It all starts with conversations.
Conversations between people who have a reservoir of insight and knowledge to share with each other.
Conversations that help each person involved think through things, think about things, think about moving forward.
I just read about a “stay-in-tents” retreat for some very influential folks: Inside the elite startup retreat where Satya Nadella and Condoleezza Rice just spent their weekend. It seemed that the entire weekend was built on the simple idea of creating conversations.
But these conversations that are so valuable rely on quite a bit, including:
#1 — a willingness to learn from others. In order to learn from a conversation, one has to enter the conversation with the attitude that “I don’t know all that I need to know. Someone in this gathering, this circle of folks, has something to offer me, and I want to be open to it.”
#2 — a commitment to making time and place for simple conversation. A good conversation might happen “naturally,” and can happen in almost any encounter, but conversations become valuable only if you put yourself into situations where this can happen. And, only if you clear your time demands away – no phones, no distractions – just attention given to the other folks in the conversation.
When you approach them in the right way, I think that good conversations are the very best activities you can have.
What are you doing to put yourself into position to have more of these conversations? There’s probably not a more valuable use of your time.