Wandering happens. People find that what once satisfied, no longer does. Marriages have broken up, families have been fractured, jobs have been left because of it, hobbies lay in corners of basements or garages all over this country because of it. We get bored and our eyes begin to look for the next biggest, baddest, best option.
When The First Wives' Club started, the divorcees had all experienced a cheating spouse. A spouse who found "happiness" in the arms of another (younger) woman. The spark of attraction that originally came from the first wife was replaced with bland familiarity, boredom and predictability. Of course what follows is hilarity, a song and dance number and domestic earnings of over $100 million (and counting). In the movies, this is an "of course"; in our real lives, the song and dance is not usually found.
The struggle to find connection pulls at the heart of any relationship, whether person to person or person to purpose. Brokenness and disconnect make other options seem more appealing. There is a longing for something so much more than what someone is living. And knowing this is a tendency for many of us, what do we do about it? If we serve in a position of influence, however small, what kind of difference can we make?
A job becomes stale and predictable, just as a relationship does, when there is no encouragement towards or opportunity for creativity. The imaginative spark has been studied for decades, particularly in its symbiotic nature with organizational change. Creativity pushes boundaries and considers what might be. Think about how your organization would benefit from such a posture. Wouldn't the organization change as a result? Perhaps it's the development of a new product or process. Perhaps the method of delivery is improved or completely made over. In some measurable way, the creative outlets for staff will drive organizational change.
Think about the correlation to relationships. Wouldn't approaching a date with enthusiastic creativity likely make the date memorable? If it's just dinner, again, where is the imagination? So many of my friends do "date night" once a month with their spouses. It's often just dinner. Yawn. It's no wonder that the time that's meant for connection becomes time spent looking at your iPhone to see what time it is. Oh, when do we have to leave to get the kids?
Stagnant relationships at work function in the same manner. How do your staff relate to what their doing? Do they own it? Do they have an opportunity to enlarge their roles? Bring your team together to see how this can happen. Collaboration, also, fights against the restlessness of the role. Working together and corporately setting goals for engagement and impact take the wandering eye off of what might be and focus it on what is and will be. High functioning teams are not buzzworthy for the latest SHRM Conference; they have merit because the stats back it up. Sales training, like Sandler, spend a full day on these merits and outcomes. Jacob Morgan wrote a killer article on collaboration in Forbes a few years ago where he points out the heightened functionality that collaboration gives to the individual contributor, even when there are team or corporate benefits as well.
An individual who is creative and collaborative has too much going on to wander. He/She sees a place for contribution, impact and recognition. The temptress walking by (whether a job posting, a call surveying interest to jump ship, etc.) isn't as appealing. A deep connection to the work being done at the organization will keep people there. The retention rate moves up, knowledge management can actually happen and succession planning becomes succession actuality. The hunger for more is met with real opportunity from and with the same company.
As people who get to encourage our teams, it's important that we remember our relationships need vibrancy. Our connection to the work, to the mission, to purpose have to be encouraged and kept fresh. The lax that leads to a wandering heart will cost our companies money and time and resources. Our staff will not be firing on all cylinders. Stir the fire of creativity and spark collaboration. And you'll satisfy the hunger.