a particular agenda, and these relationships are often the relationships that we grow to have in a world of ‘speed and action’.

We live in a world of vastly widened networks and goal-orientated behaviour. We pull on each other when we need each other, but otherwise exist in totally different universes.

What that means is that we know very little about people as people. We don’t get (or care) to understand their motivations, the ideas that make their eyes light up and the small things that we could do for someone that would mean a whole world of difference.

Teams aren’t ‘tight’; individuals, uninspired.

As a society, we chase the everything. We religiously believe that more is more, when sometimes it is about having less. It’s a difficult balance to strike when life does genuinely get rather busy, but it often doesn’t take too much effort to give that a little bit extra.

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