Bread, it is said, is the staff of life. An essential food around the world, bread has many recipes, yet made of the same basic ingredients: flour, salt, and water. Bread has social importance; “breaking bread together” symbolizes the importance of coming together and sharing. We establish bonds, affirm friendships, celebrate events, resolve conflicts and nourish our bodies. Despite its significance, bread is among the simplest prepared foods. While sourcing quality ingredients is important, what truly separates ordinary bread from extraordinary bread is the passion of an expert baker.
Baking bread is a bit like creating and sustaining relationships. We all have relationships and we know when a relationship is wonderful – we feel seen, heard, and understood; we feel supported and more capable; we have a sense of well being; and we feel challenged to be at our best.
Our relationships require our passion and attention. This may seem obvious for our social relationships and it is just as true for work relationships. Organizations are lean, global and matrixed, with nonstop emails or text. Everyone is busy. The world we live in places demands on all of our relationships, with constant communication, and the stresses of a global uncertainty. When the stressors are not managed, relationships are often a casualty.
When I’m at my best, the work and social relationships in my life are in balance, like ying and yang. They’re healthy and I attend to work and social relationships equally. Sometimes that’s hard to do, either work demands more of my time or I place more of my energy toward the social relationships in times of crisis or when I need renewal.
At Teleos, we start with the finest ingredients – our people. We attend to our relationships with each other to nurture our passion, which is to develop outstanding leadership and healthy organizational cultures everywhere. We help each other be great and attend to the quality of our relationships with each other and the other people in our lives who give us purpose, meaning and joy.
Below are a few of the practices we use to “make great bread,” how we work with the best ingredients, (each other):
1. Laugh with each other and try not to take ourselves too seriously!
2. Value meetings as opportunities to connect. We have two practices we maintain:
- Short stand up meetings every morning to see each other and reconnect after our road trips. These meetings are not optional and create an incentive to be in the office consistently.
- Brief check-ins at the beginning of a meeting to be mindful of our holistic health: social, emotional, relational, physical, and spiritual
3. Find the best place to do your best work. Our colleague goes to the coffee shop to read or edit articles.
4. Notice when it is best to have quiet time for yourself – we have small meeting rooms where we can go alone or together for quiet reflection.
All of these are easy to do and have big benefits. It is our way of making great bread and nurturing the passion each of us brings to this work. What do you do to balance and sustain passion with your relationships?