This is all about establishing relationships, conveying the face that I'm interested in you, and that all the work we do together is in the context of that relationship. It's a narrative - you have to keep it going. It's not unlike a romantic relationship. How often do you tell your partner that you love them? It may be true, but it's still importantn to let them know, over and over.
Theis idea - that belonging needs to be continually refreshed and reinforced - is worth dwelling on for a moment. If our brains processed safety logically, we would not need this steady reminding. But our brains did not emerge from illions of years of natural selection because they process safety logically. They emerged because they are obsessively on the lookout for danger.
This obsession originates in a structure deep in the core of the brain. It's called amygdala, and it's our primeval vigilance device, constantly scanning the environment. When we sense a threat, the amygdala pulls our alarm cord, setting off the fight-or flight response the floods our body with stimulating homones, and it shrinks our percived world to a single question: What do I need to do to survive?
Belong feels like it happens from the inside out, but in fact it happens from outside in. Our social brains light up when they receive a steady acccumulation of almost invisible cues: We are close, we are safe, we share a future.
Here, then, is a model for understanding how belonging works: as a flame that needs to be continually fed by signals of safe connection.
Building safety isn't the kind of skill you can learn in a robotic, paint-by-numbers sort of way. It's a fluid, improvisational skill - sort of like learning to pass a soccer ball to a teammate during a game. It requires you to recognize patterns, react quickly, and deliver the right signal at the right time.
Creating safety is about dialing in to small, subtle moments and delivering targeted signals at key points.
- overcommunicate your listening. the key is to draw a distinction between interruptions born of mutual excitement and those rooted in lack of awareness and connection.
- spotlight your fallibility early on - especially if you're a leader. "This is just my two cents." "Of coures, I could be wrong here." "What am I missing?"
- embrace the messenger
- Preview future connection
-Be Painstaking in the hiring process
- Eliminate Bad apples
- Create safe, Collision-Rich Spaces
- Make Sure Everyone has a Voice
- Pick up Trash
- Capitalize on Threshold moments
- Avoid Giving sandwich feedback
Exchanges of vulnerability, which we naturally tend to avoid, are the pathway through which trusting cooperation is bulit. Cooperation, as we'll see, does nto simply descend out of the blue. It is a group muscle that is bult according to a specific apttern of repeated interaction, and that pattern is always the same: a circle of people engaged in the risky, occasionally painful, ultimately rewarding process of being vulnerable together.
P 67 Hwo to Design for Belonging:
I'm doing this because they pont isn't just about counting them but about making a mindset shift that they're what matters. When an idea becomes part of a language, it becomes part of the default way of thinking.
The interesting thing about Givechi's questions is how transcendently simpe they are. They have less to do with design than with connecting to deeper emotions: fear, ambition, motivation. It's easy to imagine that in different hands, these questions could fall flat and fail to ignite conversation. This is because the real power of the interaction is located in the two way emotional signaling that creates an atmosphere of connection that surrounds the conversation.
She's unassuming and disarms people because she is so open and listening and caring. Roshi has the ability to pause completely, to stop what must be going on in her head, to focus completely on the person and the question at hand, and to see where that question is leading. She isn't trying to drag you somewehre, ever. She's truly seeing you from your postion, and that's here power.
The word empathy sounds so soft and nice, but that's not what's really going on," says Njoki Gitahi, a senior communication designer. "What Roshi does requries a critical understanding of what makes people tick, and what makes people tick isn't always being nice to them. Part of it is that she knows people so well that she understand swhat they need. Sometimes what they need is support and praise. But sometimes what they need is a little knock on the chin, a reminder that they need to work harder, a nudge to try new things.
Concordances happen when one person can react in an authentic way to the emotion being projected in the room. It's about undrestanding in an empathic way, then doing something in terms of gesture, comment, or expression that creates a connection.
Ideas for Action:
- Overcommunciate Expectations: they were explicit and persistent about sending big, clear signals that established those expectations, modeled cooperation, and aligned language and roles to maximize helping behavior.
- Deliver the Negative Stuff in Person
- When Forming New Groups, Focuse on two critical moments: the first vulnerability and the first disagreement
- Listen like a Trampoline. Most effective listeners do 4 things: 1. they interactive in ways that make the other person feel safe and supported 2. they take a helping, cooperative stance 3. they occasionally ask questions that gently and constructively challenge old assumptions 4. they make occasional suggestions to open up alternative paths
- In Conversation, Resist the Temptation to Reflexively add value
- Use Candor-Generating PRactices like AARs, BrainTrusts, and Red Teaming
- Aim for Candor; Avoid Brutal Honesty
- Embrace the Discomfort
- Align Language with Action
- Build a Wall Between Performance Review and Professional Development
- Use Flash Mentoring
- Make the Leader Occasionally disappear
Step 1: Think about a realistic goal that you'd like to achieve. Spend a few seconds reflecting on that goal and imaging that it's come true. Picture a future where you've achived it.
Step 2: Take a few seconds and picture the obstacle between you and that goal as vividly as possible. Don't gloss over the negatives, but try to see them as they truly are.
The conjoint elaboration of the future and the present reality makes both simultaneously accessible and links them together in the sense that the reality stands in the way of realizing the desired future.
We tend to use thew ord story casually, as if storeis and narratives were ephemeral decorations for some unchanging underlying reality. The deeper neurological truth is that sotries do not cloak reality but create it, triggering cascades of perception and motivation. Stories are not just storeis, they are the best invention ever created for delivering metnal models that drive behavior.
Patterns of real-time signals consisted of five basic types:
1. Framing 2. Roles 3. Rehearsal 4. Explicit encouragement to speak up. 5. Active reflection
Catmull sees the disaster and the rescue not as improbably companions but as causally related. The fact that these projects start out as painful, frustrating disasters is not an accident but a necessity. This is because all creative projects are cognitive puzzles involving thousands of choices and thousands of potential ideas, and you almost never get the right answer right away. Building purpopose in a creative group is not about generating a brilliant moment of breakthrough but rather about building systems that can churn through lots of ideas in order to help unearth the right choices. Focus less on ideas than on people - specifically, on providing teams with tools and support to locate paths, make hard choices, and navigate the arduous process together.
Insight into building purpose: It's not as simple as carving a mission statement in granite or encouraging everyone to recite from a hymnal of catchphrases. It's a never-ending process of trying, failing, reflecting, and above all, learning. High-purpose environments don't descend on groups from on high; they are dug out of the ground, over and over, as a group navigates its problems together and evolves to meet the challenges of a fast-changing world.
Ideas for action:
- Name and Rank Your Priorities: listing your priorities, which means wrestling with the choices that define your identity, is the first step.
- Be Ten times as Clear about your priorities as you think you should be
- Figure out Where your group aims for proficiency and wehre it aims for creativity
creative skills are about empowering a group to do the hard work of building something that has never existed before.
- embrace the use of catchphrases
- Measure what really matters
- Use artifacts
- Focus on bar-setting behaviors, one challenge of building purpose is to translate abstract ideas (values, mission) into concrete terms. One way successful groups do this is by spotlighting a single task and using it to define their identity and set the bar fro their expectations.