You finally did it! The perfect lamp that both accents the room and casts just the right amount of light rests next to the couch. The one shrouded elegantly, yet with warmth by a shade matching the accent colors of the small stitches in the sofa. This is not an inexpensive piece, it is unique and the result of countless hours of planning and talking and searching.

Yet, it sits in the corner, pale and shadowy, adding nothing to the room. Frustrated you stomp over to see why this rare find has no energy. As you trace the cord running from its base you find that somehow no one has plugged your treasure into the electrical outlet. With a simple flick of the wrist power flows and the beauty created by its Maker radiates, filling the room.

The same is true of the people who choose to follow us. Without connection, they will never become what they were intended to be.


Mark Zuckerberg, the chief architect of FaceBook, is on a mission to connect the population of the world via the internet. His zeal for technology, along with the creators of LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media outlets, provide a valuable tool for us to establish and maintain contact with family, long lost friends as well as be stalked by total strangers. What is missing from their algorithms and equations is the difference between contact and connect.


Being in contact is not the same as being plugged in. At a recent conference where I was speaking, I walked up to three people playing the “how many you got” game. They were comparing the number of people each had as connections on various social media outlets. There is a growing preoccupation with faceless names and email contacts, forming some kind of tribe or social village. The missing element is personal interaction.


Glenna Salsberry, CPS, CPAE, a keynote speaker at a National Speakers Association annual conference reported on a survey showing the top traits that caused people to feel connected to a great company. In order of importance were:


  1. Laughter
  2. Know me by name
  3. Recognize my value

Are you taking consistent steps to show those who choose to follow you that their role is of value, they understand the significance of their responsibilities and that you recognize their efforts and results? How transparent are you with information on the issues your department or the company in general is facing?


Today more than ever successful leaders must master the art of helping their team feel plugged in, or connected. It doesn’t take grand, bold gestures.