How to communicate love and value

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I don’t know if tweets embed well on WordPress sites anymore, so I’ll try to both embed it and link it for you. Peep:

That’s a little back-and-forth between me and my man Tom Reid yesterday. I met him through a crew called #JustBeSocial and a concept called “Social Road Trip,” which is just what you might think — people who meet on social media then meet up in real life. I’ve been to two now (should have been to three, but that’s another annoying story).

So first think about this: I’ve met Reid here probably twice in-person, and I’d say this here is a pretty intense little online conversation/exchange for that limited amount of IRL interaction. Am I arguing that me and him showcase the supposed “power of social?” No, because I have limited ego and more self-awareness than that. But it’s still cool. Plus, everyone knows the power of social is brands automating content. Right?

I digress. There is something important here.

The personal relational side

What I’m saying in this headline and what Tom and I are discussing here is akin to “love languages.” If you are in a relationship with someone, you need to convey value and love to them in the way they appreciate, not the way you are comfortable. This is probably the single-hardest thing about being in a relationship, and no one seems to discuss it openly. Tough.

If I need a specific thing of value from a partner, be that wording or something physical or whatever, that right there is what I need. When there’s a gap between that and what’s actually being delivered, something of less quality is going to result. You either fight through that, shift your perception (and avoid resentment in the process), or give up. Those are basically your three options.

This is relationships in a nutshell. We gussy it up in lots of other shit, but in reality the equation is this:

Is there value being conveyed in a way that I understand, appreciate, and can grow with and from?

The work side

We’ve got this myth that we should never equate work and personal. I kind of get it, but the reason relationships end and the reason jobs end (quitting) have 92% in common. So maybe we should discuss them in concert more. Just a thought.

Look at the italics above. I’ll re-paste it for you:

Is there value being conveyed in a way that I understand, appreciate, and can grow with and from?

Uh, that’s work too.

People want value. They want to be valued.

And it takes different forms.

There are a lot of guys out there who want a bigger salary, sure. Extrinsic, target-driven rewards and value. Got it.

But some people want flexibility. Maybe their daughter is sick, or on the spectrum, or whatever.

Some people want autonomy at work — “please no micromanaging.”

Others want skill development.

Some people just want a paycheck.

A few, somewhere, want that Air Hockey table.

But the value isn’t about what the company thinks or wants — it’s actually about what the talent wants and sees value in.

But how do you scale that?

We just came to the central reason HR is viewed as an also-ran at most companies.

They supposedly have all this data and insight on the staff, but really what they have is macro-level, potentially-anonymized, 1-to-5 type scores on generic questions.

That’s really not information of value. Not in terms of designing more valuable experiences at the employee level.

You can only take “value/love back to employees” to scale via a 1–2 step:

  • Someone needs to care
  • Managers need to actually talk with their employees about how they connect back to work

That’s it.

If you have those two elements in a company, you can get it.

If not, you have no chance.

Back to the personal for a second

I went on my first “Social Road Trip” last January in Austin — probably around January 6th or so. My wife and I got separated around March 4th. March and April were kind of a train wreck. Then I started to kind of rebuild my stuff.

I am absolutely not an expert. I have a ton of flaws. Maybe the biggest difference between me and anyone else is that I am openly and completely willing to discuss them. Transparency is a thing for me.

So in November, I go to a ranch in east Texas with some of my friends for a guys weekend. My friend’s cousins show up. One of them is asking me about relationships. I’m also drunk at this moment.

No expert + drinking, and here’s what I can come up with:

“Relationships are about each person putting the bar up for the other in a way that matters and they can understand.”

Kind of the same point as this post, which apparently took me 3–4 months to then actually write.

My friend’s cousin thought I was smart. (I am but only periodically.)

But this is where work and personal ARE similar: convey value in a way that matters. Show love and appreciation on the terms of the receiver. Good things then happen.

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