Now, more than ever, our world is taking stock in the true value of relationships. We have borne witness to the instability of so many things and may have even reevaluated our priorities. As many of us spent a significant amount of time away from loved ones and colleagues, the absence of face-to-face time has exacerbated the need for quality relationship-building — especially in the workplace. Let’s take a look at four ways to add value to your professional relationships.
Recognizing the success of others is a win for all. Whether it’s closing a big deal or getting a press release out the door, everyone wants to feel as though their work is seen and that it matters. Celebrating even the smallest wins — with both internal team members and external clients — can go a long way in what we at my house call, “filling the bucket.” It is important to store up more celebrations in the “bucket,” so that when “spills” inevitably happen (think: mistakes, rough patches, difficult conversations), they don’t completely deplete the relationship.
What celebrating success looks like at Matterlab – at the end of every week, we hold a “Week in Review”. During this time, each team member takes a moment to showcase work that went out to partners that week, so we can take stock in the impact we play a part in making each week. From decks created for school district superintendents to sizzle reels for summer camps to websites for new organizations — and everything in between — we celebrate it all, and go into the weekend with a strong sense of accomplishment.
At Matterlab, we have the joy of working with multiple personality types in the workplace, both internally and externally. The beauty of this is that, at every turn, there is an opportunity to learn from each and every person, as long as we give room for that to take place. Making and holding space for others to operate in ways that are beneficial to them is one of the most wonderful things that can take place in a relationship. When we recognize that we can all arrive at the same place by taking different routes and allow it to happen, the destination is often made richer and more valuable by the process.
What making space looks like at Matterlab – as a team of creatives, we utilize a variety of communication channels, allow for different working styles, and employ various design processes, all in an effort to support the work of each individual. While everything we produce for our partners is streamlined and consistent, the path to getting there is rarely prescriptive for our internal team members.
Don’t shy away from feedback
At Matterlab, we recognize that constructive feedback is the cornerstone of a healthy working environment and providing strategic value to our clients. When giving feedback, it’s critical to:
- Take the emotion out of it and remember that it’s about getting to a mutually beneficial result.
- Make it productive and only share it if it will move the needle to the ultimate goal.
- Be open to also receiving feedback!
When done correctly, feedback can produce incredible results and take work from being good to above and beyond.
What feedback looks like at Matterlab – as a team, we are in constant communication with each other, and each piece of content we create goes through a rigorous internal review process before making its way to the outside world. We collaborate via Slack and regular internal meetings (including partner-specific engagement team meetings) so that everyone has a chance to add their feedback, ultimately contributing to a solid final product.
Read the room
When we go into meetings with our clients and with each other, there are days when higher priorities completely change the day’s agenda, and that’s okay. We’ve met with school districts who needed to shift focus from the tasks at hand to preparing the superintendent for an interview with a national TV news network. We have begun internal meetings with one agenda only to quickly realize there was a better way to meet the needs of our team members by tackling a completely different topic at that moment. It’s important to take the time to address how everyone in the room is feeling before diving into anything. Everyone is more productive when they are able to come as they are and share how they are in the moment. In facilitating meetings this way, we’ve found that we can dive into the work in a more intentional way, while uplifting the care and concern we have for everyone as individuals.
What reading the room looks like at Matterlab – for all meetings — internal and external — we kick off by asking questions. Whether a specific prompt or just a general, “how is the day/week going?” We always want to take a moment to take the temperature of all attendees to make sure everyone is ready to dive into the meeting at hand.
Building valuable internal and external relationships can serve to strengthen not just individuals, but organizations, big and small. We are a people-first team, and we see the fruits of our relationship-building on a daily basis. Not only does it make Matterlab a fantastic place to work, but it helps us help our clients further the impact they make on the lives of young people across the country.
Ready to talk to ways you can build impactful relationships?