When you share your philosophy of life with someone, be it a friend, teammate, classmate, colleague or business partner, and you can continue a dialogue or conversation on it, debating and discussing, until each of you understands where the other is "coming from" it forms a natural bond. I would go as far as to say that it becomes a brainstorming session, and allows each participant to share their insights and values, and encourage questions and thinking on how and why, we believe in what we do.
I believe that once you do that, there is an understanding that is created that is extremely powerful. This was an exercise that happened by chance or circumstance a couple of years ago when we attended the design planning class at ID. Since the foundation on which we had to create a business plan was Enlightenment, and the first task was to give a short presentation on what it was, our team ended up sharing what "enlightenment" meant to us in an email exchange over two days.
After you’ve done that, where you have laid forth your philosophy of life, your value system, your beliefs, and so have others, and then you’ve discussed each other’s deepest beliefs, it creates a sense of cooperation that is extremely powerful. Along with that, trust and empowerment are two other benefits, amongst the many that emerged from this exercise. As a team, we now had a sense of "trust" in that, we "knew" where each of us was coming from, so when we threw ideas out or squabbled over details while working on the project, there was still a sense of "ok, niti’s thrown out something from the left field, but instead of thinking she’s crazy, let’s see why she’s saying what she is.." and vice versa.
I wonder if this can apply to building real teams, as in groups of people who come together to cooperate and collaborate, and understand each other because they know each other’s philosophy of life?
Chris Gee and I were talking a couple of days ago, and I brought up an issue with him, and I really liked his answer. Basically it was that old "on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog" but with a new twist. The blogosphere provides a platform on which to share your ideas, your thinking, your philosophy of life, on a much larger scale than, say, six people playing email round robin. What this is doing, then, is creating an atmosphere of trust and "safety", that is, you’re putting your self out there, on the line, and those that like your ideas, or resonate with what you have to say, are attracted to your writing and read you. Then they are impelled to comment, talk, email, that is, converse with you and throw you more triggers for thinking. Furthermore, the sense that "you know this person" emerges, after which it doesn’t matter if you’re a dog on the internet, others know that this is someone they’d want to work with, do business with, talk with. All of which are the first principles of building a relationship.
Now linking this back to the trends in the blogosphere, "markets are conversations", then every transaction is a relationship. And from an email conversation with Michael, I add our combined thoughts on this with respect to brands in the next post.