Connect before Content
As part of our onboarding with a new school board, we engaged in some Indigenous learning. The Indigenous leader took us through a beautiful introduction activity based on FNMI (First Nations, Metis, Inuit) cultures. Rather than telling everyone who we are and ‘what’ we do, we were to share who we are, and ‘where’ we come from (heritage, ancestry, life journey, etc.).
It coincidentally matched a concept we have used for years in industry, that we’d adopted from our cultural mentor Lorne Rubis. ‘Connect before content’.
The idea in both cases is to connect as humans first, and only dive into content once we have taken the time to listen with respect. .
Our indigenous trainer continued to tell us that when the school board conducts interviews for FNMI candidates they are allotted 1.5 hours rather than the typical 45 min for the non-FNMI interviewees.
I was blown away, both by the power of making space for this process, then by the bewilderment of recognizing that all new hires are not provided this same access to what is clearly a ‘best practice’.
Getting to know the humans that may be working alongside you, their stories, and their individuality, is far more important than listening to ‘canned’ responses justifying their ‘skills’ for the job.
Connecting before content is the only respectable way to conduct meetings, do business, or live. It can be as simple as asking how their kids are enjoying summer, or as deep as connecting about family heritage.
Be people first, in life, in business, and during the interview process.
That’s a peak ethos.