Sounds like a Huey Lewis song...

The power of love. 

Ok, when you read that line may have had one of the following reactions;

  1. You clapped your hands in delight, believing the mother of abundance has just sent you a gift to treasure. Oh, blessed be you!
  2. You thought, Darren’s off his rocker...again. This’ll be interesting.
  3. You just threw up in your mouth just a little bit

If you’ve opted for the first response, then that’s fantastic you magnificently weird unicorn lover, but it’s too easy for me...I had you at hello. You require no extra effort on my behalf to convince you of my theme today. Please pass me a cup of bergamot and pear green tea.

If the second response sums you up, then welcome along for the ride. Left of centre works for me, as it does for you and your obvious weirdness. Keep flying that freak flag, I love your work. Whoops said the ‘L’ word again. Doh.

Now if you’re the third response, well that’s where I’m gonna focus my attention today. Because I geddit. Truly, I do. “What’s love got to do with it?” you may ask.* 

I mean, we’re talking about business in these newsletters aren’t we? Damn straight we are.

The connection chemical

A big piece of current research here at Pragmatic Thinking - think labcoats, bunsen burners and giant distilling flasks (and that’s just to make coffee) - is the role that our neurotransmitters play in our collective workplace cultures. That’s fancy speak for what’s going on in your brain at work. As we like to say at PT central;

Our business is the thinking that drives your business

So when it comes to people making connections, both internally and externally, at work there’s two key chemicals at play, Oxytocin and Serotonin. But it’s Oxy that really gets the whole connection thing going**. Y’see Oxytocin is the chemical that produces trust, cooperation and also love. All of your best efforts in connection with staff, customers and even the work you do is driven by this complex chemical that is made of Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen and just a wee little pinch of Sulfur.

Oxytocin is the bomb. Literally. An explosion of good will to your fellow work peeps happens when you are under the spell of this molecular pixie.

‘So Daz, how do we get this amazing wonder drug?’, you might be asking.

Well, it’s pretty simple. It’s driven by touch points with people. That’s right, simply being in the presence of other people engaging in some work, conversation or physical activity releases Oxytocin. But to get a big dose, a really big dose, attach some meaning to it. A common purpose. 

One of our long-standing clients BlueCare - who do amazing work in aged care amongst other things - yesterday shared with us an amazing therapy that is achieving incredible results. Play Up is a strategy to engage and bring laughter to people living in aged care facilities. Kinda like the really cool work my friend the fabulous Robi Mack does with the Clown Doctors.

Anyways, the evidence that Play Up is working is undeniable, but the flow on effect of this therapy has had far reaching effects within the organisation. That clever bugger Oxytocin knows no boundaries!

A video of Play Up was shown to the HR team to see what is happening at the frontline. The result? Tears. Emotion, Connection. Oxytocin, you wonderful magic maker. 

Do you think those HR staff went back to work and worked with greater purpose? 

Maybe.

Do you think those HR staff went back to work with a spring in their step? 

Probably.

Do you think those HR staff went back to work with a greater sense of connection? Absolutely.

Too often, particularly when we aren't on the frontline, when we find ourselves in supporting or enabling services or a leadership role, we forget to regularly connect to how we change a persons world for the better. Not simply read a spreadsheet full of KPI’s, but actually hear from them in their own words how their life is better from the services you provide.

Find a way to connect to the people where your work has made their lives better, easier or more meaningful.

Make it a real effort. Connect with the people you serve. Let oxytocin flow and drive your connection. Best thing? There’s no hangover to worry about.

* For those 1980’s freaks like me, you immediately started humming along to Tina Turner’s 1984 classic didn’t you. For those born after 1985, just let the daggy old people have their moment, ok? We’re not hurting anyone...‘cept maybe your sense of taste and style.

** We’ll talk more about serotonin in a later blog. It’s a super-cool chemical contributor to the connection space as well. But today we’re all about Oxytocin.