The Value of Being Both Here and There

As we experience all the joys, and occasional frustrations, of the holiday season I’m reminded of this year’s favorite mantra – ‘mindfulness’. It was a hot topic, appearing in countless articles, on social media platforms and streaming newsfeeds across the globe. The basic premise is that clear intentional focus is critical to success – in all aspects of our world including our personal lives, career and community involvement.

texting at workWhat intrigues me, and was confirmed during recent work, social and holiday events, is that a lot of people want to spend time with each other, in-person, but they also want to be connected ‘in parallel’ with others. This is evidenced by the constant texting and frequent social media access during meetings, working sessions and social events. It’s just not sufficient to be present in-person, there’s a need to be connected simultaneously with others across time and distance.

As we experience this holiday season there’s bound to be lots more of the same behaviour. The impact of this simultaneous ‘here/there’ approach is criticized by many experts as an indication of shallow thinking or lack of concentration. Multi-tasking has fallen off the favored list of personal and organizational skills.

My take is somewhat different. This ‘here/there’ mindset and practice is highly relevant, especially in today’s fast moving and constantly changing world. And it’s definitely not going to disappear. So how do we best capitalize on this new reality in our work teams? Here are five key suggestions to make the ‘here/there’ phenomenon a positive addition to your experience.

  • Raise Awareness – Keep others informed about emerging developments in your team that may impact the focus thinking or actions of other teams. Set some guidelines about what kinds of things would be useful to communicate to others in your organization during your team’s dialogue and decision-making.
  • Access Expertise – Draw on the advice and/or expertise of others to help you do ‘stuff’ that you’re not familiar with. Why wait for follow-up if you can do it immediately to help move the agenda forward. Be clear with other team members about what you’re hoping to gain by immediately reaching out for assistance.
  • business relationshipBuild Relationships – If it’s clear that reaching out beyond your own network is essential to advance an idea, initiative or project, why not tap into your colleagues’ connections to start the ball rolling. Once again, communicate with other team members about why this makes sense and how wide a net you’re casting.
  • Test New Ideas – Not sure about whether your team’s new innovation has merit? Float it out to some trusted clients or thought leaders and see what comes back in terms of viability, enhancements or even new directions. Be sure to agree with your team members who’s in your virtual focus group before your make the ask.
  • Strengthen Brand – Got something insightful or worthwhile to share that builds your reputation? Some success story or client testimonial that really provides some lift to your image? Reach agreement with your colleagues about the tone and messaging then just let it go.

Taking advantage of this ‘here/there’ mindset can definitely be a productive space. Just make sure that you and your team members reach agreement on how best to leverage this approach.

Wishing you a happy, relaxing and ‘here/there’ holiday season.

About The Author

Scott Borland, Founder & President of CYGNUS Management Consultants Inc, , is a recognized expert in helping executives host strategic conversations and obtain high impact feedback. He brings insightful perspective and proven strategies to strengthen the alignment between strategy and leadership behaviour. Scott has presented frequently at regional/national conferences and is a regular contributor to online journals/blogs. Follow Scott on Twitter or add him as a connection on LinkedIn.

User Comments

There are 3 comments on this post.

  1. Nice. Our ability (or inability) to filter and focus the information coming at us (and from us) is a challenge.

  2. Thanks, Scott. This is a challenging subject that requires a discipline and focus which is evidently different through the generations. Human resource management is never dull.

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