[Life Back West] Autumn 2014 – Meet You at the Quad?

It’s a familiar refrain on many a college campus and more than just a few

English: Quad at Willamette University

companies: “meet you at the Quad?

A line tagged to a place and a time, it routes you to the familiar where you can bank on connecting with the right people at interesting times.

It’s also the place where more often than not serendipity intersects opportunity, where talent finds good fortune.

Create that ritual, like going to a specific place to bump into people, and things happen. There is something special about physically being with others, or even hearing somebody’s voice, and more often than not that something that happens turns out to be something good.

And rituals, as writers Tony Schwartz (The Only Way to Get Important Things Done), Jocelyn Glei and Scott Belsky (Manage Your Day to Day), and associated research, create efficiencies and make you more effective.

One senior client who was nudged away from an eating-at-his-desk habit to lunch a couple of days a week at the company cafeteria said that the suggestion alone was worth the cost of the coaching engagement.

Why? He started bumping into people who had problems he could solve early, and running into people who had opportunities that he could develop fast.

One startup client who shows how the ritual-with-people-stuff works has employees co-located in multiple locations call in on a regular weekly conference call to a “virtual water cooler” – a place to bump into folks who are available and catch up on what’s going on.

Whether it’s at home, at work, a school or church, these rites of occasion and location are secret tools to making the positive develop.

Establishing and nurturing rituals of time and place – like my alma mater Willamette University’s wise recent move from a solely class-reunion based “Homecoming” to a broader, more inclusive “Alumni Weekend” – is the smart way to make unexpectedly good things happen.

See you at the Quad?

Life Back West is an occasional set of writings focused on ways people, teams and organizations can be both more effective (doing the right thing) and more efficient (doing the right thing well). More about executive, career and team / leadership coaching services can be found at the “About J. Mike Smith and Back West, Inc.” sidebar or the “Hire Me” tab. You can also read an online interview with me at WhoHub.

Quad at Willamette University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)