Business Posts

The Connection Equation

The Connection Equation

By General Robert Van Antwerp

9 years ago




If you would prefer to read this video instead of watch it, the transcript is available below.

Hi, I’m General Van. I’m a retired three-star general with 39 years in the Army. My last job in the Army was as the Army Chief of Engineers. I want to talk to you today about connecting.

Let’s think for a minute about connecting. What enables us to connect well with the people we lead and work with? Well, I’m going to give you a little equation. I’m an engineer – engineers don’t have formulas. Babies have formulas. Engineers have equations! So here’s my equation for you today:

[ Connecting = BLANK ]

It actually equals three other big elements. The first element is…we have to have a shared vision. That means that you know where we’re going, I know where we’re going, and we agree on where we’re going. I tell you, a lot of people used to say, “General Van, that’s your vision.” I said, “Let’s go back to the drawing board. I want that to be our vision.”

[ Connecting = Shared Vision + Shared Value]

The next part is, it has to be valuable for them and it has to be valuable for the organization. So, we’re looking for how we can add value to the individual and how we can add value to the organization. When we have that, we combine that with a shared vision. We’re almost home on connecting, but there is a third part. So, let’s just review.

[Connecting = Shared Vision + Shared Value + Shared Voice]

The other plus is that we have a shared voice. If you’re going to have people connect, you’ve got to create the forum and the opportunity for them to voice what they think. It’s so important in getting ‘buy-in’. So, if you want to have connection, you’ve got to have all three of those things!

Let’s think about a takeaway. Do you want to be connected to the people you work with? I do. I found it is the spice of life!

To go about disconnected, where you don’t have the same vision…people aren’t getting value, they’re just going to work every day. But if you want people to wake up in the morning and say, “Wow! I get to do this today!” – then you’ve got to make sure they have a shared vision with you and that they have shared value. They’re getting something out of it, and so is the organization. Then, let their voice be heard – a shared voice.



General Robert Van Antwerp

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