Sometimes Relationship is All You Need

I just got home from an impromptu TweetUp. Sounds pretty geeky, huh? A TweetUp is a gathering of Twitter users - and at this particular gathering, few of the participants were geeky. Not that there's anything wrong with that. All, however, were kind and generous people whom, for their own reasons, were seeking more (or perhaps a different) connection than what is possible in random 140 character posts.

I'm sure there are people who'd ask me why in the world I'd spend my time going to these things. "What's the business purpose?" "What kind of return do you get out of the time?" "Are any of those people prospects?" You may have your own version of these questions. For me it all comes down to the same simple concept: relationship. That's the purpose. That's what I get. Is it intangible? Yes. And that's okay.

With networking, social media in particular and Twitter even more finely, I see people who have a certain spark. People with ideas, important thoughts, common and uncommon experiences. People I can learn from. Be inspired by. People I can give to. People whose energy is just nice to be in.

We've become a measurement obsessed culture. "Measure what matters." "You can't manage what you can't measure." We want our measurements in numbers, too. Typically we pick measures that we want to go up. As if bigger and more are the only things that matter. We seem to believe that quantity is the only way to measure success. And sometimes we measure activities as if the measures in themselves indicate results. We spend vast amounts of time and money measuring education with standardized tests. We draw seemingly arbitrary numerical lines in the sand to measure the worth of an individual's productivity.

But what about quality? What about checking in with our guts and how we feel about things? What about the intangible measures of satisfaction, happiness, and love? Sure those are pretty hard to measure, if truly possible at all. That might be scary for some. I feel sad for those who can't understand the intangible.

Maybe we all need to take a step back and detach from the numbers from time to time. Maybe we need to be okay that someday all the dots will connect and there will be results from what we've done.

I submit that the hard facts of logic and the softer side of emotions both belong in business. And being able to simply say, "I enjoyed creating and cultivating relationships today," is measurement enough for an afternoon in a cafe.